To celebrate the coming of Ninjaz With Attitude to Canberra — where they did irreparable damage to the minds, souls and virginity of attendees at Conflux 6, an annual speculative fiction convention held in Australia’s national capital, as well as disposing of a few politicians on the side — Cat Sparks, their most ardent scifi devotee, ran a Ninja flash fiction competition. The winner has been declared. It’s Crisetta MacLeod. Crisetta will now be transported to the Ninjaz’ home planet where she will undergo a grueling ten-year training program before being “initiated” into the Ninjaz’ official retinue as a “pleasure drone”.
Meanwhile, here’s her story. It is, of course, unfit for delicate minds.
by Crisetta MacLeod
— winner of the Conflux 6 Ninja flash fiction writing competition, 2009
Ninjas don’t collect their super. Can’t have a ninja wearing glasses, complaining about rheumatism, so other ninjas kill them off. I found myself slowing down. I dropped a throwing star – a shuriken – on my foot. I was wearing my wooden animal paws but it went right through. Then later as I snuck into a ninja-free zone, an urchin said: “That man’s pretending he’s hiding!”
The shame! I was bound for ignominious involuntary retirement. Time to disappear.
I became a Sydney taxi driver then. I was making a living selling secrets discussed in the back of my cab, but my hearing started to go. Can hardly say: “Would you mind repeating that, I didn’t quite catch what you said?”
By then I was pushing ninety, so I bought myself a retirement unit. When Doris Darkly complained in the dining room:
“Pass the salt, why do you hog it at your end?” I ran up the wall, did a back flip on to the table, and booted the salt into her disgruntled face, making a condiment-shaped hole. Fred bumped me with his walking frame, so that I poured a spoonful of hot soup painfully into my trousers. I twisted his frame into an insoluble metal puzzle, strangling him.
OK – I just imagined those incidents. But I did like scaring them into heart attacks if they ventured out after dark. And little ninja bombs, with lots of smoke, kept the maintenance people busy looking for fire hazards.
Deeds perhaps unworthy of our founder, Prince Yamoto. But fun, and they kept my hand in.
The other residents asked about my life. I muttered about military involvement, until a real ex-military bloke asked about campaigns, and ranks. Couldn’t allow that, so he had to die. I snuck into his unit and suffocated him. They thought sleep apnoea got him, nosy fat bastard.
“I’m a retired ninja. I can undertake mercenary malevolence,” I once proclaimed over a game of Rumikins.
“Don’t be ridiculous, young man, that’s a species of turtle,” snorted Gladys Whipplethorpe. The insult! She had to die. I used kendo stick techniques, as she negotiated steps in the gardens. Her rickety little legs snapped, she cracked her head satisfyingly and became quite messily dead.
Later, Fred Featherstonehaugh told me about his daughter-in-law, who had shoved him into the retirement village and taken his home. I stabbed her with my kunoichi. I took her handbag, her watch, and her dignity. I melded into the walls with ninja cunning.
Plenty of ninja opportunities, even in retirement, you see!
I started venturing out at night. I set the dogs barking hysterically; I terrified virgins by peering through their bedroom windows.
Four thugs surrounded me! I back-flipped and broke the first one’s neck, slipped my ninja-to sword between the ribs of another. Tripped two others with my shoge, sickle on a chain, then put out their eyes. My old heart gave out with joy! I died happily amongst the bloodied dead, ninja to the end.
Love your work, Cris!