Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shifting Gears: A Flash Fiction Event

On May 19th, Patti Abbott, Aldo Calcagno, and I announced another flash fiction challenge:

Write a story 750 words or less incorporating the sentence, "With gas prices rising, their plans had to change."

Post your story on your blog or website on June 15, 2008.

Here's mine:

Just To Be Different

by Gerald So

Matt Billings and Jenny Diaz had both achieved Legend status at Last Sword. Matt chose the Knight's Path for his avatar Lance-alot. Jenny took the Brigand's Path for her avatar Handemon, just to be different.

Though Matt and Jenny knew each other only by avatar, they'd IM'ed back and forth for almost a year about meeting at the Last Sword World Championship in New York City. With gas prices rising, their plans had to change. Two weeks before the tournament, Jenny's dad told her he couldn't afford the drive.

Handemon: My kid brother wrecked the car.

Lance-alot: UNF---INGBELIEVABLE! We won't get to face off for real?!

Handemon: Wait, have you heard of BoltBus?

Jenny went on to explain that BoltBus offered daily trips between Boston and New York from $1 to $40, depending on how early you reserved.

Handemon: free wifi & power outlets

Lance-alot: Sweet!

Handemon: So I can still make it, though we don't need the tournament...

Lance-alot: *nod* We know we're the best.

Handemon: But which of us is the Last Sword? What say we settle that on the way to New York?

Lance-alot: You're on!

Matt visited the BoltBus site, but didn't book a seat. He found a rival service, Megabus, and booked with them, just to be different.

The trip to New York would take just over four hours. For the first two, Matt and Jenny were stalemated. Then Matt's laptop started beeping. He glanced down and saw the low battery indicator.

Lance-alot: BRB.

Matt connected the A/C adapter to his laptop, but there was nowhere to plug in.

"Where are the power outlets?" he asked an attendant.

"Sorry, sir. We only offer free WiFi."

Fuck you, Handemon.

Then Matt remembered, Handemon had been talking about BoltBus. He cringed just imagining how he'd explain going offline. On the very dim bright side, he had two hours to think of a good lie.



Just before Patti brought up Shifting Gears, I'd seen a TV news story on BoltBus and Megabus. I did a little digging to find out what, if anything, distinguished them, and surfed upon the piece of trivia in my story.

I know next-to-nothing about online gaming today. Last Sword is loosely based on 1989's Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero.


Others Tackle the Topic

Patricia Abbott, "Epitaph for a Hummer"

Stephen Allan, "Gas"

Cormac Brown, "Flashpoint"

John McAuley, "Shell Game"

John McFetridge, "Long Haul"

r2, "An Old-Fashioned Vacation"

Sandra Scoppettone

Sandra Seamans, "Rabbit in a Trap"

John Weagly, "Friday Night at the Cluck & Jive"

WellesFan, "Cemetery Wind"


pattinase (abbott) said...

Boy, this is a whole new world. Great job of introducing it. Thanks.

r2 said...

This went in a wild direction I wasn't expecting. I've never had much interest in those type of gamers until now. You've brought it to life for me. Good work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us take a peek into the gamers world. Great, fun story!

John Weagly said...

Great job!

WellesFan said...

Very funny. A little research goes a long way. Good job.

PS. I loved the whole Quest for Glory series growing up.

Cormac Brown said...

Cool, gaming on the road. This was a good and unexpected change-up.

Patricia said...

Unusual setting and characters. Enjoyed it.