Soy. Lent. Green/Running

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Write about a character who loves cloud gazing. ... view prompt


Adventure Science Fiction American

This story contains themes or mentions of sexual violence.

Clever men in lab coats and suits were certain that nothing could go wrong. Smarter women behind them were tired of telling them otherwise.

            The Enormous Halcyon Collider, younger brother of the LHC, had been converted into a chrono gate. People who didn’t have Doctor Who and Stargate boxed sets of DVDs just called it a time door.

            It was time to turn it on. 10:00 someone’s standard time.

            A man with contact lenses and a smug grin flipped a switch.

            Nothing happened.

            No aliens.

            No tourists from the future.

            The woman with the ‘I WANT TO BELIEVE’ T-shirt under her lap coat sighed, shoulders sinking. She’d passed up a date with a beautiful young man from a sugar-baby website who’d told her she had a very attractive bank balance. She liked a boy with an eye for numbers.

            Then something happened.

            A silver hand appeared in the air at roughly the height you might expect a hand to appear at if it was coming out of nowhere. It gave everyone the thumbs up and then held up a single finger.

            Then, the hand disappeared.

            “Where did it go?” Asked an investor wearing a pin stripe suit and whiskey offered up to him by a woman he’d groped in a bar. His people were dealing with the whole thing. She would be offered a staggering amount of money to keep quiet. She would sign a non-disclosure agreement and it would be like the whole sexual harassment thing had never happened. The worst thing about it was that the whiskey had messed up his fake tan right before his photo op with visitors from wherever.

            A man stepped through the air.

            Was he a man?

            Was it?

            The head looked like pictures of men that you see in magazines for knitwear or country life. A white man of probable European descent with Brown hair and brown eyes. The hands and legs looked like those of villains you saw in robot invasion films.

            In an uncanny impression of gunshot model turned vampiric messiah President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the immigrant spoke. “Ask not what the future can do for you, but what you can do for the future.”

            In his own impression of a Shakespearian orator the cyborg raised his arms as he spoke and stared at an indeterminate point in the ceiling.

            “Great stuff new guy,” said the whiskey smelling molester impatiently. “Let’s get the photos taken so I can get back to snorting coke and disappointing my father alright?”

            The businessman who had started an empire with nothing but his looks, charm, and a gift of two billion dollars wrapped an arm around the incomer. He flashed his veneers until the cameras stopped flashing.

            “Good luck Iron-Dan,” said the lecherous entrepreneur as he walked away.

            “I come in peace,” said the cyborg, smiling with the blissful ignorance of a toddler on the purest sugar known to man.

            “That’s your mistake buddy,” said a border patrol officer. The officer watched the backers and press leave the room. He aimed a gun at the unwanted immigrant. “I assume you have the correct paperwork?”

            “Everything was prepared before my departure. Here you are.” The cyborg handed the officer a passport. “We had to prepare one in the old format especially.”

            “I’m honoured,” grumbled the man in a blue uniform covered with pockets he wished were filled with ammunition. “One little problem here.”

            “There can’t be. Everything there was checked multiple times.”

            “Your name is Simon Borg? That some kind of joke?”

            “Isn’t everything?” Simon asked.

            “That’s not the problem, Mr Borg. The problem is that your passport is out of date.”

            “That’s impossible.”

            “This won’t be valid for another hundred years. I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me.”

            “Are you serious? I just arrived from the future and you’re arresting me?”

            “You’ve entered the country without valid documentation. It is my duty to take you into custody. You will be deported in due course.”

            “If you want to deport me, the portal is right there.” Simon turned and pointed to the rectangular space that looked nothing like a revolutionary portal through time.

            “Arms behind your back sir. Don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be. You have the right to a lawyer. If you cannot afford one the state will provide one for you.”

Simon had been in a cell for three days. The walls were concrete. The plumbing was clogged, and his roommate snored.

            “Does this have soy in it?” He yelled beneath the door as the food trays slid across the floor. “I’m allergic to soy. Does it have soy?”

            “Shut up Simon,” said Tony. “You know I don’t like to be awake before eleven-thirty.” Tony was a stout man with a beer gut and zombie tattoos who was locked up for setting fire to a carboard cut-out of Batman whilst dressed as Harley Quin. He was still wearing the outfit.

            “How do you even know the time?” Simon asked. “Please turn over, your meatballs are showing through your hotpants.” The cyborg noted as well that the man’s tights had laddered.

            “Don’t judge me.”

            “That ship has sailed and sunk. I have to get out of here. I want to see the sky. I want to see big fluffy white clouds instead of the rusty cage over a florescent light that flickers        . I don’t mind spending time with you Tony. I’d prefer it if you had a change of clothes.”

            “Me too. This thing has been riding up for days.” The roommate scratched himself before Simon could look away.

            “Why are you in a holding cell for immigration?” You sound American.

            “I’m Canadian. It’s like being American except I get free healthcare and fewer shooters wandering around.”

            “Communist scumbag,” Simon joked. “Oh, Canada.”

            “Are you American?” Tony asked.

            “No. I’m from Svalbard, a lot of people are now. You have to be closer to the poles, out of the death zone.”

            “Death zone?” Tony sat up, all the hairs poking through his tights moved.

            “That’s what we call the area around the equator. It’s uninhabitable now. Thanks for that by the way. That’s why I’m a cyborg instead of a real boy. Having a fully organic body uses up too much food.”

            “Platypuses. Are they magic animals?” The underdressed roommate was up and stretching.

            Simon turned away. “What?”

            “My ex used to say that platypuses are magical animals. That’s not right though, is it?”

            “Of course they are. They’re mammals with a duck’s bill that lay eggs and sweat milk. How would nature come up with that without magic?”

            “Alright. I was only asking. So you’re not really a cyborg are you? Most of you is human, just your arms and legs are robotic?”

            “Arms, legs, my brain.”

            “Your brain?” Tony grabbed Simon’s shoulder and spun him around to examine him face to face.

            “You can’t see it. It’s inside my skull,” the cyborg tapped his head. “The brain uses up a lot of energy, so we have it replaced with a more efficient version.” The grown man in hot pants and a clown costume held Simon’s head in both hands and peered into his eyes with the intensity of a pervert trying to look through the steamy window of someone in the shower.

            “Get off. I’m not some freak to be poked at like a petting zoo animal. This is bullshit. I’m an ambassador from the future being treated like a criminal. I don’t have to put up with this.” He grabbed the handle of the prison door.

            The door gave a screaming creak and bent to his will.

            “Bye then,” said Tony.

            “Don’t you want to get out of here?”

            “Yeah, but we’re in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t even roads here.”

            “I don’t need roads. I’m running.”

            “I’m not much of a runner.” The man pointed to his chunky thighs in his holy tights.

Before he could run, Simon had to walk. Before he could walk, he had to crawl. The door out of his section of the facility was locked. The conveyer belt scanner was also locked, but with a far less imposing padlock. Breaking it off with the strength of someone sent back on a peaceful mission from the future, he crawled through the thermal and x-ray scanner.

            Taking the spare uniform folded behind the desk next to the scanner, he changed his clothes. He walked to the next locked door and tried the handle. Simon then patted his pockets in a theatrical way and hit the button for the intercom device next to the door.

            Simon was good at impressions. The bulk of his talent was reserved for assassinated American presidents, but it just so happened that one of the guards had a voice that was twenty percent Bill Clinton, five percent Richard Nixon and seventy-five percent Homer Simpson.

            “I’ve left my key card in my locker again. Can you buzz me through?”

            “Sure thing,” said a voice that was fifty percent Texan drawl and fifty percent unintelligible static.

            “Thank you.”

Simon walked. He was good at walking; he’d had twenty-one years to practice walking for that precise moment. His legs didn’t let him down.

            His hands were another issue. They tried to give the game away. In his agitation they seemed to be finger puppets having a passionate conversation expressed through seizures.

            “You alright man?” Asked a guard.

            “Never been better,” said Simon in a voice that was twenty percent Dollar Bill, five percent Richard Gore, ten percent Bart Simpson and an indeterminate volume of voice breaking stutter.

            “We’ve got a breakout!” Yelled the guard who had been concerned about Simon’s wellbeing. Contrary to his yelling Simon’s complexion was clear if sweaty and the man’s web of tattoos seemed blemish free.

            Simon ran. One foot in front of the other, if a little to the side thanks to pseudo-skeletal distribution. His metal feet clanked on the concrete floor as he ran towards a barred door between him and the freedom of the staff entrance.

            Running straight at the door with the rogue bravado of a cartoon character about to leave a perfect outline of their body in a wall, he bounced off the bars.

            A siren stung Simon’s ears as he stood up and pulled on the door. The handle began to bend under his might. It came away in his hand, but the door was adamant that it was going nowhere. He proved the door’s theory wrong by crushing the lock between his fingers and tearing it off. Cold metal swung open with a screeching protest.

            Three strides took the cyborg through the front door of the prison into the sunlight of the dying world.

            Clouds in the far distance beckoned him. He ran to them, jumping over the plastic beam that would have failed to contain any car that really wanted in or out.

            Feeling the dizzying heat of midday, he ran until the detention facility was a black line of a mirage in the haze of the desert behind him. He ran until there was a road, one black line of broken tarmac in the orange sand. It was a bad road, instinct told him. He ran until he found another.

            At the side of the good road, he found a restaurant with a neon sign that said it was O EN. Simon knew that many businesses in the past had advertised that they were ready and eager for business with the word OPEN, despite having four walls, a roof, and a closed door.

            The trucker at the counter had broken with the tradition of truckers to wear jeans, boots and tartan shirts by wearing the first two finished with a rainbow flag as a cape. The man was thoroughly sunburnt. It didn’t seem to have affected his mood.

            “Good afternoon,” said the burly man. He raised a pink pint glass of strawberry milkshake.

            “Good afternoon.” Simon nodded, not sure he agreed.

            “What are you giving up for lent?” Asked the rainbow caped trucker.

            “Captivity?” Simon answered in confusion.

            “Huh?” The man with a scar down his chest from heart surgery frowned at the cyborg. “I like your gloves,” he nodded to the metal hands, “where’d you get ‘em?”

            “The future.”

            “That a website or a store?”

            “Both and much more I guess.”

            The trucker nodded as if he understood. “I gave up the colour green. I used to only wear green but now I’ve promised myself that for lent I’m going to leave the green in the closet and come out in colour.”

            “Your cape is beautiful,” said Simon. “Why the strawberry milkshake?”

            “I usually have a wheatgrass shot and a green chai latte but they’re green so-”

            “So, you chose a strawberry milkshake. Makes sense.” Simon smiled as the waitress emerged from the kitchen. “I’ll have what he’s having, thank you.”

            “Sunburn or melanoma?” The teenager in a blue sailor outfit grinned.

            “Very funny Vera, just get the man a milkshake would ya?”

            “Sure thing Teddy, you want anything else? Another ten minutes in the oven? I know you prefer well done to rare.”

After receiving his pink milkshake Simon did the usual thing with it. Teddy did the unusual thing of paying for it.

            “I love the clouds,” said the cyborg as the trucker got back in his cab.

            “I prefer NASCAR but whatever works for you. Be happy brother and have a good life.” He honked the horn, closed his door, and started the engine.

            Simon smiled. He waved. He watched the truck roll away in a cloud of dust and planet killing fumes. He liked Teddy.

            He ran, chasing the clouds to infinity, but not beyond.

April 29, 2022 05:18

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Kevin Marlow
05:52 May 07, 2022

Any work pulling together soylent green, time travel and cybernetics gets my vote.


14:12 May 17, 2022

Don't forget Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he definitely wove that in there as well. LOL


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09:20 Jan 11, 2023

You should have the links to this series at the end like you do with the other ones. Its says the order on uour profile but links make it eaiser.


Graham Kinross
21:17 Jan 11, 2023

Freyja and Frigg from Norse mythology both have one.


07:15 Jan 12, 2023

What about the pole that got longer abd squashed that guy?


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Nice! I liked it! Great job!


Graham Kinross
11:43 Apr 29, 2022

Thank you.


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