August 17, 2012
This week's challenge from Terrible Minds is to pick one of three opening lines and write a story. Here's what was requested:
Here are the three opening lines I’ve chosen:
Brendan Gannon: “Everyone else remembers it as the day the saucers came, but I remember it as the day a man in a suit shot my father.”
Joe Parrino: “Three truths will I tell you and one lie.”
Delilah Dawson: “Thursday was out to get me.”
Here’s roughly what I ended up looking for:
I wanted lines that told multiple potential stories. Meaning, a writer could read it and find a world of stories coming out of that one line — not just the one obvious one, say. Some lines were very specific to a genre or to an event and so I hesitated using them, despite their inherent awesomeness. The exception here might be the “saucer” one, but it was so cool I had to use it. Don’t judge me.
You’ve got 1000 words. Due by Friday, Aug 17th, at noon EST. Post online, link in the comments.
I tried to be creative, but looks like from the other entries that almost everyone picking the 'saucer' line picked the same twist. Oh well, was fun to play with anyway.
Everyone else remembers it as the day the saucers came, but I remember it as the day a man in a suit shot my father.
The new service had seemed to good to be true, but my dad wouldn't listen to my worries. Sucks to be a teenager.
He runs a very exclusive online store, providing the latest kitchen supplies to some of the top chefs in the world. To a growing customer base of chef wannabee's too, eager to have the latest toys. We source from a global network of suppliers, and will ship pretty well anywhere. I'd used my computer skills to set up a system to manage it all, with links to all our suppliers, airline systems, customs offices so we could trace every order- not all strictly legal but gave me a chance to do more than just work in a warehouse for my dad's business.
We're not cheap, but we're fast and we're good. That's what our new shipper said too, boasting of a worldwide network and a staff able to cut through the red tape of any customs system. It was a little strange the first time their delivery van pulled up - all black, tinted windows, plain logo on the side, "Connections". And the driver - black suit, wrap around shades, over six feet tall, no neck. He carried, I signed, he grunted.
Soon after that the troubles started. First the phone started acting up, with clicks on the line, and sometimes no dial tone. Our mail would get delayed for a couple of days, then appear all at once in the box. Police cruisers, once a rarity in our area, now drove by twice a day. I tried to talk to my dad about it, but I coudn't deny they were fast and good. Our sales were already up for the month.
I remember the day the tea-cups came. We get them from the Philippines, from a tiny shop run by an old man and his son, last of their line. My dad says each cup is unique, wafer thin porcelain, hand painted, very delicate, very expensive. We were expecting five, we got 500. I know my orders, so told the driver right away that he had made a mistake. We didn't want 500, and anyways there was no way that tiny shop could have produced 500. I offered to help him check the contents, but he just moved the crate aside.
"Don't worry, not your business," he said. "Someone picks up later. Tomorrow you get your cups. No charge."
I was a little surprised to learn that he could actually talk, but nodded and went back to work. Sure enough, another truck - not one of theirs - came by later and picked up the crate of cups.
This started happening about once a week. Part of an order would be obviously wrong, like a square box that was definitely not self-adjusting patio umbrellas. There'd be a quick apology, with the right order delivered later - free. Later on, the original box would be gone, often without me noticing. It got boring out back, so I'd often be online, chatting with some hacker friends.
My dad didn't like the idea of these other delivery people just wandering and picking up a box, so he started leaving them outside, next to the door. He figured if the wrong person picked it up, wasn't our problem.
A few days later the Connections truck showed up, this time with a crate of 500 saucers, all the way from the Philippines. This was no longer funny, it was annoying, so when the driver demanded to see my dad I refused, and tried to push him back out. He shoved past me, then I could hear arguing inside about some box he was looking for. Then the sound of a slap. Then the sound of a gunshot.
The cops were fast, but not fast enough to catch the shooter. I was their only witness, and stuck to my story of a lone burglar, some scrawny little stranger with a gun. I had a feeling the regular justice system wouldn't work for these people, so had my own plans. As expected, deliveries stopped for us. I arranged for the business to be sold immediately, with the suggestion that the new owner go back to the old courier we'd had.
The next week I started hacking, and confirmed my suspicions. Our new delivery service was just a fron, Connections was actually a well run, and very profitable, world-wide smuggling operation. All set up with a minimal paper trail, running on a network of encrypted systems in every country.
Not encrypted enough. First I locked everyone out, and added some code that would not only keep them out, but also meet any brute force attempts with a system-wide wipe. I sent copies of the data files to the RCMP fraud squad, then started playing with the orders, setting up an algorithm to do random redirects of all the stock presently in the system. I made sure to cancel all new orders, except a new one to all the major suppliers of dishes I could find, for as many cases of saucers as they could supply. All directed to the top 'executives' of Connections, with an anonymous note explaining what I had done.
They would remember the day their saucers came.
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