Phillip Homsley eyed the Homsley Star Gazer, into which he put his all for eight years.  It was ready. 

“Is it really?”  The question nagged at his conscience.  There was one discrepancy which he had not been able to find, but it was only 1/389th off.  He checked every spoke and angle.  It must be only his math calculations that contained the mistake.  The Star Gazer itself was perfect.  He sold it and made a fortune. 

If it failed he would take his new wife and fortune and leave the country.  —-  It failed.  He left.  The Star Gazer found him.


Written for Friday Fictioneers, a 100 word story based on picture prompt. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting this event. Thanks also to PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy for the picture. You can find other stories at

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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23 Responses to RETRIBUTION

  1. A man with no conscience, it seems.

  2. neilmacdon says:

    1/389 is a big error in astronomical terms. Light years

    • oneta hayes says:

      I told myself I should just add some zeroes because some of you fellows are detail oriented. What would I expect from a fellow who is into dreams of topological transforms and matrix algebra. 😀

  3. plaridel says:

    if it has the smarts to find him, i won’t consider it as a total failure. 🙂

  4. Laurie Bell says:

    Oh ouch. I have a feeling that’s not all that found him.

  5. James McEwan says:

    It is always the same, you buy something that doesn’t work and you have to search out the salesman to get your money back.

    • oneta hayes says:

      As I remember it, I believe that was a prime way Walmart became such a household word. They had a reputation for giving money back. I don’t know so much about now. However, I do know I don’t order online, because it would take “Star Gazer” to find the salesman.

  6. granonine says:

    Ah! Hoist on his own petard 🙂

  7. Seems this guy is doomed. good story.

  8. Bill says:

    A story of an inventive opportunist. Well told.

  9. draliman says:

    An error that size isn’t so significant when you’re looking for something/someone closer to home!

  10. pennygadd51 says:

    Perhaps he himself was the error he couldn’t find? You’re right to highlight the absolute necessity of integrity in the practice of science.

    • oneta hayes says:

      NASA wouldn’t exist long if just a “tiny error” is over looked. Reminds me of the Challenger. My husband and I were watching when that blew up. It was heart breaking. Perhaps you don’t remember since it was in the 80’s; seven crew members were lost.

  11. msjadeli says:

    Makes me wonder what kind of maching Star Gazer is!

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