January 7th, 2005



(11:38) < _azure> They say a Jedi can rule over the weak minded.
(11:39) < _azure> I had to drive across wv to pick up my volvo.
(11:40) < _azure> I stopped in a remote gas station somewhere in the mountains
(11:40) < _azure> they conducted business through a small slot near the
                  cashier's window.
(11:40) < _azure> (it was 2:00am or thereabouts)
(11:41) < _azure> I seem to have run out of story.


Fast Fiction 01.07.05

406 words by Stanley Lieber
Photo by sparkligbeatnic

Without stopping to check his messages, Stan touched the lighting controls and settled down into his coach seat for a short nap. Co-workers had streamed out of the building a quarter hour before, and he always enjoyed taking his breaks in the empty plane setting. No one else would be queuing up until standard break times during business hours tomorrow. Anyway, he could keep an eye on the logs by leaving a small window overlay running near the Captain's cabin. He hadn't had time to setup a custom script to feed him less intrusive, non-visual updates via vibration.

Stan pressed his face against the cold glass of his passenger window and stared out into the air between the ground and himself. The plane banked on a steep curve, pulling the river delta into view and allowing a clear take on the quilt of buildings and grass plots below. Like a cake on a tablecloth, he thought, randomly selected for his profile and smeared around by the mischievous kitchen help. His face wrinkled and he suppressed conscious annoyance at the irregular audio -bloop- of incoming log events.

Little barges and sailboats trickled along the Bay's fingers, as they gripped the delta like a paycheck. Stan thought it was strange that so many microwave towers should still be standing, so near to clusters of residential housing. Patches of shade from the balls of cloud above slid gently across muddy fields and changed shape over flat mirrored plates where rain water collected and stagnated. Stan thought the lighting effects here looked a little artificial, but the angle of the sun was catching bits of aluminum in the atmosphere, and this slightly surreal visual was actually quite natural. Stan wouldn't have realized it in that context, but his wetware was actually yearning for an artificial ideal; "real" reality was actually not quite good enough. This is what painting had aspired to reflect, back in the 19th century.

At precisely 20:03 standard the financial district of the metropolis which had just come into view started to wiggle and spun up into a frothing wad of ASCII characters, spinning like a slot machine for several seconds before settling into several lines of script-English Stan could absorb by running his eyes back and forth across the different arrangements of word groups.

It didn't matter what the emergency was, having to come back from break early was disorienting.


* license