GenYsiX - Part 2

The doctor slides banks of sensors over her bare, slicked tummy. The whole room click and hums. I bend around banks of green machines aimed at Cathy. Surely you don't need all this stuff for a routine check-up…what on Mars do they all do?
Cathy glares at me. She likes this doctor; a sweet and wrinkly octogenarian. The doctor says, “Nothing can grow here.” “Except new life,” I mumble. “What’s that?” the sweet doctor cranes his head around some contraption. I look at him. What I see is a stick in a grey robe gripping a blinking green device. But also very wrinkly. A wrinkled stick. On this point, at least, we fully agree. To be fair, though, he is almost exactly how Cathy described him. The kind of man who takes the Book of Standard Practices as gospel, who can recite it word by word even after shooting an entire syringe of Red Dust. Except that he’d never touch the stuff because that would be a deviation from the expected protocol as stipulated in section something, line whatever. I smirk…

The Alien Car Dream

There are these black electric cars, opaque, a couple of white LED lights. Silent. One day they are just there, dotted all over earth. The impression is of those Google Street View periscope cars. Except they are not of this planet. They are alien.

They move around in groups of two or three. Cruising along country roads, then parked and unmoving for days. Nobody can get inside them. They are not hostile in any way.

Mostly out in the countryside, gliding across highways, fields. They don’t do anything. People are curious. Mom and dad and I rent a cabin out in the country. Up on the hill above us are three cars. Stationary for days now, a tourist attraction. People park right up close that night, headlights streaming over the motionless black contours.

Next day; people picnicking on blankets along the river bank, glancing over at the cars, expecting something to happen. Everyone's real friendly. Nothing happens. A group gets up to leave, gives us their blanket to sit on.

Later. Even…

When the Best Thing Turns Into the Worst Thing

I'm standing with Anne in the kitchen. The windows are flung wide open. It's a beautiful evening. We're sipping wine and we're staring at the gate buzzer.

Right on cue, the little white speaker crackles.

“We're here!”

Anne presses the reply button and returns a tinny “Coolbeans.” She looks at me and says, “It's going to be so classy” and I grin at her. Tongue sticks out the corner of her mouth, she’s digging in her pockets for her gate remote. I beat her to it. A gaggle of students duck under the gate as it’s rolling upwards. One of them turns back and waves. A mom in a white Toyota says Be Good and pulls out of the driveway.

Smell of warm cheese. In the lounge it's me and Carry and her guy friends of friends from Durban and Jill Rhodes and Anne and Darren Waters the housemate and also copious amounts of bubbling cheddar.

I feel like an adult. Usually when we host a gathering it involves beer spills, broken glass, and at least one chunder in the garden. But not…

Luck of the draw

Over here, stone is packed on stone, and the wall of our city rises. We are proud. Another year dries against the Ages without end. Men and women pass rustling on into autumn. Forever. Whatever.

It is a year like any other.

Over here, peace. But over there, none. Listen. Mortar burst from seams, the walls are breached, they crumble. Swept across the dunes, listen, the soft suffering of all those caught in the claws of Chaos come again. Oh how they wail. How they choke on Fate and ashes.

It is a year like any other.

Ancient ocean of the possible ever ebbing into the single cave of the real. Into our actual. Here; peace and plenty, but There; there they have none. Girls and boys are born. Whatever. A thousand, thousand, tiny heartbeats in the dark. Forever.

Two hearts. Beating their first at precisely the same time. They'll never know, because one is over here and one is over There. Lucky. He who has a home. So very, very, lucky.

You see, we are here too, we just happen to be. And so his 

The Tides


Travel teaches you...

Travel teaches you more about you and how you work than you ever learn about them. You learn very little about them, really.

Globalization. Everywhere's the same now. The internetting interknitting of our cultures and our cities and our stories. You can't get lost anymore anywhere. You have GPS on your phone.
Travel shows you how to get totally, utterly, wordlessly lost.

If you're lucky you learn how people are the same everywhere you go. If you're lucky you learn how  people couldn't be more alien.

You return home from your travels. Tired, content, ready for a new adventure. Perhaps then you finally see, I mean really see, where you came from. You see your home. Feel it, even. If you're lucky, and your eyes are open. You start to see people.

You realize that actually you saw very little about where they live. Where they really live.
You wake up in the middle of the night in your own bed and it hits you: I eat rice at every meal, three times a day. I've done this…

GenYsiX ---1

The driverless car drives itself to the hosp—to the Medical Facility. Come on, Max.

“You’ve been reading too much.”

Cathy. Cathy is my wife and I love her.


“Hello in there—Max? You. Reading. Too much. Again.”

I put my book down and I look sideways at her. She’s reclining in the passenger seat next to me. She is my wife and I love her.

“I’m reading about Earth.”

She scoffs. “Max. Come on. It’s not real.”

“What do you mean?”

I slide my hand under her hand on her stomach.

“It’s not real, that.” She gestures. “What’s real is this.” She squeezes. “Here. Now. Us.”

Under my palm I feel the material, the cool synth without texture. What she wants me to feel is the warmth of her skin beneath the lifeless synth and also the life we’ve made together. I think. But what I feel is…well, an entirely a different matter.

“You keep reading about the Earth but this isn’t the Earth. It isn’t real. Not to us.”

She is, of course, pushing my buttons. I know this. It is understandable. My hand is on her stomach. U…