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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

TITLE: Mensch in Black
By Al Boyce


The black 1986 Ford LTD was a blur as it accelerated around Times Square and slammed to a stop that had both occupants rocking like bobble-head dolls.

"It's your show K," shouted Agent J as he vaulted from the passenger side, laser-guided atomic blaster at the ready (subwoofer disengaged to avoid demolishing any nearby buildings).

Agent K was already streaking toward the perp -- an elderly woman with bifocals reading quietly to a homeless couple on the corner.

In full stride, Agent K whipped out a pair of dark glasses and pawed them over his eyes as he stopped before the unsuspecting trio.

Through the enhanced lenses, what he saw took his breath away. The gentle old woman was transformed into a glowing spectre, filled with power and light. Her words were clearly impacting the homeless man and woman. They were nodding, tears in their eyes, raising their hands as if in surrender.

As Agent J strolled up, his partner was pulling a bright, pen-like object from the breast pocket of his crisp, black suit.

"Ma'am?" he said politely.

As soon as the woman turned, Agent K pressed a button on the pen, a bright light stabbed the darkness and the woman's mouth opened in surprise, her eyes blank. The agent whispered a few well-chosen words in her ear and she fell to the ground.

"Is she dead?" breathed Agent J.

"Heck no," said K. "We just nicely suggest they go back to church, where they no longer threaten the world order."

K tossed the pen to his partner, who fingered it dubiously.

"Really, there's nothing special about the memory atomizer," K continued. "It's just department issue. Any shiny object would do the job -- handful of diamonds, a Rolex watch, even a big-screen TV."

"What about the shades?" said J.

Agent K pulled them off and surveyed the lenses.

"Pretty interesting, really," he said. "We call them 'son' glasses, because when you put them on you can see anyone who is infected by the Jesus virus. These really make our lives much easier. Used to be you had to constantly be on the lookout for people feeding the poor, or helping prisoners, or giving their clothes to the needy. And sometimes those people are just plain crazy -- not like this one."

He inclined his head toward the elderly woman, who was slowing regaining her feet, mumbling, "Really mustn't be late for the Ladies Bible Guild! What was I thinking coming to such a dangerous place by myself! And WHO are those filthy people huddled on the sidewalk. Call the police, I will!"

"Looks like our work here is done," smiled Agent J.

"Not quite," K sighed. "We need to find out how this one got out of the church to begin with."

Within minutes, the pair had found the old woman's walk-up apartment.

Agent K quickly saw the problem.

"Check it out," he said. "Her TV is on the fritz and look what happened!"

Deftly pulling on latex gloves, K picked up a Bible from the coffee table. Wrinkling his nose, he dropped it in a nearly trash can. In a few minutes, he had the television working and turned the channel to "American Idol."

"Let's make a quick tour to make sure everything else is OK," he said.

Agent J checked out a bathroom and closet, then returned to the living room, where he let out a low whistle.

"Check this out," he called.

Somehow, the television had been turned off and the Bible was back on the table, opened to John 3:16.

Agent K grimly turned the TV back on, tied up the Bible in a trash bag and put it in a heavy-duty trash can with a lid. But after the pair checked the locks on the back door and returned, the TV had been toppled to the floor, smoke poured from its circuits and the Bible was triumphantly back on the table, turned to 1 Samuel 5:2-4.

"Guess we'll just have to demolish the building," Agent K sighed. "I hate when this happens!"

"Detection, detention and demolition -- is that why they call us D-Men?" asked Agent J.

"Yep," said Agent K. "But you gotta get your pronunciation right if you're gonna stay with this group."

"What's the big deal," said J. "You dissing me because I'm from the Bronx?"

"Just trust me on this, it's a big PR thing in the department," said K. "It's DEE MAN, got it? DEE MAN."

"Not DEMON."

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This article has been read 1387 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilee Alvey05/17/07
Great title that roped me in. Your concept was fresh and very imaginative. This was my first Sci-fi that I've read and I am impressed! Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/17/07
Wow! What a fantastic imagination demonstrated and story wonderfully told!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/17/07
Hehe, classic ending. I got a tad confused a couple of times, but otherwise great story!
Melanie Kerr 05/17/07
Excellent story and very cleverly constructed!
Martha Helton05/17/07
What a great story--it captivated my attention and I loved the ending! Good job!
Benjamin Graber05/18/07
This one is great. I like how you showed how important it is to be out serving for Christ.
Sara Harricharan 05/21/07
Ohh, this is good! I like the men in black twist here. It's very vivid with your descriptions and an entirely new look at what we believe and how. I love the ending best of all, especially when the bible just wouldn't get 'thrown out'. Great writing! ^_^
Jan Ackerson 05/21/07
Powerful, biting indictment. Ouch.
Joanne Sher 05/21/07
Chilling commentary - and much to think about. Great writing.
Rita Garcia05/23/07
Leaves the reader with much to think about! Great writing!
dub W05/23/07
Well written overall, seemed to be a lot of speech tags.
Betty Castleberry05/23/07
Very visual. I could see the men in their shades.
Great message, too. Well done.
Shari Armstrong 05/23/07
Clever play on words and Men in Black -enjoyed it. Loved the way the Bible kept coming back :)
Debbie OConnor05/25/07
Ha, ha! Loved this entry.

Al, this was one of the first stories I judged and it almost scared me. I didn't see how anyone could compete. Great work!