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Friday, February 15, 2013

The “Toy” Laser (#FridayFlash)

Hooray, I’m flashing again! Thanks to Eric J. Krause, once again, whose writing prompt got this one started. And of course, since it has a sci-fi nod, I had to go to the Pulp-O-Mizer and make a “cover” for it. I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the foreground graphics has a kid holding a laser gun…

Source: Pulp-O-Mizer
“It’s three-thirty, Tyler. Time to go.”

“Aww, Dad! Can’t I ride the Rocket Sled? One more time?”

“Sorry, Tyler.” Kyle turned off his phone alarm. “I promised your mom that I’d have you home by four-thirty. Besides, you’re about worn out. Keep your grades up, and we’ll come back some time.”

“She doesn’t care.” Tyler’s shoulders sagged. “I’m not tired, either.”

“If she didn’t care, she wouldn’t have given us a deadline.” Kyle figured Amanda really didn’t care, except that she could use his being late as an excuse to berate him about all the things she’d undoubtedly saved up for such an opportunity. Tyler was the only leverage she had since the divorce, and she used it every chance she got. “But since you behaved yourself today… you still want that laser gun at the souvenir stand?”

“Yeah!” Tyler’s fatigue fell to excitement, and his animated chatter about school and his online friends and skating carried them all the way to the souvenir stand.

The guy behind the counter looked preoccupied, staring at something under the counter, when Kyle and Tyler approached. “Oh, hey,” he said, popping up when Kyle cleared his throat. “Choose your weapons.” He grinned and gestured at the array of t-shirts, hats, toys, and water bottles.

“One of those!” Tyler pointed at the rack of lasers, in all different colors, the Spaceport Alpha logo emblazoned on the side with their tagline, “the most fun in the solar system!”

“Um, sure,” said the vendor. He reached under the table and brought out a bright yellow one, with blue trim. “Um, those up there came in with a bad batch of batteries, and I haven’t gotten around to taking them down yet. I checked this one, it’s good. You can have it for a buck off, since it’s not in the package. Okay?”

“Sure,” Tyler agreed, and Kyle wasn’t about to argue. Everything at theme parks was overpriced, and a discount was always welcome.

“Thanks, man,” said Kyle, as the vendor gave him the change.

“No prob.” The vendor glanced up at the sky, then smiled at Tyler. “Have a nice day, kid. Blast yourself a few aliens, okay?”

Tyler laughed and followed his dad out of the park. Kyle was preoccupied, checking messages on his phone, and Tyler looked through the sights and began shooting. “Yeah, got one!” he laughed, his laser making a pew-pew-pew noise as he held the trigger. “Got another!” He could only see them through the sights. “This is cooler than a video game!” he said under his breath.

“What’s that?” Kyle asked, pocketing his phone and unlocking the car.

“Just playin’, Dad.” In the sky, contrails streaked and dissolved. On the way home, he took out three more alien ships through the open car window.

Tyler slept well that night, knowing the world would be there when he awoke.


  1. All laser guns are real - Kyle may have forgotten this, but Tyler knows

  2. I wonder what that carney knew that he wasn't saying?

  3. did he take out that meteor that hit Russia? They said the sound of firing could be heard :-)

    marc nash

  4. I imagined stuff like this routinely in my teens, particularly sniping enemies through the car window.

  5. Fun piece, and I also wonder about the carney's motives...

  6. Mazzz, good point. I bet Tyler put this one either under his pillow, or within easy reach for tomorrow's defense activities!

    Tony, I kept wondering what it was he was staring at under the counter. And why the ships appear over a space-themed amusement park....

    Marc, I think he damaged the mothership, and it crashed in Siberia!

    JohnW, that's a staple of (male) youth, I think!

    Thanks, Bevimus. Is the carney a forward observer in a secret defense force? Or something more sinister? Hmmm.

    Russell, that Pulp-O-Mizer is tons of fun. I did one for Xenocide, too.

  7. Heheh! The kids always see things that the adults can't, they'll keep us old 'uns safe. :)

  8. I shall rest well tonight knowing that the world is protected from alien menace by fully armed adolescent boys.

  9. Yes! Laser guns are awesome! I had like three, all big toys. So much fun, being able to see beyond the daily boredom. We all sleep tight because of some child protecting the universe from invaders.

    Very cute story Larry, brought a smile and a tickle of a memory, so thank you.

    P.S. This Pulp-O-Mizer is awesome!

  10. Very cool story. Love the open interpretation - maybe the vendor gave him a real laser gun, and maybe he simply has an overactive imagination. Either way, it's a wonderful story!

  11. Love it! I wonder if he was really taking out alien ships or something else. :)

  12. Steve, so true!

    Ganymeder, good one!

    Thanks, Cindy. That's one webapp that could keep me too busy playing around to actually get any writing done…

    Glad you liked it, Eric—and I'm glad you caught the open-ended thing. I was trying for that.

    Thanks, Cherie! Eric pointed out a possible "something else" …

  13. Loved this! It reminded me of the PowerPuff Girls episode where all the kids battle broccoli-like alien invaders the adults fail to notice -- they just notice that all of a sudden all the kids are eating their veggies with a vengeance!

  14. Hmm. There's some sadness behind the lasers here. I feel sorry for Tyler, sounds like he's got a rough deal at home.

  15. Pew pew pew. Hang on, Tyler. I've got your back!

    Great story and cover image.

  16. This was a fun read, Larry, and definitely took me back to my childhood. The hint at Kyle and Ammanda's relationship problems added a nice contrast to the youthful ending.

  17. Katherine, I never saw that episode. Sounds pretty funny!

    Icy, I do too…

    Peter, we've only seen one PoV here, but I suspect Kyle isn't exaggerating *too* much.

    Thanks, Tim. Tyler says thanks, too! :-)

    Thanks, Chuck!

  18. Great cover and I love the little snippet from your book.


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