I am off to the #BloggersBash and making a weekend of it in London including going to see The Mummy and a visit to TGI Friday’s for some Fajitas….probably with a margherita… or two. In the meantime I am going to leave you with some entertainment… I hope you will enjoy and please share the guest authors who have contributed stories.. thanks very much Sally.
Welcome to the start of the Smorgasbord Short Story Festival from today until Monday 12th. We have short stories and poetry from some wonderful writers including John Howell, Robbie Cheadle, Mary Smith, Philip T. Stephens, Wendy Janes and a few more from me from various collections.
Here is one from my first collection Flights of Fancy. Set a little time in the future.. but not by much!
Albert, The Perfect Candidate by Sally Cronin
On Friday night, Albert sat in the white walled room, his eyes closed against the glare from the fluorescent lighting and his hands over his ears to shut out the infernal racket from the wall-mounted television. He did not have to watch the screen to see what images it displayed. Twenty-four hours a day, it brought the fear and disasters of the world into each room in every house and workplace around the country. Terrorism, financial and natural catastrophes and of course superbugs were all guaranteed to make the headlines. He shook his head. Where did all the ‘good news’ stories go?
His mobile telephone had rung several times in the last hour and he knew that it was Marjorie, his partner, no doubt reminding him for the fiftieth time that he must not be late for dinner.
He opened his eyes, switched off his phone and thought about the pile of folders still unopened on his desk. There was also an e-mail from his boss demanding that he should be in his office first thing on Monday morning. Why do they do that? Under normal circumstances Albert would have spent the whole weekend desperately worried in case he was going to be fired. He had every reason to be stressed out anyway – he was late with this month’s mortgage payments, his doctor had told him his cholesterol and blood pressure were through the roof and his blood sugar was not far behind.
He didn’t need the doctor to tell him he was six stone overweight, needed to give up smoking and drinking and was a candidate for a heart attack. He only had to look at his face in the mirror every morning to see that he fell neatly into the 95% of the population who suffered from a lifestyle induced health crisis.
Everyone he knew amongst family and friends was equally unfit. Most of them were on pills of one sort or another and it seemed that once you were put on medication you were on it for life. Sure, most of the major diseases had been eradicated in the last fifty years, but it was easier and quicker to give you tablets to control your blood pressure and cholesterol than go to all the trouble of showing you how to change your lifestyle.
Anyway, what pleasure was there in life if you couldn’t eat a whole pizza with a bottle of wine two or three nights a week? Besides Albert hated fruit and vegetables. Who needed to stand out in a crowd? When all your friends and family and even your doctor were fat and unhealthy too, why change? Still, he wished he could remember a time when he had felt well enough to get up in the mornings.
He looked around him and smiled wryly. At least in one very important aspect he had been extremely successful. He was a perfect example of modern man and this was precisely what they had wanted. All his financial problems would be solved now that he had been accepted into the programme. Marjorie would be well taken care of should the worst happen, and best of all, he was contracted not to make any improvements to his lifestyle for the duration of his lifetime. Bring on the Pizza!
Animal testing had finally become redundant. Eventually it became impossible to recreate, in animals, the levels of physical, mental and emotional stress that humans suffered after prolonged exposure to their modern lifestyle and diet. Scientists could no longer manipulate the gap between species to obtain reliable test subjects without compromising the safety of human trials. Medical records were accessed, and from the millions of suitable candidates, the most qualified specimens were recruited.
The door opened and two lab technicians wearing masks and surgical scrubs walked in wheeling a trolley containing medical instruments.
“Hi Albert,” one of them smiled at him. “This is not going to hurt a bit.”
© Sally CroninFlights of Fancy 2008 : https://www.amazon.com/Flights-Fancy-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00M3AV1FS
Tomorrow – the new serialisation of the second book by Geoff Cronin. Followed by two short stories from John W. Howell and one from my second collection The Tales From the Garden.
Thanks for popping in and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally