Sunday June 18th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: slippery.

Happy Father's Day to all the other dads out there. Hope yours was a good one - mine certainly was.

We had a big farm family dinner on our deck this evening, barbecuing salmon (three of them, actually) to go with potato salad, a green salad, and strawberry cake for dessert. Was a lot of fun.

Sue and Jake will be heading out tomorrow, but not until the afternoon so we still have a little more time left with them. I think both Max and Miles are going to miss them a lot when they go.

Mine:

Not an easy thing to grasp,
At least not for long.
For some it's too tall a task -
Soon it's all gone wrong.

For those in the public eye
Truth is elusive prey;
And usually, as time goes by,
Black and white turns grey.

I would never choose that life,
It's just not for me.
Some lies are too sharp a knife
To not wield with glee...

1 Comments:

Greg said...

I'm guessing the fish you barbecued weren't the ones you were finding on your shifts last week ;-)
Haha, nice choice of a slippery thing! I did kind of think at the start that you were going to be talking about an eel or a fish, since you primed us with that talk of salmon. But the real subject turns up smoothly in the second verse, and then is disavowed in the third: a great little story and amusing as well. Nice work!

Slippery
Air-conditioning units hummed and the ventilation duct trembled slightly every now as then as the air-scrubbers did something. Mar slithered around another bend and came to a full-stop as he realised that the duct now turned directly downwards and he couldn't see the bottom. He licked his lips, dry from the constant conditioning of the air in the tube and flexed his shoulders a little, trying to stretch a minuscule amount in the tight confines. He was pretty sure that the tube wasn't supposed to go straight down, so either he'd taken a wrong turning ("should'a made a left at Albuquerque!" cackled a voice inside his head, a memory stolen from a tourist years ago on the Moonstation) or someone had reconfigured the pipework since he'd downloaded the schemata.
He twisted around, his feet coming above his head and his knees a mere six centimetres from his nose, and touched his heels together. An electrical connection was made, and the fabric on his grey jumpsuit firmed up across his thighs and something resembling a six-inch flexi-screen came to life.
"Meredith," he said, his voice low. This tube should be well away from any populated areas, but there was no point taking chances.
"Mr. Coquan," said a synthetic, modulated voice. "You're lost, aren't you?"
"Your schema was wrong!"
There was a high-pitched noise that might have been an AI sighing. "We can argue all day but that won't improve your position."
"Fine, so tell me where my position is."
The screen darkened and then a spider's web of lines -- the ventilation ducts -- flickered across it like glass crazing. For a moment it was a beautiful, abstract design, then one strand turned red and the display zoomed in.
"Here," said Meredith. "Exactly where you should be."
"Then why is the next corner pointing straight down?"
There was a pause, and then: "The CargoVessel has changed its flight path due to a meteor cloud passing this way. As a result it has also changed orientation, which everyone else would not have noticed."
Mar swore eloquently and at length. When he'd finished Meredith continued as though he'd not spoken. "The length of the section is only eight metres."
"Only!"
"You boast of being slippery. You can use residual static attraction between your body and the tube to control your rate of fall."
"Give me another option, please!" Mar did boast of being slippery; he was the most successful thief in the entire galaxy. And risking breaking his arms or legs was not how he intended to keep that reputation.
"The ship will begin breaking for approach in... two hours. When that starts, the effective gravity will reduce by two-thirds."
Mar sighed himself now, and resigned himself to a two hour wait in a pipe with a smug AI.