You learn more from your mistakes than your successes.
So here I am to try, and to fail, so I can learn.
Paul Fail. For The Win!

12 February 2010

Deus Heart Machina

Deus <3 Machina
D. Paul Angel
The World watched as the Hubble's feed focused on the single point of light headed towards the Asteroid, and held its collective breath as the light intersected with the slowly twisting mass.


"You can do this Vinny.  Been long time since anyone remembered Temple's Big V Vandano, heart and soul of the of the Owl's Vaunted V-fense.  Who owns the records?  You.  That's right Vinny V, you. And today you're going run, RUN!, to the park and back! Yeah!"  His pep talk to himself complete, Vinny "Big V" Vandano went for his first jog in two decades.


A lifetime later, when even the TV executives were beginning to wonder if the Asteroid ratings boon was really worth the extinction of mankind, a silent, brilliant flash split the Asteroid neatly in two.


Danielle swept through the kitchen with light feet and a happy smile until she saw her beloved cat Charlie sitting by the window; the open window she had forgot to close.  Charlie coolly regarded her as she slowly stepped closer, but he was out the window and down the fire escape before her lunging grasp could catch him.


"It's kind of like the difference between an elephant getting shot with a cannon ball and a shotgun," explained exasperated astrophysicist to the reporters, "Just because it's not going to kill him, doesn't mean it's not going to really sting."


Smooth Tony regarded the pathetic man in front of him.  He held the engagement ring the Boys had found in the man's pocket up to the ill, grimy light the abandoned warehouse afforded.  Even in the dimness Tony could see that it was Cubic Zirconia.  Despite their obvious similarities, this was not the man Tony had actually conducted business with, so he regarded the man's babbling sobs about his brother Grant as likely true.

"What would you like for us to do with him Mr. Noland?" asked his top underling, Bren.
Smooth Tony considered.  "Anyway you cut it," he thought, "Truth a pretty lousy business partner in this line of work."
"Bren.  Joey.  Take a couple of the boys and this chump to his girlfriend's."
"Yes, Mr. Noland," said Bren without a trace of emotion.
"Beat him till he dies."


"Just keep the legs pumping V! Whoo!"  Vandano continued shouting to himself as he stumbled back from the park.  The day was warmer than expected, and he was more out of shape than he accepted.  The smell of grass at the park had reminded his brain so strongly of his football days that it interpreted his numb, bloated hands as being taped, and the lack of peripheral vision from the lingering heat stroke as a helmet.  So when he turned the corner to his alley, and saw a small, desperate looking guy surrounded by five huge men, Vinny knew that quarterback was his.


The entire Earth wobbled ever so slightly as the two mountain sized pieces of asteroid safely passed on either side.  In between a cloud of dust and rocks hit the atmosphere with radiant light.  Thousands of tiny specks winked into vapor, but a few still continued their fateful plunge towards the heart of Philadelphia.


Smooth Tony wasn't sure why, but he liked the ring.  He had even opened the sunroof of his limo so he could look at it better in the sunlight.  While it wouldn't do to linger, Smooth Tony enjoyed watching his men work enough that they were approaching the alley.  A man accustomed to having his way, Smooth Tony was stunned to see a huge man in a sweat stained, grey sweat-suit bulldoze through his men before leveling the chump.  Smooth Tony only just managed to start shouting at his driver to stop before a largish meteorite punched through the engine block of the limo doing it for him, cold, and throwing the ring through the sunroof mere moments before him.


Sherman saw a blur of grey explode between the goons and knock them aside.  As time dilated he watched as the massive arms sweep down, gain momentum and then connect with his chest.  The blow knocked him off his feet and sent him skittering against a curb.  Shaken, with one knee awkwardly on the ground, Sherman held out his arms to regain his balance.


Holding the Charlie tightly, Danielle whispered both curses and love into his ear.  She didn't even notice the windowless van pull into the alley until a large, sour-faced man stepped out.  Once she saw him though she knew she didn't want to be anywhere near the alley.  She turned and ran for her door.  She got up on her stoop, and was struggling with the door, trying to block out the commotion behind her, when she heard a reedy gasp behind her.
She turned and saw Sherman, on one knee with his arms spread, below her.


One of the smaller pieces of asteroid was a particularly hard form of Carbon.  It's lattice structure had enormous strength, but was still brittle at the right angle.  So even as it ablated away layers until it took on a pointed shape, when it hit the sharp metal edge of the hydrant it had split.  Part of it ricocheted off of the pavement and a brownstone wall before arcing back skywards. 

At its apex, it intercepted a slowly tumbling ring, hitting its Cubic Zirconia centerpiece hard enough that the fake stone simply vaporized.  It threw the ring even higher in the air and gave it an even more eccentric tumble as the impact's remaining energy was dissipated through melting the small metallic prongs onto the new, glittering stone.


As she was looking down at Sherman, she saw a ring slowly arc across the sky and land delicately on Charlie's back.

"Oh, I do Sherman!  I do!"


  1. Now that is one hell of a deus ex machina!

    I always wondered what kind of mob nickname I'd have... "Fingers", "Lucky", "Texas". I like Smooth Tony.

    One minor point: if I were going to kill someone eventually anyway, I wouldn't take him to the girlfriend's apartment so she could watch him die. I'd go get the girlfriend and bring HER to the warehouse, since the apartment is almost certainly not soundproofed. Every good mob boss has to have a solid grasp of logistics as well as psychology.


  2. What a neatly-knitted set of events. The good guys win in the end. The guy gets the girl. The girl gets the diamond. Smooth Tony gets his.

    A fun read.

  3. Thanks for the comments all! It was fun to write, but absolutely painful to edit down. i'm going to ahve to revisit that in a separate post...

  4. Tony-

    Smooth Tony has a considerable depth to his motivations. An entire paragraph of which was left, painfully, on the edit room floor. Suffice to say he realized that the only thing the "Chump" was good for was an example. Since Smooth Tony is successful enough to own several Police Officers, he was not worried about the visibility. He actually thought it would be "rather nice for business in general."

    He is also, an incredibly sharp dresser:-)

    I'm glad he meets your approval!

  5. I loved watching this all come together - a pleasure to read and I'm still smiling.

  6. There's so much going on here and you managed to condense it down to a flash. Amazing! I can see why you'd want to rework it into a longer story. I think the premise definitely supports it.

    At first I wasn't too sure about the separated paragraphs, but by the end of the story, I think it worked. I enjoyed reading your work! Thanks for posting. ~ Olivia

  7. Yes, this is definitely a flash that can be enlarged into a longer short story.

    I can tell you enjoyed writing this piece and I, too, love the name "Smooth Tony."

    And the last sentence made me laugh!


Thank you for taking the time to comment, I greatly appreciate it. Kind words are always nice, but please do not hesitate to give me criticism as well. I want to learn and write better, and your critiques are a huge help in that. Thanks!