Wow.  Never killed a guy during a blowjob.  The guy, not me.  Well, I was doing the killing… it was Maya….  Never mind; just never mind.  Obviously I shan’t be having my teenage daughters proofing that part.

Maya’s at Vancouver International Airport, waiting for one of the rare flights to San Diego.  Time to flick back to Chris and Cat (and Anton, too, I guess).  Need a double-helping of Relationship Development before a certain someone’s plane touches down.  As I learned from “Defiant,” every time I start writing romance, a battle breaks out; so, I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I know it will.

Below the fold is Maya taking leave of the acquaintances she made on the freighter, Jodhpur, as it crossed the Pacific.  Machine Civilization:  it’s one, big, dysfunctional family!

Ten minutes later she stood just behind her dinner-mates on the rail, looking at the city to the south draw steadily closer. The sky was a slab of slate and the mist could not be called rain. With an oddly honed sense of self-preservation, Barrett turned around.

“Miss Maya, how…” He trailed off to stare at her, somewhat rudely, from head to foot. She wondered if she’d overlooked something about her appearance.

“You look energetic today.” His mouth twitched in an echo of a smile. Joe turned, as well. He waved.

“I had a large brunch,” she replied with her own secret grin. “But there’s always room for more!”

She wondered what his mind would taste like.

He gestured with his right to a place on the rail next to him.

“So, you’re going ashore here?” He asked.

“Yes.” Looking at the city and docks, she was just not quite touching his shoulder with hers. “You two are going on to Portland.”

“Mmm. But that’s not until tomorrow night, once most of all that,” he waved at the containers, “are off-loaded. I’ll do a little shopping. Perhaps eat some real food.”

“That sounds good!” Joe interjected.

“You?” Barrett asked Maya.

“I’ll find the airport; see if there’s anything between here and San Diego.”

“Huh.” His hand idly brushed the maps he’d always stuffed in his back pockets. “As I recall, it’s on Sea Island, just a few miles that way.”

He pointed to the southwest.

“If it’s still running, this city did have a light rail.” He shrugged. “Unless you’d rather walk, after being trapped on ship for so long?”

“I’d – ” Her answer was cut off by a ship-wide announcement.

“Rating Tuah! Please report to your Duty Station. Repeating: Rating Tenuk Tuah, please report…” The call repeated in several languages.

She allowed herself another smile. She spat over the rail, into the cold water surrounding the ship.

“I’m a little chilly,” Joe announced. “I’ll wait in the galley until I hear our announcement.”

“Sure.” Barrett said. Maya made no reply.

“He’s still weak from his therapy,” Barrett began, once Joe was out of earshot. “That will take months to overcome.”

“You speak from firsthand experience?”

“No.” He paused only a moment. “My wife survived cancer, twice. So, secondhand.”

Maya experience a new feeling. Hate she knew, but… mixed with sadness?

“Is your wife still alive?” She surprised herself.

“Yes. She’s back in Japan with our… daughter.”

Maya caught that.

“That’s why you came back: you’ve lost a child in the US.” A statement, not a question.

He looked at her.

“Yes. Astute of you.”

He waited.

“I… I’m looking for my brother.” She spoke without turning.

“In San Diego?”

“Yes. Your child?”

“Central Ohio.”

Now she stared at him. She was not used to being surprised by prey. She recalled what she’d learned at Neuroi about the Breakup of the US.

“The US is a battleground; millions are dead, millions more dying. How…?”

“What would you do to find your brother, Miss Maya? Yes, your look is my answer.” He turned back to the city.

No one moved for some time. The ship was slowly eased next to the dock. The mist was strengthening into a light rain. Maya allowed her left hand to come up, her index finger just touching the man’s exposed forearm. There was the faintest spark.

“Hmm?” Barrett looked at her. She wiped the rain from her face.

“I wish… I had had a father like you.”

4 thoughts on ““December”

  1. Ah. Do you recall the opening line of “Neuromancer?” Utterly iconic, but no-one under the age of 35 knows what Gibson’s words mean, anymore. That sort of short, sharp, description of what my characters see is typical of how I write. I’m no Tolkien, to describe the veins of the leaf on a tree; I love dialog, as I get to learn about these people just as you do.


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