“In the near future
Petrogenic tubes will allow us
To map each other’s hearts
And not in the sense of
Pulse, pressure, or saturation;
We will be able to translate “I forgot”
Into everything that was unsaid
And tease the edges of communion
Wrapping into ourselves.”
“You should have just returned my calls.
It’s a basic signalling game –
But this may be my favourite
Of all your fragile lies.”
“No, I don’t believe in our having been chimpanzees, or cavemen, or peasants without indoor plumbing, or the like. Don’t go calling me a creationist, though – I can see it in your face. I think the creationists have it wrong, too.
“I’ll allow for the possibility of dinosaurs and the planet being however many eons old. But I’m not going to be suckered in by the theory that our ancestors ran around for millennia without cotton underwear, Advil, or knowing to boil their water.
“You’ll see why, if you think about it. So many untreatable itches and infections would have gotten us. No black pants or clean pads – if the predators didn’t get you, the vaginosis would have. No oatmeal baths or baby-grade laundry detergent. No cranberry juice, probiotics, antibiotics, acid capsules, or surgeons to pick out stray bits of uterus.
“No. We all had to be born somehow, and there’s just no way that vaginas could have survived in the wild.”
I met her in a soup tureen
Her glare almost gave me compound fractures
But I told her we should go for a dip
For some reason she humoured me
And then we lived happily on the sill together
Peace was the last thing on our minds
And food somewhere near second
Until she remembered herself and asked
“Shouldn’t you be more necessary to my happiness?”
But I alone was never necessary to anyone
She took her honey crumbs, and flew away
I eat fried egg on toast
And reluctantly get dressed
I eat fried egg on toast
And sneak back into bed
I can’t be perfect every day
So I’ll be comfortable instead
Mrs. DeWhitt was a bit too unerring in her instincts for her own good. Somehow, whether by the curling of her toes or a pinch in her right shoulder, she knew when Mr. DeWhitt was inappropriately occupied with the nth chamber maid, the girl-who-came-only-on-Wednesdays, the innkeep’s daughter, or any other bit of female miscellany under the age of thirty.
During these times (which constituted most of the time) Mr. DeWhitt would often be puzzled to find his dinner late, cold, or absent; his gloves, or cuff links, or rifle missing; his galoshes continually, inexplicably muddied; and his best scotch disappearing faster than he could rightly account for.
Unfortunately for the marriage, Mrs. DeWhitt exercised her powers in so natural and unconscious a manner, and Mr. DeWhitt was so far from thinking these mishaps anything but coincidence, that the gentleman never realized that he was receiving his just desserts, and the lady was never content.
It felt like an age had passed while I was in the restroom. Yet it hadn’t been long enough. The older I get the less these conditional holidays seem like holidays at all, and more like work in disguise.
Reluctantly, I turned towards the voice and the mountains. Either it was my imagination or the twilight on that side of the plaza was deepening; shadows darkening the flowers among the scrub, and far above them, the pines and the crags. Someone had seen fit to leave a stone table on the grass not far from me, and its weathered scrollwork, and cracked surface, managed to convey forlornness amid the rest of this zytocoke-fueled fantasy.
Mavind was sitting there, waiting for me with her cream self perched upon the faded grey, feet off the ground and legs swaying slightly. The table might as well have been placed for her. A creeper was growing up one leg. Continue reading “CONDITIONAL HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS LESS THAN WHAT THEY SEEM (4/4)”
I forged a path toward the washroom through the thinner bits of the crowd, conscious that my newfound powers in clearing away knots of people were 100% due to the Junoesque figure following me. And this, I realized, was one of the most exciting things that had happened on any of our CLPFC days; the expressions around us were awash with curiosity, shock, and delight. Everyone here would know that Ibrander’s date had jumped ship to Lalantree before lunch was served.
Trying to scan as many faces as possible without making eye contact (now this is a true art) I almost bumped into Loddi’s mum. This in spite of her neon floral mumu. “Oh, hello Lalantree. Loddi isn’t with you?”
“No…” Mavind had come up close behind me, and Loddi’s mum did a double take. Continue reading “CONDITIONAL HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS LESS THAN WHAT THEY SEEM (3/4)”
Nonchalant and all that, I waited until the last moment to look up at the welcome interlopers.
“Ibrander,” said a poised, throaty, laughing voice, “won’t you introduce me?”
They stopped in front of the bench, my third cousin Ibrander (who detests Loddi, making me instantly suspicious of his coming over) and a tall, glossy person who was all rich brown hair and expressive mouth and hand gestures. One hand was on Ibrander’s arm but she still managed to be gesturing with it. Her clothes were nothing less than dashing – a wide hat and a one-piece dress suit in cream, its tailored A-line skirt skewing physics by ending in a sway. This was one case where I didn’t have to worry about the polite game that people played of trying to guess-without-guessing whether someone was visiting in-holo only. She was most definitely in person. Continue reading “Conditional Holidays are Always Less Than What They Seem (2/4)”
Listless at my habitual 3pm low, and wishing that I could work in a more comfortable position, a change of position, I studied the long space under the underutilized half of my L-shaped desk.
I looked at it, and that was to envision explaining myself, which irritated me. It was a perfectly good bit of carpet, shaded and never walked upon. It would fit me nicely if I laid down there to read instead. So why can’t I actually do this?
Open offices are detestable.
Unlike the cosine, which has grown tarnished and shriveled with the oxidation of centuries, the Law of Large Numbers (LLN) has kept remarkably well. As I crept through my apartment over the course of the next few days, expecting a black and orange and mud-coloured assault at every step, I recited the Law to myself.
The LLN states that, when one has the results of a large number of trials from a sample that is representative of a given population, the average of said results should be close to the expected value of the population entire. This sample average will tend closer to the population average as more trials are performed. Since the average number of humans killed or injured by klars per Old Earth Lunar Year (OELY) in the past few decades was precisely zero, and this constituted a good number of trials, the LLN would have me believe that I was safe. I should have gone forth boldly, and stopped slouching so much.
But under these circumstances – as close as I thought I would ever get to experiencing the antique ‘horror’ genre, in which I have precisely zero interest – it was difficult to convince myself that klars had not simply been saving the lives of the same number of human as they killed every year, thus ensuring a neutral profile for the species entire. Having an invisible beast with untrimmed, inch-long claws in one’s living quarters has this sort of effect.
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