A Mahatma Fatwa

I have to start by giving credit for this idea to Icypop Sedgwick, who stated on Facebook that she, “would very much like to be able to teleport.”

I thought it would be a cool business venture and proceeded to imagine possible glitches. It turned into a story idea in a matter of minutes. Here’s the short (and only) version in which I resurrect Detective Becker. Remember him? From “Tricky Treats?” Back in October? Ah, well…


He was the first to respond.

Detective Becker stood beside his car. Jacket open and pushed back. Hands on hips. He surveyed the quiet neighborhood.

There was the sound of a line gently rapping a flagpole.

In the driveway was a pristine blue ‘69 Rambler American.

It didn’t add up for Becker. This was the site of an international and technological incident? He simply had to wait for Chen. Detective Chen was the head of the Technology Crimes Division. This was his case. Becker was just in for backup.

Chen arrived in a Toyota Venza. It had antennas of every ilk lining the top of it.



“What’s this about?” Becker asked.

“We’ve been looking for a stolen Transpon model 208; finally coordinated it to this location. Checked with Nstar and they corroborated the utility spikes inherent with the equipment.”

“What’s a Transpon…whatever you said?”

“A teleportation device.”

“Really.” It was a statement, not a question. Becker scanned the house again, turned back to Chen and said, “Pretty small is it?”

“The garage is new. Added four months ago. It was built to house it.”

“Huh, you really checked this out. So what do we do now?”

“The last power spike was this morning. It coincided with the disappearance of the spiritual leader, Mahatma Ji Prem Sirhaj. He was freed by a mob rushing the prison in which he was being detained.”

“You think he’s here?”

“Unlikely. But the equipment surely is.”

“So we’re here for the equipment?”

“I am, but we must wait for Ramirez.”

“From INS?”

“In case Sirhaj is still here.”


Becker swiveled to scan the neighborhood again. A dog trotted across the street, tail high in the air. Chen’s car made sounds of contraction as the engine cooled.

Chen fidgeted with his tie, ran his fingers through his hair. Finally he said, “I hope the software update was done on this model.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“The Transpon model 208 is an easy hack without the McAfee firewall updates. If someone wanted to, they could really mess things up in transit if the updates weren’t done.”

“Mess things up?”

Chen studied Becker for a moment and then nodded and said, “Yeah, mess things up. Not everyone thinks Sirhaj is a great spiritual leader. A fatwa has been issued for his death.”

A late model Ford pulled up. The door opened at the same time the engine stopped. “Gentlemen.” She nodded once and said, “What have we got?”

“The Transpon has to be in the garage,” Chen said. “If Sirhaj is here, he’s yours. If the property owner is here, Becker will take care of him. I’m here to secure the transporter.”

Ramirez exposed her badge and said, “Let’s do this.”

They marched toward the house. Becker rang the doorbell. Chen tried the garage door and it opened easily.

No one came to answer the doorbell so Becker, and then Ramirez, joined Chen as he entered the garage. Inside, the blue and silver box filled out the space like a full sized van. The equipment hummed softly.

Chen went around to the side, pulled the doors open. The light from inside illuminated his shocked expression.

“What is it?” Becker asked.

Ramirez didn’t hesitate. She entered the garage and stood next to Chen. When she looked down into the Transpon, she took a step back and gasped. “What the…”

A vaporous miasma wafted out of the Transpon.

Becker couldn’t contain himself. He scanned the quiet neighborhood once again and seeing no reason to secure the garage opening, stepped inside to see what the others were looking at.

A mewling sound came from the Transpon. When Becker looked down, he said, “Holy smokes. What is that?” He started breathing through his mouth to avoid the smell of feces mixed with the coppery scent of blood.

“That’s probably Wilson, the property owner, and Sirhaj,” Chen said. “This is what I was talking about earlier. The updates weren’t done.”

All Becker could see was a puddle of lumpy skin with limbs jutting out at odd angles. Three eyes peered out in different directions. Closer, a tongue lolled from a riot of teeth. The thing tried in vain to articulate a plea.

Becker couldn’t stand anymore. He ran out of the garage and lost his lunch. Prickles of sweat chilled his scalp in the cool winter air. It was close to the end of the year and he had his resolution now. Hands on his knees, he looked out into the neighborhood and resolved to ask his boss, Rodney Cooper, to quit sending him on the gross-out calls.

He needed some recovery time after this one.

Maybe even a vacation.

So, that’s it. I’d like to wish everyone a wunnerful new year!

Take care and do your updates…


15 thoughts on “A Mahatma Fatwa

  1. Steve Green

    Oh Yuk, they should’ve got the updates, I have an image of the mess they found in “The Thing” in my head.

    Humans and transporters don’t always make a good mix (pun intended) 😀

    Happy New Year. 😀

  2. KjM

    It’s as they say, “Never use Version 1.0 of any software!”

    Oh, that was messy. There’s a great noir feel to this and I loved the spare dialogue between the three characters – particularly their greetings.

    Really well done.

  3. Stephen

    Too bad he didn’t learn to use lab rats (or baboons like Jeff Golberg did). It might have saved him the trouble of finding out how it looks to live without some structure in his life. Cool story, Donald.

  4. Eric J. Krause

    This is why I’d be reluctant to try teleporting. I suppose once it was perfected, I might, but it’d take some doing. And I can see why Becker needs a vacation; I’d need one, too.

  5. donaldconrad Post author

    Thanks for all the great comments. I love it when a story just falls in my lap like this one did. I felt more like a secretary than a writer. Trying to keep things down under a thousand words and still convey a cool story can be a challenge; the dialogue certainly put the reader there better than anything else I could have written.

    Most of these FlashTold stories hint at something larger, as flyingscribbler pointed out in his comment on this tale. That, I think, is part of my job here on FlashTold. To get the reader to ponder beyond the written word. It’s a strategy of more-for-less.

    My next installment may very well have something to do with “the kids”; which is the Manomet Writers’ Group prompt for January. Admittedly not much to go on, but leaves things open for interpretation. I’m leaning toward an alternate reality sort of thing…

      1. donaldconrad Post author

        Paul! You do stop by!

        I had to Google Brundlefly to get your meaning here. The film ‘The Fly’ never occured to me, though it probably should have.

        Ideas of virus and antivirus have been on my mind of late. So when Icy mentioned teleporting on her Facebook page, the ‘what ifs’ just hit me like an unannounced audiofeed. It happens, and sometimes I write it down.

        Thanks for stopping by, Paul. Much appreciated.

  6. ganymeder

    Ewwww, I like that the INS was brought in for the ‘crossing borders’ aspect of teleportation. Nice take on teleportation. Well, not NICE- gross, but well written. 😀


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