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. 

10.03.2007

Blissful

by Nichole Perkins, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Blissful wanted to become invisible. Her parents were fighting, but they were being quiet because she was in the backseat. If they couldn’t see her, they’d talk, and she would know where they were going and why.

They’d been fighting since last week. Usually, after an argument, her mother would stay in the kitchen, cooking and shaking her head until her father came in and stood really close. Then they’d kiss and dinner would be really good that night.

The last few nights, Blissful’s dad only went into the kitchen when her mother wasn’t there, and her mom only cooked stuff her dad didn’t like. Blissful wished they’d tell her what was going on. She was ten years old; she wasn’t a baby any more. She pulled out her tablet and called up the journal. Ma’Marie had told her to write her thoughts down, but to use a password, so no one could take her thoughts from her.

In the passenger seat, her mother ran a hand over her belly, and her father reached out to her.

“Do you need me to pull over,” Ramón asked.

“No,” Sumayyah answered, testing the answer for truth. “No,” she repeated more confidently. She touched his questioning hand, and he linked their fingers. With the contact as a bridge, Ramón gained confidence.

“Sumayyah, I really don’t think this is a good idea,” he began in a tense whisper.

Hearing the hushed tones, Blissful perked up.

“She’s not a baby any more, Ramón.” Blissful sat even straighter, surprised at hearing her mother echo her earlier thoughts. “She needs to know about this.” Sumayyah readjusted her position in the seat. Blissful wondered if her little brother was kicking.

Ramón sighed but didn’t let go of his wife’s hand.

“I know she’s not a baby, but all that stuff happened a lifetime ago…”

“Yes,” she cut through his weak argument. “Her lifetime ago. If Marie hadn’t saved me, none of us would be here. You’ve seen Blissful with Marie. You’ve seen how close they are. I want her to know. ”

Blissful shifted curious eyes between her parents, her stomach rising against a wave of nerves. Was Ma’Marie in trouble? She wanted to move forward but was afraid to bring attention to herself. She looked out of the window as her father turned onto Wilshire. He hadn’t responded to her mother yet, and the waves in Blissful’s belly began to burn. She opened her mouth, maybe to be sick, maybe to ask a question, but her father finally spoke.

“Okay. Okay. I…I didn’t want it in her head. I wanted to keep her safe from all of that.”

Sumayyah turned to him.

“Protecting her doesn’t mean leaving her ignorant.”

He raised their joined hands to his lips.

Blissful had been too busy trying to follow the conversation and failed to notice the museum until the car came to a stop. A line of people covered the block’s length. She’d never seen so many queued up at the museum before. While her father waited for the light to change, Blissful watched a small crowd of men with signs, yelling at the people waiting in line. One sign said, “WOMEN AND HISTORY LIE.”

Her mother turned to her and the smile she gave was sad, like the one she gives when she’s about to give an accountability task. The fiery waves in Blissful’s belly rose again.

“Are you and Daddy through fighting?” she blurted the question, knowing that wasn’t the one she wanted answered.

Sumayyah’s smile relaxed and she shot a quick glance at Ramón, who let his own small smile smooth away some of his worry.

“Yes, BiBi. I think we’re finished.” She turned more fully and her face shifted into serious lines. “I guess you’ve figured out that we’re going to the museum today.” Blissful’s eyes began to eat away at her face, and Sumayyah tried to think of a way to lessen her anxiety. “There’s a new exhibit we think it’s important you see.”

By this time, Ramón had parked the car and was opening Blissful’s door. He walked her around to her mother who’d placed her feet on the ground but had remained seated. Sumayyah took Blissful’s hands and pulled her close.

“Does it have something to do with Ma’Marie?” Blissful asked, keeping her eyes on her mother’s fingers.

Sumayyah lightly shook their hands until Blissful looked up at her.

“Yes and no. In the exhibit, you will see something that Ma’Marie was a part of, something that she saved me from. There might even be a picture or two of her. The pictures… The exhibit will show some of the… the things she doesn’t like to talk about.” Sumayyah glanced up at Ramón who had turned his tight features away and watched teenage boys power by on their bikes.

“Ma’Marie won’t be the only person in the exhibit. There’ll be a lot of other women telling their stories about a part of our history here. I don’t want to tell you too much about it ‘cause you’re a smart girl and can figure out stuff on your own, but some of it will be very sad, and some of it won’t. I do want you to make me a promise, though, okay?”

Blissful nodded her head. Her stomach had calmed down, but it still felt shaky. The museum was going to tell her something bad, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know it.

“I need you to promise that you won’t ask Ma’Marie about any of this stuff until she brings it up, okay?”

Blissful looked up at her dad, and even though his reassuring smile was missing its dimples, she took it as a good sign.

“I promise not to mention anything to Ma’Marie unless she says it first.”

“That’s my girl,” Sumayyah beamed at her daughter. She eased from the car and reached back for Blissful’s hand.

“Come on, Bibi. Let’s go see why Ma’Marie gave you your name.”

4 comments:

donnie said...

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Anonymous said...

I feel like there could have been more depth on the actual exhibit, and its significance to Ma'Marie.

The fight between the parents is fine for atmosphere, but given the brief insight you get into the characters' world, maybe wasn't as necessary.

Otherwise, grade-a work. Strong dialog.

nickels said...

thanks, anonymous.
i do plan on going into more detail about the exhibit, once we make it inside the museum.
this is a part of a series of stories connected to Ma'Marie.
i appreciate the feedback and hope you keep it up.

Chris said...

Glad to hear this will be a series of stories. This first part has really whetted my appetite to find out what's in that museum. Great job.
chris beckett