Monday, March 30, 2009

Flash fiction exercises: Part 3

This time we step into the way-back machine and go to January 2003. If I am remembering correctly this is the first exercise I finished. I think I was pretty proud of it. I look at it now and see how the whole thing is overly wordy. I still like the idea of two arguing scientists, one more concerned with rules and regulations. The other is just concerned about the break-throughs. But the writing here is not my best.

After posting it to the group it got decent reaction. I think that people liked the use of dialogue to tell the story. It was good motivation to keep going.

I have the prompt to go with this one too.


And here is what I did with that.

“I don’t think I understand, doctor.” Stevenson shouted. “You are telling me that you went ahead with the experiment even though you knew that some of the time, when you tried to bring something or someone back, the machine would freeze.”

“Yes,” Dr. Henning shouted back. “This is science. If you don’t push through problems then you will never have the breakthrough you are looking for. If we didn’t send anyone back in time then we never would have known if we can bring them back. Everything on paper says this should work. The only way to determine if our calculations were right is if we actually did it.”

“And what have you found out?”

“I don’t appreciate your tone, Jake. You know what we have found out,” Dr. Henning said, shuffling though papers on his desk. “It hasn’t worked yet.”

“Yet? You’re telling me that you are going to try this again?”

“Of course we are. I can’t believe you even had to ask that.” There was a long pause. Stevenson moved to the back of the classroom and put his hands to his face. Dr. Henning continued to search for something on his desk. “Moving to administration has really changed you , Jake,” Dr. Henning continued. “Ten years ago you wouldn’t have questioned trying this again. You would have taken a day to deal with losing an assistant then you would have gone back to work. There is nothing more important than the work. You used to believe that.”

“I used to believe a lot of things. Tell me something, tell me why. Why did you send her? You guys had problems at every step. You sent inanimate objects and couldn‘t get them back on the first try. You sent cats and dogs and lost who knows how many of them. How did you get to the point that you sent Heather?”



“Mass. That was the one factor that was off in all of our calculations. We never could figure out what the breaking point was. We did lose a lot of stuff early on in the process but we thought we had it figured out. We thought we’d cracked it. The only way to figure it out was to send one of the members of the team.” Dr. Henning pulled a folder from a drawer in his desk . “This should cover everything,” Dr. Henning said as he handed the folder to Stevenson.

“What is it?”

“It’s a series of forms that releases the college from any liability. I had some lawyers draw them up. I knew asking the university’s legal department would raise too many red flags.”

“Well, President Wolff will be glad to see these.”

Dr. Henning shook his head slowly. “You are such a disappointment, Jake. She was 23. Twenty three, but she was 10 times the scientist you ever were.”
Henning handed Stevenson another folder.

“What’s this?”

“It’s my release forms. We are trying again tomorrow. This time I am going.”

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