F3: Human Interest Story

I have a great idea for something a small group of SF writers could do. Basically, every week, on a Sunday, we post one piece of flash fict– yeah, so you see where I’m going with that.

Unfortunately I missed Friday’s deadline due to the dayjob keeping me busy during the day and leaving me exhausted in the evening. Semper idem. Remember to check out the other flash fictionists, all of whom managed to meet the deadline… I’ll be over here, hanging my head in shame.




“-severe shortages have-”


“-remains doubt as to the fu-”


“-financial community-”


“-civil unrest in th-”


“-as to the sustainability of this latest solution to the crisis. And now back to Alan in the studio.

“Thanks, Andrew, for that illuminating report. Now we have news from Tunbridge Wells where — I can see Susan grinning over by the weatherboard already — a family housecat has adopted a litter of fox kits. Aren’t they adorable! In time they’ll grow to be much larger than their new mother, but this just goes to show that it’s the size of your heart that matters most. And that’s all from us this evening – good night.”

“-conflict began in the early hours of Tuesday morning as rebels moved to intercept the conv-”


“-spokesperson stated emphatically that there was no cause for concern, and that what currently seems to be a problem can be quickly and easily ridden out through continued consumer spending and confidence in the national banks.

“And that’s it for this evening, folks. And tonight to bid you a fond farewell we have the heart-warming story of Dedication, the curiously but appropriately named Labrador bringing laughter and joy to the streets of Manchester.

“Dedication’s gift is exactly as her name implies – this plucky young pup has never given up, despite being born with only two good legs. Her forelegs were deformed when she was born, but following their removal she has soldiered on and, incredibly, is able to maintain her balance on just her hindlegs, to the extent of leaving a normal, happy, doggy life.

“We’ll leave you to enjoy this footage of Dedication playing with her dedicated family. That’s all from us this evening – good night.”

“-revealed earlier today the existence of-”


outraged that our leaders would dr-”


“-palling disrespect for non-prolifer-”


“-llowing the outpouring of popular public sentiment following last night’s segment, we’re happy to return you to the life of Dedication, the wonder dog. For those of you just now joining us, Dedication is a two-year old Labrador pup whose forelegs were removed at birth. Showing all of us the true meaning of her name she has been able to learn to balance her entire body on just her hind legs, and is able to move at impressive speed. We go live now to speak with Mrs. Margaret Truss, Dedication’s owner.”

“Dedication has always been a special dog, ever since she was a puppy. We’ve always been very proud of the way she has always kept on trying and has never given up. She’s been a real source of inspiration to all of us, especially my little girl, Marianne. Can she say something to someone?”

“Of course.”

“Hello daddy! I’m on TV! We miss you, daddy!”

“And I’m sure Dedication misses your father too, Marianne. Mrs. Truss, thank you for joining us once again. And now back to Alan in the studio.”

“Thanks, Phil. Well, we’ve now run out of time, so that’s all from us this evening – good night, and we’ll see you tomorrow, same time, same place.”

“-launch was confirmed just twenty minutes ago. Counter-attack was near-instantaneous. At present missiles will be passing each — sorry, studio correction, “warheads” – warheads passing over the Atlantic. They’ll be striking at the targets shown behind me – is the map up? – okay, here, in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow–


“-dedication to an ideal. It is our ideology, our beliefs, that will save us from falling into the void. Together-”


“-don’t understand how this could hap-”


“-wonder dog has disappeared from her home. Her owner is distraught but no one will help her in this time of sudden crisis. So please, we ask all our viewers to pray for the safety of the Truss family, and the safe return of Dedication.”

“And that’s all from us this evening – good n–”


. .

. . .

. . . .

. . . . .

(Signal lost.)

6 Responses to “F3: Human Interest Story”
  1. Shaun CG says:

    For the record, Dedication is inspired by Faith, a real-life wonder dog… who I’m probably just a little evil for finding somewhat amusing.

  2. neil says:

    Very effective. Nice one.

  3. Paul Raven says:

    And there was me thinking you were just that few years too young to still have the residual Cold War fear of MAD … but people have said the same about me. I guess us folk who actually read are more prone to absorbing that sort of cultural horror at an early age.

    Existential and generational cultural angst aside, good story.

  4. Shaun CG says:

    When I was younger I read something that argued that Cold War fears of the end of the world didn’t end with the Cold War – we just got a whole new set of fears paved over the top of them. True or not, it’s hard not to picture the scenario if you’re read history, post-apocalyptic fiction, or both.

    Anyway, cheers guys, thanks for reading even though it was so late!

  5. GLP says:

    I remember seeing public information films on Saturday morning TV advising us to stay in our homes to avoid nuclear fallout, and reading the “Protect and Survive” manual in the school library… scary times. And as it turned ouot, we were right to be scared. I saw a documentary the other week that said in 1983, during a NATO military exercise, the Russian’s computer got confused and reported that American missiles were already in the air. Apparently the only thing that saved us from a full nuclear exchange was one Russian operator who refused to believe what his screens were telling him…

  6. Shaun CG says:

    It’s a deeply scary thought. Apparently there have been a few incidents like that – the instance you mention is perhaps the closest. Apparently the Russian operator was discharged due to disobeying orders – and was never really recognised as the hero he was.

    Cheers for reading, Gareth – oh, and thanks for the nomination congrats as well. Congratulations to you for your own nominations! :)