I don't always write fast, but I always try to write well. If you read something of mine and think, "Well, that was crap.", please read it again. Sometimes my jokes and layered meanings don't always come across instantly. If I make you work for the punchline, I hope you realize that I wouldn't even set up the hurdle for you if I didn't think you were able to clear it.
Well, I said I wanted it to be a quiet vacation. You can't get much quieter than this. Even if this atmosphere were thick enough to conduct sound waves, I'm the only sentient being on Mars.
Yep, nice and quiet. Finally.
What have I got, eight more? Ten, maybe?
No, eleven. Eleven protein-carbo bars and four liters of water. The fusion pack is good for another twenty-eight years, so if the waste recycle unit continues at ninety-eight percent efficiency...
That means I can keep re-eating my own feces and re-drinking my own urine for another twelve years.
I guess I...
I'd paid for the whole night, thinking that I might as well go for the whole enchilada.
Half an hour would have been $80-plus, the "plus" being a sliding scale based on what I wanted to do in the half-hour. An hour would have been $200-plus. She said the full hour cost more than two half-hours because the clients usually wanted to be more exotic if they have a whole hour to work with.
I paid $2000-plus for her to stay with me the whole night. All the hours she'd do nothing but sleep with me, she could have been...
In the harsh twilight, he knelt and dug.
In the bottom of the phoenix-grave, he spread the spores that would feed on and support the beginnings 0f all life.
In the sharp, glassy soil, he placed the seeds of a new planet.
In the unmeasured, empty space of an hour, he changed the course of the universe.
In the flat gray expanse of weathered silicates, three thousand potatoes rested.
In the dead methane-carbon dioxide atmosphere, the harsh actinic sun slanted down, undimmed by ozone.
In the cool, moist air of his time machine, he left the dawn of the world,...
"What is it you have to do again?"
Richard pointed at the screen. "You have to get the butterflies to land on that tree."
"Which one, the one on the left?"
"No," he said, "the other one, the little one."
His son crossed his arms. "Dad, this game is so lame! I don't see how you could have played this thing. The graphics suck!"
"Hey, this is 16-bit resolution! You should have seen some of the old 8-bit side-scrolling games. The graphics on them were even worse, but they were all we had. And do you hear those sound effects?"...
Snip snip snip.
He squinted into the test tube. The stems of heather floated in the solution of sodium dodecyl sulfate, suspended, waiting.
Laughing at him.
Gene closed his eyes. No, he thought, not now. Not after all this. Not when I'm so close.
Flashback to the grimy street where he was born, eleventh child to a drunk and a slattern. When he dared say that he would grow up to be a scientist one day, oh how the neighborhood toughs had loved it. Another reason to pound him, day after day. "Gene, Gene the gene-machine, work...
Silent minutes ticked by. Neither of them spoke.
The wind gusted and Eloise pulled her coat closed. Daphne closed her eyes and sighed.
"Do you have any cigarettes?" said Eloise.
Daphne shook her head.
The dress, the hats, the purse - such a pitiful display. Not even any shoes. Before the war, Mme. Rocharde would have been laughed out of Paris for such a thin broth as this.
Now, though, when even this little rag of a dress was eight weeks wages....
Their shift at the factory started soon, but the sisters spent a few more minutes looking in the...
"Will you just buy a newspaper?"
"I don't need a newspaper. I'm going to say 1985."
"No way, it can't be any later than 1973. Look at the can."
"I see the can, but -"
"Then you see the logo style. That's totally an early seventies steel can. Just buy a paper so we can figure out when we are."
"Look, the phone has a Southwestern Bell logo. That means it's AFTER the breakup of AT&T. Therefore, we are sometime in the mid-eighties."
"But soft drink companies had already switched to aluminum cans. How do you explain that?"
"But do you love me?"
Love? What is love? Love is a social construct. Love is an excuse to screw someone you think is hot. Love is a joke, a trap, an illusion. Love is what you wish for when you don't know how the world really works.
I see your skin and I think of you naked, wish for you to fall into my arms so I can possess you. Part of me wants you now, part of me wants you always.
There's only a limited extent to which these parts overlap.
Lust after you, to be sure. Like...
So there I was, cigarette in hand, pigeon in my mouth, and she starts talking to me. I'm like, lady, shut up already, will ya? If the blood bothers you, go read somewhere else, OK?
But no, she wants me to stop eating the pigeon. Or stop smoking, or something. I dunno, the sound of the bones crunching kinda drowned her out. Whatever she was saying, she must have felt pretty strongly about it, 'cause she popped a button on her blouse when she started pointing her finger in my face.
I was pretty sure the button wasn't one of...
"What do you mean, you don't have any? C'mon, Billy, this is me! Don't hold out on me, OK?"
The party crashed and throbbed around her, the scowl on her face morphing into worry, almost into fear.
"Billy, what the hell's going on here? Nobody's got any!"
She listened for a moment.
"Oh, don't be an ass. OK, yes, I called some other guys before I called you. I'm not trying to cut you out of my business, you're my rock solid, the best source in town. You ALWAYS have some. I didn't want to bother you except as a...