November 28 – December 2, 2016
The system had been easy to fool. Most of the work had been done while still sitting in the car. Everything disabled in just a few strokes on the keyboard. It was quite a convenience to have the front door unlock itself. The greatest risk had been the people inside but the infrared had shown the girl and her mother in the upstairs bedroom. There had been a temptation to look through the lens of the bedroom camera and see what they were doing but the movement of the camera might have warned them. With cloth covers on shoes, gloved hands, in complete silence, small almost priceless items were placed into a bag. The safe was a challenge but also produced an acceptable reward, there was no reason to keep that much cash on hand, cash should be working for people – encouraging the economy. The heavy walnut door with thick brass hardware hung open just a few inches so there would be no question as to the entry point. With the new found wealth in it’s trunk the unwashed white Toyota Corolla started with just a flick of the key. As the car moved away the house’s surveillance system was activated and the silent alarm informed the police, the security company, the mother and the child that the front door was open.
The silent alarm had gone off. Marge and her daughter Margie prepared to lock themselves into the safe room following plans laid out years before. As they closed the door, which could only be opened from inside or by a trusted few, the not so silent alarm went off letting the intruder or intruders know they needed to leave. When the silent alarm was first activated several cameras had started scanning for movement while others remained focused on key value points; the picture covering the wall safe, the new Tesla S in the garage, the gun collection in Steve’s den all had focused cameras with a scanning camera across from them. The thief would be not only recorded but the digital information was already being sent to an off site server just in case something happened to the computers in the house. Marge and Margie settled into soft comfortable chairs and started one of Margie’s favorite DVD’s. They waited for the all clear notice the police or private protection agency would key into the pad on the door of the safe room. Marge retrieved a box of Margie’s preferred cookies from a cabinet and poured a couple glasses of milk. The milk was fresh and cold from a small refrigerator under the cabinet. Fresh cold milk had been available in the small refrigerator for every day of the last three years but this was the first time a glass of the liquid had been poured.
Bright yellow green mixes with dark blue green, a living carpet to the edge supplied with water and no farther. Dusty brown, inches from the green where no water falls. Life requires water. Not far away steel cylinders made from hundreds of curved panels hold a reserve of the necessary liquid, more is held a hundred feet below, a massive unseen lake hidden from eyes but mapped out and confirmed by the long tongues of thousands of pumps. Just drops reach here. A plastic tube, connected to a copper pipe connected to a larger plastic pipe, connected to transite pipe a person with narrow shoulders could slither through; a continuous passage from the tanks on the hill to this place. Every other morning, as the sun starts to shine, just enough of the precious fluid is released from the plastic tube. Controlled drops fall near each blade of green carpet and maintain the life. The living carpet grows. It grows from one day to the next a quarter of an inch, an eighth? Unnoticed, a million lives strive to achieve the plan written deep within, to be taller, broader. Do they desire? Do they plan to be eaten or provide shelter? Do they look forward to the time they will bestow new seed and new generations? Do they fear me? As I walk toward the machine that will soon cut and capture the top two inches of their devotion do they dread? Will the living green carpet try with screams to be heard above the explosions turning the scythe?
Sleep never came. I lay on the sofa, wrapped in warm comfort with a fresh sea breeze and the sound of ocean waves but I’m wide-awake staring at the curved ceiling. The walls and ceiling are covered with a soft, sound absorbing material but I know that under the covering there are several feet of concrete reinforced with steel rods, above the concrete I assume is dirt but how much or how far down into the ground my apartment is I have no way of knowing. The distance between my sofa and the toxic air of Earth is a comfort but I feel safer in space. Space is clean. Space is predictable.
“Computer,” I say into the air of the isolated cell I call home.
“Yes, Randy,” the computer speaks softly, slightly female, “Are you still mad at me Randy?”
“I’m not mad.”
“What can I do for you Randy?”
“Get me a flight,” I get off the sofa and walk into my cleaning chamber.
“The first open flight is in thirty-four minutes Randy. Would you like more time to rest Randy?”
“No, tell them I’ll take it.”
“Are you sure you’re not still mad, Randy?”
“You are my favorite computer in the whole world, I just need to get into space,” I finish being cleaned and ask, “Who’s the co-pilot?”
“Hey, that’s great!”
“I though you would be pleased,” I think I hear a note of jealousy but it’s just a computer.