Story: “A Shard Glows in Brooklyn” by Alex Shvartsman
One by one, I set off car alarms.
I walked along the curb and methodically gave each parked car a gentle kick, just hard enough to trigger the siren. Behind me, a dozen violated vehicles already blared out of tune.
The prospect hung back, sullen and quiet. He was having a tough week, and my erratic behavior wasn’t helping his mood any. With each siren adding its voice to the cacophony, the prospect got a little twitchier. To his credit, he hadn’t cut and run. Yet.
“Philippine Energy Beetles are nasty critters,” I lectured him as we walked, straining to be heard over the noise. “They nest by the power lines and feed off the electricity. Those flickering lights the power company says are caused by faulty wiring are often caused by an infestation.”
Having finished with the cars, I fumbled with the lock on the front door of a vacant house.
“This place is lousy with beetles,” I explained. “We’re gonna have to fumigate.”
“That’s just great,” said the prospect. “I can’t stand bugs. Now you tell me the Watch is in the exterminator business? This couldn’t possibly get any worse.”
Alex Shvartsman is a writer and game designer from Brooklyn, NY. More than 60 of his short stories have appeared in Nature, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Galaxy’s Edge, Daily Science Fiction, and many other venues. He’s the winner of the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. He edits Unidentified Funny Objects, an annual anthology of humorous SF/F. His short story collection, Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma, is available at amazon.com.
You can find him online at alexshvartsman.com.
About the Narrator:
Mark “the Encaffeinated One” Kilfoil loves fiction, so much so that he’s written some (such as the Parsec-nominated Tainted Roses), read quite a lot (a library of over a thousand half-read books and growing), and now narrates it (sometimes actually recorded for others). He’s found that volunteering for a dozen years in radio was a decent way to get a full-time job as a Program Director at a community radio station in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, but not such a great way to finish his thesis, so he stopped at a Masters in Computer Science. He can be heard frequently on CHSRfm.ca, and two of his shows regularly appear as podcasts, and can be found at encaffeinated.ca and theweirdshow.com. He likes cats enough to pet them but not enough to own one, and computers enough to own several but pet none of them. He will someday write a million words, but at this rate, that will require life extension, so he eagerly awaits the ability to upload into a computer, if that hasn’t already happened and this is all only a simulation.