Thursday, November 3, 2011

Everything You Look At is Unfinished

She had a Little Sister the first generation they came out. Everyone who was cool had one. It kept your numbers and your pictures and told you how to get places. When she asked Little Sister a question, it gave you the simplest most factual answer possible. Where should I go for lunch Little Sister, she would speak to it. "This is the closest Mexican place." "This is the closest Cambodian place." "This is the most popular place among your social network." "This is the place your ex boyfriend is most likely to be based on charted dating habits from the last six months." "You should wear the red."

She woke up coughing blood. It was thick and dark, like it had dried and been rehydrated by the sheer exertion of coughing it up. Her head was also thick and dark, her hair felt heavy with lead and her skin glowed with raw material sweat. She had dreamed that night of being back in Phoenix, in the heat that lay on your skin like a sick and dying matted cat, and the lightning up above her in the common pool, sitting in the tepid water watching the apartment complex lights blink on and off and waiting for the lightning to hit her and set everything on fire in a short sustained chain reaction that incinerated her and all the water and all the weeds and gravel and every other identical colony of under employed over educated 21 yr olds populating that horrible dry desert outpost. When she woke up, cold and sweating underneath winter blankets, she was dying.

"Little Sister, what should I do, am I sick?"
"Your symptoms suggest the best course of action is to seek immediate treatment."

So Little Sister gave her directions to the hospital. But her car was broken, someone had stolen her alternator, wires running everywhere, and the buses never came, though she waited and Little Sister gave her the bus schedule. She tried to call a taxi, but the phone lines were dead. She went outside and looked around weakly, but there was no one on the street. She started walking. It was colder than it should have been for November, or perhaps she just always forgot what cold was like in winter.
"Little Sister, where are all the people?"
"Population of Cleveland is currently 245, 371"
"But where is everybody?"
And she coughed, and a little bit of blood landed on Little Sister, who scanned it immediately and efficiently for all known toxins, agents, poisons, bacteria, viruses, pregnancy, STDS, antibiotics, contagions.

"Big Sister, you should go to the hospital."
"I am at the hospital Little Sister, there is no one here. There are no lights on."
"You should go to the other hospital."
"Where is the other hospital, Little Sister?"
"Next closest healthcare facility is Mercy Riverside of Toledo, 116 miles, estimated travel time 1 hour, 56 minutes."

There were no dogs in the road, but she wished at that moment she had thought to get one earlier, and trained it to love and protect her.


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