Short Story Of the Day – Security System (flash fiction) by Bill Chance

“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

(click to enlarge)
Invasion car show
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#51) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

Security System

Dr. Worthy paid fifteen hundred dollars extra for the security package on the silver Lexus SUV. The salesman had assured him that,”Nobody, but nobody, will ever be able to get into this thing without the keys, no matter how hard they try.”

Now Dr. Worthy was standing in the sweltering parking lot with his wife, Samantha, his son James – looking as bored and angry as ever, Samantha’s sister Amy and her new boyfriend, What’s-his-name, and the giant double baby stroller with Amy’s two year old daughter and her infant son… and all Worthy could do was check all his pockets, the usual four plus the big deep cargo caves on his thighs with their nylon snaps, and the secret hidden money pouch built into the waistband of his tailored two hundred dollar shorts – and there, like the other dozen times he checked, there were no keys.

His wife never carried keys to his Lexus and his son would sure like to, but Dr. Worthy would no more allow that… how could he trust… and there they were, in the parking lot.

“Call the dealership,”His wife said.

“They’re not open on Sunday.”

“Shit! Dad.”

“Don’t use that language with me.”

“I’ll go find a brick,” said What’s-his-name.

“God no, and that won’t help start it.”

“Oh yeah,” Dr. Worthy swore that What’s-his-name looked disappointed – like smashing a window on that Lexus – worth what that loser must make in a year – would be the high point of his day.

“Y’all locked out?” Dr. Worthy looked up from going through his pockets again to see two skateboarders standing beside the group. They both wore torn denim cutoffs, t-shirts, and had long scraggly hair. One was darker than the other, but otherwise they might be twins.

“I can pick the lock for you,” said one of the skateboarders.

“Oh no you can’t, I paid for an extra security package,” said Dr. Worthy. “Beside, I’d have to start it.”

“I can hot wire it for you,” said the skateboarder.

“I doubt it… but if you could, how much do I have to pay you?”

The two kids laughed. One said, “Naw, we don’t want any money. We’re not poor. We look like this because we want to.”

The other one spoke up, “Tell you what… there is something.”


“Let me kiss your wife.”

Dr. Worthy felt his blood starting to boil, “You asshole! Where do you….”

Samantha spoke up, “It’s OK. It’s getting really hot. The baby is getting flushed.”

“Well,” Dr Worthy said, “You’re not going to be able to do it anyway.”

Without a word the skateboarder started looking around on the ground.

“Ah,” he said, lifting up a stray piece of rusty wire, “This will work fine.”

He went to the keyhole in the door and started fishing around.

Dr. Worthy said, “Be careful! If you damage…”

And there was a soft “pop” and the door swung open.

With a wry smile the skateboarder leaned over and started yanking at wires under the steering column.

“Hey, mister come here, I’ll show you,” he said over his shoulder after a few minutes of fiddling.

“These two wires, yellow and green, put them together,” the engine roared into life. “To start the car. Then these two, white and black, pull them apart to kill it.” He tugged them away from each other and the engine died. “Yellow and green together to start, black and white apart to kill. Easy peasy! Got it?”

“Yes, I do,” said Dr. Worthy. He didn’t sound grateful. “Upgraded security my ass! That damn dealer sold me a grand and a half of crap. OK, everyone pile in except Samantha. I don’t want anyone else to see this.”

“HaHa, don’t worry,” said the skateboarder. “I’m not going to smooch your wife. I was just yanking your chain.” The two were still laughing as they dropped their boards and scooted off down the sidewalk.

“Well, at least we can go home now,” said What’s-his-name once they were all settled in the SUV. Dr. Worthy bent over, and pressed the wires together and the car started right up.

“Yeah, we can go home now,” he said. He looked over at his wife in the seat next to him. “What’s your problem,” he said to her.

She looked disappointed.

My Phone is Spying on Me

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone‘ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.”
― Philip K. Dick

Oblique Strategy: State the problem in words as clearly as possible

As the Internet Of Things slowly makes its way, flooding our lives, I installed a new smart doorbell last night. The packaging was a thing of beauty, unfortunately I’m not smart enough to open it correctly and ended up having to tear it up to get the stuff out. Things were obviously carefully thought out – they had a lot of stuff in that beautiful little box – including a tiny orange plastic spirit level with a cute little bubble.

I love the postmodern slant on the installation instructions. For example, little plastic anchors are included – in case you need to put the doorbell onto brick or concrete. The instructions say, “If you’re installing on wood or siding, put the anchors in that drawer of stuff you never use and skip this step.”

It was dark and cold outside, but I managed to get the thing installed. I wondered why they were so anal to include the spirit level, but realized that, because the doorbell had a camera in it, if it was installed on a slant, the image would lean. It would look like a Batman Villain was at the door.

The only problem was that the best instructions were on videos which were played on the phone as the process proceeded. And, of course, there was some hooking up to the internet involved. The problem was, to install the thing, I had to throw the breaker to the doorbell transformer (24 volts won’t kill you, but it can make you notice your nervous system). Of course, the cable router is on the same circuit. Luckily, there was an abbreviated set of old-school paper printed instructions.

I only had to wait several time while the internet rebooted to go on to the next step.

A Peaceful Scene With Razor Wire

“make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Governor NIcholls Street, New Orleans