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Flash Fantastic!

No. 5March 2004

By Jeffrey J. Lyons

"Edith B. Tasker has a brood," the surprised astrophysicist exclaimed as he reached for a cup of French Vanilla Bean.

"Who is Edith B. Tasker?," the perplexed colleague responded while pouring his own cup of the just brewed highly aromatic coffee.

"Some 90-year-old woman who lives in Duluth," the astrophysicist said with an absent wave of his hand.

"Wow, that is something. Was she taking some advanced hormone treatment?" the colleague asked as he stepped closer and gazed over his associate's shoulder.

The astrophysicist scowled, "No she’s a star."

"A star?" The colleague pondered. "Can’t say as I’ve heard of her. What are some of her movies?"

"A star," the astrophysicist groaned, "Edith B. Tasker is a small white star in Sector 26."

The colleague winced and declared, "Sector 26? Wouldn’t that be catalogued 26-98-something?"

"26-98-114B actually," the astrophysicist sighed as he adjusted the focus on his telescope.

The colleague asked, "What’s her brood then?"

The astrophysicist explained, "Planets. She must have a few gas giants." The astrophysicist placed the cup on the table and brought an image up on his computer. "Look at the wobble factor."

"Wobble factor?" The colleague asked.

"Yes, see how Edith B. Tasker expands in and out? Check these readings over the last few days. Gravitation pull of some kind," The astrophysicist said. "Powerful one too."

"Now wait a minute. I thought we were talking 26-98-114B? Why do you keep saying Edith B. Tasker?"

The astrophysicist concluded, "Oh, someone bought that one and its now been renamed in the International Star Registry."

"The perfect gift for any occasion they say," the colleague pointed out.

They swigged their coffee and continued with their research.

by Jeff Strand

"Open wide, Jimmy," said the dentist.

Jimmy frowned and shook his head.

"Now, now, don't be that way. I'm just going to look at your teeth. You want to have a nice pearly white smile, don't you?"

Jimmy shook his head again, pressing his lips tightly together. The dentist smiled, showing off his own perfect teeth.

"I'm your friend, you know. This won't hurt at all. You don't want your teeth to fall out, do you?"

Jimmy looked a bit concerned, but didn't open his mouth.

"It's time for you to be a big boy. Big boys aren't scared to open their mouth for the dentist. Big boys are brave and do what they're told. Don't you want to be a big boy?"

Jimmy shook his head.

"Oh, you're not being a good boy for the dentist. You're not being a good boy at all. I really need you to open your mouth and show me your teeth."

Jimmy put his hand over his mouth.

"Okay, Jimmy, that's too bad. I guess I'll have to look at your teeth some other way. I sure wish you'd been a good boy for the dentist."

The little boy learned a valuable lesson that day. Because the dentist's drill was designed to bore holes in teeth, and so Jimmy's cheek didn't stand a chance.


"Strand performs an incredible balancing act between humor and horror. Belly laughs are followed by stomach-churning terror, frequently on the same page." -- Cemetery Dance
Jeff Strand's sick and demented novels include GRAVEROBBERS WANTED (NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY), HOW TO RESCUE A DEAD PRINCESS, MANDIBLES, and SINGLE WHITE PSYCHOPATH SEEKS SAME. You can visit his Seriously Whacked website at

By K. A. Patterson

As it fell out of the sky, my mind froze in mid-thought, unwilling to believe the surreal sight of a fireball streaking across the sky. In that instant, the bustling city around me seemed to move in slow motion. Cars, buses, shoppers, and fellow commuters stopped, as I did, to gawk skyward, eyes straining to catch a glimpse of the blazing orb. The meteor whizzed passed the twin towers of PNC Bank, heading toward the Federal building.

All thoughts of my 9 a. m. appointment with Wentworth Electronics vanished. The meteor had been huge. Bigger than my wife's mini van. Larger than anything I'd ever seen zip through the sky at high speed. The shock wave of its impact knocked me and half a dozen others off our feet. I estimated that it plowed into some unfortunate section of Bloomsfield.

My briefcase popped open, spewing my client's financial papers all over the sidewalk. The explosion deafened me to all sound but the muted tinkle of shattering glass. Then fear set in. It gelled in the pit of my stomach like liquid Kool-Aid solidifying in a subzero freezer. My only sanctuary from becoming a six and a half foot porcupine, or from being sliced into a julienned-Joe, lay in the wide-columned entrance of the CNG building beside me. Stout pillars sentried the building's broad, inset entry. At arm's length, it beckoned.

In a half second, I abandoned my briefcase and scrambled, half crawling, over the three fleeting steps to the building's portico. Curled in terror, back pressed against a mammoth-sized pillar, knees tucked to my chest, and arms clamped over my head, I took my chances with the sprinkling glass of the four wide windows above me. Better odds than those of anyone remaining in the open, amid skyscrapers of glass.

On the sidewalks, people struggled to retain life and limbs in the deluge of shattered plate-glass which spattered the city's streets in a sudden torrential rain of death. Heated air buffeted me, as the meteor's force melded into energy and rippled through the city, dissipating as it went. Sound surged back. I heard screams, shouts, car horns. Then, I heard another intensifying whine. Like the sound of an incoming plane.

This couldn't be happening! Where were the warnings? Why hadn't the National Weather Service issued an emergency broadcast on TV or the radio? I sure hadn't heard anything on the local news this morning. Maybe warnings only happened in the movies, not to the average guy. Not the average Joe.

Another meteor streaked across the sky. I didn't see it, I saw heads inside motionless cars tilt skyward. Uncoiling, I lunged for the revolving door, wanting to get inside, wanting to get low. Basement low. Thoughts of Claire and the kids, en route to school, surfaced in my mind. Had they gotten caught up in this? Were meteors raining on the suburbs? I shoved those images deep into a recessed closet of my brain, intent on staying focused on surviving, believing I'd reach my family once the sky quit falling.

Shouldering the thick glass door, I shoved. Just as I reached the interior of the building, the second meteor hit. It hit somewhere within the city. Grant street. Maybe Oakland. My world rocked and tilted. The interior of the CNG was dim from the power outage. There was nothing nearby to grab. Arms flailing, I fell to the goldtone, marble floor, bashing my head. Blood warmed my face. The shockwave's quake rumbled through the building. People inside screamed. People outside screamed.

I crawled toward a stout-looking security desk, hearing thuds overhead as furniture or walls of offices upstairs crashed to the floor. The building muffled the roaring explosion of the second impact. Terrorized screams and the incessant blaring of frozen car horns outside sounded distant and unreal.

With my suit sleeve, I stopped the blood flow from the gash in my forehead.

Behind the desk, sheltered in its nest of sturdy mahogany, two people huddled. A terrified, young black woman, her professional skirt and blouse smudged with dust, dirt and plaster; and a middle-aged, reed thin, security guard with a fledgling beard pocking his face and a shocked glaze to his blue eyes.

As I rounded the side of the desk, the woman stared at me wide-eyed, tears streaked her cheeks, her lower lip trembled. The security guard, not as severely shocked as I'd first thought, scooted closer to the woman, made room for me. I squeezed in beside him, grateful to share their refuge.

"My kids. I gotta get to my kids," the woman moaned, choking back a sob.

"World's comin' to an end," the guard whispered. The woman sobbed.

Words of encouragement and solace eluded me. Even if they hadn't, there wasn't anything I could say to alleviate their fear. Or my own. A loud, incoming whine renewed shrieks outside the building. The sound froze my heart with terror. I squeezed my eyes shut.

Calling out Claire's name, I realized, the guard was right. For us, there would be no tomorrow.

THIS ISSUE OF FLASH FANTASTIC -- "Edith B. Tasker" is ©2004 by Jeffrey J. Lyons.  "Open Wide" is ©2004 by Jeff Strand.  "The Average Joe" is ©2004 by K. A. Patterson.  All contents of Flash Fantastic edited by Patty G. Henderson.  Final formatting and additional graphics by Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Crazed Fanboy dotcom and Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.

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