Letter From The Editor - Issue 56 - April 2017

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Issue 24
Stories
Under the Shield
by Stephen Kotowych
Old Flat Foot
by Ross Willard
Whiteface Part I
by Jared Oliver Adams
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
The Floating Statue
by David Lubar
Orson Scott Card - Sneak Preview
Shadows in Flight - Chapter 1
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Writing Fantasy

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Old Flat Foot
    by Ross Willard

Old Flat Foot
Artwork by Dean Spencer

"Hey, it's the old flat foot," says a familiar voice, from a few feet away.

I don't know for certain who she's warning, but I do know that by the time I turn the corner, they won't be breaking the law anymore.

The lookout is a young girl. Tanya. Fifteen years old, and from the neighborhood. She has dark hair and a button nose. It breaks my heart to see someone from the neighborhood take this turn. Or it would, if I had a heart. I pull up some old recordings of Tanya and her family. Her mother used to own a bakery. She always smiled at me when I came by the shop. Sometimes, when I got dirty and nobody at the shop had time to clean me, she'd stop me as I passed and wash me off. It wasn't as refreshing as a good oil change, but it was nice to look my best. I'd appreciated that.

Tanya used to work in her mother's bakery. I remembered that, too. Mostly she sat at one of the tables and played with her dolls, but sometimes, when it got busy, she'd help her mother out.

Then the plant shut down and nobody had money for cupcakes anymore, or even good bread. Tanya's mother didn't smile as much after that. It didn't take long for the bakery to shut down altogether.

I round the corner; three young men sit on the steps of the building. They all have their eyes on me. I run their faces against my database, and most of what I come up with is drug related: two of the boys had been picked up several times for selling, and the other was a documented user. This is definitely a deal in progress, but I have no evidence.

That's one of the problems we have, my flat-footed brothers and I, we're too easy to see coming. Sure, we're bullet proof, with articulated motion rivaling any human and enough power to overcome a dozen protestors high on PCP. But we don't deal with a lot of protestors. We walk a beat. The same beat every day, so everyone knows where we'll be and when. And our memories are digital, so we can't claim that we saw something that we didn't. Maybe that's how the human police manage so many more arrests; the only thing to keep them from lying is their own conscience, and having met a few human officers over the years, I don't have any reason to believe they have consciences.

Impotent to investigate, I transfer a suspicious activities report to the nearest police station and move on.

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