Task Manager – Friday Fictioneers, December 2015

Copyright Roger Bultot

Copyright Roger Bultot


More shots echo from the school.

From his roof-top position, Jackson sees his colleagues running low to surround the building.

Jackson has known Billie-Bob all his life. Weird kid, a tad geeky perhaps, but not always bad. Somehow time and life seem to have overwritten any good in him.

A shadow moves near the classroom window; Billie-Bob’s upper body is revealed, sunlight flashing off his gun barrel.

Jackson’s finger tightens on the trigger.


The system is restored, order is protected.

But Jackson will wonder, for the rest of his life, whether the kid had his hands held high.

Well, that’s November done, snow is falling on my website but in three more weeks the days will start to get longer.  Winterphobic?  Moi?  No, Nyctophobic might be closer to the truth  🙂   The multi-talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our celebrated Snow Queen, once more leads the Friday Fictioneers out onto the ice for a waltz or two.  Thank you, Rochelle.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Task Manager – Friday Fictioneers, December 2015

  1. I enjoyed the intrigue and the clever way you led me along Sandra, well done…


  2. Dear Sandra,

    Your ending had me laughing with delight. As writers we murder so many darlings and the reader will never miss them. Love this.




    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Rochelle. It was a straightforward, everyday incident that we’re all used to seeing on our television screens, but couched in computer terminology. I think, judging from the comments that I’m being given credit for being cleverer than I thought I was being. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I seem to have missed your intent, but I still stand on my comment. 😉 Accept that you’re brilliant and clever. Have you seen the movie “Wonder Boys?” The Ctrl Alt Delete made me think of it. If you haven’t, it stars Michael Douglas and it’s a must-see for writers.


  3. Miles Rost says:

    Huh…for a second I was thinking Charles Whitman, then I saw CTRL+ALT+DEL and it was all…Counterstrike, again?!?!

    Excellent use of suspense, then the tricksy ending. 🙂


  4. Ignoring that CTRL+ALT+DEL, your story points to an excellent question: How can one deal with taking life, even in the line of duty? We are all humans, after all.


  5. My fictional world is littered with corpses. Microsoft is the real killer here. Nicely done.


  6. If I’m not mistaken, this was a real killing in your story. That’s what I understood. It’s always tragic for a lawman to have to take a life. It’s even more tragic if some deranged or radical shooter kills.without being stopped. A lawman has to decide in a moment sometimes. Well-written story, Sandra. —- Suzanne


  7. Great story, loved the computer language … gave me two meanings.
    One a computer game/program.
    Two the mind frame a police officer goes into to cope with killing someone.


  8. stomperdad says:

    Isn’t it great when readers catch things in your writing that you never intended to be there. But after they point it out you think, huh, that was pretty clever of me. I’ve had a few of these stories now where readers interpreted something I had no intention of needing interpreting. Their interpretation added so much to the story 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Liz Young says:

    Very clever with a twist that took me unawares.


  10. misskzebra says:

    I like the idea you suggest, that it’s easier to think of killing someone as just trying to restore a balance.


  11. ansumani says:

    I was a bit confused by the ending : was it an author who deletes the character or was there a real shooting. I liked the phrase ” time and life seem to have overwritten any good in him.”


  12. Dale says:

    I think I love the comments almost as much as your story. It (your story) can be taken more ways than one. Don’t you just love that?


  13. Sightsnbytes says:

    If only we could restart our lives by using something as simple as ACD. Nice story


  14. I actually saw this as a very real killing.. and if the sniper is left wondering if the hostage taker might have giving up can haunt him for the rest of his life.. I read the computer-lingo more like a male sniper’s flippant language about ending a life….


  15. I suppose these men (women?) who are trained for this job are trained to deal with these questions as well. I see it as being no different than a doctor who loses a patient.


  16. Jackson has known Billie-Bob all his life. Weird kid, a tad geeky perhaps, but not always bad. Somehow time and life seem to have overwritten any good in him. Love this line.

    I’m glad I made my decision about the meaning of your story before reading the comments. To me, CTRL+ALT+DEL meant Billie-Bob was dead. Well done in 100 words.


  17. Oh my, I suppose the senseless killing today have me frozen for a comment. I’ll say I agree with Rochelle’s comments as I’m in a stunned state.
    What is happening to society? 😂😂😂


  18. As much as I liked this story I absolutely loved your comment about knitting in the cinema. Did you get popcorn thrown at you?


  19. jellico84 says:

    weird… love it.


  20. gahlearner says:

    I wanted to read it as a computer game because I’m still under the impression of the most recent shooting in California. It’s a good story, seen both ways. Actually, I find it better seen realistically, despite it being painful, since it is a lot more thought-provoking. Great story, as usual.


  21. Dave says:

    “American Sniper meets Call of Duty.” That first line is a truly great opening hook. Sadly, all too topical this week.


  22. Read the comments and your responses. Funny how what you intend and the reader interprets can be so different. Most of us took the “Alt-Cntl-Del” literally and you were writing this scene. Oh well, enjoyed your story and the conversation that ensued!


  23. rgayer55 says:

    I’m not sure Billie Bob would do such a thing. Maybe Cletus or a Frankie Wayne, between the two of them, they ain’t got enough brains to make one.

    Oh well, he’s been deleted now. Like Daddy always says, “It’s easier to make another one than to clean that one up.”


  24. plaridel says:

    you have portrayed the mind of a sniper very well. control+alt+delete! added more credence to the story.


  25. This is striking a cord with me because we just had a mass shooting in California. I do think something goes wrong with the person who commits the shooting. I don’t know how the police feel about having to shoot someone like this. I hope that someday, soon, we will be able to prevent this from happening..that disturbed people end up killing so many others.


  26. yarnspinnerr says:

    A virtual take on real time issue. Made me think if there was a track2 in the time dimension from where we could delete and overwrite all the unpleasantness that occurs in track1 of time.
    This was a great write.


  27. draliman says:

    Quite a chilling story. I loved the line “Somehow time and life seem to have overwritten any good in him.”


  28. Bastet says:

    You’ve conveyed this terrifying story in a well balanced convincing manner … that ending with it’s computer jargon resetting the system is a fantastic touch that adds a realism that makes on shudder – and feel a certain amount of sympathy for both Jackson the law enforcement person and Billie-Bob. Haunting …


  29. I like this… if only it were that easy! *sigh*
    Good story Sandra! 🙂


  30. We all have those characters we delete and then wonder about later. They just won’t die for some reason.


  31. I admit, Sandra, that your computer language threw some doubt into my mind as to if this was real or just a first-person shooter played online. But considering the mass media exposure these days, there might be some blurring of lines between them. Great story.


  32. Margaret says:

    I love how you’ve done this, Sandra. There are so many layers of meaning, as the comments show, and whichever way one reads it, it works.


  33. Amy Reese says:

    A timely story, Sandra. It’s a painful thing to consider this happens all too frequently. Still, I’m sure in the midst of it, it is chaotic and unpredictable and a police officer will most likely have to make split second decisions. Well told.


  34. rogershipp says:

    Well done… The doubles…. Enjoyed.


  35. subroto says:

    Actually these days the ALT+F4 keys will give you the option to shutdown. Only in pre-boot environment (before an operating system starts) or in DOS, Windows 3.0 and earlier versions of Windows or OS/2, the key combination rebooted the computer. 🙂
    I know a kid who wanted to download from his brain what he had learnt in school. The future is looking interesting.


  36. Chilling and so compelling, particularly in light of recent events. Or, sadly, continuing events… the razor focus of a sniper, is something I’ll never get, but appreciate when it’s needed. (I must add, that I read the first couple of comments and thought I’d gotten it wrong, only to realize I was “dead on.”) Nice job, as always, Sandra!


I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.