I drove to Issaquah with the top down, my favorite brown jacket wrapped me in an orgasmic layer of comfort. “Pink Floyd” played through the speakers, of course. (It plays now, though a different album.) I sped through the twisty roads and trusted the GPS to get us there safely. Of course it did.
At the bar I ordered the barleywine I’d come for, and a cheap order of buffalo chicken sliders. My mind didn’t process in that moment that combining spicy food with a barleywine may not have been the best idea.
I read a different book now, Top 10 Volume 2. The book had one issue left, and that’s the time it took me to drink my beer, have the spicy sliders, and notice a man and woman sit down at the bar.
Under a late-March sky, under hues of gold and blue and white, our world changed.
I was reclining on a patio chair in the shade of a large umbrella, a glass of sherry on the table by my side, a book in my hands. I had rented this cottage for the month and on this, the second day of my stay, went through the bookshelf in the living room and settled on this book to read.
Nothing too fancy about it, just your average pile of pages bound in a red leather cover, black letters etched into its surface, lines crisscrossing in some random abstract pattern on the front. I opened the book, took in the smell of paper, pondered at how curious it was that this scent still continued to mine the depths of my emotions, and began reading.
The book started out as a mystery, a plain and by the numbers murder with half a dozen characters and three separate storylines that I knew would careen around until they collided. But with each chapter came the more and more frequent digressions.
The characters were talking about the murder less, had started going off on tangents that I was sure would somehow matter in the end. Seemingly unimportant details from childhoods were brought up, stories of long-forgotten friends or lovers began to insert themselves into otherwise-ordinary courtroom scenes and graduation speeches.
The background characters took it all in stride, never piping up to interrupt the strange and unexpected soliloquies. Continue reading
I roll out of bed and pull on a pair of flannel pants, matching shirt, red and blue patterns on both. I walk out of the bedroom, down the hallway to the bathroom.
I place a bucket under the sink and open the tap, then release my own stream into the toilet. Water going into two different receptacles.
With a practiced and steady hand I reach up above the sink into a plastic bin, pull out a measured spoon of blue powder, and dump this into the bucket.
Once I’m done I wash my hands, transfer the contents of the bucket into a plastic watering can in the shape of an elephant, and walk around my small apartment, watering the dozen or so plants I have scattered on every windowsill and some counters.
The plants are simple creatures, they want little. Some blue medicine mixed into a bit of water and that’s all the plants need. Continue reading
It is an alien world that is around us. Literally.
It’s outside of our experience, if our own thoughts are the only measure of reality that we can have.
I watch a bee fly over the flowers on my patio. They’re beautiful shades of pink and orange, and the bees have been busy lately, buzzing from bell to bell. I watch them and wonder what it would be like to be a bee. They get to fly and crawl around miles and miles of gorgeous flowers to gather the very energy that their society needs to sustain itself. They fly back and sometimes do a fancy dance for their identical siblings, informing the hive of the location of a particularly plentiful patch.
An alien kind of existence. Their communication system so different, so unintelligible to humans. We’re going to have to spend millions in research grants, thousands of hours of effort, entire buildings built, and gigabytes of data across the globe will go towards understanding what one bee tells another by way of its dancing and buzzing. A task that their tiny minds are incredibly well-equipped to perform.
We are spending ourselves to understand the language, the grammar of bees. Because we wish to know their alien thoughts.
And of course our own thoughts are little-more understood.
Did you know that it costs about three hundred bucks – US dollars – to build an EMP bomb? That’s 300$ for something that can fry every piece of electronics in about 10 city blocks. It’s not a big explosion, either, just a small car-bomb that goes pop and suddenly every microchip around it is gone. Say bye-bye to your phone, laptop, tablet, your car, pacemaker, thermometer, fridge, maybe even your toilet. Need I go on?
Detonate this puppy around Wall Street and you can shut down the stock exchange for a week at least. If there’s a hospital in the blast range, you’ll likely cause some deaths as well.
Trigger this thing close enough to an airport, it’s gonna rain planes.
Pop one in front of the White House and the President can’t watch his TV for a while.
We set camp, organized shifts, and I fell asleep. I dreamt of golden fields of wheat. I think that’s what it was. I’d never seen golden fields of wheat, can’t tell you what they look like.
I walk through the golden fields and run my hands through the harvest. It’s been a good year.
What we now call the Seattle Freeze, they first described as Snowmageddon.
The Next Ice Age, or simply Ice, began as a year-long snow-storm that buried Seattle under six feet of ice. It all started with Seattle, and we were here to end it here as well.
The team comprised the six of us, a dozen satellites in orbit, and the high-altitude smart-base we called home, The Helix.
My name is Horatio Wyland Sils and I have been a soldier in this army for the past forty years, ever since the day of my birth. I was born in Rio, when the Ice had already covered most of Europe and North America.
When I was born, we hadn’t heard from China in a while.
I looked at Block as if he had grown an extra head. I think this was justified, the man had just claimed that we had traveled two thousand years into the past. The airplane around us suddenly seemed to close in on me.
The pressure kept changing, making my ears pop, and I wondered when this vehicle we were lock in would settle down somewhere.
We did just that in mere seconds, then the crew was up out of their seats and filing out of the two exits the aircraft had. Meg came over to me and freed the stretcher, then moved it toward the closest outside bulkhead, pushing it over the raised lip and dragging it down a ramp.
We were on a cement tarmac, an air-control tower on the other side of the runway. It was a sunny morning, in contrast to the late afternoon we had just left. The acid rain was replaced by sunny skies.