Progress

Hank stood up and switched off the new color set, which has been working perfectly since the repairman replaced that valve. He wondered how he ever got on with black and white. He stepped into the hallway just as Rita was putting the phone receiver back in its cradle. The AT&T man had only just installed it last week. Bright, shiny white plastic, replacing the old black Bakelite. Rita had bought a new mahogany telephone table with a built-in seat so she could make her calls in comfort.

“I’m off for my evening shift at the data center,” said Hank, kissing his wife on the cheek. As he walked through the door, he could hear the rapid click, click, click, click, click, … of Rita dialing her mother.

He stopped off at the gas station along the way. He was getting a little short of cash so he only asked for two gallons. At least it was payday tomorrow. Flicking the attendant a dollar bill, he bought a soda with the change.

Arriving at work, he entered the clean-air room, admiring the dozens of bright metal cabinets of the IBM. He could hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the printer, running out the end of day accounts and the buzz and the whirring of the tape decks. He took a minute to check out the newly installed 16 kbit memory module, flashing away in its twin cabinets to indicate it was ticking over happily.

“32 kbits of memory,” he thought to himself, “that should get things moving.” He opened one of the cabinet doors, as if to count the gold pins wrapped in silvery threads of wiring. Satisfied, he closed it, a great smile of wonder on his face at how far computer technology had moved along in the past few years. They had even installed a device that that could translate computer code into audible tones for sending over the telephone line. He could hear it working right now and looked over to see the receiver cradled in its muffled acoustic coupler, sending data at hundreds of bits per minute to their other data center in Atlanta. There was even talk of renting dedicated lines to connect all three data centers, creating a kind of private computer network. It was all very exciting.

Outcast

Brutal, was the only way to describe it. Brutal, bleak and barren. That winter had been colder and fiercer than any that Elha had known. It didn’t help that she had been cast out by her family.  

“You must go now,” her father had said. Her mother agreed.

She could understand why they wanted her to leave, but she bore her family no ill will. There was not enough food for them all, and little enough chance that they would all survive the relentless winter weather. Her brothers and sisters and mother and father would have a better chance without her. As the eldest daughter, she must now make her own way in the world.

Continue reading

Well hello there !

Hello and thank you for visiting my new blog and author site. You are very welcome and I am pleased you have taken the time to take a look. I have launched this site and blog in February 2021 as a vehicle for my (mostly) fictional musings. I mostly write short stories and flash fiction, but I will be publishing a novel later this year, details yet to be announced. The flash fiction, typically stories of 100 to 300 words, will be published here as regular updates or blogs. Some of my short stories are published here, the rest are available from various places, including Amazon Kindle. Last year, 2020, I published a collection of flash fiction stories in paperback. A Town Called Raymond is an eclectic mix of styles, genres and tropes and each of the stories is either exactly 100 words or 250-300 words long. Some of these stories can be found here in this blog or or my facebook page. The original work is in paperback, with only 100 copies made so please ask if you would like a copy, numbered and signed, or blank if you prefer. Priced at UK £3.99 + postage and packing. Currently on offer on Kindle at US $0.99 for a limited period only.