100-Word Fiction: ‘Pumped Air’

An obituary stated that oxygen was his making. Air, and good publicity, had delivered fame and fortune. In reality, success was mechanical. He invented a forced-air pump that inflated almost any object. Industrialists, financiers and the public sector all bought into it. With a quick shot, the pump blew air into balloons, bubbles and even man-made fabrics. Clothing was puffed and padded, foodstuffs aerated. The air was a cushion. But the cushion collapsed. In the pump factories, the failure was systemic. Bad engineering caused multiple injuries. Whole communities were scarred. And, his cruel mind clouded, he ran out of breath.

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