November 11, 2005

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Flash fiction: ALLEYCAT – 196 words

ALLEYCAT
by Sacha Chua

I tug the hem of my red leather dress down against the cold. Out of the corner of my eye, I see another man join my shadow. Three men on my tail. It's two in the morning. Not a good time to walk in this part of town.

I walk faster, my heartbeat louder than my footsteps.

One man yells, "Hey, babe! Wait up! We just want to play!"

I can't outrun them. Not in these stiletto boots. I walk faster anyway, adrenalin surging through my blood. I feel their leers boring into my back.

Narrow alley to my right. Probably leads to a dead end.

Perfect.

I disappear around the corner. Their footsteps get louder, cockier. They can't wait to close the gap. I can hear them breathe.

Snapping my right heel open, I withdraw my monofilament garrote. Strangulation is fun, but decapitation is so much quicker—and this one takes a feather of a touch to slice through bone and cartilage. This way, they can hear their heads hit the ground.

I make short work of the scum. Then I wipe blood off leather, replace my heel, and saunter on, an alleycat on the prowl.


In response to "PIRATES" prompt on flashxer mailing list:

THEY PICKED UP THE BLIPS OF HE THREE BOATS PERSUING THEM, BUT DID NOT REALIZE THEY WERE PIRATES UNTIL THE FIRST SHOT WAS FIRED. THE CRUISE SHIP CAPTAIN ORDERD FULL SPEED, THE LINER WAS PEPPERED WITH GUN FIRE AS SHE MOVED FROM A LEISURELY 15 KNOTS TO MAXIMUM SPEED, LEAVING THEM IN THE WAKE.

Ethics in research

I attended a seminar on ethics given by the department. All graduate students are required to take this seminar in their first year. It was a fascinating seminar. One scenario: A presentation gives you an absolutely fantastic idea. Do you

  • a) Offer your suggestion freely
  • b) Privately talk about collaboration
  • c) Talk to your research supervisor
  • d) Work on it yourself

I raised my hand without hesitation, and told everyone I'd give my ideas freely. Ideas are cheap. It's implementation that really counts. I don't mind giving my ideas away. If people _really_ like my ideas, then they'll see the advantages in collaborating with me and helping me grow. If I keep my ideas to myself, however, the world will be limited by my ability to work on those ideas (and my ability to concentrate on them in the first place!).

My lab partner whispered that it was obvious that I'm into open source. It's something I really believe in. I want to give ideas away. I want to learn as much as I can so that I can spread what I know.

Many people don't like doing that. There's a lot of pressure in the academe to be the first to publish, and there are also the temptations of the commercial world. Those are some of the reasons why people sit on cool ideas. That doesn't make sense to me at all, and I hope never to be in a situation where I have to do that.

I don't think ideas are scarce. I think they're abundant, wild and free. The more ideas I give away, the more I receive. =)