Thursday, April 13, 2023

“The Bargain” • by Eric Fomley

The shuttle was far below market price. It felt too good to be true.

“And you’re sure there’s nothing wrong with it?” I asked.

The used starship salesman grinned. “I’m telling you, this beauty runs like new!”

I chewed my bottom lip.

“Look,” he continued, placing his hand on his chest, “I’ll give you my personal 30-day guarantee.”

“Okay,” I smiled. “I’ll take it.”


The shuttle climbed the atmosphere without issue. I felt like I’d gotten the steal of a lifetime.

A holo of the onboard AI appeared on the Nav console. Her smile was a little too wide.

“Hello! I’m very excited to spend my life with you!”

My heart sank as a multi-year journey through the stars automatically charted.

I was locked out.


Eric Fomley’s stories have been published at Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, and Galaxy’s Edge Magazine. More of his stories can be found on his website

You’ll also find a bunch of Eric’s stories here on Stupefying Stories, at this link. Personally, I’d start with “End Program.”

This time The Pete Wood Challenge was to write a flash fiction story of up to 125 words in length using the prompt, “reservation.” To see the previous winners of previous challenges, click this link.

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