A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 65 Table of Contents Chapter 67

Chapter 66

Arrangements, December 11, 2058

Anna was mercifully asleep when I got home. When I told Edie about Matt, she was subdued. She put her hand to her mouth and sat down quickly. Then to my surprise, her attention shifted to me. She was concerned about me. I appreciated that, but I had another duty. To call Jon.

Matt’s death hit Jon just as hard as it hit me. The braggadocio and oneupmanship were gone. We didn’t talk long. I pointedly did not raise the issue of Matt’s body and interment in order to give Jon time to deal with his emotions.

He called me back a couple of hours later. “What about his body?” he asked right off the bat.

“It’s in a morgue in La Paz. It’ll cost 27,000 credits to get it shipped.”

“27,000? I can’t afford that!”

“Neither can I.”

Jon looked thoughtful for a second, then asked, “What about his estate?”

“I don’t know.” I hadn’t thought of that. After his accounts were frozen by ConSec, I had more or less put his money out of my mind. “I’ll have to talk to Matt’s lawyer and ConSec.”

“That’s a good place to begin.”

“I’ll be in touch.”

Edie was sitting in the living room out of sight, but listening to us talk. Anna got up shortly after and Edie told her ‘Uncle Matt’ had gone away to be with the angels.

“You mean he’s going to be with Ryan?” she asked. She meant the Moonchild I realized.

“Yes, dear.”

Anna spent the rest of the evening trying to console me. I was uncomfortable with the little white lies, but figured she would learn the harsh truth soon enough.

The standard bereavement clause for immediate family members gave me 10 days off work. The faculty head, John Roberts, called to express condolences, which was more than I expected from the old Scot. I guess it was more in dad’s memory, because I hardly knew him.

I couldn’t sleep. I just kept going over it all in my mind. Finally I drifted into an unrestful few hours quiet before rising early. It was only a week before solstice, so the days were short, but in the half-light before dawn I was out poking around in the greenhouse.

A couple of planter boxes needed repair and I was wondering how best to do that, but the truth of the matter is that I just wanted some menial task to keep myself busy. Working with the hands soothes the mind. I decided to build corner braces for the planters using screws, not nails.

An hour after the sun rose, Anna came out to visit me. “Mama says it’s coffee time.”

I stopped sawing the piece of wood that would be a corner brace in order to rub noses with her.

“She was worried when you were gone, but I saw you from the window.”

“And what were you doing in grandpa’s room?” I asked in mock seriousness.

She took my hand and we started to the house.

“I like to look at the pictures.” Just before we reached the door, she said, “I want to learn to read so I can say the names of all the animals.”

I was a little surprised, but stammered out, “That’s good.”

Edie had baking soda biscuits right out of the oven. I had skipped breakfast, so I didn’t feel bad polishing off 3 of them. Edie just beamed. I think she was relieved to see I was more or less functional.

I called ConSec after eating, but Carman was ‘not available.’ Then I called Matt’s lawyer, a guy named Jaden Aliwalia, not much older than me. He didn’t know Matt was dead, so it took him a minute to absorb that. He said that he thought that seeing as Matt’s estate was legally obtained, it would be released once the ‘enemy of the state’ order was no longer germane.

“But who knows what wrinkles they might come up with,” he added darkly. Then he mentioned the will. “You do know you are named as executor?”

“No. I didn’t. Matt didn’t discuss it with me.”

“Well you are, with Jon as a secondary.”

I went back to the greenhouse, more because I wanted to be outside than to do anything useful. In the middle of the afternoon, Carman appeared. He walked around the corner of the garage, just like he belonged there.

“I heard you were looking for me.”

I dropped the board I had just cut. “Will you release Matt’s estate now that he is dead?”

“I don’t see why not. I’ll have to clear it, but I’ll see what I can do.”

The next morning Jaden called me to arrange a meeting. ConSec had cleared the accounts. I was responsible for directing the disbursal of Matt’s estate.

I called Carman immediately and arranged to have Matt’s body shipped back to Centre City.


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.

If you want a copy, see
The Deal.

Last modified November 12, 2013

Comments

  1. #1 Steven Earl Salmony
    Chapel Hill, NC
    November 17, 2013

    It seems to me that as long as experts willfully ignore the “system causation factor” of the human population explosion, that is to say, the increasing food supply which is literally fueling the explosion, we will continue to see the promulgation of politically convenient thought and economically expedient policymaking. Science regarding ‘why the human population is exploding’ will continue to be denied and endless preternatural, ideologically-driven chatter about ‘what is happening’ will pass for a complete sharing of knowledge. We are in a sad state of affairs.

    Just for a moment, let us imagine that now we have all the greatest population experts speaking with one voice. They tell us that we are headed rapidly for 8 billion people on the surface of Earth, declining TFRs in many western European countries notwithstanding. When that number is reached in the foreseeable future, we will have too much food, too little water and clean air, and no decent environment to speak of. Pollution will be visible to all, everywhere. In the meantime many species of birds and wildlife will go extinct because of the destruction of their habitat from land clearance to grow more food to support an exploding human population. What is happening is made evident. Why this situation is occurring with a vengeance of our watch is avoided at all cost. All this is good, they say.

    All these top rank population experts, inside and outside the scientific community, then go on to say that in order to have more and more happy people we need more and more people who can be counted upon to increase the depletion and degradation that will rapidly subtract from the source of that happiness, our planetary home, until such time as Earth is no longer able to function as a source of happiness. More importantly, because we self-proclaimed experts are ‘free to know’ and then speak of what is determined by the powers that be to be best for the rest of us to know, some scientific research can be and will be denied. While these experts do not lie, they deliberately refuse to give voice to the whole of what is true to them, according to the lights and knowledge they possess. By their conscious silence, these experts will ensure that the unsustainable growth of the human species, the reckless depletion of resources and the irreversible degradation of ecology of the planet happens as soon and efficiently as possible. All this is good, they say, because we are making things better.

  2. #2 Wow
    November 17, 2013

    Given that killing off an American will make 20x as much difference as killing off an African, you can see how the idea that the population being an “elephant in the room” is laughingly bad when used to put the blame squarely on the developing world.

    Because make no mistake: that’s the ONLY reason it’s EVERY brought up.

    If reducing population is going to be the solution, then a cleansing of the North American continent is going to be 20x more efficient than any other attempt to use this to solve the issue.

  3. #3 PaulinMI
    Carbon Neutral Kingdom
    November 18, 2013

    We’ll said gentlemen.
    And, of course carbon is at the root of these issues.

    It’s obvious these carbon schemes, emission reduction pledges and tax discussions are going nowhere beyond enriching those dreaming them up or serving as political fodder. And will likely be stalled once the cash flow is established, because, of course, really eliminating the problem shuts off the cash.

    Yes, it’s time for affirmative action towards the solution.
    Reduce the global carbon addition at the sources.

    A simple government directed military action to shut off the sources of carbon, one by one or ten by ten over a predetermined number of years will accomplish what is necessary. Of course, some governments will resist, but the US is more than capable of meeting that challenge.
    And as wow notes, cutting carbon will affect the North American population 20x more than developing nations.

    Anything short of this is simply not going to be successful.

  4. #4 Wow
    November 18, 2013

    So just like capitalism, then, Pauline?

    That merely goes to enriching those with money already.

    I didn’t know you were anti-capitalist.

  5. #5 PaulinMI
    Carbon Neutral Kingdom
    November 18, 2013

    Capitalism prevents the solution.

  6. #6 Wow
    November 18, 2013

    So you confirm you’re anti-capitalism, Pauline?

  7. #7 Wow
    November 18, 2013

    “And as wow notes, cutting carbon will affect the North American population 20x more than developing nations.”

    Weird.

    Nope. Not at all.

    Merkins use 20x as much as Africans. Nothing says they have to use that much. Just that they do.

  8. #8 PaulinMI
    Carbon Neutral Kingdom
    November 19, 2013

    #6, agreed, capitalism exploits the working class to accumulate wealth for the capitalist class. This cycle must be broken to reduce carbon accumulation in the atmosphere.

    #7, ok

  9. #9 mandas
    November 19, 2013

    Coby

    I think someone is sock-puppeting Paul – its obviously not him.

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