by Donna Miscolta
Adela adjusted the brightness on her TV screen, dimming the picture until the whites turned to gray and the blues ran to black. Then she turned her head sideways, as if to provide the couple some privacy — a needless but civil concession. Still, Adela looked, stealing glances at their faces, their flared nostrils and wild eyebrows, their mouths pulled back like stretched rubber bands releasing again and again a noisy rush of complaints. Infidelity. Hopelessness. Abandonment. Psoriasis, hair loss, bunions. Adela shook her head, clucked softly in commiseration. Soon though, the shouts and insults, which grew in decibel but not variety, began to bore even Adela, who monitored the TV talk shows out of a sense of obligation, believing that the beam from her antenna that registered her channel choice with the Nielsen ratings somehow offered support to the aggrieved, the distraught, the fearful, the angry, the clandestinely lonely who aired their troubles to smooth-toned, large-gesturing talk show hosts and their audiences of ordinary people.
Continue reading Friday Fiction: Adela Reflected
by Lola E. Peters
The drunk walked away unscathed. My father died instantly. My mother, true to form, clung to life. For seven days I sat by her hospital bed vacillating between “you’ve had a good life, mom, it’s OK to go” and “no, not yet, we’re not done.” On the last day, with the doctor standing over her, she suddenly opened her eyes, looked straight at me and said, “I’m so sorry Diana. My perfect girl. We’re so sorry. If only we’d known.” Then she closed her eyes, exhaled, and died. Now it was sure: there would never be a conversation between us that ended in certainty.
Continue reading FRIDAY Fiction: The Perfect Girl
by Sebrina Somers
I had tapped into the network and cloned my ID tracker to run the Great Wall Marathon. The point wasn’t to just get the fastest time, any hacker could do that. My goal was to run a race convincing enough to win the cash prize and add the gold medal to the trophy collection in my bedroom. That meant fooling the judges into believing I was actually there. No easy feat when I was sitting on my front porch on the other side of the planet.
I heard a tap on the screen door a few feet away and ignored it. The race was about to begin, and I still needed to tie up a few loose ends. I had uploaded my travel itinerary a week ago and coded my avatar to wander the streets of Beijing for the last two days. Now, I just needed to situate my tracker in the middle of the race pack at the Yin and Yang Square start line, sync it to the timing chips assigned to my race bibs, and run my biometric avoidance program so that I didn’t occupy the same geo-space as any of the physical runners, or other illicit virtual runners for that matter.
There was another tap on the door, a little louder this time. They could wait. The first wave of runners had just set off and I needed to be ready to start with the second wave.
“I…can…see…you…” A quiet voice stammered through the screen door.
Continue reading FRIDAY FICTION: Pickney
The plan is working. Or maybe it’s backfiring. In either case, I have solidified a seat on the newest Citizen Participation Requisite Group (CPRG) of post-Secession Seattle.
This particular CPRG is being convened by a joint effort through the Post-Secession Office of Aesthetic Curation (PSOAC), aided by the Cultural Commodities Bureau (CCB) that operates under the Office of Economic Dominance (OED). Civic bureaucracy, am I right? Shit, I’m practically a walking glossary of municipal acronyms these days, so the systemic matrices aren’t new to me. This recent shift of my own positioning inside it, though, is interesting.
Continue reading FRIDAY FICTION: From the Final Field Notes of a Future Cultural Worker