Something different today.
A friend, Eric Klingenberg (https://erick79.wordpress.com/), has begun setting a weekly writing challenge; a phrase to inspire a short story or flash fiction.
Last week’s phrase, The potato is the key, prompted the following. Unfortunately, it’s a few days late, simply because a stomach bug curtailed my writing temporarily.
Ironically, this week’s prompt is about aliens. If I take the challenge, I will have to make it as different as possible from what you’re about to read…
When I saw Dylan, he was diggin’ the ground like there weren’t no tomorrow. Which there weren’t, on the face of it.
‘Dylan? What’re you doin’?’
Dylan stooped and picked a potato out the ground. Threw it into the sack beside him. ‘Diggin’ my crops.’
‘Why’re you botherin’?’ I pointed at the sky. ‘That spacecraft’ll be here soon. It’s destroyin’ everythin’ in its path. Won’t be nothin’ left before long.’
Dylan carried on diggin’. ‘Don’t mean I can’t get my food out the ground.’
Another potato went in. Lookin’ west, I saw the spacecraft gettin’ bigger.
‘Heard on the radio the armed forces’ve been destroyed,’ I said. ‘That ship up there’s unbeatable, they’re sayin’. Taken out everythin’ to the west of us, ’s well as the whole of Asia and eastern Europe. Soon get round to the rest.’
Dylan looked up then. ‘That the only ship they got?’ he asked, surprise in his voice.
‘Yeah, ’pparently so. A thousand miles across each way, the radio said. Just ’fore the transmission went dead, that is.’
‘Hmm.’ Dylan pulled another potato.
He straightened, and lifted the sack. ‘Makes it all the easier,’ he said. ‘Thought there’d be thousands of ’em.’
I followed as he lumbered over to where he kept Daisy, his crop-dustin’ plane.
‘What’re you thinkin’?’ I said. I looked up again. The spacecraft was almost fillin’ the sky now. ‘You ain’t thinkin’ of takin’ them on?’
He shrugged. ‘Could be.’
He hauled the sack into Daisy, then climbed aboard. ‘Maybe.’
He fired the engine. ‘What’re you gonna do?’ I yelled. ‘You gonna do like in that Independence Day film? Fly into their laser beam thing and blow them up from the inside?’
‘You’ll see.’ With that, he took off.
I stared after him, and said a prayer to whatever god might be listenin’. Then I settled back to wait for my cremation.
’Bout twenty minutes after, I saw that spacecraft give a lurch. Like it was drunk, or somethin’.
I watched, fascinated. It wobbled a bit, like it was tryin’ to steady itself. Then suddenly, it gave a nosedive, and carried on goin’ down.
The crash came with a dust-cloud I had to bury my face not to get choked by. When it cleared, I was just in time to see Daisy flyin’ in. Coupla minutes later, Dylan landed.
‘What the hell happened there!’ I asked. ‘Was that you?’
He began haulin’ his sack of potatoes outta the plane. ‘Yeah; guess it was.’
‘But what did you do?’
He grinned. ‘You know that trick you can stop a car workin’ by?’
‘Huh?’ I had a think about it. ‘Hell! You don’t mean…?’
‘Yep.’ He looked up at the sky. ‘Knew all I had to do was find the exhaust and stick a potato in it. Stops anythin’, that.’
He picked up his sack, and started walkin’ towards the homestead. ‘Fancy some potato fries?’ he asked.
Back to St Marmaduke’s soon…