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Arts & Liberties => Writer's Block => Topic started by: George Potter on July 10, 2005, 11:32:00 pm

Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: George Potter on July 10, 2005, 11:32:00 pm



Chapter One: Home To Roost


-CHICAGO-


      It's the morning rush on the Chicago freeway, and the asphalt veins that feed the not yet awakened city are clogged with a million tons of metal, plastic, glass and people.

      Jams happen, little knots of anger and frustration, as other lanes flash by at close to  a hundred miles per hour. Tired and still groggy drivers navigate in blind habit and routine, driving one handed while the other clutches a styrocup of hot black coffee. It's the age of the geosynch nav car and the comtrolled digisat traffic routing, but for all the remote drives and safety features and taxpayer funded computer control lanes, most folks still only trust their own hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

      "It's a great shame." remarked an exasperated Sen. David Willis of Nebraska, only the day before. "that the expense and effort of the Safe Lanes Initiative is being wasted by a populace fearful of an utterly benevolent technology."

      That basic monkey instinct will save hundreds this morning.


      Not Carla O'Neill, though. She'll be saved by the bother of a flat tire.

      "Goddamit!" Carla muttered as she felt the bump and unmistakable thumping that meant her left rear tire was flat and the rim riding the road. She flicked on her hazard lights and slowed, making her careful way into the breakdown lane. She cursed again under her breath. She was already late for work, and this would be her third late morning in the young month and her performance review was due in a few weeks.

      She was pulling the spare from her trunk, the lid raised, when the thudding boom of the first explosion slammed her back onto her ass and caused her to bite a neat little chunk from the tip of her tongue. The raised lid kept her from being blinded by the initial flash, and the bulk of the large and fuel hogging station wagon saved her from debris.

      There on the ground, Carla O'Neill heard a sound she will never forget, that will haunt her dreams until the day she dies:

      The sound of the arteries of Chicago developing a blood clot. The slamming roar of tons of metal intersecting each other. The white noise hiss of hundreds of panes of safety glass shattering under duress. And below it all, perhaps on some hidden psychic wavelength, the fear laden death screams of 460 people.

      She staggered to her feet and stepped around her car, blood leaking from her mouth, shock and fear still numbing the wound to her tongue.

      She stepped around the car and watched, helpless, as the pile up happens. As dozens of people fought desperately against the futile laws of kinetic motion. As brakes screamed like a herd of stallions led to slaughter, all centered around the harsh glare of a burning something that rages in the center of the freeway, seeming to pull the cars and trucks to it like a baleful magnet, belching black oily smoke like a pipe upthrust from hell.

      When she finally pulled her eyes away and dialed 911 on her cell phone, she was sobbing, the tears flowing as freely as the blood from her mouth. Her words were choked out, and they spat red gore into the mouthpiece of the little phone.

      And these are the only words she could find to say, as the calm operator attempted to soothe her:

      "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod..."

      Her eyes fluttered back to the ongoing death a half-mile from her, and the stink of the thing finally reached her. Dead rubber and gas. Burning transmission and brake fluids, the reek of paint boiling off overheated metal. And below it all, the sweet high stink of burning flesh.

      Still muttering for a deity who had apparently glanced away, Carla O'Neill vomited and passed out, crushing her phone as she fell.

      One of the lucky ones.


      A view from the air, as it happens:

      The semi -- a '96 model Freightliner -- explodes in two stages in the center lane just as it passes the Wacker exit. The cab goes first, a red thumping blast that acts as a primer for the larger payload in the trailer. It jackknifes viciously as it explodes, sending flaming chunks of steel and aluminum in a blistering shower over it's fellow traffic.

      The pile up begins, almost majestic in it's tragic inevitability.

      Those opting to travel in the Safe Lanes take the brunt of the blow. The computers controlling their vehicles barely slow as they slam them into the twisting boil of colliding metal and burning fuel. The wary drivers with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel fare better, able to swerve off, sometimes flipping their vehicles, sometimes causing smaller knots of accident, but avoiding the roasting death of the central crush.

      It lasts about six minutes, the pile up. 460 people die in those six minutes, hundreds more are injured, many severely.
      
      Fire and emergency services arrive quickly, and the general decency of humanity is shown by the fact that most of those who manage to avoid death and injury risk both to drag their fellow commuters from smashed and burning cars.

      And the deeper and more evil instincts of humanity are illustrated as well, moments after the calamity, when the following statement flashes across the Internet and arrives at every media outlets doorstep:

TO THE OVERLORDS:

WELCOME TO A NEW DAY! IT'S A BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL DAY, FOR THE VICTIM AND THE SLAVE.

KNOW THAT THE CHICAGO INCIDENT IS BUT THE FIRST STRIKE AGAINST THE SYSTEM THAT RULES US NOW. THE SYSTEM THAT DESTROYED THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF THIS LAND, THAT ENSLAVED THE AFRICANS, THAT DESTROYS THE ENVIRONMENT WITH IT'S CAPITALISTIC GREED AND LUST FOR MATERIAL THINGS. THAT EVEN NOW SLAUGHTERS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN STRUGGLE IN FOREIGN LANDS

THIS IS THE DAY THE FIRST OF YOUR CHICKENS COMES HOME TO ROOST. YOUR DRONES AND SHEEP HAVE PAID THE PRICE FOR COMPLIANCE IN BLOOD AND DEATH.

EYES WIDE, OVERLORDS AND CATTLE! THE CHICKENS ARE ON THEIR WAY HOME!

IN DEFIANCE -

THE ROOSTING CHICKENS




-WILLMETTE-


      Naria sprayed laughter as she watched the destruction unfold on the screen. After she caught her breath, and the giggles subsided, she spoke to Fillip, who was sort of her boyfriend, and mainly her dope dealer.

      "I hope my fucking mom was in that shit." her tone was not angry or bitter, but airily casual, despite the fact that she truly did hope her mother was dead in the wreckage that flamed in crystal high-def on the flatscreen before her.

      Fillip just grunted. The bitch was crazy, no doubt about that. But she was rich, and kind of hot if you could ignore all the shit she was pierced with. Narias face was like a portrait of a pretty fifteen year old that had been used as a dartboard, if all the darts were surreal shaped spirals and skulls and gleaming claws. In addition to dependable sex, he could count on her buying lots of good dope and sharing it with him. As a matter of fact, since he'd met her at the beginning of the year, he'd been able to ditch most of his other customers. Fillip wasn't an ambitious hustler, he just wanted to get stoned for free.

      He finished the blunt off with a final twist between his lips. They went numb from the potent synthetic mesc and speed he'd laced the sticky hydro bud with. He made the speed himself, with the small but versatile chemistry lab he'd set up in his grandmothers basement. It was quality shit. Fillip took pride in his work. He dangled the blunt over the flame of one of Naria's ever present black candles,twisting it expertly to dry. He was more than a little impatient for some wake and bake.

      "Your Ma ain't so bad." Filip said, and instantly regretted it. The fact that it was his honest opinion was moot.

      "Fuck you!" Naria shrilled, slapping at him and missing. "She's a stupid corporate whore. A square pegger. She's a fucking drone. I hate her."

      "Yeah. Sorry." Filip muttered. "I forgot." But he silently hoped that Naria's mother was nowhere near that mess he couldn't look at on the screen. She was a cheerful, tired looking  woman who had always been nice to him. She had called him once, when Naria had taken off for a few days after an argument. After he'd truthfully told her he hadn't seen her, she had cried on the phone, and he'd done his stoned best to console her. She'd told him how she'd worked her fingers to the bone to give Naria what she wanted, and how it had gotten her nothing but scorn in return. To Filip, who's father had died in Iraq when he was a little kid, and who's mother had abandoned him to smoke crack on the Southside, such things were almost mythical; like a fairy tale come true.

      He never looked at Naria the same after, and sometimes felt disgusted that he put up with her.

      But the bills gotta get paid. Drugs don't buy themselves.

      He put fire to the end of the now dry blunt, sucked in a lungful in and held it, contemplating the burning ember as the true juice was separated from the dross in the filters of his lungs and sped up his veins to his brain. The home made speed helped the mesc hit fast. In just a few minutes the walls of reality would fade slightly and start to tell their stories.

      He passed it to Naria, and forced himself to look at the screen.

      God almighty. What a clusterfuck.

      "I hope she's burning in there." Naria said.

      Filip clenched his teeth together and said nothing. He fought the momentary urge to turn around and slap her. But the mesc hit then. The world around him started to tell stories. Patterns crawled on the walls, images began to emerge from the random.

      Old Spider didn't raise his head, and Filip almost sighed in relief. Coyote and Raven seemed to rule the day. Stories crawled on the wall and he focused on them.

      Naria tapped him impatiently on the shoulder. He threw up a hand and clumsily accepted the blunt.

      "Tomorrow I Ascend." Naria said, and the tone of her voice told him that she'd want to fuck soon.

      Coyote and Raven sang to him. Old Spider stayed quiet.

      Filip knew deep in his heart that Old Spider was God. And when God spoke awful things were revealed. Coyote and Raven just told stories, and danced.

      He didn't want to think about Naria's Acension.

      He didn't want to hear Old Spider.

      He didn't want to look at the hell on that screen anymore.

      He hit the blunt and looked away. He closed his eyes.

      What a fucking clusterfuck.

      Filip hit the blunt again and let himself fall backwards. He gazed at the shining ember and hoped Naria's mom was safe.

      Then he felt Old Spider, suddenly close. He felt his eyes pulled to the screen, and -- sure as hell -- he could see the faint trace of his outline, billowing from the smoke of the burning pile up.

      Things are happening Filip, my boy Old Spider whispered in the complex patterns now crawling across the wall, and dripping down to flash cross the screen and the image it shone into his eyes.

      Big shit is happening. You'd better be ready.

      Filip passed the blunt to Naria and sighed.

      Old Spider was always right.


 
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: George Potter on July 10, 2005, 11:33:54 pm

NOTE: This is the first half of Chapter One. I found a rather embarrasing error in the second half and have to fix it. I'll edit it in ASAP and make a note.
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Claire on July 10, 2005, 11:54:20 pm
&^%$#@!
(*&^%$#!
)(&^*^%$!
*&^%$@!
You're so &^%$#@ing good!



And PSM, looks as if you won't have to write your own, after all.
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Jac on July 11, 2005, 12:24:16 am
*Sigh*

You tell gooood stories, brother.
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Bill St. Clair on July 11, 2005, 08:39:56 am
Like wow man! :)

Quite an opening there. Looking forward to more.
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: debeez on July 12, 2005, 08:50:14 am
Very cool!  Look forward to reading more.
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Virgil on July 12, 2005, 01:07:18 pm
I guess this is kiss George Potter's ass day. No wonder so many have left. The guy is a aggronant fuck. If he were ever speak to me face to face the way he has over in the AR/AS thread I'd rip his arm off and beat him over the head with it!

 
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Joel on July 12, 2005, 01:17:01 pm
Who the hell are you?  And what's an "aggronant"?
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: George Potter on July 12, 2005, 01:22:47 pm
Quote
I guess this is kiss George Potter's ass day. No wonder so many have left. The guy is a aggronant fuck. If he were ever speak to me face to face the way he has over in the AR/AS thread I'd rip his arm off and beat him over the head with it!

Every day is kiss George Potter's ass day for bitches like you.

 
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: cowardly lion on July 12, 2005, 01:23:59 pm
i'd guess that's an illiterate's way of spelling 'arrogant,' but then, that's just a guess . . . .

cl
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Jac on July 12, 2005, 01:32:16 pm
WTF?!? :blink:  
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Jac on July 12, 2005, 02:21:33 pm
I think someone on this board has MPD...
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: debra on July 12, 2005, 03:05:58 pm
Quote
I guess this is kiss George Potter's ass day. No wonder so many have left. The guy is a aggronant fuck. If he were ever speak to me face to face the way he has over in the AR/AS thread I'd rip his arm off and beat him over the head with it!
This post got reported, but I see it's being handled ... er ... locally. ;)

Quote
Every day is kiss George Potter's ass day for bitches like you.

Now see, George, this is why you kept getting those "Does not play well with others" remarks on your report card in elementary school...  ^_^  
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: George Potter on July 12, 2005, 03:13:26 pm
Heck, my mom expected those. She was annoyed by the 'Tends to bite.' comment. :P
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Jac on July 12, 2005, 03:28:57 pm
Ah, a flamewar addict from the cradle, huh? :D  
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: billy-jay on July 12, 2005, 04:04:59 pm
Quote
I guess this is kiss George Potter's ass day. No wonder so many have left. The guy is a aggronant fuck. If he were ever speak to me face to face the way he has over in the AR/AS thread I'd rip his arm off and beat him over the head with it!
So, you didn't like the story?
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Elias Alias on July 13, 2005, 03:28:36 am
Virgil, sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

Thanks,
Elias
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Tribeless on July 15, 2005, 06:18:14 pm
You've got my interest George ... are you going to give me a character to like?

For myself, unless I can emphasise with a character, I can't get 'involved' in a plot so well and the reading can seem empty after a while. What about others?

Looking forward to the next installment.
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: George Potter on July 19, 2005, 12:28:27 am

I'm going to chalk this one up to shooting my mouth off before I'd counted my money.

I'm ending this one now. No, not because of anything anyone said, but because it's a book I can't write. To write this honestly I'd have to set up and bleed to death so many ideas I hold dear. The only one I'd save from it would be cold comfort. To be honest, even writing the outline was depressing.

Not only am I not ready for that, I don't think I have the skill yet to do such a thing and make it work. I'd just sound like a whiner. (see below)*


* Hey, JDW don't think I didn't catch that thread where you were hatin' on Friday.  :angry:  :P

Friday is a book like I was talking about above. Heinlein utterly stomps on the idea of a democratic republic. I didn't find it to be fluff at all. In fact, I've re-read is many times and always find interesting ideas I didn't catch before.

But hell, some people like ATLAS SHRUGGED.  :lol:  
Title: The Laws Of Futility (Part One: State Of The Union
Post by: Tribeless on July 19, 2005, 06:48:29 pm
Pity, but understand that George. That start didn't have the strength of  some of your other  work I've read, vis a vis your short stories. A bit 'too obvious' here: you know, that show verse tell blather ... :)

I think the story telling does suffer the minute a writer concentrates overly on the politics ...