Copyright © Liza Rose. All rights reserved. Last Updated October 2019.
2019 NYC Flash Fiction competition Challenge 2! (Group 54) - Got the dreaded COMEDY again...gulp. Think gentle humour and you might have a smile by the time you finish reading. If you are looking for LOL ... And lets hope the judges aren't, then you may want to stop here!
Comedy; A hall of fame, a projector
The grand opening of the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame was, so far, an unmitigated disaster, until a little boy gives Dana a ray of hope.
The grand opening of the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame was, so far, an unmitigated disaster. The opening fireworks had set fire to the awnings outside, and the large projectors that were supposed
to play movies over the walls of the welcome hall were on the fritz and IT could not get them fixed, despite rebooting them.
They were now displaying a shaky image of a welcome message that was so fuzzy you would think it really was an alien transmission from across a galaxy. Add to that, the punters were complaining…
“Where are all the alien guns?”
“I thought this was sci-fi; Star Wars is obviously fantasy!”
Only the hard core sci-fi fans would complain of that one, but Dana only had herself to blame. She raised expectations by doing that interview with Men’s Monthly, and the spot on 2Tonight; ok, she probably shouldn’t have put the full page add in the Gazetteer but she wanted the evening to be a success.
Instead, she was tearing her hair out as yet another complaint reached her.
“Hardly sci-fi, more like horror - honestly, what is this place trying to be?”
Turning, Dana saw a woman and child enter, the little boy bounding with excitement.
“Mommy, mommy, its Dark Vader and Yoga!” he trilled, causing titters around him.
His mother Athena looked down and grimaced between her teeth.
“Star Wars isn’t sci-fi Marshal!”
‘Oh ho’, thought Dana, observing the forced smile. ‘Another sci-fi fanatic’.
"Picture mommy!" Having spotted the handprints of the inaugural Hall of Famers, the five year old was now trying to place his hands into the oversized casts. Athena sighed, getting out her phone, then seeing Dana staring, frowned and marched over.
“Are you in charge here?”
Dana nodded, defeated.
“Well! Where is the science fiction?” Athena demanded.
“Actually-”, Dana began.
“You know Star Wars is fantasy!”
“Well-“, Dana tried again.
“I think it’s very misleading,” Athena continued, “What about Asimov, and the greats?”
“You’ll find-“, Dana’s bottom lip twisted.
The little boy tugging on his mother’s arm with impatience “Mommy, look chewybacca!” as he pulled her towards what looked like a walking shag pile.
Athena looked sharply at Dana, and then down at her son straining with all his might, and something in her expression softened. “I’m sorry, I just get very frustrated with this poor stereotyping.”
Dana tried to grin, “I know what you mean!”
“You do?” Athena took at moment to look at Dana, this time noticing her dishevelled appearance, then thrust out a hand “I’m Athena, hard core sci-fi nerd.”
Dana smiled at the proffered hand. “Nice to meet you, I’m Dana, hard core sci-fi nerd, backed into a corner by investors!”
Athena barked out a laugh, “I should have known! Money talks eh?”
Dana nodded and, straightening up, said “The good stuff is two doors down the hall. I’ll show you, I wouldn’t mind a break from the commentary!”
“Thank you”, Athena followed Dana. “Come on Marshal, we are going to get you educated.”
“Headucated?” Marshal sounded doubtful.
“Sure”, said Dana, “you are going to find out why sci-fi is so cool.”
Marshal looked at her sideways.
The white door slid open with a whoosh earning Dana a wry look from Athena, “Star Trek?”
Dana looked defensive.
“It’s more science based, and scientists are developing hand held body scanners. Of course the transporter is a little more fantastic, but still.” She waved them into her showcase, a room full of real science and technology, the room of the great futurists. Plaques bearing photographs of the likes of Asimov and Clarke stood side by side with robotic arms and gene mapping technology. At the back, a sofa area, surrounded by walls of books, where one could just sit and read.
“Looks like my old Alma Mata’s sci-fi society. Good times!” Athena took it all in, “Look, I’m sorry about earlier.”
“No problem. I want people to experience sci-fi in all its forms. The hall for blockbuster fans, it sets up as a cinema, and this room is for the true fan. We have a reading club and the equipment is all operational, and can be hired out by universities. Only way we could afford to set up this way.”
“What’s this mommy?” Marshal appeared from behind a bookcase holding a picture book.
“Oh!” asked Dana, “That shouldn’t be in here.”
“What is it?” Athena asked.
“It’s a kid’s book I wrote.” Dana blushed, “I want kids reading real sci-fi at an early age. It takes the science of today, extrapolates it and takes it to their future.”
“Book!” said Marshal who had settled on a bean bag and started to flip the pages.
“Marshal, don’t touch,” said his mother.
“No it’s ok,” said Dana. “Call it a beta test.”
Athena sat down next to Marshal and they read together.
Ten minutes later, Marshal jumped up.
“Meta-John is awesome, I want to be Meta-John,” he ran around, “I want to be a fish-man and live in the oshun.”
Athena smiled at Dana. “I think you might have something there you know. If the Hall of Fame folds, maybe you can make it as a writer?”
Crash! The thunder and lightning, followed by sudden darkness made them jump. Dana ran out to the main hall to calm the visitors. There was no need.
“Cool special efforts!” said Marshal, grinning.
“Woah, dude!” a bearded guy was standing at the doors which were wide open. “Bring it on!”
“Awesome”, said a young woman to her partner. “They do a real good show here! Did you see that fire show at the tents?”
“They think it’s special effects?!” said Dana with incredulity.
“Looks like you have a hit.” said Athena. She leaned over to Dana and whispered, “Of course, you could have called it the speculative fiction Hall of Fame.”
Dana grinned at that.
“No one would know what that meant!” she said, “Although I speculate that the one thing humans will do in the future … is complain!”