Flash Fiction Challenge: Goodbye Cable Guy

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Gus was an old dog and very good with people. Most of the time, he completely ignored them.

It was surprising to see how he went after the cable guy. It was so out of character, and I couldn’t stop him.

The poor cable guy yelled and screamed and Gus lunged and attacked him over and over, til the man fell backwards out of the bedroom window. Even then, I wondered if Gus was going to jump out right after him.

Then I looked down at the body splayed out on the walk six stories below and I understood. That was no cable guy, and it was just beginning…

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Goodbye Cable Guy”

  1. It was quite obvious that Gus had the Sight. He could see the aliens that were hiding among us. How had I never noticed this before? Why had it taken all these years for me to find that my own faithful dog had been trying to save me, and indeed the planet, from being taken over by these alien invaders?

    My cleaning lady Consuela came in later that day. She was always so nice to me. But Gus knew better. He started barking at her when she turned on the vacuum cleaner, like he always did. Like he always did? Oh God! I discreetly moved to my kitchenette, grabbed a cast-iron frying pan, and slinked back into the living room behind Consuela. I looked at Gus to make sure, and sure enough, I saw rage in his eyes. I raised the frying pan over my head and brought it down with a heavy crack. After turning off the vacuum, I pushed Gus away from the fluids oozing from the alien’s fractured skull, since I had no idea what alien blood could do to him.

    After cleaning up and disposing of the evil alien’s still form in the garbage disposal, I heard a knock at the door. It was Jimmy the mailman. He smiled and held a registered letter for me to sign. I went to the kitchen to get a pen when I heard Gus start barking. My hand closed around the handle of the frying pan and I smiled.

  2. I called the police and reported the incident. They showed up to get my story, called some people to check out the crime scene and then refused to leave my apartment. I told them everything that had happened, how Gus had unexpectedly unleashed on the supposed cable guy, but they seemed hell-bent on blaming me.

    I don’t know where Gus disappeared to, probably somewhere away from all the people who flooded my apartment and the balcony, since he liked to be left alone. I looked for him everywhere when the police asked to see him, but he wasn’t under my bed or hiding in a closet, or anywhere else I could think to look that a big dog like him might possibly hide. I was at a loss. The police were definitely going to find me guilty if I couldn’t present the real murderer.

    Then things got stranger.

    Everyone disappeared from my apartment, as if the police had never come and the neighbors were never nosy. I was all alone in my apartment and the dead creature in the alleyway was gone.

    Then came the familiar knock on my door. The cable guy had arrived. Gus ran from the bedroom barking.

    This time, I wasn’t answering the door. My television addiction wasn’t worth the trouble. I sent the cable box back to the company and never watched live television again. I now buy or rent everything I want to watch. I suggest others do the same.

  3. There he was sprawled on the sidewalk. Not an alien, as such, no green blood or multiple heads – he looked as regular a Joe as you and me, but his body was blinking; hollow. No, not hollow, invisible, like Hollow Man, then visible again.
    I half-expected him to lift off the ground, be teleported, his body recalled, but as I said he was human.
    My problem was that there was a crowd around him, not over him or touching him, no one seemed brave enough for that, but two or three were taking photos, or more likely videos, on their mobiles, more were talking on theirs – who knows who to? The press? The police? Either way, they’d be here soon enough. You don’t get a crowd like that round here without attracting attention, and I could have done without it being underneath my apartment.
    Gus and I looked at each other as he hung his paws on the window frame, me leaning over the flower box. I stroked him behind his ears – his favourite place – head tilted, I’d swear I spotted a smile on his greying muzzle.
    I pulled out a few weeds and laughed at the normality of the situation, that I was the one hired to hunt ghosts, yet when one had come to us, Gus had been the one to terminate him.

  4. The mangled body quivered. Wavy heat lines radiated off it. Then its bones and flesh seemed to dissolve, the head sinking beneath the cap, the uniform collapsing around a loaf-sized mound under the fabric. The mound twitched and wriggled, fighting its way free.

    I felt my breakfast fighting its way free from my stomach. Or maybe that was the six dirty martinis I’d quaffed at last night’s meeting with my fellow TV network bigwigs. “Stay, boy,” I told Gus, while I grabbed a potential weapon. This happened to be a yardstick, but in a pinch, it could yield a nasty poke in the eye.

    By the time I dashed down the stairs and out the door, all that remained was an orange tabby, lazily grooming a back paw. He glared and resumed his bath.

    From the upstairs window I heard Gus growl. The cat merely righted himself, turned his backside, flicked his tail and strolled away.

    Intrigued, I followed. The tom kept an even pace. Eventually, we reached a door. He disappeared through the pet flap. I squeezed through. Low growls surrounded me. Cats. Dozens of them, growing larger, baring their fangs. I realized my yardstick would merely annoy them. Finding my voice, I raised the useless stick over my head. “Wh-what do you want?”

    A giant calico emerged from the throng. It dropped a piece of paper at my feet. I read: “We’re holding your team hostage. Bring back ThunderCats or we’ll force them to watch Cop Rock.”

  5. As Gus and I look down at the body I noticed the gun sticking out. Gus looked at me and whined. Gus had a knack for seeing danger and keeping me from it. This wasn’t the first time Gus saved me. I swear that dog has a sixth sense. But what exactly did Gus save me from this time? Was it a robbery gone wrong? Soon the police was at my door. I was in total shock when the told me that the cable guy was in fact a hit man. My mind reeled who would want me dead? My boy friend and I weren’t having any problems. A co worker? Every one at work seemed to love me but could someone be secretly against me? A neighbor? Had I been having any problems with any neighbor? No. Could it be an ex? Who in the world wanted me dead? As all these thoughts ran through my mind the policeman seem to realize what was going through my mind. Things got even stranger when he confessed the hit was not out on me but Gus. There was a hit out on my dog?I couldn’t believe it! You see Gus is a retired undercover police dog. Someone couldn’t get passed the fact that a stupid dog put them away.

  6. …to deflate! I knew it couldn’t be right and I went to get my binoculars, which I hadn’t used since that day, when Barbara from the building across the street asked me not to. I stole a short glance to her window with my naked eye, for safety’s sake, and fairly satisfied she wasn’t home, I pointed them to the walk. The image of a blue balloon man met my eyes – and it was still deflating. I looked at Gus hanging half way out the window and evilly eyeing Mr. Blue.

    The crowd around the body grew fast and I knew that if I was to get any idea what was going on, I had to get down there before the authorities turned up.

    I went down the stairs faster than I’d run up them on that day, when Barbara persuaded me to find a new hobby and within less than a minute I kneeled beside the blue figure. He resembled the man I thought was a cable guy, just thinner. Both his face and torso was getting smaller by the second. I was just about to get up, when I noticed something looking out from the pocket in his coat.

    I recognised it immediately. Gus’ goody jar! So, finally fate caught up with the infamous doggy goody burglar and the puzzling question as to how he’d managed to not get caught was answered. Amazing how well you can camouflage yourself with inflated blue balloons covering your body!

  7. to spark.

    The outer coverings of the thing were hanging from the planter. Gus was still trying to pull them back into the apartment. The mechanical body below was still intact and collecting itself.

    This metal man had malice clearly etched in its pulsing red eyes. I pulled Gus back into the apartment in hopes that we might yet escape the thing on the pavement below.

    Risking a glance, I no longer saw it on the sidewalk. It means to get revenge I was certain. Gus and I rushed into my bedroom and found the blaster I keep for emergencies of this magnitude.

    The power cells on the blaster were fully charged. Gus and I hid behind the couch, a barrier between us and the door.

    Before long there was a knock. I knew better than to risk myself by answering. Instead I aimed my blaster where I assumed the head of it would be when it broke through.

    The handle of the door turned. I had forgotten to lock it in my haste. I expected the door to burst open. The squeak of the hinges as it drifted open was unnerving.
    The thing was not in the doorway as I expected. It must have expected me to be prepared.

    The top of its head came around the side of the doorframe. A quick adjustment of my aim and I pulled the trigger. The top of its head exploded in a spray of hydraulic fluid.

  8. It was so unlike Gus to act so frightened of a man—he was just the cable guy after all. But I remembered when we got Gus as a puppy and we had lived in an old house in the country. The first movie Gus watched with us right after the cable guy had come to install the cable was The Thing with Kurt Russell. I remember Gus had covered his eyes with his paws every time one of the dogs changed into a gross alien form. For weeks after that movie, he had doggie nightmares.

    I later learned that Gus’ ancestors were some of the dogs who starred in that movie and I wondered if nightmares were hereditary and could be passed on to Gus, who was so distant in the ancestral dog chain.

    Now that we lived in the city in a small apartment, I was shocked to see Gus attack the cable guy so fiercely. Did those memories of that movie come back to haunt him as soon as he saw him? Could it really be true he inherited those bad vibes from his ancestors? Gus leaned so far out the window I had to grab him and as I did I looked down at the guy and realized why Gus went mad. An alien dog-like life form emerged from the guy’s stomach just like the movie. Gus had known as soon as the guy came in and no wonder he was so petrified.

  9. Crap. They were getting faster.

    The last time they found us, we’d been holed up in the Yukon. I never thought they’d look there. But they always seemed to know where we were. It made me wonder if they’d planted a tracking chip on me or Gus somehow, but that couldn’t be. It wouldn’t take them so long to find us each time if that were the case. It sure did seem like they were getting better at it, though.

    Poor Professor Douglas: he’d refused to believe his life was in danger. We tried to tell him that being so vocal about developing cyborg-sniffing dogs was a bad idea. The Federation was bound to hear – and when they did, they’d react with deadly force. They were using the borgs to infiltrate neighborhoods – to penetrate the Resistance. Even knowing about the existence of these talented canines was perilous. But Professor Douglas believed in a free world. He was determined to place a borg-sniffer in the home of every citizen. That cost him his life.

    With the professor dead and the lab destroyed, those of us who survived the airstrike dispersed, taking the dogs with us. Of course the Federation immediately outlawed canines as pets and began systematically rounding them up.

    I jammed my clothes and Gus’s food into my backpack. My tent and sleeping roll were already attached. We were always prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. We had to be.

    I joined Gus at the window. Down in the alley, it looked like a dead guy lying there except for the sparks spurting gently from the borg as it twitched. “C’mon, Gus, time to go,” I said, scratching him behind the ears.

  10. Title: Cable for Mabel

    Gus is an extremely small old sheep dog. His nose does not work any more, and the hair covering his eyes prevents him from reacting to people coming to the door.

    I’m not much better than Gus. I don’t see well either. I know when Gus barks as someone upstairs usually pounds on their floor and I feel the ceiling paint falling on my head.

    Today was different. Gus made such a racket and scratched at the door that I knew someone was there. I asked who was there, but all I heard was something about a cable. I haven’t received one of those in years, and it must be important for someone to come up six flights of stairs. It took me about five minutes to unlock all the locks. When I opened the door, the uniformed man said something about service, and strangely that reminded me of my late husband.

    However, Gus must have heard something else and immediately tried to keep the man from having his way with me. While they were fighting each other I headed my walker into the bedroom. When I reached the bed, Gus had the man by the leg and as he tried to kick Gus, he lost his balance and fell out the window.

    When we looked down at his lifeless form, I was glad Gus had protected me from the mysterious man who was after my body. I’ll tell the police there never was any cable.

Comments are closed.