Last night in L.A.
By Robin Wyatt Dunn
She knew I was a killer the moment she laid eyes on me and I knew she was a tramp the moment I laid eyes on her.
“What’ll it be, sir?’ she asked, and I put a C-note on the bar and leaned in closer to her to whisper: “I need an incision, on my left thigh.”
“What?” she said.
“Just kidding,” I said. “I need some whiskey, please.”
The boys from the Beach Arcology rolled in then, and I dove for the table nearest me, throwing it forward and ducking behind it as smoothly as I could manage, grinning as their shotguns tore off the arm of the pretty looking lady who’d been sitting there a moment previous.
The beautiful belle dame behind the bar, the tramp with the darkest eyes I’d ever seen called out: “I’ve called the cops already – they’ll be here in five minutes!”
“That’s long enough,” snickered Foamy Joe of the Beach, and tossed a grenade right at me. Call me a coward: I ran, right back to the bar, catching the belle dame just as she was slipping down the trap door on the rope.
I was down after her, praying to the loa of the freeway, the Interstate I used to love, back when we had gas.
“Commerce used to be classy,” she said, as I climbed on the back of her horse, and gripped her smooth hips.
“Now we get reorganized every three weeks,” she said, spitting.
“You want to leave town?’ I said.
“Not yet,” she said. “We have to establish the radiation zone.”
Urban renewal is different in an era of accelerated atomic decay: the newest nukes have radioactive half-lives of only a few hours. Real estate on the west coast of North America went through the roof as soon as the first one was used in the field: Canadian lumber was the new gangbusters.
“How about Canada?” she shouted back at me.
Canada means village. Maybe I can be one of the het-men: rise early in the morning to sit outside the general store and live in the strange unfoundering assurance of community appeal. Like the cigar store Indian, sometimes killers work best when they attain motionlessness.
“Can we go on the dole?” I shouted back.
“I’d never respect you!”
“But I’d fuck you every night.”
“I could get a better offer!”
“I always wanted to be a lumberjack!” Would they take a man with a permanent colony of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in his thigh?
“Shut up and watch for drones!” she said.
We rode all through the night, me and the real estate scout who could call in nukes.
- - -
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Last night in L.A.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Where The Heart Is
By David Edward Nell
“Are they like us?” I asked.
“What for? You're the mother of my sons and daughters. Don't apologize.”
“Thing is, I lied,” she sniveled. “About everything. What I did was horrible. But you have to understand that it was a matter of survival.”
- - -
David Edward Nell writes speculative fiction in his limited spare time from Cape Town, South Africa. Visit him at http://davidedwardnell.blogspot.com
Thursday, February 14, 2013
I THOUGHT I SAID
By Brent Rankin
It’s amazing that Mankind has learned to travel faster than light. Or so they claimed when I signed on for this project. Sit back and the craft will do the work for you.
“Communicate with us as to what’s going on.”
Physics. Someone should have read the book.
I was catapulted off the surface of the moon in 2022, hitting a g-rate of Mach 40. So fast, in Earth’s gravity, I would have become soup. In space, so fast I could see no stars. The little spots of light were past me before I could become aware.
.”Let us know what you are feeling.” 2120.
I read the tachometer (that’s what THEY called it). 85% up to the speed of light.
“Are you there?”
“Yeah, where else?” 2257.
“How…do you feel?”
Hitting 90% the speed of light, it becomes…quiet. Peaceful.
My Response: “Can you hear me?”
Their Reply: “Yes.. (nothing).
No motion, no movement, no sound. No colors. 97% the speed of light.
Goddamn scientists. They’ve read a book…yeah. If I travel forward at X velocity, and send a message back at –X velocity. Well, X-X = ?
100% speed of light and I’m still traveling. Radio waves travel the speed of light in a
vacuum. I’m going this way, sending messages back that way…
- - -
"It's what writers do."
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Heavy Petting in 2212
By Frank Grigonis
"That's the prettiest one I've ever seen! Can I touch it?" exclaimed the stunning coed as she approached the kiosk.
"Of course," said Manto, admiring her blue eyes and caramel-hued complexion, a popular DNA pairing option in the year 2212. He motioned for her to sit down on the recycled plastic chair next to him.
"This must be the most realistic creature at this science fair," chirped Manta, fixing her blue eyes directly onto his, "Why, it's without a doubt the most realistic bio-bot I've ever seen," she added while stroking its long, sleek, black fur.
"She's not a bio-bot," said Manto, trying to sound nonchalant.
"Oh, she must be a clone then."
"Yes, of a creature that lived before the Great War." He extended his hand to share in the petting.
"She must have cost a fortune," said Manta.
"Fortunately, my father has one of those," said Manto smugly as he let his hand "accidently" brush against hers. Her smile went up a notch.
"Were they all…killed in the war?" she inquired.
"What do you mean?" asked Manta thoughtfully. Manto’s instincts told him not to elaborate, and when Manta closed her eyes, he knew he didn’t have to be the bearer of bad news to such a beauty because she was accessing her intranet for the answer. Instantly Manta was there, over a hundred years in the past, virtually seeing the mushroom clouds, smelling the burning flesh, touching what felt like her own swollen, blotchy skin. Panoramas of hungry bands of survivors passed before her inner eye, survivors who had no choice but to eat anything they could kill, including each other.
Her face grew more and more pale as she took in as much as she could take, then Manta opened her eyes.
"I understand now," she said, quickly recovering her composure. It wasn't the first horror she had virtually experienced while researching history.
"Even so," she added, "I would hate to be that desperate to even think of…hurting one of these beautiful and valuable creatures."
"They weren’t very valuable then…financially; I mean, people had trouble giving them away sometimes; and, if they couldn’t find homes for them--"
"O—WHAT THE?!" exclaimed Manta, jerking her dainty hand away from the creature.
Manto started to laugh but then stopped himself. "It’s ok. Nothing's wrong," he said in a soothing tone of voice.
"But what's it doing?"
"It’s purring. It means she likes you," said Manto reassuringly.
"Purr…ing," said Manta, savoring the strange word. The creature looked up at Manta and mesmerized her with the beauty of its green eyes, which to her looked eerily like the eyes of a Teddy Bear--an archaic toy she'd once researched on her intranet.
"Will they ever sequence more of these purring creatures?" she inquired.
"I'm sure they will, and, over time, the prices will go down, then—"
"Then maybe I can have one…someday?" she asked.
"Maybe sooner than you think," said Manto, "accidentally" brushing his hand against hers.
- - -
Frank Grigonis would likely be considered just another superfluous bio-unit by the rulers of this aching Earth. He doesn't agree and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or friended on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/frank.grigonis
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