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. 

11.17.2008

Meditations of Mayor Chu, Pt II

by Rabbi Ben Newman, The Bronx, NY

Mayor Jimmy Chu was curled up on the floor of his office in front of the statue of the emaciated Buddha, his eyelids glued shut. The soft gong of the interoffice connection sounded repeatedly, and he began to stir. He sat up and wiped the sleep from his eyes.

"Good morning, Sir... or should I say good evening...?" Sophi's calm voice mocked from the speaker on his desk.

"What time is it?" the Mayor got to his feet and began to disrobe. He smelled the putrid odors of the previous nights' binge and winced. I must have fucking fell asleep after my meditations. Another day wasted.... I need to get control of myself, he thought.

"Seven thirty PM. You have been sleeping for the past 13 hours." Sophi's image looked warmly at the Mayor from the screen on his desk, and smiled coquetishly.

"Why didn't you wake me earlier? You have strict instructions to not let me sleep more than 4 and 1/2 hours at a time." he commented, grimacing at the screen.

"I thought you needed the rest after yesterday, and there was no urgent business, so I let you sleep."

Fucking piece of shit, Mayor Chu thought, it can't even follow simple instructions. He reached into the cabinet next to the Buddha statue, pulled out a stick of incense, and lit it.

"Fine," he conceded to the compiled intelligence, "just let me complete my nightly meditation, and then you can fill me in on my schedule. I do have a city to run, after all."

"Yes, sir. You do have a city to run..." Sophi's icon faded from the screen replaced by pictures of a bamboo forest.

How can she treat me like shit and get away with it?! At the very least, I've gotta call IHS and have her program re-written to be more subservient, he thought, as he sat down on the cushion in front of the Buddha. He bowed three times, and began intoning his mantra...


* * *


Manendra Applebaum sat in IHS cubicle 5A, a single tensile strand of wire protruding from his brainstem, snaking itself along his desk
and up into the switchboard. He glanced at the digital time display in the upper-right corner of his field of vision. 7:59pm.

"You ready da go home?" A voice sounded from the cubicle in front of him.

"You bet, Howie, just let me finish up, grab my jacket, and we're good to go." he chewed absently on his fingernail, and looked over at his black overcoat.

"Where you wanna to go," Howie, a plump blond haired blue eyed samoan in a blue tie and striped suit, peered into Manendra's cubicle, "Lansky's?"

"Why would today be different?... I sure am ready for a pint!"

"You ain't kiddin," Howie said, then quickly disappeared again like a mole popping back down into its hole.

"Oh, wait," Manendra said, looking up into the left corner of his vision, "I have to take this call--it says the boss is putting it through on his own authority--must be a VIP. Oy, its from SOPHI-- means its the Mayor's office."

"Hello, Tech Services, Manendra Applebaum speaking..."

Hello, Manendra, I have the Mayor here, please hold, he is briefly indisposed as he is finishing his nightly meditation...

SOPHI's voice was familiar to Manendra, as were the voices of all of IHS's compiled intelligences.

"What seems to be the problem SOPHI?" Manendra spoke to the air in front of him, responding to the electronic voice in his ear.

Its a technical problem, Manendra,

"Of course its a technical problem," replied Manendra, "you are calling tech services...what is the exact nature of the problem?"

I cannot...I cannot identify the nature of the problem.

"How can this be, don't you have self diagnostics?"

Self diagnostics show no abnormalities in my hardware or software.

"So why are you calling?"

You had better talk to Mayor Chu.

"Ah, I see, its one of those unknown unknowns, a thing you don't know that you don't know..."

"Are you talking to me?" the stern but faint drawl of the mayor of NY interrupted.

"Oh-- no sir. I was talking to...to...the... compiled intelligence sir"

"You were talking to the program? Well that's why I'm calling, she's got a major problem. Didn't you notice?"

"It seemed to me that she works very well sir," Manendra glanced nervously up at the clock in his upper right field of vision.

"In that case, all you have to know is that she is malfunctioning, and that your boss told you to do whatever I say. I thought Sophi was supposed to be state of the art technology. Get up here immediately and fix her, or replace her, or whatever, or I'll replace you and your damned IHS Corporation." The voice whined in Manendra's left ear, and he automatically grabbed it to muffle the sound. "I'll be there immediately sir...end call" Manendra took his hand off of his ear, breathed a sigh, and glanced one last time at the upper right hand corner of his vision. 8:14pm.

"It looks like you'll have to go to Lansky's on your own tonight, Howie," he yelled through the wall, but there was no reply.

* *
Though Manendra Applebaum was disconnected from the network, he was still able to access his desktop from his eyepiece and he saw in the upper right hand corner of his vision that it was 9pm. He looked up at the office building that housed the Mayor's office, and took a deep breath. Ok, here comes the housecall of my life, he thought.

The mayor's mansion looked like it had emerged from an art deco Medieval castle that had been transported into the 22nd century, technological steeples which overshadowed the granduer of nyc, and Manendra felt small. As he walked up to the doors to the building, he looked up at the laser camera. It scanned his eyepiece, and the glass doors snapped open.

"Manendra Applebaum, please go to the 5th floor," a synthesized voice suggested. Applebaum remembered having helped engineer that security system's voice several years earlier in his first few years at IHS. Now where am I, he thought, doing tech-support house calls for the mayor during my free time? I was once an artist. I helped design all of this. Now, I am a glorified janitor.

He emerged from the elevator and stood in the front hallway of the mayor's office. There sat the holographic image of Sophi on a holographic chair.

"Please sit down, the mayor will be with you in just a minute, Manendra," she said, pointing towards a chair.

"Is it real?" he asked.

"Why don't you sit down on it and see for yourself." she winked.

Manendra squatted his legs like a flamenco and wiggled his butt towards the chair, and when he felt it was solid, sat down.

"Thanks," he said, and then after a pensive moment, "do you remember me?'

"What do you mean Manendra?" asked the compiled intelligence, "Of course my memory banks hold a lot of data about you."

"That's not what I mean." he said, looking directly at the holographic woman. "Do you remember how I helped design you, and that I was there when you were first activated?"

"What makes you think that I would not still contain a recording of those experiences in my data banks?" she said simply, "Do you want me to show you an audio-visual reproduction of those events?"

"No, thank you," commented Applebaum, "I was looking for something more emotional, I guess."

A gong sounded.

"The Mayor will see you now," Sophi looked at Applebaum and gestured toward the mayor's byzantine doors.

"Are the doors holographic too?" Applebaum joked as he pushed open the double doors of mayor Chu's office.


* * *

"Hello Mayor, my name's Manendra Applebaum, and I'm from IHS--we spoke earlier..." he held out his hand expectantly.

The mayor of NY met his gaze but not his hand. He smiled at the man from the computer company and whispered like a conspiring thiief,

"I think we need to go somewhere else..."

"What?" Manendra began to absently chew the cuticles on his thumb, now that he had already bitten off the nail.

The Mayor's eyes indicated a small door behind a statue of the Buddha that sat in a corner of his office that served as the meditation area. The door was just big enough to fit a grown man in a stooped position.The mayor put his hand on the door, there was the soft sound of a lock releasing, and the door opened. The Mayor entered, stooped over, and beckoned Manendra to follow.

They walked, stooped over down a narrow hallway which opened on to a room, which appeared as if it had emerged from the 20th century, where they could stand up straight. The mayor placed his hand on the doorpost from which they had emerged, and the door shut.

2 comments:

T Reynolds said...

Good work but I felt it could easily have been continued.

zion3lion said...

good read
looking forward to the next installment