Tag Archives: Science fiction

WWMND? (What would Mother Nature do?): A fictional conversation begins

5 Jun

What’s real?

As the new normal emerges as packaged austerity and annual 100-year storms,  I’ll let you decide once you’ve ‘listened’ to these somewhat fictional conversations I’ve been writing between somewhat fictional characters: Mother Nature, Humankind, Greenback, and Credit Card.

Here it is:

“Meet me for coffee.”  Mother Nature’s  invitational text sent in frustration was born from

frustration and sadness.  She’d heard too many rumbles of despair, drowned out by the constant drone of cell phone chatter, overwhelmed by music seeping out of ear plugs.

Overheard messages:  “They did it to me; fool me once, shame on them, fool me twice, super-sized shame on them”.

“I didn’t know.  How could I have known? “

“What do you mean my job isn’t there anymore?”

“It’s not MY fault.  They made me do it:  it was the advertising, the celebrities, the catalogues, my friends, my parent”s.

“They knew I’d lose the bet:  you just can’t eat one – or buy just one”.

“Don’t tell us what do – but if you don’t – it will be your fault”.

“It’s their fault.  They came in, gave us jobs, then, spilled their oil.  Lost our jobs.  Ruined our environment.  We want our jobs back.”

And most of all she heard:  “Bamboozled.  We’ve been bamboozled”.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature listens and shakes her head again.  She has watched exploding globalization, make America’s number one export the American Dream.. She’s watched so much melt away.  Literally:   icecaps, savings, and even happiness have seemed to POOF!  evaporate into thin, or rather carbon-dioxide heavy air.

Staring at her text to meet for coffee, she looks for blame.  But where to start?  Is it Greenback’s fault for the greed he ignites in Humankind?  Or is Humankind’s irresponsible and insatiable hunger for Mother Nature’s rich resources to blame?

These bullies are culprits – and potential saviors.  Much as Mother Nature hates the idea, she knows she has to practice friendship with her enemies, or she will be the planet’s sole inhabitant.

Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing.  After all, she doesn’t need Humankind or anyone else to survive.  Yet, she is an optimist and collaborator.

And meeting for coffee doesn’t sound so bad.  In fact, it sounds pretty good.  And she wants to meet these ‘characters’.

So off she goes to the local java joint.

sustainable mug - party talk for environmentalists

Later….

At the cafe:  Greenback joins Mother Nature in ordering lattes.  Credit Card arrives in time to swipe.

Sipping, Mother Nature shakes her head as she looks around:  “Ha!  People say they’re green as they drown in their mounds of organic clothes, fair trade coffee and ‘save the planet’ coffee mugs.”

“I know what you mean.  I may be called Greenback;, but I’m seeing red these days on too many bottom lines.  I feel like I’m having an existential crisis.  Do I exist or have I been passed over for a shiny piece of plastic?”  Holding his head in his hands, Greenback glances at Credit Card who is snickering  while chomping on a scone.

Has she found an ally so quickly?  Mother Nature looks sympathetically and says, “Yup, now you’re as screwed as I’ve been for decades.”

“But he has me to help.  Together we are invincible thanks to Humankind,” Credit Card adds pointing to Greenback.  “Where IS Humankind?”

Hopes of camaraderie fade, as Mother Nature’s mood changes as quickly as the weather:  “Sure you’re invincible – at MY expense.  Sure your value has multiplied since you’ve devoured all I have to offer, from the depths of my oceans to the tops of my mountains.  Wake up:  you grow, but I’m dying.”

“Humph!”  Greenback chortles, patting Mother Nature condescendingly on the back.  “Quit whining Mommy Dearest.  I’m never down for long.  My comeback is inevitable.  What’s YOUR problem?”

“Actually, it’s YOU.”-

Stay tuned for Humankind’s entrance.  In the meantime:

What do you think a successful relationship between Mother Nature, Humankind, Credit Card, and, Greenback would look like ?

Who is to blame for the mess our world is in?

What do you think will happen when Humankind shows up?

Do you think it’s possible for Mother Nature to form a win-win relationship with Humankind, Credit Card, and Greenback?  Why or why not?

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If Words could kill – Part 2

18 May

The conclusion to ‘If words could kill”.  Be sure sure read part 1 first!  enjoy!

The sound of the shower shook Angela awake at 9:00 the next morning.  She eased into wakefulness whispering her mantra of ‘be cool’ to herself as Michael bent to kiss her nose as he dried himself.

“You know I love this – I love you.  Just not anything more, “ he reminded her nose-to-nose as he slid beside her for a last hug.

She nodded, burying her face in his neck so he couldn’t see her tears.  Both cell phones seemed to ring simultaneously shattering their intimate comfort into individual shards of reality.

“See you at the scene, “ Michael misted her lips with a kiss, stumbling simultaneously for his phone and into his pants.

Snuggling deeper, Angela covered her head with the comforter, assigning her tears spokesman for her emotions.

Forty-nine minutes later, she stood with Stella as they surveyed the crumpled body of a young woman blocking the aisle in Women’s at Mayhill Department Store’s ‘early bird biggest sale of the year’.  It was hard to tell if the shocked look on her face had to do with the armload of sale dresses she was clutching like gold, or, something else.  Her right thumb was still on the screen of her phone.

“Are you okay?” Stella hissed as she snapped pictures while Angela determined the time and possible clues to this seemingly ‘unnatural’ death.

“Same old:  I love him, I want him, I can’t have him,” Angela sighed before standing to signal it was okay to bring the body back to the lab.

“Heart attack.  Body’s still warm.  I say she dropped between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and died instantly.  Natural causes as far as I can tell.  Unusual but not unheard of for a young, seemingly healthy woman, but I’ll know more once I’ve opened the body,” Angela shared her preliminary findings with Michael and his partner Sean who had joined them in the aisle.

Donnery looked up from the email that was hogging his attention.   He looked exhausted.  Much more so than when he’d left her apartment less than an hour ago.  Catching her eye, he directed, “Test for chemicals, drugs. Something.  Anything on the dresses.  We’ll keep checking here at the scene.  This appears to be the centennial shopping death this month.  We have a world-wide phenomenon on our hands.”

“Good ideas since none of these dresses are ‘to die for’, that’s for sure,” Stella quipped as she packed up the items for further testing in the lab.  She noticed the first sign of an authentic smile on Angela’s face that morning, and gave her a little hip knock as she passed on the way out.

By three that afternoon the two sat in the morgue, sipping mochas as they evaluated the data.

“Drugs on clothes?” Stella asked.

“No.”

“Drugs in body?”

“No.”

“Evidence of strychnine dart or other foul play?

“Nope – though at least then this would make some sense.  Just like those other ‘shop till you drop’ deaths there is absolutely no sign of anything.”

“Too weird.  There’s something here we’re not seeing that’s for sure.  Hey, did you notice this purple washed silk wrap?  It would look GREAT on you.”  Stella held the dress up to Angela to observe.

Glaring, Angela couldn’t help but laugh as she answered, “You’re a bit of a psycho you know that?  But yea, I love this one.  This woman had great taste that’s for sure.”  Fingering the highly textured fitted bodice, she added, “not that I would have anywhere to wear this.”

“So what are you going to do about him?”  Stella put down her clipboard before turning to face her friend.

“I don’t know.  I mean, what can I do other than cut my losses and move on.”

“Can you move on?  Really?”

“Do I have any other choice?”

“Well, you ALWAYS have a choice.  And then there’s always that message app I was showing you last night.  Let him know what you think!”  Stella giggled while reaching for her phone.

“What?  That I love him and know I can’t have him?  Not even I can handle being that pathetic!”

“Geez, like he doesn’t know that.  And where has that gotten you?  No!  You have other things to say!”  Stella extended the screen so Angela could see.  “Look:  It’s called the ‘flip ‘em’ app:  Flip his/her mind and get it all out.  Messages sent anonymously and fade from the phone within 30 seconds like a whisper in an ear.  Go ahead and unnerve your recipient like they’ve unnerved you!”

Angela slackly held her mocha cup, her face in a forced half-smile.

Stella urged her on, “ so what would you say to flip this fool?”

“I don’t know, maybe, “Go take a flying leap off a stairwell, Idiot,” Angela’s voice and face betrayed her discomfort.

“Ha!  Would it make you feel better to see his face as he thought of that guy we found yesterday?”  Stella leaned forward, her voice raised in excitement.

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“Well, he’d certainly think you flipped – at least your thoughts of him.  Say the word and I’ll shoot this text off to him.”

Angela sighed, her body expressing the weariness her heart carried over her lukewarm love affair.  “I guess it can’t do any harm, right?  Just unnerve him?”

Beside her, Stella tapped furiously filling in the information.  “Okay, when do you want it sent?  4 p.m.?  An hour from now?”

Angela shrugged, “sure, why not.  It’ll be fun to see what he has to say about it at the bar tonight.”

The two went back to finishing the examination of the body and bagging the dresses in the evidence bag.  Focused on their own thoughts, they worked silently for the next 30 minutes, Angela nervously checking her own phone for texts or calls.

The sharp ring of the morgue phone at 3:45 startled them from their thoughts.  Angela grabbed it quickly.

“Morgue.  Byer speaking.”

She nodded while listening as she turned to the computer on the desk and connected to the worldwide tele-conference from the CDC in Atlanta.  Raising her eyebrows to signal Stella she shrugged her shoulders as they sat before the screen.

The director of the CDC stood clutching the podium, his mouth tight.  “This is an immediate alert regarding the rash of strange unexplained deaths reported from around the world.  Working around the clock accumulating data we believe we have the most surprising, bizarre cause.”  He paused to nervously sip water, his hand visibly shaking.

“Appears to be a computer virus that has mutated as messages are sent between cell phones routed through the ‘Flip ‘em” app.  Meant as a joke, the messages sent are electrically transmitted into the body of the recipient, causing the action in the text’s words.  While we’ve shut down the app, we don’t know if that will protect the recipients of already scheduled messages.

“In one minute, at 4 p.m. all cell phone communication worldwide will be shut down until we are sure this virus has been contained.”

Stella gasped as she felt a grip on her wrist.  Angela’s eyes were closed against her white face, mouth in a silent anguished ‘oh’ as her body curled inward before crumbling to the floor, clenching Stella’s forearms tight.

In the background, the CDC director droned on, “shop till you drop – DEAD; eat shit and DIE; step on a crack and break your mother’s back; Go take a flying leap; Hope your heart dies little by little till it breaks; Go…”

Meanwhile, at the scene of a crime, Michael Donnery stopped on the third floor landing to check his phone.