The Big One

6 04 2013

I keep a file on my trusty thinking machine labelled ‘threads’. Right now you might be thinking any number of the following.

  • Wow, I think this dude knits. How cool! A guy that not only holds theoretical conversations with spambots but also enjoys a good homemade scarf!
  • Theoretical physics! A whole new place to plagiarise term papers from, YAY!
  • This guy totally knows how to design a killer t-shirt. That’s got to be it.

If you find yourself thinking any of the above, you’re crazy. I don’t knit out of a long-standing fear of accidental knitting needle seppuku; try as I might there is only so far I can self teach string theory; and I can barely put a t-shirt on let alone make my own. One of my favorite parts of working overnight is that my wife has left pajamas on the bed for me. If she didn’t do that I’d probably wander around the house naked for hours before eventually collapsing of exposure and being eaten by the dog.

Just saying.

The thread file is a folder that holds a cornucopia of ideas. Anything from one liners to a character description or a few paragraphs of a scene. There’s even a few scraps of dialog without a home. Ideas without any context. Word seeds waiting to be sown in my brain, watered, fed a human sacrifice and then burst into stories.

I like to review them every once in a while, especially when my ‘potential sacrifices’ list starts to really pile up. I happened upon almost 800 words of something that might be the introduction to a future short story. Or novel. Or novella. Or Florida time share pamphlet, I’m not sure.

So here I am. Throwing it at you. Oh and  the character that’s speaking is a bit profane. In case that bothers you. Consider yourself warned.

 

O’keefe.

What a fucking joke.

My dad always used to tell me that disasters worried most people. But after O’keefe hit New York City some thirty years ago, it’s all changed. Now everyone is sitting around hoping to God that someday, soon, another fucking rock’s going to swoop in and hit us. How did that turn into a good thing?

See when it was all going down, when it was real fresh, everyone was focused on helping people. Get the survivors out of the rubble. What rubble the damn thing left. Most of the city was vaporized on contact. O’keefe was a big boy.

Then someone huffed something they shouldn’t have. Bruce Eddington. Crazy Eddy. Braincase. The first fucking Creep right out of the ruins of New York. My dad was there. He actually met the poor bastard.

Eddy had been a fireman in Brooklyn. When the rock came down, he and a dozen of the men from his station survived somehow. Never was able to get an answer from him before he changed. They were the first ones to find survivors, started shuttling them out of the dust. Made two trips in then they just disappeared.

No one saw Eddy or the rest of them for another month after that. Until one day in Pittsburgh some kid found him wandering the streets, babbling and drooling on himself. And everyone latched onto it. One thing led to another then Bam! He was officially government property, living in a bunker in what was left above water out in Buffalo.

Didn’t take long for some hack in a lab coat to figure out snuffing the gas from that beast of an asteroid made you some sort of psychic or some such nonsense. I don’t know how it all works exactly.

But I do know this: Creeps will get in your head if you aren’t careful. Hell, they’ll even do it when you are. That’s number one. Number two is that you can’t trust them. They don’t talk hardly after they change and they lose hold on a lot of important concepts. Like personal fucking space. And three is that they are valuable as all hell.

Poor Eddy lit a fire back up under the space race. Got to find more rocks. Make more Creeps. And the shit they need only floats out in deep space.

Lab coats will tell you that a Creep is just like you and me. They’re full of shit. I can talk for starters. I don’t spend my day drooling all over myself and staring off into space thinking about, whatever. But Spence will swear up and down they’re still real fucking people. He’s fooling himself.

Near as I can tell it’s his own little way of justifying the dirty business he conducts on the off hours. I can understand a guy gets lonely after months on a rock with no one to talk to. He’s got it worse than me and Dodge. Least I can tolerate Dodge. We can have a fucking conversation. Spence spends all his time with the creeps. And all his off duty time with one in particular.

Spence puts a lot of effort in trying to cover his tracks. I’m pretty sure he thinks Dodge and I don’t know any better. Not that he has to hide it. There aren’t any rules against putting in a little personal time with a female ‘staff member’.

But then I probably wouldn’t want anyone to know I was knocking boots with a girl who was about as smart as a sweet potato either. The other lab coats would probably frown on that.

Space is a lonely place.

And we’re right in the middle of the most out-of-the-way back yard in the region.

Romeo-Bravo-Delta-One-Niner-Niner-Leo.

 Translation?

The millionth fucking rock we’ve found floating in space that we can’t think of a real name for because we ran out a million names ago. It’s home for us right now. Me, Spencer, Dodge and a half a dozen Creeps.

Three years on Titan, six in the Uppers and this is where me and Dodge end up. Babysitting a lab coat and his side-show on a rock in the middle of nowhere. We call it the Circus. It’s up at dawn to go walk the kiddies and back at dusk to tuck them in and make sure no one dies or gets lost along the way.

It’s total bullshit.

Dodge is about the same way. At least he doesn’t complain when I bitch about it.

What did we expect? It was court-martial or this. Probably jail, maybe worse, or babysit creeps on a rock. So what did we pick? You already know the answer.

It’s all rainbows and unicorns and bourbon up here baby.

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