It was when she awoke that her head finally sunk into the jelly NeauMatter they’d put there to sooth her neck.
“Didn’t think we’d need to hold you here for the night,” said a nice old man, chomping a bit as he spoke from ruined teeth and dental sub-jaws. They clacked with the hard consonants, especially.
“Where’s…where is everybody?” she asked, still half awake.
She was safe, she felt, creeping warmly into talking to this man.
Another Playbill. A poster this time. On the wall there, diagonally to her right. In what looked to be the room of a medical facility of some kind…
The GREAT SOMNAMBULIST! It read, in spectacular RED, early 1900’s font on a black misty background with some kind of train operator in an old stained and striped train suit and cap. Behind him was the enormous Train-Flying Machine, it read in a caption next to it.
It was the descending voice of her Mother, what must have been her on the Intercom. There were only windows behind her, and she couldn’t see them. Her mom’s voice was indeed, quite amplified.
“We need to go and get you to your grandfather’s room quickly…”
“Is he dying?”
“Well, no but–just get out of that room you’re in and come with me…”
This was normal. She’d have an incident, and her mom would be the one there. Coincidentally Pam was the least sympathetic mother sometimes.
Must be that German we have…
She left the room after a long while trying to undo Lipids machine tubes and coils. The man had left out of nowhere and she didn’t care to go looking for him. She even turned off the computers that facilitated them, booted em down completely, no problems…
She followed her mom to Grampy’s room.
Helen was there with Andrew and her Nana and of course, Grampy, sleeping alongside her chair backed to a window. He snored as he lay there, unmoving in the small Twin mattress’ bed. “He’s just not up to walking around that’s all, right mom?” added Rachael. No one said anything, but Nana, put a hand out and caressed it with a Mother’s touch.
Andrew, Helen, herself and her daughter now, were meandering aimlessly around the room, savoring a hand that held the wine or beer, hoping to look like they were reflecting, or at least looking for something to do…Rachael reasoned that this was bullshit. Every time. Fractured conversation and polite little drivels of stares darting from object to useless object; a perpetual deer in the headlights every time your eyes met, swiveling about the tiny room. This was often because the room after all, was not a penthouse suite by any means. It was all the Linderen family could afford for Grampy and Nana.
It wasn’t just that though, the Military treated him right, but Government funds weren’t as secure as they used to be twenty or even ten years ago. The budget was forever curtailing Exo-Military services. Many Federal pensions were ‘frozen’ presumably until the date the USC determined that the Economy ‘has most certainly picked up.’ This date of ‘unfreezing’ your funds, as a Senior, could be and very often was long after your date of death. The same was true of Social Security. Sometimes these death certificates were bought and sold ‘Cabal Style,’ a phrase referring to the black market.
A Senior often did ‘Go-Cabal’ as they would say… Or: ‘He’s going fucking Cabal on us!’ many ads ran with to sell Senior driven products or to encourage rebellious youth to do more of the same.
When a Senior ‘went Cabal’ he typically sold everything, sometimes up to and including his wife and grandchildren on the Booty Market. It was as the Views and papers were saying, ‘The Fourth Baby Boom’ had occurred in the last thirty years. It was referring to the historical wave of grandparents, as second parents.
A Senior man having ‘gone Cabal,’ typically starts reading the propaganda literature on Cabal Life as there was so much support for Fetish communities. In fact, there were whole Micro-Gens (non-USC, even) formed, and were, indeed, all the time now, as the press would always point out: ‘waiting for us right outside the changing and encroaching walls of CAMBIAN.’
Everette Linderen, that is, the Colonel’s Pension and funds, were merely ‘thinning’ as the new definition from the new term, from the even newer set of UFED terms–went by.
Rachael roused herself off the floor, still in the room. She had fallen asleep again, wound up nestled at the base of the Colonel’s feet of all things. That is, where his feet were until he had to go the bathroom, sometime long ago. Her last moments before falling asleep were of an incomprehensible series of noises mixed in with what little her mind automatically recorded happening… Her mom moving around with Helen to help perhaps…yes, get him to the toilet I think…
No telling where everybody was now. No one. Not even Gorsky, and the room was dark. Her SwitchLight was glowing, predictably with a message from her mom, no doubt. There was a message and it was from Pam. “Come downstairs when you wake up.” it read. She was utterly disoriented. How could mom or whoever be in the next room, when they’re not?
Her confusion thickened until–
Another scream, coming from the hallway, right outside the room.
And it was choppy. Almost bloodcurdling screams were trying to get out again! Rachael drew herself to the crack of light in the door and pried it open slowly, furtively. Her mom and Nana were there, halfway down the hallway toward a stairwell past four or so rooms on either side.
“Oh my, oh oh MY! What am I gonna do, what am I going to DO!!!” Nana fell into Pam’s arms and sunk to her feet, exasperated. Hesitating, Pam lowered herself there with her, trying desperately to pick up her Mother’s falling limbs. Rachael had never seen her mom being compassionate like this, not with anyone.
She approached them, to some feeble distance. Nana was unnatural, alien and ghostlike, her question wavered as a haunting apparition in the air. Her voice shrieked with other nonsense in guttural spasms, dissipating only slightly, a mechanism, not a person, convulsing within and without Pam’s reach.
“Oh Good God, Good GOD!!!” The tears weren’t over. Rachael’d never heard her turn from a woman to a…Beast. That sounded like a man’s voice a little.
The screams were now more intense. Like overwhelming music, Nana’s voice was a smear of everything unreal in her life slipping off in glops like the sediment of mental flesh onto the floor. Her comforts; the layers of self—all the different sides of her; the mom, the Grandmother, the gregarious social animal from ‘Dantant’ as they would say, or ‘the age of year’s past’…
And then, her religion, the after life…now all on the floor.
“Bullshit. It’s all bullshit! How could He be this harsh! HOW???! Pam HOW!” Screeching now. Gripping Pam and screaming at her, point blank.
The Reality hit Rachael’s eyes and slammed her beliefs shut. Luxuries, the hyper-extreme wishful thinking that is abandoned in an instant of realness, and thereafter—we are living in actual reality.
But the long shriek made itself clear: you are indeed in Reality, you indeed do exist, you are here, but will not always be.
And the time that you will not always be here, will be forever. And this is the only sure thing you have. And at that point everything you see will be gone to you, from now on.
Not even a billion millennia, even if they were each comprised of a thousand light years into the future–could bring you back. Could bring her back, or anyone… But existence will remain alive in the Reality you will have to leave. And you are not, nor will you be, ever– an exception.
These facts rattled around in Rachael’s head until her Grandmother looked no different than the floor of the gray carpet. Her knees slumped into the rug, making a dent where it happened to be a bit loose and got slightly wrinkled.
The knowledge of the Colonel’s death had them solemn on the way to the car. Jenny was bouncing a little less heartily, but one could simply not seem to remove that almost Helen-like smile they both had.
An apartment complex lay as the sprawling context of the Bitzeri Assisted Living and Interment Camp, on the other side of the bay where the shore was and where they’d come around to enter on foot. Her Grandmother, her Nana had already taken up residence there. They’d pushed the data through, to get her to stay there, paid for, seamlessly prefigured from the date of her husband’s death.
There were huge balloons on a hill, like maybe fourteen of them floating in the intermittent wind after they passed by yet another parking lot.
‘The Brooke.’ The somewhat distant placard that held the balloons, read.
It was for some new apartment complex rental sale. Presumably the one it stood against, there in the middle of four Mega-Lots for cars and Transports. A single ML could hold 50,000 cars when levitating on top of each other at a height of one third a kilometer. On average, for years on end, it didn’t hold in reality more than a few hundred at a time, however.
An expanse of gridded concrete lay in every direction other than the sprawl of indecipherable industrial noise of tall lights, flashing View signs, and Pharmacie-Liqueur Stores that looked more like Kiosks.
All signs of moving civilization save the often broken concrete slab, ten kilometers squared–were now beginning to end, up ahead.
Blue, White, Red, and Yellow blotted their part of the sky as the land rose with those balloons standing at its peak. They had reached the top. The old stained brick apartment placard now seemed merely life size. It must have swallowed the brooke it once replaced, because there was no actual brooke to be seen at all. Just more astroturf circling each street light, and the tallest, most creature-like lamp posts one ever saw. If one could even reach their eyes to the top of one, that is.
A swarm of Transport people waiting for the next shuttle to arrive came out of nowhere like standing in the middle of a mirage. Rachael then saw a Hispanic young Mother with her hair up, standing with her daughter.
She stood next to the big placard in a blue faded T-shirt with some scratched up logo and green sweat pants. She had no expression, a shock of her long tousled black hair bristling in the wind. She didn’t seem to be standing close enough with the others to the Transport Post, so it was hard for Rachael to make out why she stood there.
The little girl, with a plaid outfit, danced off her hand, which was holding to hers more tightly than one might consider imagining. At closer range, as Camille walked by, the lady was still like a statue, her expression now appearing merely drained and indifferent. The weather was so calm. Back to blue skies with faint cirrus clouds again.
She stared up at the bleak sun filled sky of criss crossing contrails. Sonic Imprints were also left in the air above, invisible save the distortion of color and shape they made in their path. There were also three or so other smaller complexes in the ocean of parking lot, that seemed to be trailing off from the big concrete dune where The Brooke stood.
They finally arrived at the car, piled in, rose to a passable flying height, and left the greater part of Maryland.
“He’s also a member?”
Almost snorting, Camille spat a retort at her. “Of what?” she quipped. “The preferred Homecoming King along with being an aspiring scientist, right Helen?”
“Ah, that’s right Pam.”
She didn’t care, they couldn’t get away with this. So she skipped the doubt she had of any success, and…
He sat down alongside Helen, sliding in. He did have that great long low jaw jutting far from his neck, gracefully, but strong. Eyes, blue, crystal blue like hers, and Helen’s. It wasn’t a coincidence, blue eyes were the CAMBIAN or USC genetic preference for most parents. There was that taffiness again with Andrew though, when he smiled, like with David, but ever so faintly.
She liked him, instantly, despite everything, but she was reproachful and skeptical of what she considered his potential intellect at that point. Or maybe she was just a Louse, a Tramp, a Floozy, a Slut..? Well, no that would be a good thing, she gandered…
Maybe I’m just attracted to like, everybody. I like to feel beauty, or ugliness sometimes…
“I understand you’re Camille.”
Andrew immediately came out with. extending his hand as if to kiss hers, not to shake. They shook hands.
“Where’s Helen?” said Rachael dismissively.
“Oh she’ll be here in a minute…” said Gorsky.
Pam talked for a bit with them, and then…
“Well I’ll let you two get acquainted…” she said in the general-you tone.
Rachael didn’t have much to say now.
Her mom and Nana both slid out of the booth, and they were alone.
“Okay, you seem really nice and all but, I mean first off, I don’t usually date Poles!”
He laughed. “My parents didn’t put me up to this.”
“To what?? For what?” she replied.
“Well, to meet you.”
“Oh,” she said in defeat.
“What, what’s wrong with–”
“–What did your mom or Helen or whoever–tell you?”
“Um, I know Helen, cause Mr. Damiand’s son. Do you know Dr. Damiand? He works with Helen.”
She remembered Helen and Erol or was it, David? -Talking about something like that, but couldn’t pull anything specific out of her memory right then and there.
“No I guess I don’t.”
“No. I don’t.”
“Okay, so whatever, we have to make this sustainable here and now, so okay, what do you do?” she asked.
“I’m a student, I want to be an engineer.”
“The kind that works on stuff,” he said, smiling. His light and candid demeanor were working on her…she had to admit.
There was suddenly, out of nowhere it seemed, a long awkward pause between them.
He came right out with it. “Do you have a Boyfriend?”
“I dunno, seemed like a good starting point to better conversation…”
“Indeed,” she came at him with, still having no idea how to react, looking afraid…
By the time Helen, Pam, the Colonel, and Nana were all back at the table, she and Gorsky were playing footsie and poking at each other, trying not to be seen.
Pam and Helen were glowing synchronously.
Rachael felt that dagger again. And the sensation of eating poison, with enough distraction to want it.
But why is Helen smiling? Smile as you kill I guess, huh Helen?
Just then the taffy man himself came on a levitating View, happening to have stopped at their table to relay ads and information on where to buy things and Tourist attractions too…
Rachael was the only one to look above their booth. She poked her head, trying to get a mental snapshot of everything around her.
There were just as many Views hovering from table to table, each of them a flexible, shape shifting monolith, many translucent rectangular variations floating intelligently around the room. The Huge View before them in particular was a taffy-like man, but out of control taffy, and scary! Rachael thought this, without enough time to make conclusions—
“—Hahahahahaahahahaahahahaha!” The man chuckled, uproariously–at everything. Like a demon with altogether characteristically loose cackling jaw!
“I’m Guy Migger, featuring those tried and true consumer products only YOU deserve!”
She thought seriously that he could any moment be featuring Monster Trucks, and in the next moment, a Nazi rally. The next? Soap. Then…?
He disappeared. Oddly.
Reappearing to replay Monster Trucks, Adolf Hitler speaking softly to a man, then. Then Soap.
Rachael was going to vomit. ‘The fear,’ the dark fear had returned to torture her and rid her of peace of mind once again…
“Ah-hahahahaahahahahahahahaahahahahaha!!!” This discarnate head of a blonde blue eyed suburban mad man was of some generic early 2030’s ‘Epoche’ or period style ‘Characateur’–come-to-life! He had slicked back hair and a sturdy pressed collar. Stylistically, he appeared like a mesh between comic books themselves, and real life. Whatever that was anymore.
“Actually Guy Micker, was the name of the real one here.” Helen said it.
“Who?” Pam came in with, like a doe in the lair of a Gigantic Spider.
The Colonel and his wife were fading into the wallpaper, and fast…a sad tinkering could be heard, of Nana softly letting the spoon drop from her hand onto the Micro tea plate. The Colonel just sat there, staring at the table.
Helen continued over to Pam. “Guy Micker, the ol’ Tycoon maniac? You don’t remember him?”
“I mean, Helen, come now, and how many Cereal Killers have we had in the last few years? Like 30?”
Pam had made a genuinely rational point. Rachael noticed it. So did Camille.
“That’s who this is based out of, and it just happened to actually catch on. Masochistic to me…”
She’d never seen Helen, even the likes of Helen be so intelligent. Rachael lapped it up, then reproached herself for being such a cunt licker!
Guy Migger went on to describe the inevitable product he was no doubt about to shove down everyone’s throats–before which, he could only tell you about the new press for superiority against Utah, and the USC fight to prevail.
They’re using our fear of fear. And wait, why again, why isn’t Helen feeling guilty about torturing me right now? She must know!
Somewhere in her, she was confessing to herself, uncovering her own dirty little secret of wanting to like Helen, and blighting herself. Then beating her head with a mental punishing Switch for giving into it…
“Hey wait, isn’t the USC done with Utah? I mean, isn’t Utah, like kaput or what not???” Andrew asked, urgently. Something intelligent. It had to have been a plant. Of her mom’s, no doubt…
It had to be! Just had to!
Rachael felt more and more just mere Rachael, as if to age, backwards. No more Camille, no more future adult. Just fucking damn regular old Rachael…She was getting desperate to believe herself and hold to Reality.
My reality? NO. Somewhere the word ‘My’ could not go with Reality. No sir, she thought. Only a grammatical article such as THE could fit something so large, finite and yet, vast.
And no respect for it, not anywhere, save from this jack ass hot guy who could talk, and Helen, this demon of a package, with independence inside. From her mom. From CAMBIAN. From Voca’s, and Finally Fourteen…
The Onslaught Toilet-Bowl, Poo Wars, Vast Stone of Flies!
Nevertheless, was she to give in to it?
Never. She’d sworn. Long ago.
It would be so easy if Pam hated Helen. But she didn’t. And Pam liked her back, and golf liked them both. And they were evil, they had to be. Both of them.
It made her want to fuck Andrew while shooting at her mom appendage by appendage, until she got to blow her brains out and cum all over his face.
She came back. To the table.
“So glad you’ve joined us again,” Pam said.
She was getting a heady sensation. And low, so low. Need to breathe…
“Move, please, I’m sorry And–” Her mom gave her a look of no life beyond death.
Shrugging, she decided not to care, as she pushed her own way out of the booth and onto the red carpet, straight away to the restroom.
She was washing her hands and then she came to her again.
Softly, ever so gently…again. She knew it was coming.
“Una,” she stated, gravely.
“Don’t give into them. They’re only skin deep.”
“You’re still talking in metaphors. Clichés again, no less. Seems to make sense though.”
Terror had become visible as a medium to her in that instant.
Controllable. Maybe someday.
“I’ll talk to you some more, and better ways, if you take that injection…” said Una.
It was her, the real Una she had seen long before.
The faint apparition in the mirror pointed softly to her left. There, right there, slightly under the instant hand drying unit, was indeed a cylindrical misty blue syringe.
“Take it in.”
Rachael, I can’t believe you are about to do this.
“Are you really here? I mean, this is real as it gets, Real. But how can I know, and really know that I am not dreaming?”
“You can’t,” said Una.
There was a pause.
“You can’t Rachael.”
“Fine!” She figured her fear of what was out there scared her more, and in that moment, took the needle into her foot.
And in a swarm, she saw the poppy fields. And the Towers. The mirror expanded to reveal an endless field meeting a gigantic seaside and a sky of enormous clouds.
The waves were close and far away. They were playing her music, a long time ago. A phonograph played endlessly into the landscape.
And with that, a vertical torrent of sudden cascading tears, Rachael’s Terror fell out the bottom in streams down her cheeks and neck and chest where they disappeared forever. “No, no no!….Okay, okay, I don’t fucking care anymore! Just show me!” She was wailing, snorting and sucking in her mouth, blubbering with trying to press through the murk of pure fear.
When she was finally calm. Una spoke to her again.
“I can speak now, to you, and it will make sense to you, even though I am really, still speaking like you heard before.”
“Yes. I understand. Why haven’t you come to me before?”
“Wasn’t able to.”
“Okay. Where are we now then? I’m still at the Buffa Grill right? And how much time do I have before my fucking mom or anybody walks in?”
“Don’t worry Rachael, I’ve slowed down the rest of the restaurant.”
“What do you mean, slowed down? Like they’re, I’m guessing, their movement…?”
“Their molecules are moving at a fraction slower, making it effectively–”
“Two different places!?”
“Different places? Yes, you could call them that. Not really. “What happens to the two worlds is important to them.”
“Them, Rachael. Them.”
“Oh GAWD, fine!”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“Ah, I’m afraid I can’t tell you that Rachael, Camille, and Halea.”
“I’m all three, I suppose.”
“No. One after the other.”
“What? What does that mean? Can I be put off a ‘need-to- know’ basis right now, please?”
“No? No, what do you mean, no?!”
“I mean, it would upset the Race. I want to see a true winner.”
She realized she’d meant to say it as a question, but instead, it seemed to assert itself as a statement.
“What race?!” Rachael growled at her.
“No need, really no need Rachael…You must realize you are one in a herd.”
“Don’t–Wha–Not you. Don’t tell me this, not from you…”
“Don’t worry Rachael, I’ll take care of you. Just play my little Game here…”
“Give her over to the Indonesian Client.”
“Who the fuck is that?”
“You’re just telling me, for…”
“You’ll see her.”
Una disappeared in that instant.
“Be cryptic, be that way, you fuckin’ sadistic Bitch.”
Back at the table her mom was recounting newly purchased accessories while Andrew was arriving from somewhere else, at the exact same time.
“Where were you?” Rachael inquired.
“Using the facilities, same as you.”
Why didn’t I see you on the way back then?” she snapped back at him, instantly.
He looked at everyone as if to get permission, then said laughing in a jocular, yet defensive tone, throwing his hands up rhetorically while he spoke further–”I didn’t think it was that big a deal!” He chuckled some more.
She tried to calm herself. Her mom began pushing her a bit further into her seat as she soothed the back of her neck.
“You’re being paranoid, Rach!” he said to her, as if he’d known her for years.
You don’t know me yet, okay?”
She’d said it right in front of Helen, who just seemed to watch with a placid look on her face.
“Okay, okay girl, sure no prob.”
He sucker punched her. Like Kim would.
Right, like Kim would. Nice try Una.
But was it her?
He laughed with everyone else, whole heartedly this time. Rachael looked peaked.
“Do you need to go back to the restroom Rach?” Pam asked, dully.
“Gutentag, y Bienvenue a BuffaGrill! E-iner Ein XXXXX!” She’d pronouced the ErrorGarble, “EeeX.”
“Schr–pecken Zi- R’aLAnglaissS?”
“Yes, yes, we speak English, thanks,” said Pam.
“It’s an opening line mom!” said Rachael, chagrinned.
It was a very small blonde Japanese girl on a levitating Segway. She had on the shortest little orange miniskirt, fake NeauTats, bubble GumLips, retro airbrushed mascara, and candy blue eyes. “Oh, ok, um, what’s the Offset today?”
Rachael chimed in. “She means the like, what is it, Projection Costs for the end of the meal.
Her Grandfather went off to the restrooms after making the long journey out of his booth.
“Ah–I think…Let me come back to you.”
“Fine,” said Pam, dismissively.
The waitress came back with news on her face.
“We are protected under First Privacy Rights or whatev, um, well, you guys have nothing to worry about.”
“Oh okay fine then,” said Pam, instantly reposing to her colorful Static cardboard menu.
“Wait, what do you mean?”
After a while the manager arrived.
“Hey you guys, is there a difficulty ordering, I ah–my Server Angela here told me there were some questions that you had…”
Both of them at once. “Yes,” “No.”
“–What’s the meal gonna be at the end of the stay here?”
“You mean…the price?”
“It’s fixed on the menu.”
“Fixed, meaning, it changes.”
“Well, it can change, but it doesn’t usually.”
“Why is that? What is this?”
“Well, we’re immune to Price Projections cause of Bitzeri.”
“Cause of Bitzeri, how?”
“She is still four years old good sir, don’t worry about it, go about your business,” dismissed her mom.
Rachael didn’t care quite enough to press on.
“Ok Rach and Nana, while we’re waiting… why don’t wait a little bit longer until your Grampy comes back and then we’ll ah, well, we’ll start opening presents…?” It was also her Nana’s birthday, or at least, they were celebrating it today.
When Grampy came back he still had nothing to say and looked sick. “You okay Grampy?” inquired her mom, formalistically. “He’s all right,” reassured Nana.
Unwrapping of presents had been going on in the meantime. Pam had actually given Rachael a set of NeauDice, and she was beaming out of it. “Thanks mom,” she was utterly surprised. How’d she remember, she never remembers anything important…?
In another, slightly larger box, Rachael again bolded her eyes and then squinted a out of what might have been shock. There it was, the holy grail: “NeauMaquillage!”
“Oh my God oh my God, thank you so much Mom!” The inside was nothing but a tini-black box that could barely be seen inside a clear white box. It had a large CAMBIAN insignia that burned its way to the top seemingly rising from inside some kind of invisible liquid. She touched it and it came to life, first turning a dark steel black, like some kind of molten liquid, after which it opened and gave a little Halo presentation of the assortment of different ways to make use of the little blue stick set in the center of the black steel.
Rachael picked it up and examined it as it were a little wounded bird, cupping it in her palm and raising it to try and make out details on the muted material. There were none.
“Remember Rach, when you go back to the presentation, touch instructions and it’ll tell you all about it. You gotta put it in its box every night now…”
“Oh, really why”
“Yeah, I don’t know, but that’s what it says…”
Rachael replayed the last part of the presentation.
“It says it needs to soak…” Rachael then turned to her mom and looked at her glassy eyes. She was trying to look in. Was it in her head or was her mom just impenetrable. At least she hadn’t stopped smiling, and that seemed genuine.
Pam even gave her a big hug after that when she said thank you. She held her tight and seemed to tremble slightly. No one else would have noticed, it was faint and subtle, but Rachael did.
“Okay folks, let’s start picking up this wrapping paper eh?” said Pam, Nana and Grampy had opened their presents halfway. Nana had indeed opened the first of three little boxes and beheld a set of incense candles and a Rap Music gift receipt.
“Nana you sure do like you’re ghettie rap huh?” Rachael was feeling generous. “Yeaahup,” said she, from another world, blank eyes.
Pam took up the baton. “So, we’re…we’ll this is what your Grampy picked out for us to see tonight…
The waitress decided to leave and come back. “It’s okay, he left abruptly, so…” Rachael said to the waitress, apologetically. Pam didn’t even think of it.
Pam distributed the brochure like pamphlets to everyone and left one sitting there for the ol’ Colonel on his place setting.
Rachael then faintly pantomimed all the actions involved, had she vomited all over the table when she thought everyone’s attention was securely sucked into their spectacles, reading… Her Nana, her Grandmother, caught it, sitting right in front of her, amongst the four of them at the round loud yellow table. She then gave her a brief smile, but then a half-joking look of warning.
“At Last, Something Wicked,” it read, a Playbill for some cheese-ass, as Rachael would put it– ‘old-people play.’ All the actors and actresses were featured as glossy crystal clear and colorful images and indeed, were all seniors of the Bitseri-Maryland Resort itself. The peppier ones. Or at least, Senior actors of the München District.
“So…” It was the ‘I have news tone,’ Pam always used.
But Rachael stopped thinking of that and settled into a weary feeling creeping down her spine…
“We have someone waiting actually!” said Pam, now beaming of some virginal light.
Standing there, right there, coming into her vision, was a tall attractive boy with dirty blonde hair. Beside him was Helen, directly in tow.
Rachael turned to Pam instantly. She’d already processed what she thought her mom’s root motive was in this.
“Mom, that is fucking not fair, you did not tell him there would be this kind of company.
She thought she was using her mom’s own sense of etiquette against her, but it was no use.
“I do not fucking care, you will take him and her away, as soon as we get a break!” She was whispering. Violently.
Her mom merely smiled, gloating. Then reached over to take Rachael aside.
“Give us a moment.” She had not ceased to beam light.
“Rachael, I know I just brought it up, but Helen contacted me because there’s a new event, soon, for engineers, and girls have a leg up being a minority…”
There was a dagger of betrayal engulfing Rachael’s throat, making it thicker and thicker, breathing harder and somehow clearer, profound gasps, though she was trying to hide the physicality of her indignation. Tears were welling up. Arms were cold and jittery.
Yet she could not in that moment muster the feelings of hatred for her mom at the likes of clear and rational Helen. Lone Helen, as of Troy? Maybe not, Rachael considered. But of somewhere better, and got plopped into this shit, this culture…then ended up believing half of it…
Such was Rachael’s theory anyway.
The betrayal in that moment, was mixing in, not like oil and water, but homogenizing into a distinct affection for Helen.
Girls don’t fucking have periods anymore, Camille! What the hell is causing these emotions!?
Rachael thought this, reproachfully, yet eagerly and in some way, unidentifiably greedy for it. Whatever ‘it’ was.
Andrew was an Adonis.
RD AUTO Message: -2090, Sun 17, Octobre 2081 – Centerville, VA. Off-Line |
The vintage bicycle was a shiny blue.
And silver. Leaves fell. Many bright colored leaves covered that mat quality of the early morning tar meeting the sun.
The kick stand came flying up into its place. The spokes of the wheels were not rusted as she’d thought the night before, just some dirt. She shined its surface every other day.
Rachael was sitting on the shiny red seat, and a puff of air trapped inside, came out like she was farting. She hated that sense, the sense that things weren’t serious. But she had to forget it, there was work to be done, a journey ahead of her. She’d been at the hospital the night before. That one last night. With him.
The woods would lead to the clearing and from there, she would take the path to the riverbed near the Airport. Orbs of white and yellow light were seeping from the crest of the horizon where the river water mixed with the sun and the harbor ocean.
The bike was going fast! She heard the music in her Ears blaring and she couldn’t help but think that the land, this expanse of light and endless sidewalk, the endless blue tin railing…they were the music.
Roaring could be heard and she was then feeling the air envelop her entire body, lifted from the bicycle, her heart pounding with excitement. Her purple cloche hat nearly came right off, she was so fast. Her white dress, cinched at the waist, was filling up with air and flapping all over the place. She sat on it and that seemed to solve the problem.
Today is different. I think I’ll avoid the woods.
This roar was of a DerGoG Jet, rising like a flying whale from the depths of the river, the last of the Airbourne flights in the developed world.
Her bike profiled, scrolling with the Jet, enormous NeauMetal and bellowing steel. A bulbous fuselage, but elegant; 2more like its predecessor, the old Airbuses before they’d been put out of commission, long ago.
She looked at her tiny silver watch: 5:30HRS.
But it’s not time!
Rachael sped up, faster and faster, pounding her little feet to the peddles.
She hadn’t actually seen the planes. But she remembered. She could always remember.