Welcome to your future.

Spaceships. Jet packs. Laser guns. 

No. 

Fifty years from now, the future will still be shaped by the mundane, the stupid, and the petty, living side by side with the Big Ideas. Dirty, shining, poor, glorious, filthy, and wonderful. 50.YFN is where we tell our future's story, hangover and all.

In its short life,
50.YFN has already become a very sharply defined setting, with unique language and history. Because of the ongoing storylines and broad geographical setting, we strongly recommend using the archives and category tags before throwing yourself in the deep end. Read the guidelines, take a look around. There's a truly talented pool of creators breathing life into our world Fifty Years From Now.

You are welcome to be a part of it.

And remember:

This is not a land-grab. There's no turf.  If you're a new writer, you have the same access to Brooklyn as I do, and as much an opportunity to leave your imprint on it. Don't be intimidated. Leave your brand on the future alongside everyone else. It's your world too. 

7.26.2007

Vermont Avenue + Adams Boulevard

by Ike Moses, Los Angeles, CA, USA

"El Poco Grande," she began, carefully, with one hand commanding motorized blades and the other directing a laser. Concentration sweat laminated the faded serial number on her forehead, "It wasn't no earthquake."

"Oh yeah?" Jawan raised an interested eyebrow and urged the punchline, "What was it then?"

"Terrorismo."

Southern California remains a popular tourist destination, even after its incidental secession from the Union. Granted, most who come here really want to be in the States, but for some the Southland is as close and as far as they want to be from Sam. There are less Germans, with fanny packs full of euros, visiting the Walk of Fame; but there are more Sudanese Jihadis, full of American resentment, trying to win back the confidence of other Arabs. They were the CIA's dry-snitches for most of the Arab-American Wars, but Southern Sudan's liberation broke the alliance.

Jawan had to resist shaking his head. He didn't want that nonsense landing anywhere near his shoulders. The slightest neck swivel would fuck up his hairline, though. He ain't disagree that much. Holding very, very still, he screwed disapproval into his lips and said, "You on one, 'Maine."

"Think about it, Juan," Tremaine precisely traced the beginnings of an acute crescent above Jawan's left temple, "An earthquake is caused by friction. The friction is caused by placas going head up. They run into each other, not away from each other, 'stand me? They make mountains, not islands."

"They made this mountain fall into the pienche Pacific," Jawan didn't understand why he was getting so frustrated, "If Poco Grande wasn't an act of Allah; who did it, how, and why?"

"I don't know how, and I don't know why, but I know who," Tremaine paused, not for dramatic effect, but to review her head work, "Same fools who blew up them levies way back when."

Ready for a subject change, Jawan called out to the shop, "Who winning?"

A group of men shielded the wall-screen, only allowing Jawan to see the ball occasionally fly over their unshaped-up heads from his chair. The game was broadcast live from the Coliseum, about a mile south, so Jawan was unsure if the audience roars he heard came from the speakers or the stadium itself. Somebody shouted back, "It's tied. One up."

When Tremaine finished, Jawan surveyed his dome in the mirror, stretched, and brushed phantom hairs from his clothes. He tipped the barber in won and pesetas, grasped her hand, leaned an elbow into her chest, and said, "A'right 'Maine. See you next viernes."

Once outside, he heard the parlor explode with disappointment and celebration. Some asshole held a "Gol!" shout for like 45 seconds. Jawan didn't turn around to see the replay. He hopped on his bike, checked there were no trucks or tanks approaching, and swerved across all four lanes of Vermont Avenue, dodging opposing cyclists as he headed southbound. He didn't mind coming out this way for a cut, no matter how many foreign 'hoods he had to pass through to get here. He needed a Friday ritual: the weekly round-trip to Tremaine's shop and back gave the day some meaning. Besides, it was difficult finding a barber he could trust. Tilt your head back into the wrong sink and you'll sit up without it.

Jawan sprint-cycled until his bike was charged, then sat back to cruise, going easy on the twist grip. He tried, unsuccessfully, to find a pattern in the neglected asphalt's alligator cracks and potholes. At the corner of Exposición Bulevar and Vermont he was forced to yield to the drunken mob of 'stizos and negros that trampled Expo Park, the streets, and the reappropriated Universidad del Sur de California campus. He hated having to stop there, with the emerald dome of la Mezquita de Omar Iban Al-Jattab noticeably absent over his right shoulder.

He remembered the night it happened. Not just him, everyone who wasn't in the masjid that night remembers, because everyone was looking. Angelenos used to give stars jaded regard, but now stars made them anxious. The lights and the smog keep the heavens far away from the City of Angels, so if you see the sky, the sky is falling. That night the star came from the east, just above the palm tree horizon, and grew in intensity for a couple minutes. The star didn't come from heaven, of course, but from a coastal town that used to be Bagdad, California. It was the first American ballistic missile in a brief campaign that caught sleeper cells while they slept.

According to Sura 2:160, Allah is the relenting, the merciful. But Jawan needed a relentless, vengeful god. His faith had collapsed with the dome to his right, and this intersection was where the failed structures of his life stood, or laid, or whatever that mostly demolished building was doing. Instead of sitting there thinking about another missed Jumu'ah, he decided to slice through the crowd of cerveza-fueled football fans. Agitated by Jawan's intrusion, some spectators threw food and drinks at him. He caught a little with his shirt and khakis, but they missed his head, so he didn't really trip.

7 comments:

nichole said...

"who winning?"

the subtext threaded throughout your contribution so far.

made me grunt aloud in appreciation while reading.

could see the scene like a movie.

word up.

dudmatic said...

goddamn, son.

JamesPeach said...

I like it.

That's really all I can say about it. I don't have a personal perspective into any of shit represented, but it was enjoyable.

RobOne4 said...

Good read, damn good read.

FireBrand said...

Yes, YES!

SOON said...

I like how the identities of the playing teams were conspicuously absent; what with the tying-in of gang factions and politics, there's lots of room for speculation on the part of the reader.

Zesi said...

it's not something i would leave on its own, but your piece is like a serial, and it didn't stop me from reading. it explained a lot, disturbed, made me wonder at california more. because even 50 years from now, it has a sense of place that i've never been to and don't know.