A Story by mark slade



Jimmy Martz was not the smartest guy in the world, but he ran one of hottest companies in the Electronic trade. He didn't even come up with the idea. He just read an article in a magazine he couldn't remember on a flight headed to San Antonio to deal with a divorce. Some guy in Atlanta had built a touch screen tablet that ran both Apple components and Microsoft. It was the sleek design that caught Martz attention, 14 inch screen.

Martz had met the Holland Wilkes in Atlanta at a hotel room where Wilkes resided. It was there that Martz had his team of lawyers work up a contract that virtually cut Wilkes out of any royalties and the only money he was to receive was a one time amount of five thousand dollars to be paid out over ten years. It turned out Wilkes was bat-s**t crazy and money was not a concern. He was worried about little green men with their black gloves removing his soul.

Martz couldn't be happier as he boarded his plane back to Miami with the plans to a new Tablet.

Gladys was extremely happy to have money again. His divorce from his third wife was messy and expensive, working for a toy company executive that made playdoh knockoffs did not keep them in good company at the club.

Once STELLAR Tablets took off, Martz was on everyone's list to play croquet. Money was not a problem. So he and Gladys invested in real estate. Buying up several buildings along the Fourth and Hebasa street to knock down for a mini mall.

There was a problem on the third building. This building had been an apartment complex for low income. Then it was condemned. Nearly abandoned. The Foreman tearing the buildings down had gotten rid of almost all who was there.

Except one.

This old man was cunning. He'd somehow gotten past all the construction crew to the bulldozers and stolen the keys from the ignition. A thug the Foreman had hired to take the old man out anyway he could had fallen out of the three story building window, breaking both legs.

Martz decided to handle this himself.

Years ago on the streets of L.A. Martz had kept some tough company. Even participated in some gang activity until an incident of three dead rival gang members were executed before his eyes. Martz felt it was good time to get out of town. So he felt as though he could take on an old man, no problems.

“Hey, you have to get out of here! I own this place now,” Martz banged on the door of the apartment with both fists. The door fell the hinges, disturbing a vast amount of dirt on the floor. “What the"and they couldn't get inside the place? Somebody was bullshittin' me.”

Martz stepped inside, looked around. “ least the old man has decorated.” It looked like a junkyard. TVs scattered throughout, toliets set up like furniture and old advertisements from billboards were used for wallpaper.

In the middle of other junk and empty food containers were shopping carts with missing wheels fastened together with a blades from lawnmowers. An extension cord connected to ten computer towers, which were linked together with hundreds of wires. The craziest thing was all the lights on the computer towers were blinking blue lights. And an old printer from the early nineties was printing out on teletype paper.

Martz looked at the print and it was all nonsense. Symbols and math equations. He followed the trail that led to a bedroom piled with more junk. Busted microwaves and stereo parts. Books were stacked above his head reminded him of the ruins in Rome.

Martz was ready to give up on talking to the old man when he heard movement from a corner of the bedroom near chairs stacked on top of each other. He walked over and discovered nothing was holding them together. He touched the chairs, they wobbled, but stayed in place. He heard heavy breathing, then saw a man laying on a bed made of magazines.

“ know you can't stay here,” Martz said, shuffling to the old man who barely moved except for his rolling around in a powder-white head with several sores located at different points. Martz kicked at the old man's leg and a hand took hold of his pants leg. Martz shook the hand away, cursing loudly. “Listen you old f****r! No tricks, get out now!” The hand grabbed Martz again by the pants leg and brought him hard to the floor. There was a stream of pain from his back to his neck.

Before Martz could say anything the old man pulled him closer to him by his jacket lapel and placed both hands on his forehead.

In a rush of visions, Martz saw the old man as a young man building the contraption that was in the other room. He saw the young man reading data from the printouts, stating a report that in fifty years time a colossal explosion will end humanity. A threat from an alien species millions of light years from earth called the Torgias. The old man finally contacting the Torgias with the terms of forgoing the attack. The old man explained he was from a distant planet in an alternate wormhole that protected smaller planets from that viscous alien species destroyed planets unless payment was received.

“Here,” The old man handed Martz a gold coin the size of his palm. “Go to 54th street, where the Solar clock stands in the park. At exactly noon today, place it in the upper right corner where it looks like a crack, it isn't. It has always been there for that reason. A beam of sunlight will send the message back to the Torgias. Your planet will survive.”

“I-I don't think I can--” Martz tried to tell the old man, but he ceased to exist.

The old man's eyes were still, and now his hands fell from Martz jacket. His mouth became slack. There was a low sounding gurgle.

Martz held the coin in his hand, swallowed hard. He had to do it. He had no other option. He jumped to his feet and ran out of the apartment, kicking empty containers out of his way. He looked at his gold watch and saw it was eleven forty -five. 54th street was across the street. He ran out of the building and down the sidewalk. Across the street and avoided several cars from taking him out of commission. He pushed open the gate to the park where a guard screamed at him to pay up. He ran past barking dogs and their concerned owners, past ducks trying find pieces bread in the grass.

He'd made it to the solar clock. It towered over him by at least six feet and just as he was feeling the bricks that held the contraption together, he heard voices behind him.

Ten men in gang related garb had surrounded him. Martz swallowed, looked up at the solar clock. Two minutes to noon.

“We just want your wallet, a*****e,” A smaller gang member said and stepped forward. He showed Martz his nine milometer.

“Look,” Martz held up his hands. The gold coin caught their eyes. “You don't understand.”

The gun went off just as the clock struck twelve, a bullet caught Martz in the chest and went right through. He fell to the ground under the solar clock. The coin rolled to the one holding the gun. He bent down and picked up the coin. They heard sirens and scattered.

“You...don't don't understand....” Martz said as he slipped into unconsciousness.

© 2012 mark slade

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This is really good. Exciting. I enjoyed reading it. I look for your work when I can but don't see too much of it.

Posted 11 Years Ago

So much artistry goes into your words. You are like a wizard weaving his spell with every image you cast with your remarkable details. I hope this what I am saying makes sense, but even if it doesn't I can sum it up by saying BRAVO!

Posted 11 Years Ago

It's the realization of that "you don't understand" part that ends humanity every time.
A little rough around the edges, nothing a redraft won't fix.
In short strokes you craft huge stories leaving the reader wanting more of these worlds. I'd say Philip K. Dick better start looking over his shoulder.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on February 21, 2012
Last Updated on February 21, 2012


mark slade
mark slade

williamsburg, VA

a writer of horror and dark fantasy more..


A Story by mark slade