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Chapter #7

Declan 1.1 (Breakfast of Champions)

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Tawana lived just a mile or two up the road, just north of Highland
Beach. Well, I made it this far.
All hope lost, I called out to the bum, whispering loudly, “Hey, man, you
don’t have a bathing suit in there that’d fit me, do ya?”
He didn’t even look up. So I said again, “Hey, man, can you hear me?”
I didn’t want to be too loud. I could see the cop up at the station by the
main entrance, talking to a park ranger. He was yapping the good officer’s ears
off. Lucky for me. Nothing like a couple of good ol’ boys hard at work so early in
the morning.
The bum just ignored me and kept mumbling to himself. I walked up to
him and grabbed his shoulder, shaking it a little and saying softly, “Hey, can
you help me?” I wanted to wash my hands afterwards, but all I could do was
just wipe them on my damp trousers.
With angry eyes, he replied in a gruff voice, “What do you want? Just
leave me be.” Then he started mumbling to himself again. His smelly, nappy
hair hung down in his face as he looked down at the ground.
In a joking, sarcastic tone, I asked him, “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to
have a bathing suit and a towel in them bags by any chance, do ya?”
Bothered and pissed, he replied, “I’ve killed men and beasts and
everything that creeps, and they were all bigger than you.”
Holy shit, this guy’s off his rocker.
Fuck, I wished I wasn’t so desperate. I didn’t know who was worse, this
guy, Batticus, or the cops.
I asked him, “Dude, are you alright”?
He sat down on a nearby park bench, and as soon as he turned around
and stepped towards it, I was pouring his breakfast of champions on my head
and messing up my hair. I took a big swig and gargled a bit before I swallowed

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it down. Ew, so nasty. Then I grabbed the bike like it was my very own and
walked over to the bench, smiling like I was doing him a favor.
He looked up at me, his eyebrows furrowed, and studied me a moment.
Then he told me, “I was on the starship Enterprise, and I know you. You’re one
of them Rueskenites, come to take over the earth. Well, you can have it. You
can have all of it, because she ain’t worth a damn now that my fair lady is
gone.” He looked down and mumbled to himself again.
Scared to death, I asked him, “Do you mind if I look in, I don’t know, this
bag here for a towel and a bathing suit?” I wanted to see if there was anything
at all in there that might help me escape.
He said, “Do what you will, but I’ll kill you if you ask me anything ever
What should I do? This wasn’t some scrawny, old man. He was kind of
tough looking, and you know how crazy people are. They’re like ten times
stronger than normal people, and they’re fucking crazy.
About that time, I saw the cop walking up the path.
I looked at Bumweirdo and went, “Shhh,” as the officer rounded the
banyan tree along the path. Then I grabbed the bum's breakfast out of the
front basket and took another big swig before offering its owner a sip. I grunted
some I'm-too-drunk-to-speak noises.
The officer walked up slowly with a hand on his stingray and an array of
VeeMs just above his eye line. Most of them were from the swarm cams. One of
them was showing a feed from the officers back at the Tallywhacker herself.
I was trembling I was so tense. I’m surprised my hands didn’t crush the
bicycle handlebars. As the cop came within earshot, I puffed up my chest and
slurred, “Yeah, I was on the transport ship Serenity, and I remember fighting
the men and the beasts and everything that creeps, but I don’t remember you.”
I put the vodka back in the basket, and then I let go of the bike and
walked over to the bench, sitting down real close to the bum. I looked down
and started mumbling to myself.

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The bum turned his head, looked at me with some very sad eyes, and
said, “Oh God, I’m such a coward. Please forgive me. I should have been there
helping you fight, but I was scared and hiding in the galley under a well-stuffed
The policeman stood back a ways and said, “You two need to be moving
along now. I don’t want to see either one of you two around here ever again.”
I just kept looking down and trying to hide behind the bicycle and the
bum. The cop’s voice echoed slightly as he entered the tunnel, and he called, “I
mean it now. You two move along. Get out of here.”
So me and Bumweirdo got up and started to walk down the bike path
towards Ocean Boulevard. What an idiot. What a moron. I guess I should’ve
just been thankful nobody got a good description of me or what I was wearing.
I could hear a couple of tiny swarmers buzzing around us. They were still
watching. I pulled my collar up and puffed out my cheeks. I couldn’t believe it.
Some asshole that took a joyride on a boat must not be worth wasting precious
processor heat.
It was just too easy. Deep down inside, I wanted to start running like
hell, but I was cool. Another part of me wanted to laugh like hell, but I gotta be
cool. Stay cool, head down, and mumble.
I looked over at my newfound friend, and I saw tears forming in his eyes.
I could tell it was all he could do to keep from crying right out loud. I felt so
bad for him. In his lunatic mind, he truly believed that he bailed on me in some
space battle. As we passed the Spanish River Bridge, I put my arm around him
and said, “I forgive you, man.”
It was like this huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. He looked at me
with his teary eyes and said, “Thanks, brother. I’ll never forget or abandon you
ever again.”
“De nada, man. It was nothing at all. And thank you, good sir. I owe you
my freedom,” I said truthfully. “Now you need to go your way, and I’ll go mine.

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Take your bike and your stuff, and go across this bridge to never-never land. I
think they call it Boca Raton. And best of luck to ya, dude.”
By this time, my clothes were almost completely dry, and I was just like
any other alcohol-soaked guy power-walking down the sidewalk.
My feet were starting to hurt. A cop pod drove by. The exercise crowd was
starting to show up, walking, riding, and jogging up and down the path. I could
see the condo right up ahead. I was almost there, just a few blocks away.
My muscles ached all over, and I was so drained. I was like, I hope I don’t
Ugh, I hope I don’t drop dead of exhaustion right here, right now.
Finally, I made it to the steps that led up to The Sea Lord’s fancy front
doors. I took the highway because I figured I could make better time on
pavement. The sandy beach would have killed me for sure.
The doorman was none too happy to see me, though. He just kind of
looked down his long, straight nose and said in a smug voice, “Good morning,
I forgot to fix my hair, and I still reeked like Bumweirdo's breakfast of
champions. I wondered if this would hit the tabloids. Tawana was going to kill
me. I glanced over at a mirrored panel as I walked down the hall to the elevator
and saw my eyes were blood red with no white at all. I was spoiled and used to
my eight hours or so. Yeah, I like my sleep.
I stepped inside the elevator and pressed the PH button. Wow, she might
not even let me in. All of my energy just ran right out of my feet as the elevator
slowed to a stop. I ran my fingers through my hair and tried to man up a bit.
What the hell was I going to tell Tawana? There’s no way she was going to
believe what happened to me last night. She’s going to kill me.
I really shouldn’t be here. But I stepped out of the elevator and through
the big, red, shiny doors.

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Tawana was doing an exercise class with some friends on the holovision.
She looked over at me and said, “I’m glad to see you’re ready. You know, to
jump on the plane with me.”
I thought I was going to die. So I told her, “I think I’m going to die.” I
paused, to see if she was going to slap me or get mad and kick me out or
something. She didn’t say anything, so I asked, “Do I have time for a hot
She said, “Declan, it’s well after nine.”
I answered in a cowardly tone, “And we were supposed to be at the
airport at nine, weren’t we?”
Tawana turned off the holovision and asked, “Are you all right?”
I sat down, groaning a little, and answered, “Not really, but I think I’ll
live.” Across the table, I could see a cup and a small dish with some orange
rinds and small fish tails in it. I wondered if they were fresh out of her bed. A
couple of VeeMs were open, The Jetsons and another one on a popular music
feed. I said, “I can’t believe you’re here. Were you waiting for me?”
“Yes and no. Our flight was canceled due to the snowstorm up there,
lucky for you,” she explained.
Making light of it all, I asked, “So are you friends with my mom?”
She looked at me a little puzzled and asked, “What?”
I pointed at the monitor, at The Jetsons.
“Declan, if you didn’t look so fucking pitiful right now, I’d kill you. I’d
absolutely kill you. At first I thought, ‘He better have a good excuse.’ And now I
really don’t think I care. Nope, I don’t even want to hear it.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. “It’s a pretty good story.”
Then I looked over at the VeeMs, and, lo and behold, there was a partial
hologram of me wearing a blond wig and a straw hat on the Interesting Local
morning feed, a popular news nugget program shown on all the good music
sites. I looked at Tawana and then the VeeM. I looked back at her and then
back again, pointing at the VeeM.

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“No way. Dickey, that’s not you, is it?” She smiled and started laughing
at me, gasping out, “No way, I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!” When Tawana
finally caught her breath, she said, “Oh my gosh, Declan, you stink like hell.
Go get in the shower right now. Come on now, we have to hurry. There’ll be
plenty of time to tell me all about it when we’re in the sky. Give me your clothes
so can I wash them really quick.”
“Hold on,” I said as I framed up a virtual monitor and told it to pull up
the Fort Lauderdale news. “John might be dead, or in jail, or I don’t know. I
don’t know what happened to him. He played decoy so I could escape from the
guy who’s been trying to kill me.” I thought this time Tawana believed me, just
a little.
“Dickey, I didn’t know you were in this much trouble. I can’t believe
somebody’s really out to kill you,” she said. I could see she was worried, and it
touched me deeply. Then she said, “Hurry now. I can’t be late.”
I got undressed and changed the walls to lunarscape, Tawana’s favorite,
and—BAM!—hot water never felt so good.
Ahhh, man. Phew. What a day already. If I didn’t get some sleep soon, I
I’d just die. God bless Tawana. I didn’t know what I would’ve done without her.
Lordy lordy lordy, Ahhh, mmm. I was gonna need my London Fog. Fuck, it was
in the back of the Kamikaze 9000. That sucked.
I brushed my teeth, picked a pimple, then opened the bathroom door.
The steam rolled out, and Tawana was right there, like a dream fading into
reality from a steamy, smoking cloud. She was wearing her travel clothes and
holding her go-bag. She looked like the cover of a magazine.
I looked down and mumbled, “I lost my London Fog. I’m going to freeze to
death up there.”
“Ugh, you’re impossible, Declan,” she said, her high heels stomping out
of the room.

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I followed her to the bedroom, where I saw her auto-closet roll out into
the room. Her clothes started going around until she stopped it at a hokey, but
at least not feminine, trench coat.
“Yeah, that’s great,” I said, but I was thinking, great, now I’ll look like a
perv and a flasher.
Oh well. It did look warm.
We stepped into the elevator, and I watched Tawana push the up button.
Wow, I was going to fly to the airport. How cool was that? Me and my flasher
jacket were going to be styling and smiling all the way to New York. I hoped Bat
Face didn’t ruin this for me. I wished I had the money to buy a phone so I
could call John. Sooo fucking tired.
“I had the driver pick up some eye drops for you, Declan. You really look
like shit. I want you to know that I really appreciate you coming with me,
though.” She winked at me and smiled as we got off the elevator and walked
across the roof. “I hate traveling alone. I have a very special dinner planned for
us for later. You don’t have other dinner plans, do you?”
“Are you kidding?” I asked. “If I can stay awake, I’m there.”
“Poor baby,” she replied as we climbed in. She patted me on the head as
the airlimo took off. Then she continued, “I didn’t see anything on John while
you were in the shower.”
I said, “That’s probably good news. No news is good news.”
We landed on the runway, and the seats shifted into the plane. First
class all the way, and I couldn’t even afford a cup of coffee.
I put my lazy boy back and stretched out as the plane started rolling
down the runway. Tawana was sitting close, and my arm stretched out and
around her shoulders. She seemed to like it, or at least she didn’t mind, so I
buried my head just under hers and a little on top of her right breast and fell
straight to sleep.

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Sometime later, Tawana started shaking me. “Hey, wake up, sleepyhead.”
I was still snoring as I lifted an eyelid just enough to see some billowy clouds
cruising by the large window.
Tawana pointed and said, “Look down. See? Right there.” New York
looked like a bug in a spider web. The roloball tunnels and the bubble-vator
shoots looked amazingly like a giant spider web, or rather several webs all
interconnected for miles around and several stories high in places. I'd never
seen it before.
I mean, it was one thing to see it in Q-def on the holovision, but to see it
in real life, and now descending down upon it, was truly amazing. I’d never
been to the Rotten Apple before.
A woman wearing a tailored vest and shiny nylons bent over in a most
provocative manner and asked me, “Can I get you anything, sir?”
“Caf-buz please, and make it a double.” I sat up and looked at Tawana
through sleepy eyes. “Can you pick this up for me? I’m running kind of low.”
She reached into her purse and handed me few bucks, saying, “I’m going
to loan you a few dollars, Declan. You can pay me back when you get it. You
know your dad was good to me when I was having hard times. I’ll never forget
I thanked her and took it. I told her about the previous night’s
escapades, and she laughed when I got to the crazy bum and the Tallywhacker
and the cops. Talking about it got me to worrying about John. I didn’t want to
be rude and count the money that she gave me, but I was hoping it was
enough to replace my comband with something compatible enough to
download my contact information.
Tawana told me about the shoot we were going to. She was a little bit
nervous about it. It turned out her ex-boyfriend set it up and they just broke
up about ten days ago. Apparently, the guy wanted to see other people. I
started to get the feeling that, deep down, Tawana was a little heartbroken.

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The caf-buz wasn’t bad for a plane beverage. I was starting to feel a little
better. Another airlimo picked us up and took us to the studio. There was a lot
of snow on the ground, and even though we were warm and cozy in the limo, I
still put on the flasher jacket. I was cold just looking out the window.
When we got to the studio, there was a guy snapping pictures of us and
asking, “Is that your new boyfriend? Are you still available?” The limo driver
and another big fella wearing dark shades were holding him back as he asked I
didn’t know what all else.
“He probably works for some tabloid site. Who knows what they’ll print
about us,” Tawana explained. Then she wrapped her arms around me and gave
me kiss on the lips. “Come on, Declan. Play along, it’ll be fun,” she said.
Oh yeah, big fun, I had cops looking for me, a bat doof who wanted to kill
me, and a friend who wanted me to wave at the whole damn world. All in all, it
was kind of cool, though. I just waved like fuck it, I don’t care. What the hell,
I’ll just play along. So I slapped Tawana on the ass and gave it a squeeze.
A little shocked, she said in a high-pitched tone, “Declan?”
“That’ll get ’em talking,” I whispered in her ear as we walked through the
high-rise’s doors.
She said, “I’m going to be here for a while, Dickey. You don’t have to
hang around, but don’t go far. Or you can watch, if you like.”
As we stepped into the elevator, I decided to hang around and see
Tawana in action. I’d never really liked big cities much.
She was modeling the newest version of the bikini chair, a chair that
started out selling in South Florida lingerie shops until the guy, Tawana’s ex,
made enough money to buy a mold and find a manufacturer to mass produce
them. Now they were in pretty much every surf shop and lingerie shop in the
Tawana told me that they were coming out with a cheap plastic model for
stores like Wal-Mart and Target, grocery stores, home goods stores, and
anyplace you could buy stuff cheap. There was going to be an app that would

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let you print them at home from any of their websites—with a big enough
printer, that is. They wanted Tawana to model for those, but she said there was
no way she was modeling for some cheap, crappy version of anything.
Now they’ve gone full circle. The one Tawana was modeling today was a
really nice, high-end lingerie version of the chair, hardwood with a leather seat
and holographic surround vision built right in.
As the elevator doors opened, I said, “See you in a bit.”
“You got it,” she replied as she went into her dressing room.
The camera guys showed up and started getting ready for the big shoot.
They were positioning some lights aimed at silver umbrellas on stands, and
setting up some other equipment. For some reason it reminded me of the girl
on the umbrapole with three breasts and three penises under her skirt. I
suddenly realized that I had to break up with my Marshella. I don’t think three-
breasted women will ever turn me on again.
By the back window, there was a foldout table with papers and VeeM
projectors on it. Nearby, a businessman was pointing his finger around in the
air and talking lighting or something with a gay holotech. Whoops! Don’t say
the G-word. I gotta stop doing that. It’s just so hard to call them femifellas. It
sounds so stupid. But I wouldn’t want to offend anybody.
Anyway, I walked up and asked them, “Hey, guys, is there a place where
I can get something to drink and a phone around here?”
They pointed to a nearby door, and the businessman said, “There’s a
break room just down hall and to the left.”
“Thanks,” I said, and I walked down the hall and to the left, where I
found a very large break room. It apparently also doubled as a copy and
Luckily, the vending machines still accepted cash, so I fed the soda
machine and pulled out a peppermint soda pop. Then I went to the phone
machine and got an el-cheapo phone. I sat down at one of the tables as one of
the 3D printers started printing out something behind me. Then another one

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started printing something as well. It was a little annoying, you know, but I
finally figured out how to connect the new phone to the network and tried
downloading my personal information. All I got, though, was a flashing yellow
alert screen with a red icon that read, “Important information. Press button
and follow onscreen directions to continue.”
A bit puzzled, I pressed the big red icon, which opened a screen that
read, “You have a previous balance. You must pay your previous balance to
continue the use of this device.”
What the hell. I looked over at the vending machine, and scrawled at the
top in big, bold reddish-orange letters was the name ‘Verizun.’
I thought about it a minute. Then I thought long and hard about it a
little longer. I seemed to remember that I had some problems with my very first
comband. That was when they first came out, years ago. We didn’t have VeeMs
back then, just holographic wire-frame text. What a brick. I was only nine
years old. It seems like a lifetime ago.
Damn thing only lasted three days. Then I lit it on fire after a billion calls
to their service center, and now this.
Jesus Christ. No mercy, no mercy.
Now look, they want a small fortune in interest rates and late fees, and
my left nut and half my right for inflationary adjustments. Fuck it. I saved
pennies for years just to let them rob me once already.
I threw the phone down on the table in front of me, sat back in the chair,
and took a sip of pop. I was boiling inside. I took a deep breath and gazed out
at the big city window a moment, when all of a sudden it started wobbling. So I
got up to investigate. I put my hand all the way against the glass, looked out to
the left, and saw what appeared to be a low-profile, old-fashioned army tank
moving sideways on the outside of the building. What the fuck!
As it moved closer, I noticed that the turret-looking part aiming down
and at an angle was actually the exhaust vent of a very large blower. There
were two sets of two tracks with octopus tentacle-like suction cups on them

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and long, narrow suction nozzles in between each set. As it rolled slowly over
the glass pane right in front of me, I could see its belly was shooting a window
cleaning solution that was wiped away by an L-shaped squeegee. Long, skinny
suction nozzles were sucking the excess fluid off the glass, and three different
textured rollers behind the nozzles were polishing the window as the
contraption rolled by. It was simply amazing. They didn’t have anything like
this back home. It was just freaking awesome.
When I turned around, I saw the gay guy—ahem, femifella—enter the
room, and he said, “Oh my. Not again!”
I looked down, and there must have been a couple hundred or more of
these little white and black wiener dog-looking things. The printers were
spitting them out one, two, three—doink, doink, doink as they hit the floor.
The guy looked at me and said, “Why didn’t you say something?”
I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and pointed at the now-gone
freaking mech-window washer.
I looked down as he shouted down the hall, “The stupid wiener dogs are
back again!” And then he started turning off all the printers.
I reached down and picked one up, and I just had to laugh. It was the
damnedest thing I’d ever seen. It was a genuine, bonerfied wiener dog all right.
It had big floppy ears, front legs, and a tail like a cute, little wiener dog. But its
body and head were an uncircumcised penis, and it had gonads for hind legs.
The femifella said angrily, “It’s not funny.”
“Well, it is a little funny,” I replied.
“We keep getting this damn wiener dog virus in our printers. Our tech
guys tracked down the source and found out that one of our receptionists has
a son who's responsible for this mess,” he complained. “The first one infected
the gold printer upstairs in the CEO’s office. Luckily he was there and
unplugged it after just one very large wiener dog was printed. He uses it as a
paperweight on his desk to this very day.”

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I apologized for not noticing sooner and he continued, “The virus infected
hundreds and maybe thousands of printers around the world. Some of them
belong to our very best clients. Now it’s a just a relentless and tiresome cat-
and-mouse game between our techies and this adolescent little prick.”
I put a wiener dog in my pocket and asked, “Can I keep it as a souvenir?”
He snubbed his nose at me and replied, “Ugh, be my guest.”
I couldn’t help but giggle a little as I waded through this large mound of
wiener dogs. I’d like to shove one of them up Verizun’s ass. Oh well, what can a
poor boy do?
I walked back into the shooting area, where I saw Tawana grinding and
modeling the ultimate souped-up bikini chair. The music was thumping as it
filled the air. The camera guy was telling her, “Come on, Tawana. Shake it now.
You gotta feel it, baby. Wiggle it like a…” He paused and blushed for a brief
moment, then said, “Like a fish. Yeah, wiggle it like a fish, honey.”
It was quite a scene, but I was a little embarrassed for her. I didn’t know
why. She did have her signature moves. Of course, having femurs that more
resembled vertebrae and fins in her back helps. Nobody wiggled like Tawana,
that’s for sure.
The camera guy told everybody to take five, except Tawana, who had to
put on the next outfit. It looked like a bridal bikini, weird. I told her I was going
to go for a walk and that I’d be back in a little while.
“Okay, sweetie,” she replied as she waved her tail, and then she went
back to talking to the director about something.
I walked down the hall and stepped into a large elevator with smoked
mirrors and shiny metal art work on the walls. It had a really cool design
incorporating a stainless steel art deco shape with lights behind it and a smoky
mirror. I got out and walked across the lobby to the exit, and I bundled up in

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my flasher jacket. I opened the door, and the cold air hit me in the face like a
hockey puck. My nose and ears went numb almost instantly, and my toes
weren’t far behind. I was a South Florida boy—ain’t used to being cold.
It was the middle of the afternoon and warming up some at least. I could
hear the sound of the melting snow trickling into a nearby gutter. The sky was
clearing behind the massive web of transit tubing and overwhelmingly tall
buildings. The transit tubes low to the ground were clear, and I could see the
roloballs and the people in the peop chute carriers flying by just overhead.
Most of the roloball tubes were designed for two-seaters, but there were some
with larger radii to accommodate four-seat models and limos.
It’d be cool to see the machine they built for rebuilding the old Empire
State Building. Funny, out of all the things to see and do in New York, that’s
what interested me the most.
I could tell it was getting near quitting time. More and more people were
coming out of the high-rises. The streets were getting a little crowded, but the
morning snowstorm must have kept most people at home today. A hologram
popped up next to a streetlight with a speaker mounted on its pole and offered
to show me the way to Frannie’s New York Pizzeria, just half a block away.
Then another offered to sign me up to a dating site, and another from South
Western Airlines offered me discounted rates for my future trips back and forth
between the Big Apple and South Florida.
I asked a fellow selling VeemaZines where I could buy a cheap phone.
His facial expression suggested that he didn’t like being bothered, and
the tone of his voice was just plain mean, but he answered with his New York
accent, “Just go to the corner, hop on the peop chute, tell it that you want to

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purchase a cheap phone, and it’ll take you to a store or a vending machine
somewhere. I don’t know.”
It made sense, but I was scared of the roloball shoots back in South
Florida. I didn’t want nothing to do with one of them peop chutes here in the
big city. Could you imagine getting lost? I just thanked him and started
checking out his VeemaZines. They were quantum. I’d seen VeemaZines before
in a Roger Bucks coffeehouse. You could take them anywhere in downtown
City Place. Chaz could even read them in his apartment overlooking the stage
across from Beef Eaters. I asked the guy, “What’s the range on these
“They’re available pretty much anywhere in the city. Check it out, I got
Sci-Fi Now. It’s the trendiest VeemaZine in the world.”
“I like Wyred better.”
“They can’t write like these guys,” he insisted gruffly, “and it’s only
available right here. You can’t get this one online.”
He don’t know my buddy Woo.
I glanced around his selection. Astronomy’s cover read, “Have we mapped
every star and planet in the Milky Way?”
Wyred’s said, “Leaps and bounds in the telefield.” I guessed ‘tele’ must be
the new buzzword for teleportation.
There was a political magazine that had an article discussing the legality
of the time bomb in a court room. I remembered Professor Swansont talking
about this in class the other day. Wow, that was, like, just a couple of days
ago. Amazing. It seemed more like weeks or even years.
I looked up, and the salesman was watching the weather report. It looked
like more snow for the Big Apple, and the drought in the Midwest was expected
to continue. And down home it looked like heavy rains were on the way. It
might even get down to the lower seventies after the front. God, I loved Florida.
I bought a copy of The Post in the environmentally friendly zine format,
then said good day to the salesman as I strolled away.

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Then my troubles started haunting me again.
I selected the Classified icon and started scrolling through the want ads.
I just really didn’t know what I should do. I really don’t think I want to hide out
in New York. I had to find a better way. Hmm, I wondered how long it would
take to get used to the cold. I’ll just keep my eyes and ears open. I’m sure
something will give. It always does.
I looked up at the traffic webs and admired how they gracefully wrapped
around and draped up and down the awe-inspiring giants that seemed to be
reaching out for the sun. The city’s pulse was getting busier and louder as the
roloballs and peop chutes filled up. The buzzing and whirring seemed to create
a rhythm all over the city. The forked tube direction paddles and rolling slot
chute diverters were thumping and rolling, keeping time for the people that
were walking and talking, texting, and gawking at the fashions and
merchandise in the windows. It was quite the orchestra, to say the least. Maybe
I could get used to this place.
I took my hands out of the flasher jacket and warmed them with my
breath as I strolled down the avenue. I thought about the weatherman back
home with the creepy eyebrows. Brrr, it’s cold.
I turned the corner and saw a building that was unusually lower than
the sleek carbon fiber giants that surrounded it. The main structure of this
architectural marvel was an unusual metallic green that rose up out of the
middle of the fortress and curved in towards the top of the building. It had
polished, bronze, rocket-shaped pillars in each corner that reached up about
two-thirds the height of the main structure. From the third story, the building’s
balcony reached over the sidewalk, a half-circle over the main entrance doors. I
started walking towards the building because I really had nothing better to do.
Underneath the ledge read the name of the building. Synopsis Five.
While I was admiring the building, I noticed a man juggling some balls in
front of the main doors. He was dancing, juggling, and twirling against and
with the flow of the people coming and going. His position in front of the

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building’s entranceway shifted very little to the left or right of the middle of the
sidewalk. All of the passersby were, for the most part, less than amused, and
some of them looked annoyed. I found it interesting, though.
As I walked by, a void in the people appeared, and he threw the balls
right to me. One, two, three. And as I caught them, he pulled two large, metal
cans out of his pockets, one in each hand, and he put their nozzles into his
mouth. Pressing the lever—tshhht, tshhht—and then some vapor piped out of
his ears.
He said, “Agh, the breakfast of champions. Got any freon?” A devilish
grin lit up his face.
Now, obviously he was a droid, but I’d never seen one like this before. He
turned his head around in three complete circles and then let it spin back. He
said, “Freon,” and then he laughed. I noticed a warning sign on one of the cans
that read, “Caution, liquid helium.” Now, that’s cold. And quite odd.
He had scary eyes that looked eerily alive. Stupid droid.
“Thanks for holding my balls,” he said in a rather calm and soothing
tone, and he gave me a perfectly sinister grin.
The expression on his face reminded me of a small child about to pull a
prank. His hair was shiny, black, and wavy, and his nose was sharp and
pointy. He had pale skin with a hint of gray, and his body language and
demeanor were smooth and unusually lifelike.