All That Glitters

Author : Janet Shell Anderson

The WORLSNEWS says she’s got the best body on the planet. So where’s Giovanna Tatiana Romanova Baldwin? Not in Gulf Stream/Delray.

The Secret Service’s going crazy at my cousin’s huge estate. He’s been elected Vice Pres. He thought they’d never win, didn’t bother to campaign. Now his wife Giovanna has disappeared for the third time. The Pres Elect is coming, and my cuz, Perry Austrian Baldwin, can’t find out from anyone why they’re supposed to have a victory tour in Delray. There’s nothing here anymore around Gulf Stream/Delray but old, big money, drunk in vast houses, secreted in deep shrubbery, while the rest of us riff-raff’re stuck with heaps of rusting motor cycles, vans, ancient SUVs; neon palm reader signs; huge oil rigs; tidal flooding. We’re awash in talking manatees, miniature Pleistocene mammals, rainbow marmosets that are very political, creatures not fashionable anymore. They can smell who you voted for and react accordingly. Now posh people collect teacup-sized, pot-bellied pigs that grunt salutes, quote Heidegger, Nietzsche.

There are Chinese gunboats in the waterway. I saw one as I crossed the bridge to the A1A. I’m Eudora Pennifer, divorce attorney. Giovanna’s friend. Half the country hates the new Pres Elect and Perry too, half loves them. The line’s at the Mississippi, except for Minneapolis, which hates everybody.

So I’m on the road to my cuz’s estate, but my self-driving car turns into a parking lot for a nude beach on the Atlantic side near Pelican Avenue, and, sure enough, I spot six Secret Service agents assigned to Perry, who decided to charge them all ninety-five thousand a week rent. Now they’re living on the beach. Their shoulder holsters look stark on guys not even wearing Speedos.

Is Giovanna here? What does this car know? The plan was she’d be long gone. I’d file. I squint in the glare. Could she be the one with the high, metallic mane, fourteen carat, glittering, flashing out some private code? Unlikely.

A big sign warns “Children of the Sun Only. No Trespassing.” A loose marmoset climbs on it, defecates. Is this political? The agents look to be following the glittering lady closely as she strolls among broken shells, seaweed, Styrofoam, pink condoms, blue poisonous Portuguese-men-of-war. Aphrodite in the waves. Beach cleaners on strike. The gunmen like the look of her.

This island’s narrow here. Through palms, across the two-lane highway, I can see the Gulf Stream Waterway and Chinese gunboats. They’re watching, like pirates, with old-fashioned spyglasses. Hunting treasure?

My car, on its own, departs the beach, hurtles up my cousin’s private drive that says, “Private Drive, Keep Out,” toward the waterway, where the Chinese gunboats glide in beside Perry’s infinity pool. A pygmy mammoth pops out of the jacaranda, his fur trimmed like a poodle, and cries, “Alas, alas. Babylon is fallen.” He looks awfully hot.

“I don’t wanna be Second Lady,” a young creature says. Second Lady? She looks twelve, though loaded with enough gold jewelry to weigh down Helen of Troy. She’s certainly not Giovanna.

“Don’t worry,” Perry says, assisting her aboard the gunboat. He waves to me. Smiles.

Good thing I always get paid up front. Wonder where he’ll go? I whistle to the mammoth. “Get in, Buddy. Let’s go home.”

1 Comment

  1. Jae

    A delirious vignette with a madcap pace that serves as it’s hook. Clever, although I’m not sure if it has enough to be a proper flash piece.

Submit a Comment

Random Story :

  • Piñata

    Author : Daniel M. Bensen Flaming debris rained over Warsaw. …

The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member


We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

Voices of Tomorrow

Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.

If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact