256 Words


M. Stanley Bubien

It was the greatest Internet chain letter ever, crossing all fifty States, into Africa, Asia---even the European Union!

"BOYCOTT!" it screamed in capital letters (which is, after all, how you scream on the Internet). "Send a message to oil companies," it continued (somewhat quieter). "Do not buy gasoline April 30th."

Angered by high gas prices, thousands (nay, millions!) bounced the rebellious letter across Cyberspace, until newspapers, newscasts, and news magazines joined the chain in support.

"Boycott!" they screamed (capitals implied).

Thus the world prepared, checking their guages---filling up early, if necessary, guaranteeing they had the gallons to make May, if possible.

Finally, April 30th dawned (it's true, check your calendar), and heading to work, people sped past pumps by the thousands (nay, millions!). So, too, homeward, they whizzed by near-empty stations (save for the random roadster, obviously too foolish to understand such goings-on).

Night came, and morning, the first day of May---victory at hand!

Yet, low and behold, high prices remained.

"Why?" some asked from passenger side. "Where did we go wrong?" others wondered behind the wheel. "We should've won!" lamented back-seat drivers.

The answer, of course, was simple. For, unbeknownst to the Internet at large (save for the random hacker) another cry went out---this time, across OPEC nations.

"WHATLLWEDO? WHATLLWEDO?" oil barons screamed.

In response, one wise Arabian (or possibly Mexican) wisely typed into his terminal a single, insignificant, yet inspired word---crushing the crisis well before it began.

And what was that word?

I do believe I've already told you.

Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

Please contact the editor for free text versions of this very short story formatted for e-mail, usenet news, or ftp.

Story Bytes


June, 1999
Issue #38

256 Words