Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!
Judge this week: Ronel
Word count: 300 max
How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.
Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT.
Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.
Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver.
Most epic adventures don't start out with an application and an insurance waiver, but Tom Kinzel, CEO of Chilly Thrills saw the writing on the wall: the positive correlation between epicness and peril. The 200 bodies strewn upon Mt. Everest gave their silent testimony: counterphobia (charging your worst nightmare) while epic, is risky. But to Tom's way of thinking, the real tragedies were the corpses of entrepreneurial start-ups that met death in small claims court (a misnomer) all because they didn't have that one little (but "HUGE, believe me") piece of the business puzzle: the waiver.
I____________________ am a willing participant in the Chilly Thrills 5000K Mt. Mortem hike, an epic adventure of extreme proportions which requires excellent mental judgment and a high degree of physical fitness, agility, and dexterity.
I FURTHER UNDERSTAND AND HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MY PARTICIPATION IN CHILLY THRILLS 5000K MT. MORTEM HIKE INVOLVES CERTAIN HAZARDS AND DANGERS SUCH AS INJURY OR POSSIBLY DEATH AND/OR RISK OF DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF PROPERTY.
I release, waive, forever discharge, covenant not to sue, indemnify, and hold harmless Chilly Thrills from any and all liability, claims, suits, demands, judgments, costs, interest and expense, (including attorneys’ fees and costs) arising from Chilly Thrills' 5000K Mt. Mortem Hike.
I have read all applications, preparatory materials, and instructions in their entirety (including this waiver) and signed it knowingly and voluntarily. And I'm mentally competent, fully aware that a 5000K peak is 16+ million feet (3280 feet/kilometer x 5000) that brushes against the floorboards of heaven, a destination I couldn't reach if I strapped twin F-16 thrusters to my boots and chugged a keg of Monster Energy drink. But-- I certify I've read this waiver in its entirety. Yes. No lie. Every word. Bring on the epic adventure.
Signed, Epic Participant
300 helium in a hand basket momentsReplyDelete
Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay! Six Boomers in a Balloon, Away!
Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver. There’s a good reason. At least in Lincoln Lancaster’s world. I recently caught up with Lancaster at his cottage retreat literally hours before he embarked on his latest ambitious exploit, Six Boomers in A Hot-Air Balloon or Bust Circumnavigation of the Globe.
Always the gracious host, Lancaster offered me one of his signature revisionist Cranberry Singapore Slings. We then settled in.
“Linc,” I began, “Why do you do it? I don’t mean risk your life. You have been very clear in the past that you view your life as a speeding train and all you want to do is barrel on.”
“I did say that once or twice, didn’t I, Walt. Hell, I might have even meant it once. Anyways, I’ve slightly altered my viewpoint. This old train has slowed down some these past few years. But the crux of my perspective is still the same. I don’t want to bite that last biscuit sitting in a rocker on my porch, not that I don’t like a comfortable moment or two. No, I expect my death every single second of my life. So, I keep pushing that envelope, going postal with my every movement.”
“Uh, okay, so this latest expedition…what’s up with the six boomers?”
“Exactly. Up. That’s where we’re going. Why six? Well, maybe a slight nod to that sad old sod, Rolf, but mostly, six is a good number for a poker game. Balloon travel has some boring interludes.”
“And who are the five other flyers?”
“Brave souls. Willing to risk the inevitable for the sheer experience.”
With that question, Lancaster smiled and said, “Give it a few years, Walt. Then you’ll know.”
As I drove home I wondered if I ever would.
Cancellation Fees Apply
Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver. Like life, for example. It popped you out with no care for your thoughts or feelings on the matter; none at all. Life just swooped down on you, whether you wanted it or not and pushed you into whichever epic adventure it fancied. Take me, for instance.
I’m currently four lightyears and a few miles away from the life I once had. In the olden days, it’d be called shanghaiing, I guess. I should be grateful that nowadays they don’t use blackjacks to soften the skull and bring momentary oblivion but good old-fashioned drugs and alcohol. So, now I’m on this ship, going where the captain deems best and on the whims of stellar winds.
How long have I been a sailor? Don’t rightly recall no more: hard to keep track of time out here. And you? Well, I can’t rightly answer that either. Less than me, certainly; more than those piteous pale-faced shivering wrecks over there.
Go home? Oh no, laddie. We won’t see home again. This journey is now your everything, for this ship has never and will never anchor in any known port. I know. You didn’t sign up for it; none of us did. But…if you think real careful like, are you quite sure?
Some adventure, you sneer?! Oh dear me, laddie, no. This isn’t your epic adventure. You waived that chance quite some time ago. How do I know? For me, it were the drugs and drink. For you…well, it don’t take much to see those bruises round your neck and them burst capillaries in the whites of your eyes. We are the terror that keeps people seeking adventure, you understand, and this ship is crewed by us who shanghaied ourselves.
"Not many epic adventures begin with an application form and an insurance waiver, you know?" I commented, looking up from the papers I held in my hands, with a nervous chuckle.
The head demon stared at me for a space of time with his red eyes gravely over his bifocal glasses. I cringed, sinking deeper into my seat; I felt like a petulant child being reprimanded by someone elderly on the very edge of his patience.
He pushed back his swivel chair from behind the large oak desk between us and stood up, clearing his throat, his imposing form seemingly towering over me.
"Ahem! Mr Jowolsky... it was you who came to us."
"You asked for the best we could possibly offer."
"Yes, I'm just saying..."
"Mr Jowolsky..." he cut me off, turning his back and walking to the large window that took up the entire wall behind him. His gold earring, the heavily jeweled fingers, even his ostentatious double breasted suit seemed to glean in the red and bluish light cast from the burning sulphuric stones outside.
"Mr Jowolsky, only the elite and the famous come through my office. We we are offering you the ultimate package which many... em... die for. You wanted to feel how stars felt. But since it's too much we'll call it off. You don't have to..."
"No! No it's fine really! I'm signing now!" I said, using the point of the pen to prick my finger. "This is just all unorthodox.'
I appended my name with my blood hurriedly to the dotted line.
"Would I enjoy it? "I asked
Suddenly, I felt manacles on my wrists and chest strapping me fast to the chair. A hole opened up beneath me.
"My dear fellow, I promise you one HELL of a ride!"
AJ Aguilar-van der MerweReplyDelete
POINT OF NO RETURN
Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver. Or do they? I wasn’t sure. Establishments that provide dangerous sports make participants sign waivers. This one was certainly not prepared for possible lawsuits. I found that strange considering the kind of adventure on offer.
My younger brother didn’t agree with me. “There is no excitement in anything that involves paperwork,” he said.
“It may be so, brother, but something is fishy. Did you see the picture of where we’re going?”
“Yes! It’s perfect,” he beamed.
“Why? You want to ride dragons?” He nodded enthusiastically. “What if they’re magical? Or the place?”
“Magic doesn’t scare you.” He laughed.
“Not magic,” I whispered. “What if we’re powerless there?”
“How?” He was unconvinced.
“I don’t know but equipped is better than not. I bought us insurance.”
“What kind of insurance?” he asked suspiciously.
“The kind that works in another realm, magic or not. Just hold my hand and softly chant the spell with me as we pass through the portal.” I looked at him gravely but he grinned widely.
I should have guessed he meant mischief. He pushed ahead of the crowd and was in no time on a dragon’s back. He probably didn’t hear the welcome greetings. Did the hostess say eternal? What was? The crowd was too noisy. I didn’t feel adventurous. I turned around.
A bouncer appeared from nowhere. “You can’t go back out.”
“You can’t leave.”
“Seriously? And what should I do?”
“Whatever you’re doing now.”
I thought of my brother and pushed back the tears. I gave the bouncer one piercing look which flung him to his death. “I don’t think so. If this is it, eternally, I might as well rule.” Then, I surveyed my new kingdom.