Stretching The Truth

“Man, I can’t believe they sent us more of these things,” Amy complained, opening the tenth case of white mohair sweaters.

“Tell me about it!” Julie nodded. “Why on Earth would they send us these in the middle of summer?”

“Team huddle,” Bryce announced.

The sales team began grumbling as they all saw the mohair sweaters. Commission was hard enough to come by in this store, but selling products no one wanted was the last straw.

Bryce cleared his throat. “Home office is going to close us down if our sales don’t increase.”

“What!” Amy hollered.

“I know, I know,” he said, raising his hand trying to calm everyone down. “Not much we can do. That’s why they sent us all this crap.” He kicked an open case of sweaters and shook his head.

“Isn’t there anything we can do?” Julie asked.

“I don’t know. Unless we somehow manage to knock this lot out. I don’t think so.” He sighed and left them to run their shift.

“Man, I need this job,” Amy and Angela grumbled as they went back to unpacking the new shipment.

Julie thought for a moment, looking at the pile of sweaters. They look like a sleeping Yeti, she thought to herself. She grinned, pulled out her phone, and dialed Jack. Jack was her friend who had a college radio program and website for weird people.

By the late afternoon when Bryce returned, the store was packed with customers all demanding the new mohair sweaters. He couldn’t believe it as he weaved his way to the back room.

“Julie? What’s going on?”

She just sat there and laughed. “As soon as people heard we the world’s only sweater made from Yeti hair collected by mountain villagers, they flocked here to get one before they sell out for this season. It’s a long time before they molt again.”

Workers at the mall information booth could hear Bryce’s laughter six stores down.


This story was inspired by another 4th place finisher in the Camp NaNoWriMo vote: sweater / flock / mountain.

 

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The Keyhole Killer

Orville Barker was an unassuming young man, especially for these parts. It made it very easy for him to find a job when he walked in to Wide River last month. Nellie over at the restaurant and boarding house took him in for his first few nights and quickly saw what a good worker he was after he traded dish washing and cleaning for board. She’s the one that recommended him to Miss Opus over at the hotel when she needed a new night clerk. Orville was a drifter though. Never stayed long in any one town to make too many friends. He preferred it that way. He also preferred towns on what the miners referred to as the gold line. Trails where there were towns every fifteen miles or so and close to the next mine. They could blow into town, work for a few days, then blow on to the next one. It wasn’t the miners he appreciated though. He appreciated the ladies that followed the miners and stayed at nice, cozy, safe, places like Miss Opus’.

Word travels fast along the gold line if it involves gold finds, but not much about anything else. People came and went for the month Orville worked in Wide River. Miss Opus found more ladies skipped out on paying in the middle of the night after Orville came and she began to suspect him of letting them leave without paying, so she fired him. Everything returned to normal and bills were paid upon checkout just as they had always been. Miss Opus found herself working all day and night again though and late one evening a week later, a young lady inquired about a room for the night, looking quite disheveled. Miss Opus, concerned as any proper lady would be, asked if everything was alright. The tale the young lady told turned Miss Opus’ ears white. Other women sitting in the lobby overheard her tale and chimed in with what they had heard about the man they nicknamed “The Keyhole Killer.”

Miss Opus began to shake as the ladies described a man they think has been killing women for the last four years on the gold line. He was an unassuming young man with well-groomed hair, and always likes extra starch on his shirts. Miss Opus called the sheriff and told him all about the lady’s stories and that she feared her customers had not actually skipped out on their bills.

Sheriff Glen and Roger searched the hotel from to bottom and all they found were sketches of women through a keyhole in his former room, and six human hearts placed in the shape of a keyhole with three empty spots just outside his window hidden by some scrub.

 

Willpower

Early theories of using black holes for time travel were proven accurate hundreds of years ago, but none dared to use that knowledge to change history. Where would they even start? The war that ripped nations apart would be a good start, but did our problems really start there? How about the Moscow Agreement of 2023, where the U.S. became the first 21st century colony to Russia? No…how about just before the nuclear attack on major US cities by North Korea, Iran, and China in 2019? Oh, how about before President Trump was elected. That would be a good place to change history, wouldn’t it? Would that solve all our problems? Was everything perfect before then? How about preventing Saddam Hussein from coming into power, or Napoleon, or  Alexander the Great? Let’s not forget Xerxes, Genghis Khan, and Hitler. There are so many points in history where time could be changed that would benefit all of us, isn’t there? We could save people from 9/11, the Titanic, and Pompeii. Maybe even prevent the spread of disease throughout the world, or prevent the slave trade, or assassinations. There are so many possibilities. Maybe this is why none have had the willpower to travel through time and change our history. Do we enjoy being slaves to the Nalaxians? Has that been our destiny? What would happen if we just prevented the space force that started our intergalactic problems? We were not ready for space warfare and they knew it. They always knew it. That’s why they stayed back. Waited. Wanted a fair fight. He didn’t. He never stopped to ask. Never stopped to think. Humans need to be free. Humans. Yes. That is our main problem. The point of no return. It all started there. No humans mean no wars, no famine, no droughts, no irreversible environmental damage, no alien attacks, no enslavement. Tonight will be the night. Willpower must be found. Steal a ship and fly it though the black hole. Forgiveness will be found for destroying the first mouse, won’t it? Teacher said humans are descended from mice which is why we are so easily controlled.


 

A few weeks ago, some of my readers voted in a poll for Camp NaNoWriMo. This story was inspired by the 4th place finishing prompt: Future / black hole / willpower

A Lovely Picnic

It was a lovely day for a picnic. At least that’s what the Huckabee family thought. They had prepared a lovely basket of chicken salad sandwiches on white bread, iced teas, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the young ones. Just a typical, upstanding meal for a typical, upstanding family. After a fun morning of kite flying and a pick-up football game, the skies turned dark. Sarah looked into the sky and screamed.

“What’s that, Dad?” she asked, pointing to a giant ship blocking out the sun.

“Must be the new space force,” he said, shrugging.

“Hmm, I didn’t get a message about that.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it. Come back and eat.”

Suddenly, two small creatures about the size of Sarah’s son appeared in a bright light that emanated from the ship.

“Mrs. Sanders? Mr. Huckabee?” A short blue creature with lanky arms and large eyes asked.

“Yeah.” Her brow furled in confusion, while her father sat in stunned silence.

“You’re an idiot!” A taller green creature with human features screamed.

Before anyone could respond, the two creatures began lambasting them emphatically with small pebbles they collected from the asteroid belt on their way to Earth. They continued until secret service ran in to save the family. The two creatures returned to their ship in another beam of bright light and quickly flew away.

“Are you guys alright?” an agent asked.

“I’ll see you fired!” Sarah screamed.

She left her son with the family and quickly drove to the White House where she immediately reported the incident to the President. Not wasting a second to actually think about what just happened, he immediately took to social media and lambasted the Democrats for not support Space Force fully, blamed the Liberal snowflakes for not wanting a wall to keep aliens out, and offered his new friends an exclusive interview with Sean Hannity.


This story was inspired by the following prompts:
Three Things Challenge — asteroid, picnic, social media
Word of the Day Challenge — emphatically
Merriam-Webster Word of the Day — lambasted
FOWC with Fandango — continue