The Strip

If You Lived Here, You Could Be Home Now

July 28th, 2008 - No Responses

Falling Blossom walked through her front door and into the living room of her apartment. She didn’t turn any of the ceiling light on; didn’t even take off her shades, though they did adjust to pick out the edges of the room and the couch in a ghostly white. The storage bot zipped out of the wall and scooped up her boots as she shucked them off, whisking them away until they were next needed.

For a long time she stood, resting her forehead on the cool glass of the window that was her eastern wall, looking down at the lights of the strip reflected in the water. Eventually she sighed and pulled herself away from the view. She swiped a panel on the wall and the room began to reconfigure itself, the couch sinking into the floor and the bed rising up against the other wall. While she waited for it to be done she stripped, dropping everything on the floor for the storage bot except for a hand knife, which she tucked under her pillow. A few more taps on the panel called up her favourite sleep settings: dim points to simulate stars on the ceiling light, and a slight tint on the window to cut down the glare of the neon glow from the strip, deepening to full blackout by dawn.

Fantastic New Real-Estate Opportunity!

July 1st, 2008 - No Responses

Nearing the ocean, the freeway rose above the surrounding streets on massive concrete pylons, splitting and spreading in off-ramps and on-ramps and fly-overs and fly-unders like some parody of a river delta. Traffic was a constant crawl on the streets below, and at this time of night it began to clog up the ramps and spread upwards. Falling Blossom didn’t even ease up on the accelerator. She shifted her weight back and up and under its black cowling the skeleton of the bike adjusted accordingly. The chassis sucked in its metal gut and the tires pulled up the edges of their thick contact patches, built for road-hugging speed, to give her more maneuverability.

She shot between cars that might as well have been parked, kicked back and forth across lanes and soon she was through the crush and climbing the slow rise of the bridge stretching out over the Pacific to the lights out across the water. Lemuria, the strip’s answer to the problem of overcrowding. Normally Falling Blossom loved watching the lights over the water at night, but tonight her attention was on the shore to the north, where the lights and barbed wire of the pirate compound were clearly visible.

Please Come Again

June 15th, 2008 - No Responses

Falling Blossom left the fluorescent strobe of U-Eat #2016 half an hour later. She had delivered the message. It had been an unpleasant task, but necessary. Who knew, maybe it would even be heeded. It was out of her hands, now.

The blue glow from the towering sign poured down over her as she climbed astride her bike: a sleek black thing, low to the ground. There was no seat as such; her weight rested mostly on her abdomen, the thrum of the engine echoing through her as she thumbed the ignition and pulled out of the lot. Soon she was headed west, towards the ocean and home, the freeway a blur scant inches below her knees and thrum of the engine risen to a steady whine.

May I Take Your Order?

June 8th, 2008 - Comments Off on May I Take Your Order?

The fluorescent lighting and sterile linoleum of the fast food restaurant was neutral ground. They were a chain store, up and down the strip. Five hundred miles dotted liberally with the squat, square buildings selling sugar and fat and two hundred million people eager to stuff it down their throats. With replacement organs cheaper every day people were still fat, stupid and lazy, but it was harder and harder to die from those things and fast food was big business. Such big business that they had the best security of any public place, hence the neutral ground.

The fake vinyl seat was sticky as Falling Blossom slid into the booth. She was late; not late enough, it seemed, for she was still alone. The food in front of her nauseated her slightly, placing her squarely in a clear minority, but she busied herself with making a show of eating anyway, conscious of the domed cameras dotting the ceiling and not wanting to be forcefully ejected before her business here was done. She was so engrossed in her act for the cameras she did not notice the man walk in until she looked up from her color-a-dinosaur paper placemat. He saw her at the same moment, caught the grimace on her face, and adopted a haughty scowl as he sat down opposite her.

“You got some kind of a problem?” he growled.
“Only that I wanted to get through this without any problems and you show up here dressed like that.”
“Are you disrespecting my tribe?”
She slowly looked him up and down before answering, trying to decide whether there was any point in being tactful. In the end, she figured there wasn’t. “Pirate isn’t a tribe you fucking moron, learn some history. You couldn’t at least leave the parrot at home? Or the eyepatch?”
“I don’t have to listen to this.” He thumped his hands on the table and slid out of the booth. “You’re lucky there’s no way to get weapons into these places.”
“Actually,” she said, pushing the tray away and leaning back in the seat, her hands clearly visible, “you’re wrong. Across the board. I have three weapons on me right now and could cut you down before you take a step. More importantly, you do have to listen to this. Now sit the hell down.”