After a brief – and very productive – time without internet, I’m finally settled back in Buffalo, and more importantly in the digital realms. I’m delighted to say that some of the fruit of this break from the internet is two new short stories:
Ask is a look at an online romance in a world where anonymity is banned and digital identities are guarded like gold.
“Wait,” he wrote. But she was already gone.
Evade. The name continued to glow beside its avatar.
But she was gone, and he just stared at the bland white face in the little box beside the name – a bland white face under a brown mop of choppy locks pointing like arrows down towards a bland white chin, resting feathery on either side of a slender but bland white neck, and under the rough fringe brown eyes blinked, delicate, careful. Even on the little phone screen he could see the spidery spokes in the irises.
It was a good picture, a good avatar anyway, but it still had that plastic doll sheen. Unlike the name, the face was generic, nondescript.
It was okay.
They all were.
They were all just masks.
The word glowed in its speech bubble beside the name beside the nondescript face for another minute before disappearing as he tapped it off. With the screen now dark, his hand hurried to his pocket to put the phone away. He dropped the device into his pocket and smiled reflexively at the little clink of metal that broke the quiet. It was a satisfying, reassuring sound. He let his hands rest in his pockets, it was a cold night and he liked the feeling of metal under his fingers.
Richard – an idea totally stolen from TUEBL’s Librarian-in-Chief Travis McCrea – describes the difficulties of crash-landing on a planet with restrictive licensing agreements in a world of 3D printing. (Noooo, my fiction doesn’t have an agenda… why do you ask?)
“It’s a planet of… of… some–I–don’t–know–billion! They have to have medical supplies.”
“They do. Just not for us.”
“Why the fuck not?”
Grimm shrugged. “It’s expensive.”
“It really is, Rich. Just… just don’t worry about it.”
“But how can–shit!” Richard jerked his hand off of his knee as his mind registered the warm pool spreading over it and the drips starting to tickle his shin. He looked down. The blood was completely soaked into his jeans. “Dammit.” Just made these too…
“Sorry,” said Grimm, his voice muffled against his hand pressed over his mouth.
Richard shook his head, moving his fist, with Grimm’s blood now oozing out from between his fingers, over the table. He opened his hand and let go of the bloody rag. Then he wiped his hand on his already-ruined jeans.
“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “It’s okay.”
“Really, dude… sor–”
“Shut up, it’s not your fault. I’ll just make some more. Later.” Really not the most pressing issue now…