Fiction: A New Career

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Fiction: A New Career

Post by Levellass » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:24

With apologies to Michael Swanwick.

A New Career

"Okay, let me get this straight. You've built an atomic bomb."


"Out of smoke detectors."

"No, I only got the fissionable material from smoke detectors. Each one contains a tiny fleck of americium. It's the only transuranic element you can buy at Target."

"How old did you say you are?"

"Nine. But I'm advanced for my age. Look, I don't see what's so difficult to understand about this..."

"No, of course not. The president being blackmailed by a high school junior? It happens all the time."

"You'd be amazed. The last time you don't really remember, but it wasn't me either."

"Look, kid, I gotta tell you, I never heard of an americium bomb."

"That's because mine is the first. For Earth anyway. Uranium is a lot easier to work with, so the government never bothered. But you can't get hold of uranium legally without a license from the NRC, and the kind of money the Russian Mafia wants is waaay out of my reach. I mean I get paid in candy. Candy."

"You're in contact with the Russian Mafia?"

"I think this conversation is drifting, don't you? Hey, you wanna hear how I smelted the americium into two subcritical masses? Perfect hemispheres, see, because it's triggered by explosive—"

"Okay, kid, let's cut the crap. Just exactly what are you asking for?"

"Um … well, gee. I guess I spent so much time planning this caper, I almost forgot that aspect of it. There's really only one thing I need."

"Is that so?"

"Though really I am quite tempted to just go away, and I'll blow up my bomb someplace remote where nobody gets hurt..."

"That's not acceptable kid. Listen, how about the country gives you our standard visiting dignitary package: Two weeks in a luxury hotel—food, beverages, tips, and platinum blonde triplets included. Sound good to you?"

"Wow. But I don't think my parents would let me, especially given that last part."

"Well, what is it you're after then? Cars? Money? Drugs?"

"To tell the truth, all I really like is blowing things up. And candy. And adventures too come to think of it. That's why I built the bomb after all."

"So you're a geek, is what you're saying? You don't like normal guy stuff, just all this science crap?"

"You make it sound like being a geek is a bad thing. Really I'm looking for a new career path; I was in gaming for a few years but it looks like that's not happening anymore... Also do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"

"You'd be amazed. Look, I'm just trying to work out the parameters here. Here's my final offer: I'll get you a full scholarship to Cal Tech, find your parents jobs commensurate with their current employment nearby, and I'll put in a good word with the NRC about that license. What do you say now?"

"Really? That's … that's wonderful. I don't know how to thank you."

"You don't have to, kid. Our loss will be California's gain, I'm sure."
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

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Re: Fiction: A New Career

Post by thehackercat » Sat Dec 30, 2017 16:57

Levellass wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:24
"You're in contact with the Russian Mafia?"

"I think this conversation is drifting, don't you?
Excellent :lol

When I first read the title, I thought you were announcing your career move to be a full-time novelist!

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