6BUY345. It had become a mantra. 6BUY345. The Eastern said it would be six days, 345 million units. Half would go toward the front, the other re-routed to some camp outside Kabul. He could net a hefty profit. But Ware was on him. This was always the danger of gun-running.
Strange, the principle that brought interstellar travel to the far-flung gallery of planets that had, by then, multiplied to over their allotted capacity. It arrived as formula, sequential mathematics combined with a strange, Judeo-Christian coda. E=mc2 was the algorithm, seventy times seven the story. Peace was the price of Science.
Many times he tried describing their curves. The task was monumental, too captivating. Photos only hinted. Words suggested. Even actions–painting, stroking, feeling, breathing–fell short. What would capture the essence? He never tried loving them, until glaucoma took his eyes. Memory suffused meaning. And love–that came. In time.
Reel it in. Clip the line. This one’s a fighter. Beating fiercely against waves and the metal bit stuck in its lip, like a modern kid with rebel sensibilities. The old man reached over the edge and grabbed the wriggling flesh. Spines stung his nerveless palm. Life was like that.
He stared at last year’s decorations. Lots had changed since…She had gone, for good this time, leaving him with the young one and a house payment. His hours had been cut back. The world spun, deliriously ignorant of his state. An infant cried somewhere. He thanked God it wasn’t his.
He gave her options, but she remained firm. It wasn’t another man, or a woman for that matter. She could never sufficiently explain to him just how a woman feels. That despite the memories and dreams, and all his promises, that he was still a child, and she, a woman.
She’d been caged for many years now. Minnie learned to speak four languages over her first six months–the house was well-educated, father insistent his children be apt pupils. She avoided clichés, preferring seed to crackers. Over the years, her bright plumage faded into dullness, as thin bars denied hope.
He eyed the nubile girls sitting beyond the window blocking their speech from his ears. His eyes strained past parted feminine lips, landing on the dirty man behind them, who lifted an empty bottle from the table and placed it in his shopping cart. For a moment, he was desire-less.
Couples timed their lovemaking to the planets; women took herbs to retime their cycles, while men played wargames and drank aphrodisiacs, increasing their virility. When the star fell and no children were conceived, everything changed. Morning came. Everyone was gone. Epochs after, explorers wondered, speculated, theorized. They would never know.
The woman was plump, indignant in her state of carefully cultured weirdness. I couldn’t help looking at the patch of grey fur growing ambitiously from her left cheek, like a well-watered section of Arizona lawn otherwise browned by drought. I met her gaze accidentally and felt guilty for turning away.