Overheard Through an Apartment Wall in a City Orbiting Jupiter

juno_160701

This is a little flash story I cobbled together while feeling adventurous about format and framing of stories. And, as usual, about the future. It seemed fitting to post it following the arrival of the Juno craft at Jupiter.

Hopefully the WordPress text editor won’t make too much of a hash of it — I’ll do my best to keep it looking like it’s supposed to.

This story first appeared as a patron-exclusive post on my Patreon page on July 5th — patrons see most posts 3 days early, stories 30 days early, get free ebooks whenever I publish a new one, and random exclusive stuff on occasion when I come up with something I think my patrons would like.

Help me move the hell out of the trailer park (no, seriously, I live in a goddamn trailer park and I’m NOT a fan of it) by becoming a patron, or buying an ebook or two.

 

 

Overheard Through an Apartment Wall in a City Orbiting Jupiter

 

 

At first he was speaking quietly

 

‘snot like it’s a new thing. People say, they say to me, hey, you’re thirteen hundred years old, man, of course you’ve forgotten best friends and lovers and all that shit shortlifers kill themselves over. But to you, hey, what’s all that? It’s no big, that’s what. It all spins around, you’ve got an age in Pluto years, man, and all we pygmies under three digits are like just dust swirlin’ ’round in the bright lightsocket, yeah.

 

 

but as he spoke his voice became louder

 

But what do those people know? They know nothin’. Nothin.

 

 

and I heard glass breaking

 

They think it’s cool, forgetting best buds and how we became so, just burnt out of there like a synapse forest fire, forgetting lovers, wives, husbands, even kids? To forget them and never remember ’til you read on a newsite how they died saving six people from decompression mapping out mineral deposits in the greasy guts of Orcus or they’re a loved great-times-six grandmother survived by who knows how many hundreds and you can’t remember her name until it says what it was in the obituary? And it’s not the years, it’s not the years, there are still a couple hundred of us in the first wave of the bioimmortal and far as I know all the rest all the damn rest still remember who’s important, hell, most of the most important to all of us are all the rest of the first wave, but

 

 

followed by a sob

 

oh I don’t know. Maybe they’re like me, just like me, maybe that’s how we get this old, throwing off dead leaf memories in the fall like the trees in the north when the winds start coming cold. How would I know. Dont’ talk to one of them. The years don’t make me forget. They never made me forget. I remember Tinisia, I can remember her a thousand years away, tiny little thing, graceful, her making coffee was a ballet, I remember her name and how she laughed and the smell of her skin in the morning after and last I heard she headed out in a whole hollowed-out asteroid balloon full of longlifers to see what’s around what star I can’t remember but they thought it might have two or even three Earths worth living on around it, big fat red simmering campfire with a Goldilocks the size of half a Solar system. Take them ten thousand years or maybe twenty and odds are I’ll be here to hear and not remember a damn thing I can’t forget Tinisia or

 

 

and I strained to hear another voice but there was only his growing softer again

 

But the rest, the rest, my own daughters, my own sons, they have no names any more and some of them are still alive out there and I don’t know

 

 

in a steady stream of words. If someone else had been there, I never would have known.

 

and I should know. I don’t know. If friends and family are what life is about then fuck them I’ve never lived or maybe I did but I’m not now and that’s bull, I have lived, I do live, I don’t need

 

 

Even when he wasn’t speaking, I heard faint sobbing. He never stopped speaking or sobbing. Not until

 

don’t need I don’t need shit.

 

 

the end when I heard footsteps

 

Ah, I sound like a brat baby fifty years old just figurin’ it out thumb in mouth. Was I fifty? Must have been, got here. ‘magine what it was for people in the old days, old west when the data roamed wild and free under the blue sky and never past the moon, takes a hundred years just to figure out how it all works, how all the things and people go together and bounce ’round and most all of it doesn’t matter a damn ‘cept if it makes you all happy right that moment, most all of it, who cares, nobody cares, not worth rememberin’ but worth it in the moment, and it all goes ’round, ’round, ’round, and much under a hundred it don’t make no sense but ’round then you figure it all out and the world starts to sorta work in a way you can get

 

 

and the door opened

 

my dad, what was his name, Chuck or Chas or Channing or Cher, a C-word, that was him, doesn’t matter his name he was a damn baby and died, fifty years old didn’t have time to know he didn’t know, and how old was I you expect me to know what happened when I was a snotnosed brat? Didn’t know anything then. Wasn’t nobody worth remembering.

 

 

and he paused

 

Not him, not me. Not who knows how many billions. Nobody knows.

 

 

and the door closed. I only heard a few more words.

 

Can you imagine what the world was like, when everyone died before they had time to figure out what it was all about? Wish I could ask

 

 

 

END

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About Tao23

I write about my science fiction and fantasy writing--and plenty of other things--at sabarton.com

Posted on August 5, 2016, in Microfiction and Flash Fiction, Science Fiction, Things I've Written, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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