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Arts & Liberties => Writer's Block => Topic started by: George Potter on July 26, 2005, 08:34:56 pm

Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: George Potter on July 26, 2005, 08:34:56 pm
***This is the first part of a long story (between 10,000-15,000 words) that I'm writing for you folks rather than the novel. I took the one idea that really demanded to be told from that outline and fleshed it out here. It was metaphorical in the novel, but it will be played seriously here. I'm having fun with this one. It's allowing me to play with some cool ideas (new and old) in a mostly optimistic future.  Like before, I'll try to do at least one installment per week, hopefully more.***

Old Spider is having trouble. The car just died on him, with neither complaint nor shout of warning, and sits refusing to start on the shoulder of this great wide highway that runs from Somewhere to Somewhere, right through the middle of Nowhere.

   Old Spider is not a patient being. He is not  willing to wait for help as the universe spins its mad dance around him. He gathers his rucksack and its bounty, and prepares to head west on the path he was taking. It was a stolen car. He can steal another, even in this age that makes a damn hard thing of stealing. He wont mind a little footwork until then. The night is beautiful and the stars hang above him in their web. He smiles at them.

   Before he leaves, Old Spider shoots the car twice with the blunt and powerful pistol he carries on his left hip. It's not clear if he is murdering the beast or putting it out of its misery. Knowing Old Spider, he could just be shooting to hear the report or to see the fake glass windshield turn into an oddly beautiful web of clinging sharpness, or just to savor the sound rushing away from him there on the flat expanse of desert.

   Old Spider is a few miles up the road when a coyote finds him, and growls a respectful hello. Old Spider invites it to walk with him a stretch. He and the coyote swap stories for a while. Before they part, the coyote whispers that his kind can feel the Mother approaching. His kind are happy. They tire of the old stories and long to feel her gleaming presence, if only briefly. She is moving with great speed, they know, in a flat out run,  and will only pass them by. Still, it is a moment much anticipated.

   Old Spider smiles at this news, for his own reasons.

   The coyote has never heard of Los Angeles, though.

   Sometimes when Meline got the headaches she did stupid crazy shit. This, it appeared, was one of those times.

   Vegas is boring, she thinks lying in bed and holding her head in both hands. It's too freakin' gaudy. And she wants suddenly -- unexpectedly -- to see her mother.

   She packs the quick way, tried and true by grifters and little rich girls in a snit since Babylon. Open suitcase, dump contents of hotel room drawers into suitcase, add whatever you might like from the mini-bar and top it with a soap as a souvenir. Crumple and batter said mess until suitcase encloses it.

   Then she's off, out the door that refuses to slam, toting a grossly distorted bioplastic imitative suitcase trying diligently to conform its contents into something a bit more seemly as she strides. She's a slight blond girl, with absolute zero cozsurgery. Pretty but plain, guys who didn't know how much she was worth usually judged her. All her mods are on the inside. She has no taste for the currently extreme faddish body alterations.

      They always remind her of people trying to be someone else.

      Her brain and nervous system were a different story. A few million dollars worth of state of the art was spread out through the thinkfeel. But that was business.

      Meline emerges from the maze of drop and lift tubes in the old fashioned lobby, all natty oak framing and mollydeep replicas of antiques. On the trip from her room to lobby, she has taken care of the details -- paid the bills and left a note for her father. She bypasses the clerk with a wave and holds her breath until she makes it through the looking glass iris that opens and closes for her in the hotels diamond facade.

      She gulps the hot dry air, and it seems to make her head pound a little less. She wakes up Amelia and sets her to work getting out of the city, into her car, and down the road through nowhere.

      An airbus drops down into a public slot and she makes her way to it, prodded by her familiar. From here on out she can let Amelia handle the details, and try not to remember that her head feels like a rotted tooth.

      The airbus is only half full, and its turbines hum happily as they fling their cargo over the City Of Shows.

      Meline Kennaly stares out the window at the strip flowing along below her. Her head hurts.

      She is sixteen, worth seven billion standard dollars, and is considered a full Sovereign entity by the World Court. Technically, she could start a freaking war. Not that she knows how.

      It would be pretty easy to start one between Zimbabwe and Charleston. Amelia tells her in the deadly serious tone that means she is joking. The High Redeemer is still holding three Rothbardite missionaries and threatening to hang them. You have a lot of pull in Charleston.

      Meline mimes disgust in her sensorium. You mean my scarily mutating and engorging trust fund has a lot of pull in Charleston, she corrects.

      Honey, I've told you a million times. Don't think of it as a big black cloud that hovers over you. Think of it as a big black viciously sharp axe that hovers over you, ready for anyone who wants to fuck with you.

      Meline smiles at the old joke despite the pain.

      She can do anything she wants to do, and what she wants to do right now is talk to her mommy.

      The bus trip is short. Ten minutes later she is deposited in a drop spot in Beulahland, one of the vast parking spaces that now surround Las Vegas like a fortress. Private vehicle use is forbidden in the city. The not-really-private airbus and autocab services rule the streets and skies of the city proper.

      Like most American cities east of the Mississippi and north of the Mas-Dix, Vegas has a strong state apparatus running it, and the only capitalism they believe in is the crony kind. None of thatlaissez-faire shit here. Vegas is actually more of a committee ran aristocracy, with some of the most bewildering and jungle like estate laws in the world, making sure the economic power the Showbiz city generates stays in a carefully maintained pool of families. It is said that the Vegas Independence Constitution is one of the thickest and most rigidly adhered to documents in history.

   Her father always says that constitutions are far better devices to encourage states rather than limit them. Vegas proved that he was right. The bastard usually was.

   Like its fellow suburbs, Beulahland resembles a small town devoted to the business of parking vehicles. The same people who work here live here, deep below the flat stacked pancake rises  of car and flyer ports. She wonders idly if, in a few generations, the families that remained would start giving themselves names like Valet and Gatekeep.

   Meline follows Amelias gentle prompting down rows and 'vators and finally to her car. Each step she takes makes her head scream at her.

   Get in, slap the safeties, turn over control to me and close your eyes, babydoll. Amelia tells her. I'm going to dope you up. You need to sleep. Soon as we hit LA you are hiring a good medlab, sweetie. These headaches are getting ridiculous.

      Meline's car of the month is a Ferrari McQueen. All the Italians do now is build ridiculously fast cars. It's a niche market, sure, but a niche market with vast pockets. They only make groudcars. 'No Fly' is the unofficial motto of the weak AI that functions as the Italian state. Of course, the AI says it in Italian, and it was orders of magnitudes prettier than the English statement.

      It's an anomaly that annoys her father, Meline knows. That the Italian people happily converted to a society where only 16% of the population work for a living creating a fine product beloved the world over. The rest are given the barely missed largesse of that 16% and live fine lives. Such a thing seemed unnatural to a raving plutarchist like James Kennaly.

      It is a wide, sleek, muscular machine. Meline herself views it only as transport. Amelia, on the other hand, is something of a car nut. She likes power and luxury. The Ferrari has both in spades. The induction drive is axle-less and friction free. The cerubber Firestones are guaranteed puncture free for a half-million miles. It can do 0 to 120 km in under 3 seconds. Its cruising speed is 260 km per hour.

      It is, of course, black.

      Meline is barely in the car before the safeties engage. Multibands make her part of the seat, comfortably. Amelia floods her with opiate analogs from the pharmacopeia implant. The pain muttered into silence. Meline smiled, and was asleep in moments.

      Amelia takes control. She pumps the engine, enjoying the sensory link to the crackling power plant. She slams out of the carport, makes the slows and turns necessary, and exits Beulahland in a near silent thrum of speed. The gate clocks her at 300 km, and tickets her accordingly.

      The landscape a blur, Amelia orients and heads for Los Angeles, giving into the rush of the speed and the roar of the road passing below.

      Sleeping, Meline dreams of a gleaming coyote, running down the center of a black highway, sparks screaming from her feet as she lopes, the howl of the hunt all around her.
Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: Joel on July 26, 2005, 09:37:41 pm
Yowza!  Very cool.  I'm looking forward to this.
Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: George Potter on July 26, 2005, 09:49:38 pm


I swear. My tombstone will read 'Killed By Tense Shifts & Apostrophes'.

Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: Joel on July 26, 2005, 10:44:43 pm

I swear. My tombstone will read 'Killed By Tense Shifts & Apostrophes'.

Could be worse.

Trucks hurt.  A lot.

Trust me. ;)  
Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: RF1 on July 26, 2005, 11:21:16 pm
Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: starborn on July 27, 2005, 03:38:04 am
My tombstone will read 'Killed By Tense Shifts & Apostrophes'.
Or perhaps: "He finally finished something."   ;)
Title: Coyote Laid Low
Post by: Jac on July 27, 2005, 11:02:19 am

Aw, tense shifts aren't so bad... just slap a fancy name on it and say it's your 'style'. :P