Short Story Of the Day – The Future (flash fiction) by Bill Chance

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Søren Kierkegaard

Dallas Arboretum


I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#60) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

 


telephone (n.) – from télé- “far”+ phōnē “sound, voice

The Future

Young Alcinous entered the market with his hand firmly clasping the small bag of gold he had hidden under a fold of his tunic. He walked deeper and deeper into the dark, winding rows of stalls, knowing the seer that he wanted would be in the most isolated spot. He hesitated in front of the shabby unlabeled hut that his advisors assured would give him the answers that he wanted.

He entered and was surprised to see a young man sitting on the other side of a small round table. There was one empty seat.

“Sit down Alcinous,” said the man in an agreeable voice. “I understand you will pay for my knowledge.”

Alcinous fetched the sack of gold and dropped it on the table. “How did you know my name? And that I could pay?”

“I would not be much of a prophet if I didn’t know such obvious things.”

“I did not expect a young man.”

“I only resemble a young man. I am over three thousand years old.”

“Can you help me? My father is very ill and I am going to become king soon. It is time I take a wife but I want to know who my true love is.”

The seer removed the sack of gold and replaced it with a small rolled parchment sealed with red wax.

“I know what you are here for. The answer is in this paper. It contains the first words your sacred soulmate will speak to you.”

Acinous reached forward and broke the seal. He unrolled the parchment and read.

Hey! You dropped your phone.

“What is this rubbish? These two words – têle and phōnḗ – pushed together? Far? Voice? What does it mean? Do not try to swindle me, you insane seer. I will call my wrath…”

“I assure you I tell only the truth. I am three thousand years old but I do not live my life like mortal men. I was born three thousand years in the future and I have lived this immense time backward. The future is my memory; I remember all, only what you call the past is mystery.”

“Again, I implore you, what does this prophesy mean?”

“You will understand it when it occurs. Those words will take on a different meaning in the future… a future when you can hear distant voices as clear as if it were you and I, sitting here.”

“The far future? I don’t expect to be alive.”

“You won’t… as such. However, your soul will be reborn, again and again, until you will finally meet your soul mate. This will be your first and only opportunity, though. Do not forget. Do not miss. Do not delay. Everyone gets his or her one chance. Very few are successful.”

“But what good does that do me? I need to choose a wife and choose one soon. Choose one to be my queen.”

“To be the queen? There must be plenty of candidates.”

“There are. Thousands. That is the problem. Which one?”

“Oh, well, pick one that’s attractive to you. Or one that has a pleasing personality. Or one that brings political advantage. It doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t matter?”

“No. You will be disappointed. Betrayed. Miserable. None will be your soul mate and that will end in torment. Your destiny is for your future manifestation to meet her on the day she warns you that you dropped a far-away voice device… until then this is your doom.”

Alcinous stood and left the hut. On his way out of the market, he met his personal elite guard. He gathered the soldiers together.

“Go back to the hut and kill the seer. If you can. Gather up my gold and bring it back to me. But be quick, I think he might know you are coming.”

 

What I learned this week, June 25, 2017

The Best Bookstores in Every State

Texas: The Wild Detectives

Dallas’s hip gathering place specializes in fiction, poetry and Spanish-language lit, plus top-notch food and coffee. And how could you not love a place with a “buy a book, get a drink” policy?

One thing I love about The Wild Detectives is that they turn the wifi off on the weekends… so the people, their customers, will actually talk to each other, like real human beings.

The Wild Detectives’ name is a loose translation of Roberto Bolaño’s Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives, 1998), from which the business takes a lot more than just the name. Our mission at The Wild Detectives is to curate all those things that matter, those serious pleasures which turn life into experience.


Why didn’t great painters of the past reach the level of realism achieved today by many artists?



New Seafloor Map Reveals How Strange the Gulf of Mexico Is

The floor of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most geologically interesting stretches of the Earth’s surface. The gulf’s peculiar history gave rise to a landscape riddled with domes, pockmarks, canyons, faults, and channels — all revealed in more detail than ever before by a new 1.4 billion-pixel map.


The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed


The Best New Dallas Restaurants of 2017 (So Far)


Do Giraffes Get Struck by Lightning More Than Other Animals?

What I learned this week, July 20, 2012

Editorial: Finding Lost Dallas

Cities should be dynamic places. The corner of Commerce and St. Paul streets, where the building that once housed the hotel still stands, is a great place to see how this works over time. When it opened in 1956, the Statler Hilton was a marvel to behold. It was home to the largest convention facility in the South. Some of the hotel’s amenities — music in elevators, a rooftop pool and televisions in every room — were trendsetting and the height of luxury.

It was also the first glass-and-metal hotel in the nation. As such, it was a precursor to the Modern movement that defines the Dallas skyline. The buildings that now seem so familiar to all of us rose from the remnants of the old downtown. When you see footage of Dallas a half-century ago, what strikes the eye is how little of it seems to be left.

LOST DALLAS


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Help me, I’m melting!

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Shane Pennington, the artist that did the ice sculptures down in the Dallas Arts District that impressed me so much that I visited them day after day, as they melted:

First Night

Next Day

The Day After That

A couple days after that

A week and a day later

– I found a cool article about his show in Berlin – “Leaving the Shade.

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The two human form sculptures, what is left of them

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Not much ice left

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How 8 Sci-Fi Gadgets Are Becoming Reality


A Modest Proposal: Nasher vs Museum Tower


Howard Jacobson’s top 10 novels of sexual jealousy


The 50 Best Rolling Stones Songs (in case you were forgetting….)


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A while back I wrote about a Foodtruckapooza event at the remains of the old Valley View Mall. It was such a success the mall owners are trying to bring in a little business by making it a regular thing.

New Valley View owners hope to park food truck test kitchens in vacant food court stalls

It’s a fascinating story of urban devlopment, timing, and the death of a mall.

A few weeks back, the Becks rolled in more than two dozen food trucks for a fest that filled the parking lot — first time that’s happened at Valley View in a long time. Said Scott last night, the traffic jam brought in ’round 12,000, which is why the Midtown Food Truck Fest becomes a regular event beginning July 20 and scheduled for the third weekend of every month, with an indoor component that will include a beer garden.

Concurrently, they’re partnering with Jack FM to create food truck “test kitchens” in the seven empty food-court slots once populated by the likes of Sbarro, Chick-fil-A, Sonic and McDonald’s.

In two months’ time, the Becks hope to fill empty food-court spaces with food truck test kitchens.

“You will have your favorite food trucks in one location,” says Scott Beck, who notes that’s about two months off. “We won’t make those spot into national or regional vendors. We’ll have food trucks who want test kitchens for a month. They will rotate in and out — and be right there in the food court. Every food truck wants to be part of that. They think it’s interesting to do a test kitchen, because there are only so many things you can make in a food truck. This gives them the chance to do more items in an area that’s promoted.”

I think I might head down there after work today.


Some very interesting editorials about the future of energy in the US.

The Energy Revolution Part One: The Biggest Losers

Energy Revolution 2: A Post Post-American Post

Energy Revolution 3: The New American Century

While the chattering classes yammered on about American decline and peak oil, a quite different future is taking shape. A world energy revolution is underway and it will be shaping the realities of the 21st century when the Crash of 2008 and the Great Stagnation that followed only interest historians. A new age of abundance for fossil fuels is upon us. And the center of gravity of the global energy picture is shifting from the Middle East to… North America.