Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine writer with over a hundred stories published in ten countries, in four languages, and a winner in the National Space Society’s “Return to Luna” Contest and the Marooned Award for Flash Fiction in 2008. His fiction has appeared in a Pearson High-school Test Cycle in the US, a Bundoran Press anthology, The Rose & Thorn, Albedo One, The Best of Every Day Fiction and others.
His contribution to Strangely Funny II tells the tale of two astronomers who have been stationed alone in the Chilean desert for several months. Everything has become dull until they find themselves held hostage by a dragon. Does he want to eat them? No... he needs them to help him sign up for Facebook.
From "New Hunting Grounds", by Gustavo Bondoni:
“All right,” Ferdinand replied, bending over the keyboard to look at the screen. “There should be a pull-down menu of years to choose from. Here it is. Now what year were you born?”
“Well, that’s the problem, of course. I was born in northern Africa just as Hannibal was sailing for Italy. Of course, I’ve moved since then. But there’s no choice for years before 1900, and besides, I happen to know for a fact that you humans are so dumb that you lost count of the actual years a couple of times in the Middle Ages, so it’s all bunk anyway. What can we do?”
Ferdinand’s mouth fell open in shock; his salvation came from an unexpected source.
“The first thing you’re going to do,” Marko said, appearing from behind the bank of mainframes that had concealed his eavesdropping. “Is to lie about your age. You won’t get any friends at all if you tell them that you’re a dragon old enough to be their grandfather.”
“Technically, I’m much—”
“We won’t get anywhere unless you listen to me,” Marko interrupted. “I can make you popular in a day, famous in three. Now, do you want to bumble through this on your own, or do you want to learn at the knee of the master?”
The dragon looked at Ferdinand, who shrugged. “It’s not what I’d call orthodox, but he does get results – at least online.”
Dubiously, the reptile nodded.
“Good,” Marko said. “Now let’s start with the name.”
“My name is ancient and respected.”
“Are you kidding me? No one is called Tarnetisney. No one. Anywhere. This is the twenty-first century – you’d get beat up for having that kind of name even if you grew up in a yurt in Mongolia. You look like a Jack.” Saying this, he typed ‘Jack Draco’ in the name field, and pressed Enter. “And don’t even get me started on your hobbies. Classifying rocks? Unless you want to be catalogued as the biggest loser on the net, you need to get rid of that pronto. Let’s see…” his eyes lit up and he chuckled to himself. “Skydiving. Yeah, and we wouldn’t even be lying.”
Ferdinand left them to it and went to see if he could find something to eat that hadn’t been in a can for more than a year. Marko’s evil laughter drifted through the once-productive scientific outpost. Ferdinand almost felt sorry for the dragon.
How will this situation end? Will Tarnetisney eat the two astronomers, or will "Jack Draco" make hundreds of Farmville friends? Check out the rest of Gustavo's story for yourself! Strangely Funny II is now available in print and Kindle formats on Amazon, plus several other e-book formats on Smashwords!
We're also giving away three copies on Goodreads - deadline is August 31st!
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