You don't know that the woman at the corner store where you buy a breakfast sandwich is Mama G. Her son was killed in a car accident years ago. Every penny she ear(more)ns from that store goes to helping the little girl on the street corner...
The girl that only eats lollipops. Every day as you walk past, she is eating a raspberry lollipop, her tongue carefully licking the sugar. You assume that she lives in the house behind her, the blue house...
The blue house with the tourist scammers. They own a lot of places around the beach. They want Mama G's place, but she won't sell. They overcharge everything. $10 for fake plastic Ray-Bans. Mama G's has them for 3. The daughter is the worst of them all...
Her name is Janise and she rules the beach. She works at the surf store; anything that doesn't sell goes directly to her. She surfs in her sleep, and sleeps on the beach. Her summer flings are many and meaningless. To her, tourists are a source of cheap cash. She's nineteen, going to a nearby university, and hates children...
All but the little girl with the lollipop. The girl with the lollipop's name is Clara, but she won't tell anybody. And Mama G isn't the only one helping her. Janise is helping her too, because Clara is Janise's daughter. It is the best kept secret, one that only Janise knows. Not even the father knows. He is a yearly tourist, twenty years old...
The yearly tourist has abs of steel and a heart of stone. He winks at Janise when he sees her, flirts with other girls, and ignores the girl with the lollipop.(less)
The dome above the settlement allowed only a sliver of light to penetrate the thick plexiglass. Industrial smog, lack of oversight and abuse had finally taken it's toll locking them into a state of Fishbowl awareness.
There were many years, early on , where travelers and tourists were attracted(more) to the "uniqueness" the settlement offered. It was not everyday one could settle on the moon, at least not in the beginning.
The first expeditions after the base was established, were filled, mainly, by those that could afford it. Millions of dollars, some of the amounts greater than entire countries GDP, were fielded to experience living in a hostile environment.
Many people still believe their ancestors foolish for paying to experience misery, yet here the battle lines were drawn. Kilo couldn't remember exactly what books were written that detailed the war that erupted back on earth that left them stranded on the moon, but he remembers the descriptions. A few hundred years ago the dome was clear. The stars brightly casting their light to the happy citizens below, engineers, physics students, artists all captivated by the marvels they had achieved... Finally they had spread. No longer would life be extinguished by a rouge chunk of iron hurdled by the belts. The only danger to humanity was humanity, and the irony still has a sobering effect on the citizenry. War. Nuclear war and winter became of minor disagreements and misunderstanding that ruined their home planet. Some rouge had even tried, in desperation, to launch one at them here on the moon. The resourceful engineers and physics students did intercept that little node and banished it in the most brilliant way. There were two stars that day. One of those, kilo wished, should have spared them from this misery. To be continued.(less)
It was a good five meters before Alphonse realized that he had lost Edward again. He stopped, stepping out of the way of pedestrian foot traffic and glanced back down the street the way he had come.
Not for the first time, he felt a slight bit of(more) wistful nostalgia for the ability to see easily over the heads of most of the people on the street - the armor did have its advantages, as few as there were - and started to retrace his steps.
Fortunately, his brother was if anything predictable. He had stopped before an open shopfront, a variety store full of dusty knickknacks and various bits of refuse that really should have been binned long before. Edward had the attention span of a small bird - he could be distracted by shiny objects very, very easily.
"Brother," Alphonse said, but Edward didn't look over at him. His attention had clearly been captured by something that outweighed the fact that they had a train to catch, and really, Alphonse wanted to get out of town now, while the getting was good. "The train, brother."
Edward finally looked over at him, and Alphonse was struck for a moment by the look in his eyes. Ever since he got his brother back, all those lonely years without him, and something had changed that he really didn't understand. He seemed tired, somehow - but only when he thought Alphonse wasn't looking. Whatever it was that bothered him, it also bothered him if Alphonse noticed it, so he pretended he didn't, and Edward pretended he was okay, and those little lies hung heavy between them.
"What - oh!" Edward said, and he seemed to wake up.
Alphonse should ask what it was that captivated Edward in the junk shop.
My mother walked past me, and a waft of her perfume trailed behind her like a scarf. She picked up the small vial from the shelf and pressed it into my hands. The vial felt cold. It was made of some rare yellow crystal, and it shimmered in the(more) dim light.
"I think this is what you need, sweetheart," she said. Her voice was overlaid with her usual dulcet tones, but I thought I could hear a faint tremor in her voice. Maybe. Truth be told, I was sure of precious little these days.
"Thank you mama," I replied. I pulled my face into a smile that did not crease the corners of my eyes. I unstopped the vial and took a cautious sniff: jasmine and plum with a bitter and lingering undertone.
"I think this is it," I said. In so many ways I was as ignorant as the insects that harvested the poison. However, I knew that someone would have to die. I knew it was not going to be me.(less)
The thing I hate the most: being below everyone's eyeline.
In the midst of a crowd I always feel like a struggling seedling in the rainforest, growing awkwardly to get to the sun. I crane my neck; I raise my voice, still they just walk past.
I'(more)m in an unfamiliar city, crusing the pavements. I love the smoothness of the surface, the ease of the curbs. I've not brought my sunglasses and the light glints off the pavement straight into my eyes. There's a thick and busy crowd and I can't see the street signs. I'm running late, squirming anxiously in my seat.
"Excuse me," I say, but nobody hears. A woman stops dead to look at her map. People mutter behind me and then surge to the side like a stream, like the way water will always find the path of least resistance.
Except this time there is resistance. There's my body, my flesh and the metal and plastic of my scooter. They slam into me unthinking, unlooking. The claustrophobia kicks in; I look up at this wall of bodies.
"There's a person down here!" I want to shout but don't. My throat is filled with dust and flecks of gravel.
How come everybody stares, but when you want to be seen (navigating a crowd, hailing a taxi, flirting in a bar), their eyes skitter off elsewhere?
I like to think I'm pretty distinctive, of course. More is more in my book, which is why I'm trussed up in a leopard print coat and a tight black dress. My hair is peroxide blonde and I'm wearing more kohl than an ancient Egyptian. It doesn't seem to matter today, though, where nobody's looking below their waist.
Then the woman with the map turns slightly, sees me and flushes. (less)
An invisible speck against the paranoia of straight-backed, uniformed men who pass him every three minutes (exactly). Their eyes dart: Observing - analyzing - calculating - judging - concluding. They walk past and ignore him.
For all the security, he's just anoth(more)er dark, diminutive form scurrying past. The tunnel yawns open into a stone square. Another set of guards at its mouth, like teeth.
People weave around him. He sees them in glimpses. The center of the square comes too fast. He waits moment, looking around him. Nobody looks back.
He pulls the kite out of his backpack, and throws it wildly it into the air - it's caught by a sudden breeze, thrust upwards like a sword. It shines, a massive blue diamond, painted with white clouds, the clouds nobody sees anymore.
WHERE ARE THE BLUE SKIES WE SAW ONCE?
Guards begin to turn around. Somebody tears their coat open, and throws up another blue diamond. It flies beside his, another fragment of a sky that once shone.
HONESTY FROM THE STATE!
Two more kites. Another three. He looks up. Clear, blue-sky diamonds shining against a grey backdrop. Kites, all around, like memories bursting into flower.
WHERE IS THE CLEAN AIR WE BREATHED ONCE?
Kites - erupting from backpacks, from purses, from clothing - large and small - diamonds flying into the skies.
HONESTY FROM THE STATE!
People rush past him - there are guards, he knows, but he is invincible, he is carrying the blue skies back to a land that has not known them for too long, he brandishes his kite - invisible in an army of blue skies, chanting their arrival. (less)
All of my life's ambitions and aspirations were behind that door, right there. I'd just have to stroll in, sit down, accept the job offer, and I'd be set. Millions of dollars, trickling down into my lap. "If you take that money, if you go to that fucking meeting,(more) Lenny..." his wife had warned him before he left the house that morning. "I won't be here when you get back."
I looked at her solemnly, and left the house without another word. They told me to go to 1685 West 16th, go in the back way up to the third floor, first door on the right, and knock four times. How pedantic they were. I stood at the end of the hall, waiting. I should be in there already, but here I was, with doubt in my mind.
Goddammit Lorraine, why did you have to complicate things? I thought. With this job, we'd never have another worry again. Were morals something regarded so highly? Bullshit. Morality only gets you so far. All that matters, is if you are willing to get your hands dirty for the folk who don't want to.
I heard the door click, and I quickly darted behind the wall. "Where is he?" somebody asked. I knew it was my potential employer. "Think he pussied out?"
"Probably," another snorted. Then door clicked shut.
It wasn't worth it.
I turned and sped down the hallway, got back into my car, and sped all the way home. My door had been locked, and I feared that Lorraine had left. I hesitated, but then with certainty, I knocked.
Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.
Lorraine opened the door, and she gave me a beautiful smile and a hug. "Don't worry, honey. We'll get through this together."