A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 76 Table of Contents Chapter 78

Chapter 77

Unburdening, November 12, 2059

I was in a state by the time I arrived at Centre City. I half expected the eco-cops to tap me on the shoulder at any moment.

Edie met me at the door. “I didn’t expect you until tomorrow,” she said with a big smile. “I just happened to see you walk past the front window.”

Then she caught my mood. “What’s the matter?”

“Do you know how to upload to FabNet?”

“Yeah… I used to do that for Matt every once in a while.”

“Good. I have something I want you to distribute.” I opened the house system and pointed her at the sunbugs.mmf file.

“Is there some way you can flag the file to be distributed widely and archived offline?” I asked Edie.

She was watching me with a suspicious eye. “Yeah.”

“Then please do so.”

She took over the system. I watched from a distance so she wouldn’t feel like I was breathing down her neck.

In a couple of minutes, she sighed, “There. Done.”

“Can this file be deleted?”

“No. It’s all over the world now. You couldn’t get rid of it if you wanted to.”

“Good.”

She shut the system down and turned to me. “Now will you please tell me what this is all about.”

“Gladly. Come here.” I opened my arms and invited her to snuggle on the couch. Edie had been out of the house when the sunbugs arrived and I purposefully had not told her what they were.

“There’s two things. Have you ever looked at Anna’s singing bubbles?”

That got a big frown from her. “N-nno…” She dragged out the word and I could see her begin to wonder where this was going.

“Well, they’re not toys. They are highly advanced geoengineering devices Matt created.”

“Matt?”

“sunbugs.mmf is the complete design. I put it in the public domain so I wouldn’t have to worry about corporate malfeasance. And I didn’t tell you originally because I didn’t know where it was going to lead.”

She gave me a sober look. “Is that one thing?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s the other?”

“Jon.” I took a deep breath. “He expects to be arrested by the ecocops.”

“Ecocops? What for?”

“For the sunshield sabotage.”

“But it’s a mistake isn’t it?”

I shook my head and Edie’s eyes opened wide.

I heard the padding of little feet down the dark hallway behind us. Edie jumped up and went to investigate.

I could hear the two of them whispering in the bathroom. A couple of minutes later, the toilet flushed and Anna went straight back to bed.

Edie came back with a slightly sardonic grin on her face.

“She’s getting better.”

I smiled gently. “Yes, I know.”

The wages of toilet training are hours spent cleaning up shit.

I was suddenly exhausted. It was almost two in the morning. After a long day, more than one emotional shock and pushing myself to deal with Matt’s sunbugs, I was ready to collapse.

“I’ve got to get to bed,” I mumbled.

Edie pulled me to my feet and arm-in-arm we hobbled down the hallway to the bedroom. I didn’t have an amorous bone in my body. I barely had my clothes off when I felt myself fading. I wrapped my arms around Edie, held her close and fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.

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The Deal.

Last modified January 28, 2014