Steve’s shorts: Lifeboat…

Lifeboat

Copyright 2017, Steven M. Moore

“Can we keep it?”

Jerry looked at the creature in his daughter’s hand. He had stopped sprinkling the new grass seed and considered her question. He held out his free hand, still gloved from raking the soil.

“Give it to me and let me rinse your hand off!” The creature looked like fancy lime Jello from a mold, except it wasn’t completely transparent. “Where did you get this?”

Susie pointed under the hedge. He saw something the size of a small, shiny, stainless steel garbage can. The rounded end was blackened as if it had gone through a fire. The flat end was emitting white smoke. There were strange characters on the side that looked a bit like Chinese writing. A bio attack launched from China?

He jiggled the creature in the palm of his hand. Maybe it isn’t alive? Maybe it’s mechanical. Or a kid’s toy?

He put it on the ground and knelt by the hedge to examine the strange object more closely. Yeah, could be a toy. But he knew even toys had some purpose. This seemed to have none. It mad a sound like passing gas and the smoke stopped.

He stood up and faced his daughter. “We’ll keep him. I’ll put him in Sniffy’s old cage and we’ll see what he does.”

Sniffy was Susie’s pet rabbit that had died three weeks earlier of old age.

“How do you know it’s a he?” said Susie.

“Just a guess, honey. I’ll put him in the cage now. We have to go in. Mom will want us to wash up a bit for dinner.”

***

The next morning there were two creatures. Jerry couldn’t tell which one was the original; they looked exactly the same.

He walked over to the shiny garbage can beneath the hedge. Should I look inside? He kneeled down and examined it. No obvious way to open it. The end that had emitted smoke had six charred openings, one in the center and the others at the vertices of a pentagon. He knew pentagons; he had worked in one. Should I get my service pistol and shot a few holes in the thing? Or should I take it to the dump?

He decided to wait for the bulk waste pickup.

***

The following morning there were four creatures. The next morning, eight. The cage was getting crowded.

Jerry wondered what they were eating. He decided to call his friend Hal, a bio prof at the university. He asked Jerry if he was drunk or thought it was April 1, so Jerry had to explain how they found the first blob of Jello. Hal said he’d be right over.

“They’re clearly alive,” Hal told Jerry after inspecting the caged creatures. “I don’t know what they are. Where’s the shiny garbage can?”

“They took it in the bulk waste pickup. Damn thing was heavy.”

“Can I have a creature to examine in my lab?”

“You can take the whole bunch. Susie’s already lost interest. It’s not like you can pet them like a rabbit.”

Hal packed them up in a cardboard box. When he arrived at the lab, he put them in his biohazard room just in case, but he didn’t think to wear his biohazard suit when he entered later to examine the creatures.

The next morning they found the entire volume of the biohazard room filled with a green slime. Hal was floating in the center. The Pentagon was called.

***

Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s also available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). See the review and interview at Feathered Quill.

In libris libertas….

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