Saturday, July 24, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #36

Like Broken Glass
by Ann M. Pino


Cuervo dug through the straw, then sat back in frustration. He had gone to a lot of trouble to steal this box, plying the guards with tequila from his stash and nearly getting killed in his escape. Chocolate, powdered milk, batteries… he had high hopes. Bullets would’ve been nice, too. He could certainly have put them to use out here where the dangers of survival were as fearsome the dangers of the pandemic.

The lightness of the box should’ve tipped him off, but it was too late now. He examined his stolen goods and pondered. What were the odds he could find some clueless kid who would think these still held value? For a moment, he imagined the trade possibilities—a solar battery charger, perhaps. Antibiotics. A packet of peanuts or beef jerky. If he talked fast and had a clever story….

He slipped the colored stones back into the box. No one with decent trade goods wanted rubies and emeralds. He might as well offer dollar bills or a credit card. These could be museum-quality gems for all he knew, but every kid in town sported gold and diamonds, taken from the looted jewelry stores. Such things were no more useful than chips of glass from the broken windows of downtown.

He gave the box a kick and walked away. Surely there was someplace in this wreck of a town where a guy could still get something of value…like maybe a water filter.

29 comments:

Aerin said...

YES! I was waiting for someone to do worthless-gems-dystopia! I sketched a draft myself and wowza I'm glad I didn't polish it because it couldn't have compared to this. Great job, Ann!

Peter Dudley said...

Yes, great job. Terrific, strong voice throughout, and I like the ending a lot.

September said...

Aha! The sad future. The real gems are water and sunshine - or in this case, a water filter.
Great job on this one.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Poor Cuervo gave up his tequila.

Very cool piece. I love how much of the where, when, how is filled in.

The name being a little too cutesy with the tequila connection almost kicked me out too much. But the strength of the rest pulled me back in.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I was reminded of "The Road." I liked the settingof your story.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Loved that voice!

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Very good story--a dismal future in just 250 words. Excellent voice and craft.

Aimee Laine said...

It'll be a sad day when a water filter is more valuable than rubies. :)

Aniket said...

Wow! Most definitely in my top 5. Superb setting. Brilliant ending. I am in love. ;)

Shona Snowden said...

I like the reversal of value. Very nice.

Angel Zapata said...

You got my vote.

Lee said...

I was thinking on the same lines with the story I just submitted, but I like your take on it. Well done!

Jade L Blackwater said...

Tight writing and a thoughtful premise, great job.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Ann!

Ah... an apocalyptic tale of the near future.... Nicely done!

Dottie :)

fairyhedgehog said...

I found this really easy to get into and I enjoyed it.

akika said...

a beautifully written future I'd prefer not to experience first-hand.

Alice Audrey said...

Not bad, but the book you wrote using this world is better.

Michael Morse said...

I though the same thing when I looked at the picture. I like your story better, it paints a more clear picture.

Funny JR's Footprints mentioned The Road. I had just finished watching the movie prior to writing my story. (#11)

Deb Smythe said...

Yay, a post-apocalyptic tale. Nice, tight writing. Good job.

Aerin said...

Okay, Ann, you can't let people like Alice on here mentioning your book unless you're going to let us read it.....me first!

Laurel said...

Fast, clean read with a great inversion. Nice use of the prompt in a survivalist's tale.

JaneyV said...

A very well-written piece Ann. I like the notion of the definition of value being turned on its head. Well done.

SzélsőFa said...

i enjoyed this piece a lot. great voice, in a realistic post-apo setting.

SzélsőFa said...

you know what?
water filter is more important than emeralds and rubies, but people are misguided. this piece should be an eye-opener.

Laurel said...

Hey, Ann! I missed that it was you the first time through. Just read Maelstrom a couple of weeka ago and really enjoyed it. Very fun read!

Vincent Kale said...

I love how most of the entries have a negative association with the gemstones. They're either cursed or stolen or worthless or are a metaphor for loss.

I think your entry is the first to come right out and say how worthless the trinkets are. And surprisingly, I'd rather live in that world, pandemic or not. Hey, at least they still have tequila!

Aaron M. Wilson said...

Nice work. I hope he finds something useful in your bleak world.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I like how different this is and turns the normal valued gem completely around. Nice work!

Catherine Vibert said...

The truth about gems revealed. A truth that more people should pay attention to know if you ask me. Excellent story. Among my top 5 for sure.