The Doomsday Edition of Subtopian magazine is now at subtopian.com. My Subterran story for this month is one which doesn’t take place in the club at last, rather in a sinister retirement home that isn’t what it seems.
Also thanks to Eric Lawson for contributing a poem to this month’s issue which ends with the line ‘Love cannot find me tonight because she’s stranded somewhere out on the f’ing 405.’
It was the end of times A.D. and the world was made anew. Carpetbaggers came to town then, all offering things we needed in the wake of inevitable, quiet disaster. The whole town had been in shock for about a week and a half, but then we realized we had seen it coming, had been expecting this for quite some time now. I thought we would all miss the television but no one did, there was one old man in the village who still knew how to tell stories and he was now the town’s most popular resident. There were no more “foodies”, no crème fraiche or dried goji berries for 8.99 a pound, we were happy when we pulled up a root vegetable and it didn’t break in half.
Winter came early that year though, and the frost nearly killed us. Like pilgrims we considered cannibalism, but didn’t want to go back to the way it had been before the draught. Half of us survived and the other half tried to make the journey to other countries, but on foot and without electronic map devices, we forgot where they were, and none of us could speak any foreign languages anyway.
But we built, slept, and waited, and before long, the engineers returned and the buildings popped up again. Supermarkets and Walmarts came back and we played video games long into the night once more. Three generations passed and we forgot about the draught. We bought up everything we could for 8.99 a pound and we ate cheesecake topped with organic crème fraiche. It would be a thousand long years before the end of times, when we would learn how to make fire, how to dance, and the world would be made anew.
Subtopian Magazine Issue 6 is here, featuring “Berlin Ben’s Big Night Out”, a Subterran story aiming to satisfy your tech, German, and gender bending fetishes.
I conduct experiments on the fly. Nobody knows about them and 75 percent are failures. When something does hit though, oh boy. It’s like all the Generik card-giving days at once. Like knowing you’re smarter than everyone else in your class. It’s like being plugged into an electric socket designed specifically for satisfaction. Things start moving into place and you can’t turn back.
I was twelve when I had my first big success. Invented a love-o-meter that analyzed how truly in love a pair of individs were, by means of chemical responses in the brain and so forth. I tested it on my mother and father. This was followed by crying, shouting, and a stubby lawyer with parts of his beard missing.
My mother made me put the machine away, and from then on I had to invent in secret….read more at Subtopian
Marrianne was an angel from another galaxy. Violet-skinned and silver, pointed teeth. Her form vaguely holographic, I could stick my arm right through her and it would come out the other side. She was better than all my friends at any board game and her analysis of classic movies was always spot on.
I wanted to coax Marrianne into staying with me forever. I bought her expensive gifts, but all precious minerals were common to her. I gave her the finest foods we had to offer, but her tastebuds were fashioned for different flavors than those found on earth. (The only flavor of ours she could discern was anise, and she drank a lot of Absinthe, but alcohol had no intoxicating effect on her.) I showed her that I was wealthy enough to provide for her, offered her a home anywhere she liked–the mountains, the desert, a ship on the ocean, but she didn’t want to stay in one place.
When I awoke, I knew she was gone. I was sure I’d merely dreamed her up, an amalgamation of the girl from the grocery store, crime-fighting super heroines, and my sister’s best friend from high school. Missed opportunities, drudgery and the atomic bomb, taking her away from me a little more each day with every shallow breath and every new shampoo commercial.
John had travelled to all 4,971 countries. He’d been in every time zone and eaten every type of food imaginable. He was very good at math, and appreciated art but never created it himself. He’d been married no times at all. Alone and without foreknowledge, he continued along in his middle-class existence. Second story apartment. Flatscreen TV. Half a dozen cage-free, organic eggs. Thai food on Wednesdays. The occasional date with a paper doll girl–she would giggle at his jokes that even he knew weren’t funny, and he would lose interest. Made the rent every month as a freelance journalist, praising other people’s cuisine, sculptures, ballets.
All John had ever wanted was something to call his own, instead, he spent his time looking at what everyone else had, lusting after what he saw on the screen, the canvas, and in his friends’ living rooms. That 18th century Tigrato vase Steve and Megan had gone on about all night had him booking a flight to Venice the minute he got home. The 21″ suitcase would be enough. He travelled light.