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The Race by @WritetoMusic is a Snuggle Up event pick #humor #shortfiction #mustread #giveaway
Title: The Race
Author: John Russo
Imagine a world where your Amazon packages are delivered not by people, but by drones. A world where technology has outsmarted the mailman for the last time. This is the world in which Johnny and Robert Hesston find themselves. The problem is, they're old school. A bit TOO old school. Equip them with the right primitive tools, and things might get out of hand. . .
In those days, it wasn’t uncommon to see an Amazon drone in the sky. Ever since that warehouse mysteriously appeared in the community, dozens of the airborne parcel carriers had been buzzing to and fro every day.
Why Amazon chose Farliment, Louisiana to test their drone operation was anyone’s guess. Less than half of the population owned a laptop, and only a select few knew what a cell phone was. The village itself was largely comprised of farms and dairies. All Main Street had to offer was a tiny grocery store, a café and a laundromat. Passing through it, one would never believe drones were active in such a place—and yet the blasted things were always on the go, ferrying packages of all sizes to someone’s front lawn.
The majority of Farliment’s citizens—all of whom were well over sixty-five, most of whom were either farmers or ranchers—didn’t care. They just shook their heads, despondent that technology had prevailed over tradition once again. A few rejoiced in the fact that they could finally prove they had seen a UFO. Others had yet to catch sight of a drone, and thus deemed the whole thing a rumor.
Johnny Hesston was in the first group. He would watch drones zip by and shake his head. By the time noon rolled around on the day of the incident, he had done so several times.
Out of the eight fields on Johnny’s property, he and his brother Robert had cut only four thus far. One of those four they had just finished. As they sat on their small John Deere tractors, munching on their sloppy joes, they inspected their work. Tendrils of freshly cut alfalfa hay lay in elongated strands, ready to be baled. It was a rainstorm’s wet dream. Even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, both brothers could sense a downpour dashing toward Farliment as fast as the wind could carry it, with apologies for being late shrouded in its thunder.
Robert, his mouth plumb full, turned and hollered at Johnny, “How does Martha do this?”
Martha was Johnny’s wife and the parish’s finest cook. Although some—Johnny included—often argued she was the world’s finest. In the summers, when the men had to spend all day cutting hay, she would rise at five-thirty every morning to fix them a three-course lunch. She packed the food into a pair of identical lunchboxes, along with an ice pack or two.
Johnny took the time to swallow before he spoke. “Don’t ask me, I haven’t the foggiest,” he replied.
Robert peeked into his lunchbox and smiled. “Look at that. She made us bread pudding. Kiss her twice for me tonight, will you?”
“Sure will,” he paused. “Hang on, you say pudding?”
Johnny glanced inside his lunchbox. “Mine’s a whopping piece of pecan pie.”
Having finished his sloppy joe, Robert took a swig of water from a jar. Mischief sparked in his blue eyes, and he asked, “Does it have those candied thingies on it?”
“Loads of ‘em.”
“You said it’s a big one?”
“Would you be up for a trade?”
Johnny snorted. “Not on your life.”
“C’mon, I’ll split it with you. And give you the pudding.”
Robert changed tactics. “You know crap like that makes you fat, right?”
Johnny turned toward his brother, jerked up his shirt, and slapped his bulging paunch.
“It’ll also make you . . . age faster?”
Johnny plucked his hat off his head and pointed to his gray locks.
His brother crossed his arms. “Fine, I give up.”
“Besides, if what you say’s true, why would you want it? You have your health.”
Robert did indeed have his health. He also had flaming red hair that drove the few ladies to be found around the village bonkers. In fact, his hair was the primary reason he no longer had a gold band to keep track of.
The two were silent for a while. Johnny ate the last of his sloppy joe, scarfed down the envy-inspiring pie, and then picked his teeth with a used toothpick he found in his shirt pocket.
At first, only the hush of a mild breeze swam in the distance. Then a drone appeared out of nowhere, gliding along like a wingless bird, propellers whirring and buzzing. The sun glinted off its dark blue top. Stamped on the box it was carrying was Amazon’s logo, that orange smile Johnny had always found rather creepy.
They watched the contraption until it disappeared on the horizon.
“You know, that’s the fifteenth one today,” Robert said.
Johnny shrugged. “So? Yesterday there were thirty of ‘em.”
More silence. Then: “I’ve been thinking about those little devils.”
Robert cleared his throat. “I’ve got an idea.”
“No, hear me out on this one.”
“We really should get back to it, Bobby.”
“Hey, this idea of mine just might change our lives.”
Robert nodded. “Absolutely.”
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November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?
My family, my health, and my Savior.
Why is your featured book worth snuggling up to?
This is best summed up by something a reviewer said: “. . . adventure, humor, a well written depiction of sibling love and rivalry, and critters galore. What more could you want? If you need a vacay but can't leave the room, this one's for you!”
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card.
You must have an active Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to be eligible. Open internationally.
Runs November 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on December 1.
John Russo is an up-and-coming author who recently published his first short story and is currently formulating a novel in his head. When asked what exactly it is he writes, he always responds, “funny fiction.” With his stories, he provides readers all over the world with laugh-out-loud literary satire that is wholesome enough for everyone to enjoy.
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