As I mentioned before, I’m doing some experimenting with my blog. I want my blog to be about you–the readers. So, I asked myself what would people who love to read want in a blog? The answer is STORIES–lots of stories. Sure, now and then they might want to hear my opinion about a book or a info on Christian writers and their books. But it seemed to me the one thing readers would really enjoy are more stories!
Experiment # 1 is going well. I’ve received some great feedback on serializing a story–a brand new story I’m writing and it’s FREE! How cool is that! Here comes EXPERIMENT # 2.–FLASH FICTION. In case you don’t know what flash ficition is, it’s very very short stories–that come with a beginning, a middle and an end. Different people have different opinions on what the word count should be. I’ve seen some flash fiction under 50 words, but it can also go up to 1500-2000 words as well.
Anyway… from time to time I will feature a flash fiction story.
Today’s story is FROZEN ASSETS by Terri Main. She is a retired college professor who lives in Central California with
her five cats. She has been writing professionally for more than 40 years and has published everything from magazine articles to radio drama to video documentaries to novels and Bible studies. Her Dark Side of the Moon novels also spun off several short stories including this one included in the Lunar Calendar Collection https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B4NSQLM
PS. DON’T WORRY–CHRYSALIS WILL BE BACK IN A FEW DAYS!
FROZEN ASSETS by Terri Main
“So, Carolyn, what do you think?” Mike Cheravic ran a hand over the few hairs he had remaining on the top of his head. I stood beside him staring at the empty pedestal and the remains of the display case on the floor.
“You’re sure, the mask was in the case?” I knew the answer, but felt I needed to say something.
“We’re sure. And, before you ask, there are no micro-holoprojectors that could create an image of the King Whozit’s Death mask.”
“King Teochitonion.” I couldn’t believe it. I spent two years arguing with the curator of The Petrie Museum to allow transport of the artifact to the moon. It took another six months to set up the security system with Mike. It was our first joint project since we solved the murder of Juan McCalister shortly after she arrived in Armstrong City.
“What happened with the security eyes?”
“Someone hacked in and ran images of an empty room. I know, it’s an old trick, but even with strong cybersecurity, it’s possible. We got the call at 21:34. The pressure pad triggered the alarm. That is one system that can’t be hacked. It’s a simple switch. No weight on the pad, the alarm goes off. No computer involved.”
I picked up the metal band that formed the base of the display case and contained the electronic locking mechanism. One of Mike’s criminology students was bagging some sort of evidence on the other side of the room. “Moonbeam, could you please get the imaging scanner?”
Moonbeam, a tall willowy lunar native whose insubstantial appearance almost justified her name, handed me the scanner.
“Mike, look at this band,” I passed the band beneath the scanner and increased magnification.
“I don’t see anything.”
“Exactly, no chips, scratches, nothing.” I switched the scan to a penetration of one centimeter. “The lock is unlocked. Even if the perp was an expert with a magnetic pick and left no scratches, look this glass.”
“I don’t get it.” Mike shook his head.
“Mike, when was the last time you dropped a glass and broke it? I’m a klutz. I’ve dropped lots of glasses. But in 1/6 G, they just float to the ground. What type of force will you need to smash five milimeter safety glass?”
“And why would you do it, if you unlocked the case?”
I turned off the scanner. “Except to make it look like a burglary. This was an inside job.”
Mike tapped on the screen of his handheld. “Only four people had keys to the gallery: the new gallery director, but you can ignore him, he has an iron clad alibi. He was attending a new resident orientation at the time of the theft. Then there is his assistant, the head of maintenance and the security guard on duty tonight. They were all ‘home alone’.”
I examined at the pedestal. I touched the felt. “It’s wet.”
I took a moment to think. “Okay, you can make an arrest.”
Jason McIntire, director of the Armstrong University art gallery, perched on the chair across the metal table from Carolyn and Mike. “I don’t understand why you want to speak to me.”
“Well, you’ve been a very bad boy,” said Mike. “Doesn’t the university pay you enough?”
“You – You mean you think I stole the mask. I couldn’t have. I was at a meeting. A hundred people can vouch for me.”
“That was your mistake, but I’ll let Carolyn fill you in on the detail. Carolyn, you’re up.”
“Jason, your plan was half-smart. It was elegant, but you couldn’t control for everything. Using your access codes, you disabled the alarm system and sent a false image to the security eyes, then you simply walked in, opened the case and took out the mask. You smashed the glass case. You might have gotten away with this if you hadn’t decided to set up the ‘perfect’ alibi. You placed a block of ice on the pedestal. It’s a simple switch. Any weight keeps the alarm disabled. Once the weight goes to zero it goes off. The ice melted slowly enough for you to be safely at your meeting. You figured people would think this was a simple smash and grab. But all the pieces of the case including the lock were on the floor. A smash and grab would leave some glass on the pedestal. There was none. That means it was lifted off and smashed on the floor.”
“Maybe the burglar used a lock pick and then dropped the case by accident.”
“Can’t happen. In the low-grav of the moon things don’t get up enough momentum to just drop and smash. So, it had to be an inside job and only four of you had keys.”
“It might have been one of the others. My assistant, He makes frequent trips to the casinos at Tranquility.”
“It couldn’t be him.”
“Why not? He has a key and needs money.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t have an alibi. Why would he set up an elaborate alibi like this and not use it. No, you had the perfect alibi, and that alibi did you in.”
SO, what do you think? Do you like flash fiction? Would you like to seem more? If you want to give flash fiction a try or have some you’d like to share, let me know.
UNTIL NEXT TIME….God bless and good reading!