Candy of Hope

I was able to pull my thoughts together enough in time to play along with the Mid Week Blues Buster, even with everything going on!  If there’s one thing that I can agree with the song this week, it’s that life is crazy.

However, it can also be wonderful.  The other weekend, I was at a local writing convention, and though there have been some bumps and bruises, I have certain missed writing and have dearly missed the people that writing brings me closer to.  I’ll be putting more effort to it, and in letting it see the light of the internet as well.  After that, well, just have to see how things go.

This week’s song is Candy by Iggy Pop.

Candy of Hope

Susan looked up from her approved breakfast meal, optimized for health, and sighed. The mush had all the nutrients the body needed, precisely measured for her genome constellation and age bracket, but without anything that any focus group could find to cause her or anyone else harm. Or that could cause taste, for that matter. Sculpting it with a compostable spoon, she couldn’t even build anything recognizable before the structure collapsed in on itself to a featureless void. Darkly, she thought that it was oddly fitting for how the big city had changed in…geez, has it been twenty years?

She finished her scheduled meal, so that her networked blood sugar device wouldn’t register a drop and send alerts out. When she finished, she threw the container into the trash, but even that failed to satisfy her. The engineered corn starch collapsed almost silently, designed with the safest energy dispersal model possible. She paused and looked out the window, reminiscing, until her earpiece buzzed to remind her that a scheduled alarm to leave for work that would be activating shortly.

She couldn’t tell which was bleaker: the winter sky above, or the colorless vista of the modern city, where any color or texture that could be considered offensive had been banned. Even the self driving vehicles passing on the street failed to break the monotony. Since cars became self driving, and in order to keep them safe driving, they had become a city utility instead of a possession. However, that meant they all looked the same, blending in with the eco-crete in what some had called stress reducing.

Susan had long ago learned to fake it and just smile along, but not too widely. Faced with another day, with a hole in her heart where life used to be, she couldn’t help but look to the bottom of the cabinet. “Just one little bit, before work, she thought.” Her indiscretions were becoming more frequent, but she just needed what it gave her.

In frustration, a long time ago, she had kicked at the bottom of the panel. To her surprise, the front facing of it had popped off, and she found she could attach it again with only a little force. The stark edge looked so foreign, being an unrounded corner, and without the slightest bit of cushioning. Her treasure fit inside the “false bottom”, and the clandestine hiding place felt so exhilarating!

Before her earpiece could chime, she knelt down and pressed at the front, popping it free. Inside a gap in the frame sat a self sealing plastic box. She punched in the security code and lifted the lid. Color! As it always did, just seeing a cacophony of hue made her smile. Foil wrapped, the contents reflecting the light like a thousand miniature rainbows. Next, the smell reached her nose, with a decadent richness of earth and joy. Her fingers precisely plucked out a single small piece of the precious contraband. Susan unwrapped the treasure, careful not damage the dark nub inside. Heated by her fingers, the fats and oils felt smooth and almost alive. Slipping it into her mouth, the taste reminded her of days long ago, of haunting dreams that nobody else could see.

Startled out of her bliss by the daily alarm, she precisely placed the wrapper back into the plastic container, sealing it with a hiss. Replacing the box into the cabinet, and the front casing, she wrestled with a familiar conflict. Her contraband made her feel happy, made her feel love for a few brief moments, what could be seditious about it?

“After all, it’s just one piece of candy.”

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