Five: Episode Two is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation. See First Episode is available on blog date Jan. 15, 2015
(on earth, January 1, 2165)
It takes twenty-three minutes before Kate appears on my media wall. I stifle amusement over her latest attempt at hair control. Her Fit cap has slid to one side, and the exposed half of her bronze blue locks are drenched in sweat.
Kate wipes her neck with a towel. “What’s up? “
I hold up the Blame Log.“This. It’s supposed to be an explanation as to why my printer can’t generate a simple cup of cocoa.”
Kate removes the cap entirely. The covered side of her hair tumbles out in perfect form. The contrast is amazing.
She labors to talk. “If …you… want cocoa,…… why don’t you use….your Kitchenade?
“Research. My newest article. Can one machine really do it all?”
As Kate dabs at her hair, I fiddle with the magnification. My dearest friend’s head appears 1000 times larger on my living room wall. I resist the urge to fake sweep the hair out of her eyes. When I slide the document into the opening, Kate disappears behind the projected Blame Log image, which grows, to the height of the wall. Her voice is distant.
“That’s just hype, silly. No machine will ever be able to “do it all.” I’m hanging onto every one of mine until they make us switch. It took all of last century for them to shrink our tech cache down to nothing. It’ll be years before we have to give up everything and use just one. Heck, we may be dead by then. Why rush it?”
For some reason, I practically shout, “I’m not. I’m just trying to finish my article. New York sent me the best of the best, but when I programmed the printer for cocoa, it spit this out.”
I hear muffled sounds behind the document image and sense that Kate has stepped closer. She mumbles something. I adjust the volume. “What did you say?”
“Is this an actual letter? Who writes these anymore?”
“Read it aloud.”
“Dear SJ, This is not a mistake. Although we’ve never met, I’m writing to you because we’re related. I’m your great, great, great grandmother.”
Kate reappears to the side. “You know that’s just plain crazy. You don’t even have a mother.”
“I know. It doesn’t make sense. Keep going.”
“I gotta sit.”
I watch as my friend dials up her sofa and flops down. It looks like leather, and the cognac color is a far better choice than the whimsical cotton print I’d seen on our last visit. She leans forward and squints just to the left of my shoulder. I know she is trying to follow the lines of text on her wall.
“Can you still see the words?”
“They’re like a banner. I’m not blind yet.”
She begins again. “In relation to time, you and I live five generations apart. My world is doing well, but yours soon will end. Please read all that I send you. You’ll know what to do with it when the time comes.”
Kate abandons her perch. She practically dances in front of me. Around the corners of her mouth, she wears my favorite smile, the one that spells mischief.
“What the heck? This is a great joke. Someone is playing with you. What fun.”
“Of course it’s a joke, but still. The part about Fol is more creepy than funny don’t you think?”
Kate stops in mid jig and comes close to the wall. “I don’t see anything about Fol.”
“Keep reading. Skim it until you come to the part about Fol. Then read it aloud. I think it mentions robbers, too.”
The magnification on the side of her neck allows me to see a worrisome bruise mottling her pale skin. I want to question her about the bruise, but I don’t want to spoil her optimism. She clings to every evidence of healing.
“What?” I ask.
“All of it. This entire letter… Consider today’s message from me our introduction. I was born May 5, 1958, but nothing much happened to me in those first 23 years that will matter …”
Kate grows silent. I wait for her to process the contents of the letter. It’s taking too long, so I modulate the transparency and then mirror the text so I can read the letter on my side. The font is huge. I step back to focus but soon stop reading as Kate’s voice, far away and dramatic, begins again. I see she is now standing on her living room dais holding a tangible copy.
“It makes no difference how I first came to discover the band of robbers and Fol’s treachery. It only matters now that you know the truth about them too. They must be stopped. You’ll hear from me again soon. All my love, Evie”
Kate waves the copy back at me. “Can I keep it?”
“Sure. What for?”
“I’ll find out who started the prank. It’s probably one of your old boyfriends. They want you to have doubts about Fol. Your plans to team with him may have stirred up a bit of jealousy.”
“Maybe it’s not my Fol the letter is referring to. After all, why would he resort to stealing since the biggest supply network is under his command?”
“My point exactly. Someone’s guessed your fascination with generation communication, and they are trying to plant doubt in your heart when you know what is true. Very sneaky, but obviously poorly executed. Quite archaic, actually.”
I nod. I’d already documented how many people on the earth are named Fol. The result is a staggering 893, 462 people. My fiancé is not one speck a villain. He is my beloved happiness.
This blog post is an excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts will appear weekly as my story development progresses. The story snippets will likely be full of typos, garbage, and confusion. I’m sure to regret allowing readers a sneak peak of the chaos involved in this process of making a finished book.
Someday, if I still have an audience, my book(s) and screenplays will be polished and for sale. Until then, my story snippets are free, but payment by “subscribing” with your email would be a nice gesture. For doing this you might get a discount on my purchasable work should that day ever arrive. All you get now is a notice via email of a new story episode that I have ready to read on my “blog.” I don’t sell my email list or do anything else with it.
Why am I doing this stupid and terrible thing—letting readers see my “off the cuff” story writing?
Book industry experts say that in today’s world of book marketing, an unknown author must build their own sales platform. I’m supposed to advance my platform by collecting readers, and for now, by blogging. Since I can’t imagine blogging about what I had for breakfast or the things my cat does, then instead, I’m blogging fiction excerpts of my work(s) in progress.
Thanks for slogging along. Maybe we’ll meet on a bookshelf someday.