Issue 48 (Nov. 2015)
Stephen looks up from the console screen where the 3D chess game is displayed. The countdown clock reads 17 years, 6 days, and 5 hours left. “Horse to D7-2.”
A thousand light-years away, his younger twin brother Andy (a full two minutes younger), chases the horse with a cannon along the tri-level virtual chessboard. “Check, big brother.” His voice whispers through the speaker.
There is a girl sitting at the window of your dorm room. Her hair is a dark cloud of curls, her cheeks plump and pale, her lips a surreal shade of red. She bit into an apple, a lifetime ago, and under its tight skin was tart juice and a murmur that sang her to sleep. She awoke under an arch of trees, her arms grown over with moss, her cheeks sunken and hollow.
You had thought that she’d avoid apples, now, but she doesn’t avoid any food. She eats with the sort of enthusiasm you’d previously thought reserved for children–unabashed, uncaring of the way her face grows round, the way her hips widen and her belly extends.
She says, “I will not be afraid,” and bakes apple pies and apple bread and eats slices of Granny Smiths for breakfast, dipping them in honey and crunching them between her teeth. “Not of sleep, or death, or, for goodness’ sakes, butter.”
I picked up your book, the Sex Adventurer’s Travel Guide to the Kuiper Belt, on sale at a used book bulletin on frugalspacefarers.com. I now recognize that this was my first mistake. However, although I was aware that the book might be out of date, it didn’t occur to me that it could possibly be so wildly inaccurate so as to get me into serious trouble.
INT. RESTAURANT – NIGHT
IMEE (35, Asian American, bubbly, but bookish. A mixed bag full of firecrackers and digital appliance manuals) is dressed in a hot pink number with matching stiletto heels. She heartily eats a slice of cake. DUDE (30’s) sits across from her and watches her eat. His cake untouched. Imee eyes his cake and is about to ask for it when Dude pulls out a ring box. She sits mute; mouth full of cake.
What do you say?