Forty Nine

Today we forego tea and move outside to watch Waiting for Godot. Amaya dispensed with the set of two old guys in raggedy clothes and bowler hats. Instead, the cast was in jeans and sneakers, t-shirts. The play is about wordplay, costuming, she decided, could take a back seat.
The first half goes smoothly, Vladimir and Estragon uncertain about what day it is, and the place they are to meet Godot, by a tree, which they can’t decide is a tree, or a shrub or a bush. Pozzo and Lucky, who is anything but, are introduced. Lucky picks up the bag, basket and stool, then putting them down again as Pozzo makes his endless nonsensical demands. 
The absurdist situation of Lucky being tethered on a rope and required to serve Pozzo’s every whim, juxtaposed by Pozzo’s insistence that it is Lucky who wants to stay with him, and he who wants to be rid of Lucky.
Near the end of act one, Lucky, played by Devona, has a long soliloquy, a rambling nonsensical speech based on the demand that he ‘think’, and say what he’s thinking. 

‘Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all doubt all other doubt than that which clings to the labors of men that as a result of the labors unfinished of Testew and Cunnard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labors of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea in a word I resume flying gliding golf over nine and eighteen holes tennis of all sorts in a word for reasons unknown in Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham namely concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown but time will tell fades away I resume Fulham Clapham in a word the dead loss per head since the death of Bishop Berkeley being to the tune of one inch four ounce per head approximately by and large more or less to the nearest decimal good measure round figures stark naked in the stockinged feet in Connemara in a word for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there and considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman it appears what is more much more grave that in the light the light the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman that in the plains in the mountains by the seas by the rivers running water running fire the air is the same and then the earth namely the air and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold alas alas in the year of their Lord six hundred and something the air the earth the sea the earth abode of stones in the great deeps the great cold on sea on land and in the air I resume for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard.’ 

That the young girl delivers the lines from memory, and to the letter, is nothing short of fascinating.
In the second act, the boy again appears and informs Vladimir and Estragon that Godot cannot come today but will surely come tomorrow.
I am struck by a few lines of dialogue about death and the voices of the dead.

Vladimir:  What do they say?
Estragon: They talk about themselves.
Vladimir: To have lived is not enough for them.
Estragon: They have to talk about it.
Vladimir: To be dead is not enough for them.
Estragon: It is not sufficient.

--And a bit of cogent philosophy.
Vladimir: This is becoming really insignificant.
Estragon: Not enough.
--A few lines later.
Estragon: We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?

Pozzo and Lucky reappear early in the second act, Lucky has been struck dumb, and Pozzo blind.

Pozzo: Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time? It is abominable! When! When! One day is it not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you?
They give birth aside of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.
--Like Ms. Alva said to me years ago, ‘You live, then you die, that’s what happens.’
Except, in our case, there’s no dying.
Which gives a poignancy to the final lines…
Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let’s go.
(they do not move) 

A rather amazing performance by the children, a lot of dialogue to remember. Amaya sat near the stage to prompt, but she never needed to, if they missed a line nobody noticed.
Enthusiastic applause, beaming children, our own Malibu Broadway.
Over cocktails, Taylor says, “They were incredible, and it was sweet of them to use three different kids for Pozzo, Lucky and the boy in the second half. Gave each child a part.”
Lacy, “So, what did you think Daphne? What is the play about?”
“I see it as abstract art, everyone takes away something that struck them, colored by their own experiences. Better to ask the children perhaps.”
James, “So Uma, what is the point of the play do you think?”
Uma, “The waiting, not living.”
“Waiting for Godot, who is Godot, why do they wait?”
Tasia, “Godot is their imagined God, they wait based on the promise of an unnamed boy. We think he represents Jesus. A man who proclaimed himself to be the son of God, and promised he would return one day to save believers. Estragon and Vladimir wait for salvation that never comes.”
Karol, “And they do nothing for themselves, make no effort to improve their lives or the lives of Pozzo and Lucky. The expectation is for it all to be fixed on the arrival of Godot.”
Valeska, “Remember Lucky’s speech, the line about ‘a personal god with a white beard’. Then when the boy is asked in the second act if Godot has a beard and what color it is, he says, ‘white’. We do not think that a coincidence.
Devona, “Beckett never explained his point, leaving it up to anyone who sees the play to construct their own meaning. The one we constructed is the absurdity of belief in the unseen, empty promises and hope.”
Taylor, “You don’t see hope for the world, or people’s circumstances?”
Nadia, “Like a politician talking of hope, hope is what people offer when they don’t plan to do anything of substance.”
“You can’t eat hope.”
“Nope.”

Fifty

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” 
― Werner Heisenberg, Across the Frontiers

Parents have lives to return to, good ones. They fly back to Manhattan, James and Kara are going home. Everyone will fly to Teterboro, Susan, Lacy and Taylor will take a helicopter to JFK. They have a supersonic flight to Athens then on to Crete and will spend a month lounging around the crystal waters of the Mediterranean. Of all the places they’ve traveled to over the years, they’ve returned to Greece the most.
Kara calls a week later, I pick up, “Hey K-mom, what’s new?”
“Put me on a video screen, are Dasha and Daria around?”
“Sure, hang on a sec,” I get Grace B to plug us all in, Janah joins me, “Everyone is on.”
It’s like a multi-split screen, Daria on one, Dasha on another, Janah and I then Kara.
“I have half a dozen museum proposals.”
“Told you a Kara Kiersted recommendation would seal the deal.”
Kara’s art is under her maiden name.
“I’m on display at Guggenheim, I had reason to go over. They want to devote a room, I didn’t tell them much, only that I came across the unsigned works. I said I was told the artists didn’t want to sell, but an exhibition was acceptable if anyone was interested. They can say ‘On loan from the Sylk Trust,’ or any other entity you wish.”
“The Sylk Trust points them back to us. Maybe we set up some other entity, Daria can figure it out.”
Kara, “And how to describe the artists?”
Janah, “We need to work on that as well. We were waiting to see if there was any interest before we made a thing and got the kids worked up.”
“You should also decide about titling the work. Paintings don’t have to have a point, they don’t even have to be titled, they could simply be numbered. If you want to proceed, you need to come up with an approach, maybe a theme which would be suggestive of the inspiration.”
“That’s Amaya’s department. Okay, we’ll be back in a few days, no longer than a week.”
“It was exciting, I haven’t seen jaded art directors this enthusiastic in some time.”
“I suspect the last time was when you agreed to offer your stuff for an exhibit. Most of your work is sold to private collectors.”
Kara grins, “I offered pieces I wouldn’t sell, like Two as One.”
She did her vision of Janah and I, one of her first pieces about our family. It isn’t for sale, we had it in our condo for ages, then she was approached for a public exhibit and included it. Janah and I have been Guggenheimed, although it isn’t like we’re recognizable, it’s a blend of both of us.
“Thank you, talk to you soon, let me get Amaya cranking.”
We sign off, “I’ll find Amaya, she should talk it over with the children, it’s their stuff.”
She’s in her room doing voices, working on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”
“I thought Richard Burton had been revived and was in your room.”
“Got him down do I not? The kids will do their own voices, Nadia doesn’t have a little girl voice, her role as George will work, particularly when I costume her. Britt is easy as Martha, she can do pitched sarcasm well. Nick is pure Midwest, simple for Karol and her backup, Zofia is perfect for Honey’s mousey little voice.”
“Kara has galleries after the children’s paintings, likely the Guggenheim. She says the art doesn’t have to be titled, but if it’s numbered, it needs a theme.. ‘a study in X or Y’ for instance. Then there is the problem of naming the children or associating then with us.”
“We shall give them pseudonyms, no photographs.”
“Daria will create an entity, some vague trust, as ‘on loan from’, we can’t use the Sylk Trust for obvious reasons.”
“It puts the artists too close to us, understood. I shall speak with the children and come up with a theme. There is a theme in fact, the art represents other worlds, we could call it simply, Across the Universe, or Life Across the Universe. And the children see their efforts as collective, there are three artists, but there are actually eight. I have watched them collaborate. They discuss what they saw, then one of the three paints it.”
“Ah, that is different then.”
“So the work could be inscribed by the entity, not individuals. The Collective work of…whatever, the Zycyryn Girls comes into my beautiful mind.”
“Knew I’d come to the right place.”
“Of course you did. I shall talk it over with the children and let the Mamas and Tetyas know their decision.”
Setting Amaya a task is virtually instant gratification, like mentioning a business idea to Nishiko. A day later, there’s a company.
Our army of angels comes down the stairs, Uma, “Tetya Dafna, we are going to show our art at a museum in New York, I wonder if anyone will go to see it?”
“If it’s at the Guggenheim, they won’t miss it. Have you decided on a theme, and the artists?”
Jesica, “Amaya said we cannot use our names, we do not care about that. The work will be painted by the Zycyryn Girls since we all had a hand in them.”
Tasia, “And she even came up with a theme, Life and Landscapes Across the Universe.”
Amaya, “Some of the paintings are great cities, and some of those are abandoned shells with nothing living, so I added landscapes.”
“And how do you explain, if you do, the inspiration?”
Amaya, “I am of two minds, the simplest explanation is none, they paint, this is what they paint. I also wonder about creating a suggestion of mystery, or mysticism may be the better word. A collective of sisters who have mystical visions they bring to life through art. They aren’t bio-sisters, but they are clearly sisters at heart, closer than sisters.”
Nikko, “Go with no explanation. If the work catches on, like requests for more, or the exhibition moves to different museums, then dribble out some vagaries about the artists. You dream up stories, great ones, should be a cakewalk for you.”
Amaya, “Genius, that is exactly what I shall do. And nothing about ages, that will be a major surprise much farther along.”
Nadia, “We would like people to enjoy it, but it is not important to us that it becomes a big deal. We like describing what we saw, and our artists like painting it.”
Amaya, “And that is all important, dear ones. Your family adores your wonderful work. I do not think it a problem however. Kara would never have asked to take the samples home if she did not think them inspiring and challenging. That nothing is for sale increases the curiosity.”
“What about titles?”
Grace B, “The observable universe is ninety three billion light years across, or half that from the center, 8.8×1026 meters or 5.5×1023 miles. The universe is assumed to be larger since there is light from distant galaxies that hasn’t reached us yet, the unobserved universe. The children may have gone beyond our observable horizon. Title the works by light years from Earth, it hardly matters if it’s accurate, nobody will believe the art is anything buy imagination.”
Amaya, “More genius, you are truly a bot with my influence.”
“That part Daria built in, Your Highness.”
“Oh…oh well, Daria has her own genius.”
Grace B, “Use the exponential, it’s sexier. Titles like 1.215 miles, 4.317, just make them up.”
Amaya, “Superb, thank you Grace B.”
Nikko, “Going to allow reprints?”
“Actually, that came up. Perhaps, the children say the money must be donated if there is a demand.”
“That’s just going to increase the demand. And there are t-shirts, coffee cups and a myriad of other items that the images can be put on.”
“What if museum shops sell them and they keep the money? Museums are always in need of cash.”
Nikko, “We can talk it over if it comes to pass, the children may have other ideas. We can have a company that makes the stuff and donate the proceeds to whoever the children wish. The Zycyryn Girls Collective.”
Zi, “Now I’m anxious to see how this unfolds.”
Amaya, “And children need to get upstairs and work on Who’s Afraid.”
They offer cheeks for kisses, then zip upstairs, Amaya and Chloe trailing behind.
Lauren, “Sheesh, those kids stay busy.”
Katja, “It is energizing to see their energy. Speaking of which, we are overdue a martial arts session, who’s up for a fight?”

Fifty One

Most of the family wants to get after it. Not Amaya or Lauren, they dance or yoga, no bruises allowed. Janah and Eloise join them. Neither Oceane or Cass, they’re in the pool with Sloane.
Everyone else takes turns wailing on each other, Chloe, Nikko and I sparring with shinai. The others are matched up doing hand to hand, or padded up kicking and punching. 
I see Britt, smaller than everyone, taking her licks along with the others. She sails across the mat courtesy of Dasha and lands on her butt with a Thump! rolls backwards, pops up and goes in again.
Nishiko tags me with the shinai at will, she is untouchable in kendo. Chloe and I team up against her and still get more than we give.
We surrender and sit to watch the others. Britt has shifted from ground fighting to gung fu against Zi. Zi is taller with a longer reach, Britt makes up for it in speed and persistence. Of course, she has no chance against a Master like Zi, , but after today, I’m promoting her from student to disciple. We’ve been working with her almost three years, she’s nearly twelve now and she’s earned her sash.
Exhausted fighters plop to the mat and guzzle water. I have a short confab with Zi, who agrees.
I stand, fetch a box from the storage locker, “Student Britt, please come forward.”
Everyone turns to look, Britt steps up to Zi and I, bows.
“Today you acquitted yourself well in combat, and have been a diligent and respectful student. Now, you are Disciple Britt. Disciple is awarded one year at a time, and must be earned again for the next year, you understand?”
Zi’s last name is Sŭ, Britt is Amaya’s ward, Amaya doesn’t have a last name, neither does Britt, thus Disciple Britt
Britt’s grin seems to extend past her face, “Yes, Master Sylk, Master Sŭ.”

I take the white robe and black sash out of the box. It is ceremonial only, her everyday uniform is black and doesn’t change from student to disciple.
“The black sash represents demonstrated knowledge of Taoist philosophy and Shaolin. Disciple Britt has exhibited effective unarmed defenses against two opponents, learned her required forms, her major style is Tiger, with advanced studies in Wing Chun. Her weapon is long staff. This is another step in a long series of disciplines yet to come.”
She bows again, backs out of the room. After she’s showered, she can wear the robe and sash for a couple of hours, Oceane will want to draw her. I’ll send a couple of photos to the grandmothers in New York and her achievement will be recorded in the temple like any other promotion.
Girls go off to warm showers, the tribe regroups for tea, today poolside.
Amaya, “May I present Disciple Britt…”
Britt walks out, elegant in her spotless robe, black sash draped perfectly, as Amaya would demand. Hair shoulder length and shiny blond. Amaya couldn’t resist a hint of eyeliner, shadow and light rose lipstick.
The family collectively stands and bows, Brit returns the bow with a long low one.
The children surround her and make a circle, they dance to music provided by Chloe on flute, Amaya beats out rhythm on a drum she got who knows where. The music and dance can only be described as tribal, not anything Chinese or otherwise Oriental. Our tribe of children might be in a village in Africa, or something Native American. They begin to chant, swirling and spinning trancelike, robes billowing as they twirl, they look like the Brugmansia arborea (angel's trumpet) bushes we have in a grove on the other side of the pool. Like the children, the flowers are gorgeous, and sweetly scented like expensive perfume.
The dance is entrancing, we are spellbound. The pace accelerates, then, there they are…. Zycyryn sparking in the sky above Britt and the kids, spinning in time with the children. The tiny bright sparkles surround Britt, then appear to be absorbed by her, her skin glows radiantly. A final beat of the drum, the children stop as if on cue. They flow around Britt covering her with kisses.
“Sheesh, I didn’t get anything for making disciple.”
Janah, “You didn’t get anything for making priest except fried arms.”
I look down at my forearms, the tiger and dragon brands are still visible, much faded after all the years, now just a ripple of skin the same tone as the rest of me.
Amaya is talking to Britt, they come over, “Britt says something happened, not the obvious bit we saw, internally.”
I hug her, “Feel different?”
“Yes, but I can’t say how exactly, it was like electricity, like the qi energy you use to treat our injuries. It went through every part of me, every muscle, tendon and organ, I felt it in my brain, my eyes, tongue, ears.”
I call over Nadia, “Do you know what the Gids did with Britt?”
“Nyet, but they do not harm, they help. She will discover in time.”
“Good enough, thank them for whatever it is.”
“The dance was a thank you in advance, the Gids like us to perform. We will wait and see what gift they gave,” she returns to her sisters, they’re like magnets, move a little too far away, get drawn back to the group.
Amaya, “Well girl, guess we wait and see if you grow a second head, or maybe a penis.”
Britt, “Please, I like the genital equipment I have. I still feel buzzed.”
“You want to lay down, rest?”
“It’s quite pleasant actually, maybe they gave me a permanent ecstasy drip, like Chloe.”
“I am Chloe’s ecstasy infusion, you need only ask her.”
I laugh, “It’s the other way round.”
“We infuse each other.”
“Okay, I can buy that.”
Britt, “I am starved.”
Emma B passes, “What is for dinner Emma B?”
“Pizza party, everyone was being entertained, nobody dealt with dinner. I ordered, it will be here in…well, it is here now. Kota B and I will collect them. Grace B has the ovens warm, if Amaya will woman the bar, cocktails can be served post haste.”
Dasha, “Breet got something from Zycyryn.”
“Yes, nobody knows what though. She says it felt like powerful qi energy, nothing obvious changed.”
“Maybe they want her to remain wiz children forever.”
“Could be, she likes the kids, but I think she was looking forward to getting a little older than twelve.”
“Then they would not interfere. Must be something else.”
Curiosity is fun until it’s not, and there is zip point in guessing what might change in Britt. She’s growing, everything is going to change anyway.
Janah’s in my head, “Find someone to go to Petaluma and refocus an abuser. Details on the site.”
I scan the data, Joshua Faber, Silicon Valley rich, low profile, almost secretive. Not married, a companion, male. Both of them Teutonic, in the blond muscular sense. Joshua is short cropped hair, steely blues, unnamed partner is almost pretty, long blond hair, photo of him in nothing standing by a swimming pool. Partner can’t be more than fifteen. Sheesh, looks like a porn star, the kind we have on or VR sex programs, manscaped, tan all over. Got the whole package, smooth skin, muscular, not bodybuilder muscular, romance novel cover muscular.
Joshua is the bodybuilder. Today there are so many designer drugs, packing on muscle is a reasonable level of weightlifting and a few pills. I click the Surveillance photos. Dang, boy porn, Pretty Boy sucking cock, Joshua fucking him in the…you know. Fun for everyone.
“Surveillance could publish these someplace.”
Janah, “If Pretty Boy wasn’t into child abuse, I could warm up to him.”
“He’s a guy.”
“In physiology only, see the eyeliner, lip gloss?”

I click through a few more pics, “See what you mean. Why do these people have to abuse children? They can get the thrill virtually without the mess.”
“It’s the mess that gets them off.”

Who to send? Katya would just kill them outright. Dasha and Daria I suppose, I go off to fine them.

Fifty Two

The twins are lying on their bed cuddling, in nothing, even better. Twincest is still a turn on, I know, I’m weird. So is most of the planet.
“Is the party over or just beginning?”
Dasha, “We haf already sexy time, what ees?”
She wants to know why I’m here, “Refocusing. Other teams are busy, and these two may be more than a normal team can handle. It’s north of San Francisco, Petaluma, maybe just a fly in fly out. The data is on the website, look it over and let me know if you want it. 
“Da, okay, sister can decide, I am for making dinner now.”
In the kitchen, Ellen is stirring something, “I ordered a ton of fried chicken, it’s too complicated to do ourselves for so many, Grace B is collecting it now. We can stick it in a low oven while I finish this macaroni and cheese.”
Dasha, “We haf vegetable?”
“Asian stir fry that I’m baking instead of stirring, topped with ghee and Bull Dog sauce.”
Tonkatsu is a slightly sweeter and a bit spicier version of oriental fruit sauce. Okonomi is our other favorite.
“Thanks for organizing, we have a refocusing and are deciding who goes. Daria is reviewing the surveillance data.”
Emma B hands Dasha a Russian Standard shot in a frozen glass, more like a couple of shots. Dasha downs it, hands the glass back to Emma B, “The usual?”
Dasha, “Da, thanking you, you haf brought sister?”
That means the next one will be over crushed ice.
“Yes, she was absorbed in the web data, nasty couple of men up north.”
The bots get our Society feed and the Shadow tracking reports. Shadows have been low key the last few months, they’re out there, but not doing anything so repetitive or malicious as to appear on our radar.
“New information, I’ll leave it to Daria to fill you in, she’s on the way. Cocktail coming Dasha.”
“For sister also.”
“Of course, Amaya is making them now.”
Daria comes in, Janah joins us.
“The boys are martial artists. Joshua is a ground fighter and judo man. Pretty Boy is aikido, probably wants to avoid bruising.”
Daria, “They are no problem for sisters. We will go tomorrow and fix.”
Ellen, “What are they up to that demands a refocusing?”
“Fucking little boys, then when they are tired of them, selling them off.”
Nikko always asks why we don’t just take the surveillance to the cops. The answer varies by case. Some abused wives won’t testify for instance. Sometimes children go missing and there’s no body, thus no evidence. There are plea deals that result in preposterously short sentences. We don’t find the laziness of prosecutors acceptable. When we fix an abuser, he stays fixed, or broken as the case may be.
We are the cops who arrest them, the prosecutor, the judge and the jury. We meet out the punishment, or correctional system doesn’t include jail time, and in more egregious cases, we are the executioner. Our Compliance people serve as permanent probation officers. One violation of probation and the execution team comes along.
Why not just kill them all? Tempting, but the lives we leave them after refocusing is far more painful than a quick death. Our compassion runs out with the victims, there’s just none left for the abuser.
Ellen, “You got a plan?”
Dasha, “They are tough guy martial artist, we will haf a fight. Winner takes everything, loser goes to hospital…or maybe morgue.”
“Then don’t lose or I go up there and kill everyone…real slow.”
Sloane zips in, “Been reading the data, twins should have a lookout, keep an eye out while they’re taking eyes out. That can be me.”
Daria, “Good, Grace B, schedule a flight in the morning, the usual.”
Grace B, “Will do, I can go if you wish. Muscle boys will be in for a big surprise.”
Sloane, “They’re gonna be in for a big surprise when they take a shot at Daria and Dasha. I’ll have it live on video feed to you Grace B. You can screen it for the family.”
“Plane leaves at ten from LAX, flight under an hour, SUV arranged at Sonoma County airport. I skipped Petaluma airport as too close to the targets.”
Ellen, “Still getting used to how fast the bots get stuff done.”
“We are connected twenty four seven, our quantum system is instantaneous and secure. We contact the jet service computer directly, then Transportation directly, they hire the rental cars. It will be waiting when the plane arrives. None of the travelers has any connection to the car or the flight. If you need to stay overnight, I will make arrangements later. There are three hundred available hotel rooms between Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Weather chilly, sixty five for a high, forty eight in the late evening. It is northern California, expect overcast and a fifty-fifty probability of showers. Your quantum phones will have GPS to the target’s home, there will be no operating GPS in the vehicle.”
Quantum means that communication happens instantly, over any distance, and is impossible to breach with an external monitoring system. It’s like our mentaling. I can be in New York and Janah in LA, I have a thought, if Janah’s in my head, she gets it the same moment I think it. Our computers and phones are built and maintained in house, by Eloise, Daria and Lauren. There is quantum computing throughout much of the world now, but it is leaky. There are no quantum phones such as ours on the market, not yet. Governments are trying to regulate them into pointlessness, they don’t want citizens having ultra-private communications. Ours are illegal, like we care, and by the way, the government uses a version of them all the time...you know, national security, the meaningless phrase that covers a multitude of sins.
That’s out of the way, time to feed the family.
Chloe, “Yay! Fried chicken, mac and cheese, cornbread and Asian vegetables. We haven’t had fried chicken in….gee..”
Grace B, “Eight weeks, four days, August third, a Sunday. That time it was with baked beans, avocado salad, also cornbread.”
“I thought I had it right.”
“Uh huh.”
Britt leans into me, whispers, “I still feel tingly.”
“Bad, okay, uncertain?”
“Fine, just electrified, nothing hurts.”
“Mentally?”
“Nothing different…much.”
“What much?”
“Fill you in later.”
Goody, a mini mystery.
Children file in, take seats at their table, the usual hum of conversation. Sounds like it’s about Who’s Afraid. 
Amaya, “Britt is doing splendidly as Martha. She reeks acting talent, I shall create a film for her, Chloe is overdue, fans are demanding an appearance. I shall write something marvelous and star both of them.”
“They offer any ideas?”
“More Ultra Violet, a series I’ve been done with for nearly fifteen years. Perhaps I can resurrect, if I come up with a plot different enough to justify a fourth.”
“The world has changed, tech has taken over, I should think there’s enough to flesh out new material, but I don’t write screenplays, maybe I’m wrong.”
“It isn’t the gadgets, it’s the plot and dialogue. Enough bad government sneaking, I played the yakuza card, I don’t do chase scenes much, limited explosions, no automatic weapons that never seem to hit the target, and no screen filler, drawn out scenery or soulful looks to chew up ten of fifteen seconds but add zip to the plot. That means I have to invent new bad guys, and then the hardest part, spiffy dialogue.”
“Can’t help with dialogue, maybe a plot like our Society work, spousal or child abusers. I know it’s been done in every TV cop series since the dawn of cable TV. It would require a fresh angle. And more gore makes no sense. That’s another overcooked piece of raw meat.”
Nikko, “Overcooked raw meat, you realize you make no sense.”
I shrug, “My specialty, it’s a gift.”

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