The Last Drink at Dewey’s Bar

The End To An Era

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Dewey’s Bar was a good place to get drunk and disappear.

It was located next to a unique wormhole that only allowed for time-travel to the planet earth. Life forms from throughout the solar system enjoyed visiting Dewey’s place. Things were always hopping. Good times. Sometimes romance.

The parties at Dewey’s Bar were known to inhabitants of 100 solar systems and galaxies. The owners liked to brag that whatever happened there, stayed there. It was a rogue planet only accessible by extensive criminal contacts and a safe escort through thousands of air mines.

Lonecust, a space raider from Earth, loved Dewey’s bar.

The obnoxious drunks repelled him. But he had to admit it was a good place to get hammered and meet other beings. He watched a lithesome Venusian sip her cocktail like a real lady with her delicate mandibles. Two Martians were laughing at jokes a chubby Neptunian was telling them.

A group of traveling entertainers from Zreeeren, a nearby solar system, were doing magic tricks in an effort to hit on some hot chicks from Jupiter. The background music blended with all the languages being spoken in the cavernous bar.

The thing about Dewey’s bar was that it was a haven for criminals since the earth was formed millions of years ago. Outcasts always populated the tiny dwarf planet that was home to Dewey’s.

For a moment – a zano second – Lonecust thought about backing out of his deal with the Teronnet Federation. But he knew he didn’t have a choice. The device they planted in his chest would explode if they thought he wasn’t going to go through with his agreement.

Actually, it was a fair trade, if it wasn’t for blowing himself up with the rest..

Earth was going to be spared the wrath of the Teronnet Federation if he planted the bomb behind the bar and blew up this dwarf planet. Of course, he understood that they expected him to be blown to hell with everyone else.

Still, he thought, there was hope, as he sipped a Plutonian boilermaker. If he could jump into the wormhole right after planting the bomb (that second), he’d end up somewhere in Earth’s history.

Nostalgia unexpectedly brought a tear to his eye. How long was it since he had his first drink at Dewey’s bar? At least 30 years. In one swift movement Lonecust jumped over the bar, stuck the magnetic bomb onto a keg of moon beer, and melded into the wormhole by the mirror.

The next moment Lonecust was sipping a beer at Dewey’s Bar in Scranton, Pennsylvania circa 1952. It was 2 a.m., and the owner, Mike Dewey, called for a last drink.

As It Stands, I suspect there will be a time when time travel is commonplace.

 

Why The Talking Turtle Snapped

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Everyone that knew Sheldon was amazed that he had a talking turtle. 

They would ask him where he found this talented turtle, but he only gave a sly smile in return.

Every since he shared Terry (the turtle) with the world last week, both had become instant celebrities.

Terry’s high voice sounded a lot like Don Knotts. One night they were guests on a Late Night TV program and Terry told the host to go screw himself! The audience roared in laughter. The host’s face turned crimson.

Sheldon was stunned. What happened? Where did that comment come from? On the way home that night he kept thinking about Terry’s words. They were off script. That shouldn’t have happened.

Something had to be wrong with the artificial intelligence chip he inserted behind Terry’s scaly skull. It took him two years to develop that tiny little brain. He even lost his job at the laboratory six months ago when they discovered he was conducting unauthorized experiments in artificial intelligence.

He didn’t let that setback bother him however. He lived alone and had a fair amount of money in his checking and savings accounts. He set up a new work area in his basement and spent all of his waking hours tinkering with the chip.

When the day came that he thought it was time to test the chip in a host, he went out into his backyard and retrieved his pet turtle Terry. He thought about using his pug as a host, but realized he’d have to cut his vocal cords and he couldn’t bring himself to do that.

The host had to be silent so it wouldn’t compete with the chip’s voice. That’s why Terry was the perfect host. He continued to program the chip after implanting it in Terry’s neck.

Word recognition. The ability to intelligently talk with someone. Long memory. Constant evolving learning process. Weeks of conversations with the chip inside Terry brought amazing results.

The chip learned how to believe it was a turtle. The Don Knott’s voice was on a whim. Sheldon thought Terry kinda looked like him. A sense of humor never hurt anyone. Right?

Back in the basement. A day had passed since the disastrous late night TV debacle and Sheldon and Terry were deep in conversation.

“Let’s see if I have got this right,” Sheldon said, “You didn’t like him joking with you?”

That’s right,” Terry replied between bites of lettuce.

“Where’s your sense of humor Terry?”

“It’s highly over-rated. Who needs it?” he replied, before digging back into his meal.

The whole incident raised some alarms for Sheldon. It was obvious he couldn’t control what Terry said. No more interviews. Who knew what could happen? He needed more time to study Terry.

He stayed at home working most of the time in the basement while Terry liked to sit on his pillow in the corner and watch the small screen TV Sheldon had set up for him. Whenever he saw a comedy, or people laughing, Terry got upset and made hissing sounds.

“What the hell?” Terry shouted one night when he turned on an old re-run of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken starring Don Knotts.

“Sheldon!” Terry screamed. “What’s this?” 

Sheldon hurried over to the corner and asked “What’s the matter Terry?”

“That skinny bug-eyed idiot has my voice!”

“It’s a good voice” Sheldon weakly defended.

“Everyone laughs every time he opens his mouth! The guy’s a laughingstock! Is that what you think of me?”

Sheldon felt trapped. “Listen, I didn’t know you weren’t going to have a sense of humor. I like Don Knotts. I’ve seen all of his movies and use to watch him on Andy of Mayberry.”

Terry was no longer listening. His anger reverberated throughout his shell. He wasn’t a clown. He had pride. Turtle power! From that moment on, he planned on how he was going to get his revenge.

As It Stands, this very short story reflects my concern for the growing science of artificial intelligence…with a twist.

 

 

 

 

 

It All Started When The Pot called The Kettle Black

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A spirited discussion was taking place in the kitchen.

A spate between the spoons and the forks was threatening to make the butter knives leave the drawer in search of a more peaceful place.

Everyone seemed on edge.

Then a pot called a kettle black. Well, that did it! The two banged into each other and sent the plates and coffee cups flying off the counter. This moment had been building up since they moved in a month ago.

The copper kettle started causing trouble the first night there. In no uncertain terms the kettle informed the pots, pans, dishes, silverware, glasses, and cups – that it ruled the kitchen.

The human used the kettle five times more than he did pots or pans. A bachelor, he didn’t like to cook. But he sure enjoyed his tea.

This self-appointed status largely went unchallenged for weeks, with only occasional grumbling coming from the pots in the lower cupboard. The pans were pretty low-key and stayed out of the brewing feud.

Brooding one day, one of the pots decided to break all the rules. Again. That damn kettle was insufferable. When the human got home the pot intended to have a few words with him. It was early morning.

The human stumbled into the kitchen, stretched, and yawned. Then the pot asked him to open the cupboard door. Without even giving it a second thought, the human opened the door and stared dumbly inside.

When the police arrived after the 911 call, a neighbor reported hearing screams inside. They entered the house and found a man  dead on the kitchen floor. He had cuts and bruises all over his body. It looked like the kitchen imploded.

The kitchen drawers and cupboards were emptied of their contents. Curiously, nothing was broken. Everything was gathered up and put in a box after the police were finished examining every piece.

A year later the police department held a sale of unclaimed items with the proceeds going to a local charity. One of the first things to sell was a big box of kitchenware. Everything from pots and pans to a copper kettle.

The happy couple were just starting out, and they needed everything for their new home. That night voices came from the kitchen.

“You two ignore each other,” a pair of coffee mugs warned the pot and the kettle, “or we’re going to end up in that damn box again.”

As It Stands, I’m dedicating this story to Alfred Hitchcock, a master at throwing a wicked twist into a story.