The one year anniversary of cavalcadeofstars continues. Please welcome Kathleen Gabriel and her whimsical science fiction story, “Starcher NGN.”
McKenna’s new smartshoes conduct the expected energy from her feet to her psyche at an unprecedented rate, stimulating her visual and auditory cortexes and bringing her psyche to a point of joyous alertness. Perfect physical coordination is also included, to her genuine delight.
She high-fives the salesbot, exits the shoe store and glissades to the food court. People rush by, but she flashes that she could outrun them all with her newfound speed and grace, never more to embarrass herself. Because of the gifts that come through her feet, she can hold her head up. Realization and rapture ensue.
She leaps an unoccupied table, twisty-touches off the wall, attaining near-flight. She pirouettes without regard to her social status and theoretical dignity. To find these fine shoes—awesomeness in toto. She spins and dips and bops.
Halfway around the crowded food court is a yellow-aproned man in curl flop and spike, a style from three years previous. She pats her own curl flop and spike. Why forsake charm for mere fashion’s sake? Her hyper-stimulated visual cortex telephotos in and she reads “StarcherNGN” on the apron.
The man hands men a slip of paper and swoops a hand toward a shop. McKenna lifts her head and sniffs, and finds that her olfactory cortex is stimulated to a high level as she detects a coffee scent emanating from that shop.
Starcher NGN sounds like “start your engine,” reminding her of the internal combustion engine, now long defunct, and the revving of same when starting up. Caffeine serves much the same purpose in persons. No need for that for her. Her engine started when she synched with the new shoes. She grins affection on them.
The yellow-aproned man continues his activity, McKenna her scrutiny. To women, he bows slightly, his hand held at waist level, then sweeps his hand to the side. When McKenna recognizes the gesture, her foot-energy flares.
The opening phrase of the Blue Danube waltz drifts up from the ice rink below. Her brain snaps to attention, auditory and visual cortexes interface with memory. A melding occurs between her new energy endowment and the antiquated music of her childhood and embarrassed adolescence. Embarrassment will not ensue this day. Her feet will obey her psyche. Scenting opportunity, she transports herself in four precisely spaced bounds to the side of the man in the yellow apron.
At close range she sees that he is a true man, not a bot offering coupons. He makes the slight bow. She curtsies, inclining her head in assent. His eyes widen. His right hand drops the coupons into his capacious apron pocket and slides to a light touch on her waist. At the same time his left hand rises to her shoulder height. She wraps her fingers over his and places her left hand upon his shoulder just so.
Yellow-aproned man seems to watch only her, yet avoids every chair, every table, every shopper—every bruise and pratfall. They dance surrounded by the music alone. He is the perfect partner, the divine other of the waltz.
At waltz’s end they find themselves once more surrounded by crowd-echo and mundane food fragrance. Yet McKenna senses an exudation of total approval from the universe.
No. Not from the universe. Said approval rolls off the yellow-aproned man, and it warms her.
He turns over her left hand, triggering giggliness.
“What is there to stop me from taking you down to that jewelry store,” toward which he nods, “and buying you a ring?”
She turtles back her head and says, “Common sense?”
The foot energy-joy-psyche turning of the mind swells up and flows over and envelops the yellow-aproned man at that moment, too. Their mirth is in gestalt even as her energy had quintupled with the deep discount on the shoes.
“Allow me to make you a mocha, then.”
She nods assent. “A mocha. With a bit of orange syrup, please.”
Kathleen Gabriel lives in a tiny town east of Seattle. She has won NaNoWriMo six years in a row. Her novel, The Kansas Connection, is available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/kathygab. Strangely enough, she once danced with a barista in a mall.