Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

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Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nephraim's Box Part 1

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[Brent's Note: About 10 years ago, before I had a camera, before blogs, and well before Twitter, my creative outlet was writing short stories. Many of those stories have been posted to this blog over the years. Many of my stories would fit in a genre I call Sci-fi Humor.

Back in the day, these stories were shared with a group of literary friends. The short story "Nephraim's Box" was essentially universally agreed to be my best story. In the 10 years since then, I have been waiting for the right time to publish this story. The right time will never come because I stopped writing Sci-fi humor, which is a shame because this story would be the first story in a whole book I have outlined in my mind which will never be written.

In the meantime, I have decided to post this story to my blog, with the story divided into thirds. Part 1 is today with parts 2 and 3 coming over the next couple of days.]

Nephraim’s Box 
By Brent K. Moore

Mr. Darp loves his birthday. Every year, his friends always seem to find the perfect gift for him. This year was no exception.

They gave him a square box about twenty inches on each side. It was wrapped in some very sappy “I love you” wrapping paper, because they knew it would annoy him. That was a couple of hours ago, and after everyone ate a Kroger’s German Chocolate cake, his friends all left. Now, he has a chance to play with his new toy.

The box is called Nephraim’s Multidimensional Trans-warp Come-and-Go Box or “Nephraim’s box” for short. His friends bought it at a liquidation sale at Freidman’s Theoretical Physics Surplus Store.

By now, Darp knows what the box does, but he doesn’t quite know how to operate it yet. Inside the box is a porthole into another dimension. If he were to step through it, it would thrust him into a new location, a new time, a new dimension, a new reality, or any combination of the above.
“That’s so COOL!” Darp was overheard as saying. The only problem is that the box’s operator can’t control where it goes.

Taped to the upper lid of the box, was a booklet of instructions. It has some of the predictable warnings. “Avoid Prolonged exposure to sunlight.” “Do not mix batteries.” “Do not force someone against their will into another dimension.” Darp’s immediate thought was about whom he could force against their will into another dimension. His Boss? No, then he might not get that promotion he thinks he deserves. His Landlord? Now that is a good idea! Before doing anything harsh, he just decided to play around with it first.

*     *     *

Like Penicillin in 1928 or the nuclear fish tank warhead in 2372, Nephraim’s box was discovered by accident. This brings up the story of Fernando Sanguine Chauncy Bohanon Nephraim, who will be born in the year 9964. In the future, Earthlings will generally have three call-by names and two surnames due to vast overpopulation and under-imagination. He will become a mildly successful inventor whose true calling in life is making sandwiches. He will make and distribute homemade hoagies that could be bought at several of the finer convenience stores during his generation. Nephraim will learn to increase his profit margin by buying meats in bulk, but will run out of places to store all of it. Being a bachelor, it will never occur to him to buy a larger refrigerator. The initial purpose of his box is to create a location to store his ham and salami at a crisp, cool temperature, without taking up too much space in his studio apartment.

With his 4 foot by 3 foot prototype, he will be able to store his hoagie helpers in the Antarctic Circle, without ever having to leave his kitchen. When transporting to the other side, another similar Nephraim box appears. He will have the ability to walk through the porthole, store the food wherever he chooses, and find the box on that side, allowing him to come back through to his apartment.

Nephraim will have a flaw design, however: his food is not safe. What he will not realize is at any moment, hungry or mischievous penguins can come and take his loot. Disgruntled, Nephraim will set aside his box for four years until he adds a modification. Now, with the push of a button, the destination on the other side of the dimensional porthole will change. It is still useless to Nephraim because he can not control the destination, just change it.

Upon pressing the magic button hundreds of times, the destination on the other side is his studio apartment’s closet, five years earlier. As a test, he will take his daily Digital Newsbit and store it on the other side. Completing the test, he goes to his closet and to his joyous surprise, he will find it. Using this trick, he can age gourmet cheeses, will become reasonably prosperous, and will get patent #74E3BF03A72C.

*     *     *

Back in our current millennium, Mr. Darp has learned about the box’s control and is ready to try it out. One thing the instructions did not tell him was how to get in the box. Being twenty inches square, he was not overloaded with options. Should he jump? Should he gingerly step one foot at a time? Should he go headfirst? Should he throw in his landlord and ask his advice? Being the adventurous type, he jumps in.

On the other side, he consequentially falls out of a tree. Fortunately for him, it was one of the lower branches and his plummet was limited to five feet. After a momentary stunning, he regained his composure and got up. He appeared to be in Anytown, USA. He was in a residential neighborhood, with children who had stopped playing in the street to see what the commotion was. The woman whose house was on the property that Darp was now standing came out of her front door and questioned, “Are you all right?”

Darp replied, “I’m all right, Ma’am. Don’t Mind Me. I’ll be leaving soon.” He proceeded to climb the tree and get back into the porthole located in the Nephraim box on this side. A chipmunk was looking into the box because it noticed a walnut that fell into it. However, it scrambled off as Darp started making his way back into the box. Once again, he was safely in his living room.

*     *     *

In the interest of clarity and sanity, the rest of the future will be regarded in the past tense. Soon after Nephraim invented his box in the not-so-near future, he became dissatisfied with his role in life. War and disease are a thing of the past for him, but he thinks society is going downhill.
Then, the year 10,000 hit. With the Year 10,000 comes the Y10K computer bug. In comparison, the Y2K bug had just been a historical footnote. Enough awareness was spread early to fix most of the anticipated problems. 8000 years later, only a select few people were aware of the earlier problem; not many records had been kept since nothing terribly drastic happened. As the end of the 9900’s approached, almost every single thing became computerized. Through the future ages, as technology improved and became smarter, the need for technicians decreased, leaving a limited few who knew how to program computers. When the Y10K bug came, mountainous problems arose. The only working people who did not depend on computers and profit from this disaster were the farmers who now could price gouge for their beefalo meat.

With most types of meat now costing over one hundred Terradollars per pound, Nephraim could only sell his hoagies to the rich, and soon went out of business. Fortunately for him, he could escape from our future. With the prototype of his box, he spent much time deciding on a future location to live out his life. He passed up on many opportunities to live in wonderful, surreal locations, but chose to live on the Earth, because human nature never changes. He settled on the late 1980’s America.

On to part 2.


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