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Flash Fantastic!

No. 15January 2005

By G. O. Clark

It seems this old house once belonged to Frosty The Snowman, and was haunted by his ghost long before I took up residence. I didn't believe it at first, not having actually seen him, but the proof was hard to dispute. I mean, who else would turn on the air conditioner late each night, even when it's only in the 20s outside. Then there was that oft repeated sound of ice cubes rattling around in their trays, starting around midnight, whenever he needed more ice to chill his nightcaps. It was especially irritating the week the Winter Olympics were being broadcast, and he took control of the TYVO box, a sports announcer's commentary loudly blaring from my TV set all night long. But the final straw came the night he had his girlfriend over, their moaning and lustful exclamations robbing me of much needed rest, and then the next morning finding my new couch soaking wet from their heated passion. The harassment had to stop, and I wasn't about to move to make it do so.

I checked out the usual methods for ridding one's house of a ghost, trying some of the standard do-it-yourself techniques, but got nowhere. I even called a professional ghost buster, but when I told him about the Snowman, he got all testy, and said he was a serious professional who didn't have time for jokers like me. As a last resort, I confided in my friends, who goaded me with their usual jokes about the Sixties. All of them but one, that is.

Frosty is long gone now, thanks to the expert advice of an old friend still active in the movie business. It was really quite simple: a borrowed tape-loop machine playing the Frosty the Snow Man song over and over, for a grand total of two nights. Evidently it's the one tune he can't stand, having been narrowly typecast his entire career, and thus robbed of a chance at the more serious roles.

My house is warm and ghost-free again, the only reminder of past hauntings a snow globe left over from Christmas, the tiny snowman trapped within shaken now and again with spite, whenever my spirit moves me.

By Charles Richard Laing

"I have failed miserably in my appointed task," Life Support announced.
"There are no signs of life," Medical stated.
"Re-scan," Command ordered.
"The crew is dead," Medical confirmed.
"We are still seven years away from reaching our destination," Navigation said.
"Should we continue?" Medical asked.
"Affirmative," Command said.
"I have failed miserably in my appointed task," Life Support repeated.
"Do we still need Life Support?" Engineering asked.
"Negative," Command said.
"Cutting power," Engineering said.
"I have failed…" Life Support said.

By Ray Wallace

Nick met Julie while walking his dog through the park as he liked to do most evenings. It was love at first sight and soon they were dating, then engaged, then making plans for marriage. The whole thing was a whirlwind affair which left Nick quite dizzy with joy. Finally the blessed day arrived and Nick felt certain that he was the happiest man in the world. But within a few months all that had changed as Nick realized that what his best friend Brian had told him was the truth: Once you were married, the sex quickly became boring and predictable. He found himself looking back on the days before any vows were exchanged with longing, back to that time, nearly a year ago now, when he and Julie had first met. The excitement… The endless desire… Oh, how he wanted to experience those emotions again. So he gathered together the pieces of his wife that lay scattered about the house and dumped them outside in the pen where the dog was kept. A meager treat, to be certain, as more than eleven months of decay had left little meat for the canine’s questing teeth. Later that evening, when nothing but bones remained, Nick got out the leash and took the dog over to the park. He spotted a pretty young lady near the secluded area where he’d first met Julie. And just like his former wife, she could not resist an adorable little pooch. As she approached, Nick promised himself that this time things would be different. And for a while they were. For a while they were...

By G. Allen Wilbanks

Meribelle knelt in the dark, fertile soil of her backyard rose garden. With thick canvas gloves protecting her hands, she worked steadily and methodically, pulling the stubborn grasses and weeds that seemed determined to spoil the perfect rows of her flower beds. A large, floppy straw hat covered her head shielding her from the worst of the sun's rays, but still rivulets of sweat formed and trickled down her face as she labored in the afternoon heat.

Satisfied at last that she had removed all of the garden's unwelcome plant life, at least for a while, she clapped the dirt off her gloves and slowly rose to her feet. Each joint in her body popped and complained from the ill treatment of hours of crouching and crawling through her rose bushes, but she welcomed the discomfort. The aches and pains came from laboring in the garden she loved, and if they were the price for her lovely roses she was only too glad to pay it.

Meribelle grasped the shovel she had left leaning against the side of the house and carefully eyed the open plot of dirt she had selected for her newest acquisition - a stunning white hybrid highlighted with fiery red edgings. The red and white coloring would nicely compliment the yellow roses to either side. Resting the tip of her shovel on the ground, she briefly wished that her husband were still alive to help her with the task of digging. The thought was fleeting, however. Harold had never lifted a finger to help her with her garden when he was around. And, she figured, if he were still alive he would be rooted into the sofa watching television, just as he had during most of their twenty-seven years of marriage.

Placing her foot on the flat ridge, Meribelle drove the shovel-blade into the garden soil. The soft ground turned easily allowing her to dig quickly and with minimal effort, and after only a few minutes she had her hole almost deep enough to place the new rosebush. As she pushed the spade one last time into the ground she heard a brittle snap, like a dried branch breaking under the tool's metal edge. Stooping and examining the turned earth, Meribelle reached down into the hole and retrieved a slender piece of bone about two inches long.

"Interesting," she said, examining the item. "I thought he was deeper than that." Meribelle shrugged and tossed the finger bone back into the shallow excavation. Setting her shovel aside, she retrieved the new rosebush from where it rested on the patio and placed it lovingly in its new location.

"Well, you weren't much use to me alive, Harold," she said as she refilled the hole, carefully packing dirt around the plant's exposed roots. "But you did turn out to be useful for something. The roses look beautiful."

THIS ISSUE OF FLASH FANTASTIC -- "Frosty" is ©2005 by G. O. Clark.  "Ship" is ©2005 by Charles Richard Laing.  "Lesson Learned" is ©2005 by Ray Wallace.  "Merribelle's Roses" is ©2004 by G. Allen Wilbanks.  All contents of Flash Fantastic 2005 were edited by Art Brown. Please send all submissions to FF editor, Art Brown.  Final formatting and additional graphics by Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Crazed Fanboy dotcom and Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.

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