2040–A Short Story part I

Sci-fi is not exactly my genre, but I was inspired to try my hand at it by an interesting post on 3D printing and other future technology here: http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/its-the-year-2040-what-are-you-doing/

Oliver scanned the time again. 21:46, three minutes after the last time he checked. It was just two damn easy with his new iView lenses. All his apps ran so much smoother now that he upgraded. A warm breeze blew a parched paper coffee cup down the abandoned street. He pivoted and looked to his left past a row of decrepit industrial buildings, a sleek black Mercedes SL was just turning the corner and coming into view.

“It’s about freaking time,” Henry hissed.

“Try your best to stay cool,” Oliver whispered. “These guys are used to dealing chems so they’re kinda jumpy. Just let me do the talking.”

The Mercedes cruised smoothly on a cushion of air over the rutted and pock-marked asphalt towards the two men. Oliver’s palms tingled with droplets of sweat as he clutched the paper BitCoin wallet in his pocket. He had never held this much money in his life. and it was making him twitchy. He just wanted to get the deal done and get back to the lab. Henry wasn’t helping either, with his goddamn gum smacking all the time. The car silently drifted to a stop in front of them, and after a dramatic pause the front passenger door swung open. The man who emerged was mountainous. It was hard to believe that he actually fit in the car at all. He was about six seven and about 300 pounds of solid muscle. Despite the stifling heat of late summer in Los Angeles  the man was dressed in a dark wool suit and tie. He gave Oliver and Henry a quick emotionless look, then turned to open the rear door.

A small man with deeply tanned skin that was the texture of old leather emerged from the car. He looked to be about seventy, but he moved with the swiftness and grace of a twenty year old athlete. The sun glinted off his pale green track suit as he extended his hand.

“Thomas Radics” he said.”Which one of you is Oliver?” He smiled pleasantly, but his eyes were cold and hard. Oliver switched on his Biometric Analysis app. If this guy was bullshitting them he’d know instantly. The app measures micro expressions, blood flow and temperature changes, heart rate, and about sixty different metrics. It alerts you when they’re nervous, lying, or trying to hide something. Oliver smiled.

“I’m Oliver” he replied, shaking hands. “Pleased to meet you Mr. Radics.”

“I believe you have my wallet,” said Radics. He squeezed Oliver’s hand with a youthful grip, and a deadly serious expression crossed his sun-worn face.

“I have the wallet, if you have the NPS,” said Oliver.

Radics grinned again. Oliver was pretty sure he was wearing dentures, or had caps, because the man’s teeth glowed white like a movie star. Well, this was LA after all. Radics dropped Oliver’s hand and turned back to the incredible hulk. The muscle immediately reached into the car and produced a white metal briefcase. The international symbol for hazardous biological material was emblazoned on the top in bright red paint.

“Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous,” said Radics as he turned the case toward Oliver. He held it up as if it were a prize on a game show, and then dramatically popped open the cover. Vapor hissed and wafted up from the container, it’s contents cooled by liquid nitrogen. “But I don’t know what in hell you would want three pounds of NPS for, unless you’re growing a brain in a jar.”

“Something like that,” Oliver replied sheepishly. His lenses told him that, except for a slightly elevated pulse, Radics was the real deal.

“This comes to us from Argentina,” said Radics, closing the case. “They’re the only country we have access to that still allows human embryonic cell research. We’re not used to dealing with this quantity, it was very difficult to obtain.”

“That’s why Dr. Brown was willing to pay you so much,” quipped Oliver, pulling the slightly moistened paper wallet from his pocket. He handed it over to Radics, who held it up in the light for a moment, admiring the holographic printing. He passed the paper back to the giant, and held the case out to Oliver.

“Then this is yours. I hope you put it to good use,” he said with a bit of sarcasm. The big man opened the rear door of the Mercedes. ” It was a pleasure doing business, please call us again for all your neuro-plasma substrate needs.”

“I think this should do it,” said Oliver, feeling the weight of the case in his hand. “Thanks.”

The car immediately pulled away, hardly disturbing the thick layer of soot and dust on the cracked roadway as it’s engines whined. In a few seconds it was out of sight and the two men were again alone in the street. Small brown finches chirped and fluttered in the sumacs that grew up through gaps in the pavement. Oliver turned to Henry.

“Let’s go.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Short Stories

4 responses to “2040–A Short Story part I

  1. Oh yes! My medical background makes me curious to know where you are going with this. I’ll be back for part two. Well done!

    • Thanks Susan! I usually spend an excessive amount of time revising my fiction, so I’m trying to practice getting a story down quickly and then just hitting “publish” to get some feedback.

      • That’s an excellent practice and one I could benefit from myself. I edit myself to death before I am out of the starting gate and quickly become frustrated. Need to work on that. You did a fine job.

  2. Susan:
    It’s really weird that I wrote the description of Mr. Radic’s brilliant teeth just prior to getting your book and reading how you describe Sybil’s smile in much the same way. I somehow plagiarized your work without knowing it! I was thinking about a friend of my Dad’s who has blaring white dentures and a George Hamilton tan.

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