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Friday, January 8, 2016

Sunset and Death Are Inevitable; Music Is Eternal

He was cold calling homes in Lingonville, the door-to-door champagne salesman. He gave his pitch to bored housemoms and frantic soccerwives with a sense of urgency. He knew the showdown was coming, as inevitably as the setting sun. He slung fermented beverages from house to house in the crepuscular shadows, but the question lingered: would the sun return tomorrow?

Airships overhead-Zephyr Zeppelins- trailed electromagnetic frequency feelers, a sort of listening tentacle capable of monitoring conversations, and phone calls, even whispered in secret chambers behind locked doors. So he kept to his script; “Have you tried the best tasting, and only officially Right Government™ licensed fizzy drink? Made from locally grown spleenfruit and natural sugar…”

He carried with him a personal nuclear device-still protected under the amendments of the Right Government™, and legally purchased, but kept it concealed and locked within a body cavity vault. No sense in alerting the guards. The group was keen to appear reasonable and moderate, to deflect accusations of treason. Say the secret word and win a hundred demerits and a public hanging.

And now he was running, running as well as he could with one leg still numbed from the guard’s neuron disrupter rifle. The blast had, fortunately, missed his head; there’s no recovery from that sort of disruption, but the nervous system in his leg was shot, the muscles unresponsive. He ran as quickly as he could, lurching across schoolyard playgrounds, limping over piles of rubble, sliding pas Right Government™ barriers, running just ahead of the Sternodogs.

He ran, though he knew there was little likelihood of escape. Sternodogs never give up, never drop pursuit once they have your scent. Their bites are poisoned, even a nip will leave one blind; a bite is usually fatal. And if the blue-fire blindness doesn’t get you, the vomiting and aneurisms will.

The inflationary infiltration of the Right Government™ party headquarters in Lingonville had failed. If the agents responsible for placing bombs at the Chanel $4 Television station also failed, all would be lost. There could be no second chances.

Silence the roaring cataracts. The water falls into stillness.

He staggered and fell, woozy from blood loss and exhaustion. The Sternodogs would soon have him. Death and sunset come for everyone. Musicians and instruments can be broken, reeds and fingers snapped, slides and ankles bent, but music is eternal. As the Sternodogs rounded the corner and approached him, drooling thickened, jellied ropes of blue saliva, he began to hum the Irish melody his mother taught him as a child. Sunset and death are inevitable; music is eternal.

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Jeff Carter's books on Goodreads
Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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