CH. 12 «Respite from my Texti»

AIPTEK

06-06-2308

We living in the soon-to-be desert town Fender were mired by a muggy Martian heat wave. I had to rearrange my sleeping schedule in order to accommodate to the sweltering conditions…and doing anything during daylight hours was out of the question. I stayed bundled up in my blacked out bedroom with the air conditioning unit pointed at me on full blast while the mean red sun was around.

It was only at this time of day with the violet of twilight washing through the windows downstairs that I could feel comfortable to move about. I expect this is when every resident of Fender is starting their days…unless they’re cold blooded or something. I don’t know how they beat the heat otherwise. Pashan had conveniently taken holiday to visit his home on the icy tundras of Europa. I had the unit to myself for weeks but could only revel in my newfound solitude during certain hours permitted by the sun. When I could, though, it was bliss. Silence. Except for something that kept going Beep!

Seated on a weak sofa in the living room, I was in the middle of enjoying a good ebook on Neptune when it began. For the following hour and a half, as I was trying to focus on late dynasties and vulgarly decadent architecture, five minutes didn’t go by that it wouldn’t let out a desperate moan. Finally, after the repeal of the ban on pantheistic worship, my texti gave two terminal cries and faded to black. I set the booki down on the table and got up.

A lump of scientifically engineered silicon, wire and plastic sat stoic on the sill. Its telescoping eye stared eerily at me catching the reflection of my hand. I felt relieved when it didn’t jump or wriggle or squirm in my grasp, it was just sterile piece of cold plastic in my hands. Thumbing the power button, the device sprung to life for a nano before fading again, “Low Battery” flashing in red before everything disappeared. I sighed aloud.

Now I’d have to go all the way to my crawler to charge my comm. I’d lost the wall plug ages ago to those adorable pet rodents of mine–I’d barely had the texti a year when they chewed through the charger cord.The salesman couldn’t contain his laughter when I handed him my outdated, obsolete, thick plastic paperweight. At this point its only a couple months until I’ll get my comm upgrade at 2 years, so I might as well tough it out. It was going to be difficult. The lifespan cycles (down to near 2 hours and shortening), the propensity to switch off during calls, and the incessant ‘I’m dying’ beep, which, pathetic and feeble as it sounds, must not help in the struggle to conserve strength.

 

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MARTIAN HEATWAVE

I thought Mars was bad. Where I live in SoAm we’re privilege to summer weather 9 months of the year. And when I say summer weather, I mean blistering temperatures and drought conditions. I’ve heard of this pattern that’s supposed to occur called the June Gloom, but I guess Fender is too far inland to experience some break from the marine layer…that or it just isn’t happening this year because it’s been obliterated by a gorking heatwave. I don’t know how the Martians do it. Or I didn’t know how the Martians did it.

I walked to the convenience store just outside the complex after my comm had charged up a bit. I shouldn’t have left my crawler. I should have driven the 0.1 miles from her bay in the port and brought the bubble of climate conditioning along with me. The orange day was sweltering, skin sizzling when in direct beams. I’d never looked so desperately sought for cover behind the shadows of units, sphere walls and parked carryalls. I slinked between them on my way down the shimmering white cement. Its uniform mass-manufactured edges seemed to waver and melt in the distance wherever the orange sun shone directly on it. It was daunting, but I forced ahead down the harrowing sidewalk to the Square-Q Mart.

I left the convenience store with a slushie beverage pressed to the back of my neck, feeling pretty proud of myself for figuring out what must be the secret to surviving a heatwave…until I spotted these locals taking a break beneath an overgrown cactus in the landing lot.

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«···»

I stood outside my unit on the front stoop wearing nothing a poly-silk robe and boxers shorts with a cigi smoldering in my sour face. The sprinklers had just started to spray on our feeble attempt at a lawn and upon my ankles. I had timed this 3 AM smoke break perfectly; I hadn’t felt this refreshed in days. This was the perfect respite from the heat wave.

Speaking of feeling relieved, I’m happy to report I finally of a friend in this wasteland. My old schoolmate Eon Beurot has come to Mars to escape her life on the Earth. Since forever ago, she insisted that people call her Lou, or Onny, or anything but her real name because she doesn’t like the way it sounds. But I do, and always have, so I call her Eon anyway. I remember us considering ourselves tortured artists, and I feel like her writings from the heart inspired me to express my thoughts with words. It was emulating her that I began to keep tlogs like the one you’re reading in the first place! I might be desperate for any signs that I’m not alone here, but I think it’s no coincidence Eon ended up with me on Mars.

The winds had taken her all across the Earth, though she never had the pleasure of settling for longer than a few months before another gust came to uproot her. A couple jobs and a fiance later, the doldrums brought her to rest at last upon the rusted face of Mars. And if it weren’t for social network applications and their obnoxious sharing of every detail committed by you to your entire network, I’d have never noticed she arrived here.

When I came back inside from my cigi, renewed and well-irrigated I noticed a green indicator flashing on my texti. I was elated to see it was alerting me of a message from dear Eon. After reading it and melting a little bit inside, I started on my reply. I was trying to find the best way to word how nice it was to have a like-minded person to relate to in a foreign place like this. I even remarked on how I felt it was destiny to find each other here. I paused and contemplated whether now was the time to mention how big of a crush I had on her. My malfunctioning mobile took this opportunity to die, gasping two last beeps and fading to black while I was in the middle of my message.

Gritting my teeth and taking a deep breath I clenched the uncooperative comm in my fist and shook it frustratingly in the air. I’d smash it to bits if it wasn’t for that childlike eye staring up at me. Machines know not the sins of man, how could I punish such an innocent creature? Then with one last defiant snap of energy, the texti shocked me. In recoil I threw it across the room.

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PREV: CH. 11 «MODEL:Z-140x»

PREV: CH. 11 «MODEL:Z-140x»

NEXT: CH.13 «Visiting Earth»

NEXT: CH.13 «Visiting Earth»

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