Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/08/07 (Week 118)

Physics is an interesting thing, I wish more people understood it. Alas, most people, these days, think Physics is a lie made by the Liberal Left, and it’s radical followers. Which is why I’m here, in this tube, 23,000 miles above the planet.

We left. Those of use that could leave. It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t easy. Millions of us died because we couldn’t leave.

You might think it was the rich ones of us who survived, and who now live in our little tubes, floating in space, in geosynchronous orbit around the planet that was once our home. It wasn’t. The richest among us worked to find those most deserving of surviving. The ones of us who cared, who helped our neighbors, supported science, and the active quest for knowledge. Those of us who fed the homeless, and the hungry, who paid the medical bills of others, though we couldn’t afford to pay our own.

I walk to the end of my tube, each morning. Well. I call it mourning. That’s when the tube rotates far enough for the sun to start shining light into it again. I walk to the end of the tube, and watch the sun rise. It’s a bit different than being on Earth. No colors. No light shows. Just a sliver of blinding light that enters from one side of the tube, and slowly arcs to the other.

The tube spins about its center point once every 24 hours. Eventually, it will slow down, but that will take centuries. There’s not much friction here to slow it down.

It also rolls. Endlessly. And actually, quite rapidly. About the axis through its entire length. That’s how we get gravity. The tube spins fast enough to throw us into its sides, simulating gravity. Move to the center of the tube, and you will float there for days. Maybe weeks. Before the motion of the air in the tube will pull you far enough off center to smack you into the side of the tube.

This is where we live now. We’ve escaped the conservative hell that Earth has become. The hell that says science is a lie, you can get medical care if you can afford it, otherwise you can die, you can work like a slave for a company, and then live in company provided housing, until you die, or until you piss off someone higher up the company ladder than you. If you do that, you can’t work for anyone. Ever. This is how they keep everyone in line.

You work for the companies. Or you die. It’s that simple.

I’m free of that, here in my tube. I live here with a female of the species, in the hope that we can continue to survive as a population. Right now, travel between tubes is limited. But, we’re working on that. It’s desperately needed to keep the gene pool functional. Too much inbreeding, and we will die out.

It is sad, really, to stand here, each morning, watching the sun rise, knowing what is happening on Earth. Watching the Earth’s atmosphere become more toxic daily. Watching those who still live there die out, and be replaced by machines. Watching the oceans turn die from the solid wall of plastic waste that covers them.

But someday, when everything has reached its end, our descendants may return to the planet. After the biosphere recovers from what we humans did to it, despite what our sciences told us, and the warnings we had of our impending self destruction.

In the meantime, we will be here. In our tubes. Floating along. Doing our best to survive. Dreaming of a world that could have been.

614 Words

It’s week 118 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

I Hate Driving

Here I am again.
Getting in my car.
Going to drive somewhere.


I hate driving.

Not really.
Driving’s actually fun.
The driving part of driving,
That is.

The rest of driving
I could easily live without.
Except I can’t avoid it.
‘Cause, you know.
Other people drive.
Which is why I say

I hate driving.

Time to shut the door.
Buckle your ass in the car,
You know damn well why.
One word.
Do you have any idea
How many idiots on the road
Drive like physics
Doesn’t exist?

I call it the Animated Cartoon Rule.
Gravity doesn’t work for them
As long as they don’t think about it.
The way people drive,
I think they feel that same way
About physics.

Fucking idiots.

Trouble is,
I have to drive
Among them.
Surrounded by them.

Turn the car on, dummy.
No being late.
Now, put it in reverse,
And before you go anywhere,
Look for other humans
And their cars.

There’s one.
About 3 blocks away.
Think I’ll sit here.
Speed limits 25, I know.
But they’ll do 30 at least.
Every time I’ve tried backing out
When someone’s that far away,
I end up in their way.

Have you ever seen the face
Of someone you backed out
In front of?
That look that says,
“I should fucking run into you.
And then sue you.
I’d fucking win in court.”
That look.

I hate driving.

The idiot’s moved past me.
Now, look for other idiots.
You know they’re there.
You know how people drive.
Are we clear?

Back out of the driveway.
Now into first gear.
And away we go.
To the stop sign.
At the corner.

It’s a stop sign.
That means you stop.
Thank God no one’s behind me.
Sometimes I think
I’m the only one
In my entire neighborhood
That actually stops here.
And doesn’t slow down,
Glace both directions,
And then floor it.

Another car.
Way down there.
Heading this way.
I’ll sit here.
Let that one go first.
So I don’t get in their way.

I’ll do 25 at best.
Residential neighborhood.
People walk on the roads.
There’s a reason
There’s road kill on the roads.

Stupid people.

Someone’s behind me now.
While I wait for traffic to clear.
There’s that look again.
The, “What the fuck’s your problem!” look.
There he goes.
Trying to push me into the road.
And there’s the other look.
The, “Some people shouldn’t be allowed to drive!” look.

The car has cleared.
Now, I can go.
Put it in gear, and turn right.
Sure enough.
The dingbat behind me
Never even looked.
Just road my ass
All the way through the corner.

And there’s that other look.
The “You ain’t riding the ass
Of the car in front of you!” look.
I get that all the time.
I’d scream at him,
“It’s a physics thing, you idiot!”
But he wouldn’t understand.

Red, as usual.
Look at the idiot.
Soon as it spreads to 4 lanes,
What’s he do?
Come screaming around me
In the left lane,
Then smacks on his brakes
So he don’t hit the cars
Already stopped for the light.

“Hey, dingbat!
There’s a reason I wasn’t driving stupid!”
You have any idea how many times
I’ve wanted to scream that?

Now, wait for the light to turn green.
Be ready to pop the clutch,
And pour gas
On the ground.
‘Cause the bitch
Behind you
Is going to push you
Into the car in front of you
If you don’t get the fuck
Out of her way.

Green light.
Add gas.
But I’m not in a hurry.
‘Cause the light ahead
Is red already.
And we’re all gonna stop again.

There she goes.
Riding my ass.
Sorry, darlin’!
I’m not in any rush
To reach the back bumpers
Of the cars at the stop light.

And, there she goes
Into the other lane.

And, here I go.
Passing her at the light.
She’s 3 cars behind
Where she would have been.
If she’d just stayed put.
You know.
I wasn’t moving fast enough
For her.
And by the next light,
I’ll be further ahead.

It’s an observed behavior thing.
People are stupid.
Can’t figure out
No one’s going anywhere.
So, they swap lanes
And tailgate

I hate driving.

Left turn at the next intersection.
Move over to the left turn lane.
Light’s yellow.

And try to ignore the idiot
That just slammed on their brakes
And dumped hot coffee
In their lap.
‘Cause they had to stop,
‘Cause I didn’t run the light.
Like they would have.

Freaking idiots.

Just get me there alive, God.
That’s all I want.
Just get me there alive.
Don’t let one of them kill me,
Just ‘cause I’m on
The same road they’re on.

I hate people.
I really fucking do.
I really fucking do.

Steam-punk, Robot Dogs

They said it was a blue moon. A rare event. The second full moon in the same month. Wasn’t supposed to happen again for years. I looked at it, hanging in the sky. Anything but blue. Sucker looked just as white to me as it always had. No blue at all. “Another one of those social customs I just don’t understand.” I sighed.

I was walking again. In the dark. It was one of the ways I dealt with psychological pain. Walking. Until I just went numb, and couldn’t feel a damn thing. That always gave me the space I needed to think. To rest. To forget. So I could let my aching heart, and wounded soul heal.

Then, I got to the house with the steam-punk style, robot looking dogs in the front yard. House had a sign on it, said, “Beware of dogs.” Yeah. Right. Like those piles of junk could actually move. That’s when it hit me. The idea. “What if I wrote a story about them coming to life every time there’s a full moon?”

‘Course, it would totally ignore the laws of physics. I mean, piles of scrap metal that came to life every 28 or so days? Yeah, right. Lots of reality in that one. But, maybe it was time to write something fantasy. Something not real. Something fun. I thought about that for a while. Robot dogs, chasing cats. Terrorizing muggers and petty thieves. Trying to have sex with real dogs. Whatever. Hell, I was throwing out the laws of physics. I might as well throw out all the laws. Make it where anything could happen.

Yeah, OK. So, the idea was a lot like the idea of werewolves. You know. Where some guy turns into a wolf every full moon, and hunts down people, and eats them. Or maybe some girl turns into a wolf, and goes after the human men that have hurt her during her life. That kinda thing. But, these weren’t werewolves. They were robot, steam-punk dogs. I thought that just might be weird enough to write about.

Since that night, under the blue moon, I make sure I take a walk when there’s a full moon. Hell, I even get in the car, and drive someplace I’ve never walked, just to explore the place. And get ideas. I tell people, “That blue moon started it. Put a spell on me somehow. So that I have to walk around, looking for ideas to write about, in the middle of the night when there’s a full moon. I don’t think I’ll be released from that spell until the next blue moon.”

Can you believe people actually believe that crap?

I wrote this in response to the Menage Monday challenge, hosted by Cara Michaels. As before, I’m ignoring word limits for now. Letting myself explore ideas, and writing. Letting myself be creative. There are always plenty of entries in the challenge. And they are always fun to read. Go have fun. Read all the entries this week.