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Robert Reed

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Swingers

Enjoy this new original story by science fiction author Robert Reed! In “Swingers,” the aliens have arrived. And they want to Join. Yes, that means what you think it does.

A man waits in line at Caribou Coffee. The woman behind him catches his eye, leading to happy words. Caffeine brings a dinner that isn’t a date, and another night is spent at the clubs, and then comes one magic evening with scallops and a romantic movie and the woman sitting on her sofa after midnight, smiling in a certain way, quietly telling this man what she needs more than her next breath.

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Our Candidate

Their first candidate was a youngish fellow with a list of minor achievements and small qualifications, plus a handsome wife willing to attend some portion of the rallies and fundraising events. He was the brave soldier who stepped forward when the state’s less-popular political party couldn’t find anybody who might win. The conservative opponent was unbeatable. Even agnostic voters considered the current governor as being Chosen. Once the invisible lieutenant governor, he stepped into the office when his predecessor’s Blackhawk went down in a freak hailstorm. Proper words and a few strategic tears at the funeral cemented the man’s rule over the sprawling state, and the new chief executive had served twenty-two months without scandal, scrupulously accomplishing nothing that tested his base supporters while avoiding becoming the enemy of those inclined to stand against him.

Wise tongues decided that seventy percent of the vote would be a disappointment, and more importantly, that the governor’s mansion was only a way station before becoming the state’s next Senator.

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The Next Invasion

This story is also available for download from major ebook retailers.

The highway is empty and then it isn’t. The headlights suddenly catch something moving at the next bend. “Deer,” whispers the assistant; the driver lifts his foot from the pedal. Deer would be reasonable, and that’s what they see for the next moment, sharing that small fine thrill. But the shape is wrong, isn’t it? Unlikely as it seems, they realized that a person is walking on the narrow shoulder. A woman walking in the same direction that they’re headed, and judging by the strong gait, she is young. But this is miles from anywhere, and it’s late on a moonless night, and there hasn’t been another vehicle in the last twenty miles.

The driver glances at the assistant.

“Ask,” he says. “See what he wants.”

The assistant is a thin, plain woman named Molly. She has big eyes and a tiny crooked mouth and an elegant, ill-suited nose that isn’t quite three years old. Tattoos of black anchors cover her body, each anchor dipped in blood. Her forearms are sprinkled with burn scars. What might have been a bullet hole forms a crease on her long neck. Everyone who knows Molly has a favorite story about her wild past, but even the true stories fail to capture the magnificent awfulness of her first thirty years. The last four have been better, if only by comparison. Her present employer is a difficult, arrogant man who loves making impossible requests, and while she hasn’t done her present job cheerfully or perfectly, she’s proven a neurotic capacity to try almost anything to make her boss smile.

Molly peers into the back seat. “Sir?”

From behind the driver, a sleepy voice asks, “What?”

“There’s a hitchhiker,” she says. “Going our way.”

“A lady?”

[“I wouldn’t mention it otherwise.”]