Please Help

OK boys. Here is a story I received this morning from Daily Science Fiction. While their stories may be bad sometimes, I haven’t received one that was completely pointless.

Until today.

I’m posting it here, completely without permission, and you, my brothers, can tell me if this is complete gibberish or if I’m just too dumb to get it.

Here is story, exactly as received:

Missiles on the Way by Alfred C. Airone   “MISSILES ON THE WAY!” The headline was in two-inch type. Sam Spool had just sat down in the subway car and unfolded the morning paper. So they finally did do it, he mused to himself. He felt disappointment–he had been sure the peace talks would work out. As the train lurched and started out of the station, he turned the tabloid over and began reading the sports pages.   At the office, there was more talk of the impending attack. “They say there were about fifty missiles launched.” Sam heard this from LaMont Turner, who was known to keep up with such things. A few co-workers had gathered near the reception desk, where Tim O’Farrell, the elderly security guard, was filling in while the regular reception clerk was on break.   “Any heading straight for us?,” asked Mary Corddry from Finance.   “It’s still too soon to tell,” said LaMont.   “We’re the largest city in the country–I can’t see how they’d do otherwise,” offered Sam. The others in the small group all nodded. Mary moved off, intent on whatever errand had brought her into contact with the small group.  

*                         *                         *

  By the next day, the broadcast news stations were informing everyone that the missiles were more than a third of the way across the ocean. It was a big topic of conversation at lunchtime.   “I heard we’ve responded,” said Sharon Ling to a few others who, like her, were digging bag lunches out of the lunchroom refrigerators. “I heard the same,” added Tom LoCastro. “They’ll pay, that’s for sure. They never should have started it.”   “I really thought the peace talks were going well,” said Sam.   .   “Yeah. So did everyone. Boy, did we get that one wrong.”  

*                         *                         *

  The next day, as Sam arrived at work, his phone bleated the receipt of an official work email informing everyone that there would be early dismissal at four o’clock. The day went uneventfully otherwise. At four o’clock, Sam found himself riding in the elevator with Tom LoCastro. Sam had known Tom for a year and had always liked him; they greeted each other as they stepped into the elevator car.   They reached the first floor, walked through the lobby and out the building’s ornate, 75-year-old doors. Outside, the mood seemed more focused than usual for a rush hour. Sam and Tom stood for a few moments, both taken by surprise by the same perceptions: the pedestrians on the crowded street seemed more determined to catch the first subway home, the street traffic was thicker, the honking louder and more impatient. They watched the endless, swirling crowd, listened to the tramp, tramp, tramp as office workers and delivery personnel, maintenance workers in overalls and schoolkids adorned with backpacks and earphones strode toward their destinations, slipped down the stairways to the subway, or queued up at the corner, leaning out into the street, hoping to spot an approaching bus.   “Hey, wanna stop for a beer?,” asked Tom. He pointed to a favorite tavern across the street which remained open.   Sam glanced at his NetWatch. “Yeah, sounds good. I think we’ve got time.”     The End   Rate this story on a scale of 1 to 7 rocket dragons:  


  This story was sent to you on Monday, October 4th, 2021.   Permalink to this story: Bio   Alfred C. Airone has been an avid science-fiction reader since childhood. Now retired, his career includes working as a chemist in water treatment and IT manager for a 100-person laboratory. This is his first (and hopefully not last) story published in Daily Science Fiction.   Please visit for more stories!   Daily Science Fiction does not have a paywall, but we do have expenses—more than 95% of which are direct payments to authors for their stories. With your $15 membership, less than 6 cents per story, we can continue to provide genre fiction every weekday by email and on the website to thousands of readers for many years to come. You may also choose to support us via patreon.   Share comments on this story:   This story is copyrighted by the author.
Please do not use or distribute without permission.  

Seriously. This damn thing makes no sense, as far as I can tell. I’m not some easily intimidated kid. I don’t want to seem like a cranky old man who doesn’t follow up on things. So I’m going to follow up on this. If ya’ll agree that this is meaningless junk, then I’m going to send the people who sent it to me a complaint, along with your comments (if you agree– say so in the comment if I can use it) and we’ll put an end to this. It is time to take a stand. I can’t continue to eat a lettuce sandwich that contains NO LETTUCE!

Man I am fed up. You just throw any old crap out there and “let them eat cake?” This means war. Or, at least, indigestion.

So post a comment in answer to the question: Am I too dumb to get this? Does this story make any sense? If it does, how?

2 Replies to “Please Help”

  1. YEH strikes me as kinda dumb. Are we to assume that copious amounts of Beer will get them through the great blasty effect, as in ‘Hitchhikers Guide to The Universe’ ??

    As is it’s flat as warm beer.

    1. Thanks for your brave contribution (looking sideways at rest of class).

      After calming down, I’m realizing that this piece bugs me because it’s a kind of “Rorscharch Ink Blot Test” story. You see what you want to see in it, and I expect to see a story about apathy. So I see a story where apathy is so “bad” that it has drained all the life out of people. BUT I don’t think that “ink blot” stories are legit and I don’t like the apathy “theme” and so I still give this a thumbs down on appeal.

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