Bandwidth Reset

It's 12:01 AM on September 4th, and Bryn's bandwidth has just reset. She's got her cheap little government-issue tablet out and she's been waving it around like a ten-inch diagonal injection molded kite for the last thirty seconds, waiting for the little chirp that means free Internet. We've been standing there watching her do the access dance, jittering up and down on our toes so we don't freeze in place, waiting just like Bryn is for the bandwidth reset that comes every thirty days at midnight.

It's so loud, the sound of a half-dozen figures in ill-fitting coats and trash bags trying to be quiet, that we almost miss the chirp, but Bryn doesn't. She hugs the tablet to her chest, beaming at all of us. “We've got bandwidth, ladies,” she croons, and there's no more jitterbug dance of waiting then. There's just the quick flow of Bryn's fingers across the tablet screen as she unlocks it, loads the browser, takes us where we're all waiting to go.

There's only one thing to do with free bandwidth, and let me tell you this: it's not composing e-mails or hunting for jobs to pull us out of this slum. We crowd around Bryn and her tablet and she props it up against a couple of empty paint cans we rigged up as an acoustic chamber one day last summer when there wasn't enough sound to penetrate the dense undercurrent of the urban jungle, and then Trudy Twilight is on the screen and we get down to business.

The Internet, after all, has one thing in abundance, no matter what your kink or fetish may be. And with a generous couple of gigabytes a month of wireless broadband sifting across the airwaves courtesy of dear old Uncle Gates, may he rest in peace, it's enough — if you pool your time and share your tablets — to look our fill.

On-screen Trudy Twilight is doing the wizz-bang-pow, as Bryn calls it, and we're every one of us in our own private Internet heaven watching her. Part of my mind knows she's not human — none of them are, any more, not since digital rendering crossed the uncanny valley and clawed its way up the other side into hyper-realism — but that doesn't make my limbic system give a shit. It's Trudy, after all: everyone's favorite digital dyke. And by everyone, I mean the six of us.

The vid is short — only about five minutes or so — but it arrows straight from my eyes down to my erogenous zones and sets everything going the way only Trudy can. I can feel myself getting hot and bothered before the opening title even finishes its gooey teal-and-pink crawl across the screen, and before I get too caught up in Trudy I sneak a peek across the half-circle at Mara.

She's looking back at me out of the corner of her eye, a little half-smile on her lips, and a message sparks between us like lightning in that moment of connection. It's question and answer and consent and acknowledgment all rolled into one, and I feel the tingling heat spreading between my thighs.

I say a silent prayer of thanks to Uncle Gates and his magic wi-fi guarantee. It's September 4th, and it's just past midnight, and it's colder out here than the showers at the YMCA; but damn, it's nice to know Trudy isn't the only one who's going to get a workout tonight.


keys

Today’s prompt from Alissa Leonard’s Finish That Thought is the opening sentence I ran for the door, but someone had taken the keys.  Bonus challenge: include a ticking clock or countdown.  Normally Tuesdays are bad writing days for me – bad days in general due to work – but I have not been writing much […]


Time

The clock on the wall in her grandmother’s house goes tick tick tock tock; always has, at least since she remembers it.  It goes tick tick tock tock and every time the pendulum stutters time shifts a little bit more out of sync in her grandmother’s house.  Every time the second hand jerks back and […]


Rockefeller

There were a thousand places Bill could think of with a higher probability of results.  A cave.  The middle of the primordial forest.  Under Loch Ness.  Places without security guards and binoculars and camera surveillance.  Places with a population exponentially less than eight million.  Those were the sort of places she would have taken the device: […]


Spoils

Ten minutes to midnight. He tightens his grip on the stock of the pop gun that came in his stocking last year this time, the plastic warm with his body heat and slick with sweat. He wipes his palms against the rough polyester fleece of his pajamas and picks up the pop gun again, adjusting […]


Fairy Wine

There are fairies in the garden. They are not the nasty dragonwing biting kind and they are not the pointyhat curdlemilk vicious kind and they are not the tuppence under the bridgetolling goateating kind. They are little men little men littlemen with little greenglass bottles of amber liquor and you know what they say about […]


Laci

From the dormer window on the third floor you can see the spot where Laci Morgan hanged herself.  I know it’s putting on airs to say “hanged” when ordinary folks say “hung”, but I’ve got a big Oxford English Dictionary on my desk with gold paint on the cover and everything, and it says that […]


Midnight

It is midnight, and all the good children are in their beds.
It is midnight, and all the safe children are in their beds.
It is midnight, and all the children are in their beds, and all the grownups are in their beds, and all the horses are in their stables and all the dogs are in their kennels and all the doors are locked and all the windows are closed and all the shutters are bolted and all the world is locked up safe and tight.


2: Kimberly

I hate myself sometimes. She’s waiting tables in the cafe by the park; her name is Kimberly and she doesn’t look like the kind of person who would hate anyone. She is twenty-two. I am so stupid. Her expression is calm, almost tranquil. Such a loser. The little light marked “2″ is blinking amber. Kimberly […]


Keith

This relationship is a disaster. His name is Keith, and it is three in the morning. He is kicking the porch swing back and forth, a cigarette burning its way down toward his fingers as he stares blankly out into the suburban darkness. I can’t do this any more. Behind him, in the house, Barb […]