- Foreword: Writing Rochester's Futures
- "Interesting Times"
- "Culinary Capital, 2034"
- "Night Bells"
- "Hollow Lives"
- "The Naked Girl"
- "Time Enough for Love"
- "Day of the Bicentennial"
- "One City at a Time"
- "Want Not"
- "The Costs of Survival"
- "Getting Wet"
- "Top 10 Headlines, Rochester, NY, 2034"
- "North Star Pipeline"
- "The 2034 Lilac Festival"
- "Scotch and Sizzlenuts on the Resolute Bay"
- "Fads (or Why Jerry Loathes the Aliens)" [FULL TEXT, AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY]
"Scotch and Sizzlenuts on the Resolute Bay"
Jove Bytheway stumbled from the Rochester Regional Gov Office Building, dragging Ben’s old demo box behind her on its two-wheeled cart.
“And no, Ira, we’re not going to get another chance to convince them after tomorrow. You heard them—“ She turned back to Ira Gordoman to continue the argument, but Ira shot past her, his long legs carrying him down the marble steps three at a time.
“Wait here. I’ll get the car,” he tossed over one shoulder as he dodged an elderly man on the sidewalk. Ira’s effortlessness made Jove cringe. Did he look this youthful to the Regional Transport Committee in their meeting? Jove would have much rather had Ira take over the lab himself after the death of Ben Ebenhack, Ira’s advisor and Jove’s collaborator. But twenty-six years old was just too young to lead the lab. Too young to complete the 2034-2039 contract Ben had just secured with Regional Gov for his research. Too damned young.
Jove sat on a low wall edging the steps and reached down to snap the high heels off her shoes, tucking them in a pocket of the demo cart. With luck, she wouldn’t have to use those heels for a few months. Maybe the demonstration of her Magmule canal boat that she had built with Ben’s help would convince the committee that she could act in Ben’s place on the contract. Maybe she could save his lab.
Jove sighed. At least she wouldn’t have to wear heels for that. She stretched her long legs and pressed her feet onto the marble step, flattening the shiftsoles of the shoes into more comfortable angles as a two-seat car pulled up to the curb. Jove rose, ready to scold Ira. He couldn’t stop two meters farther back? He was going to get a ticket from the in-curb parking monitors if he didn’t get out of that bus stop soon. The man that got out of the car was much larger than Ira, though.
Jove felt full of air. So full, she couldn’t breathe or move or think. It was Kevin Holt. Live. Not on her commbox, not on the vids, but right in front of her.
He straightened his suit jacket with the Mars Mission One patch on the breast pocket, closed the car door, and waved to her. His pale scalp shone through a thin spot in his dark hair as he bent forward to climb the steps. He was thinner since the last time she had seen him close up, his skin pulled tight across his strong chin and cheekbones to tiny wrinkles around his long-lashed eyes. He stopped one step below her, their faces even.
“Hello, Beautiful.” His voice was resonant, pitched low, just for her. It was impossible that air from his lungs was here for Jove to share, yet here it was. She inhaled deeply. He smiled his bright smile, the one that could make her smile back no matter what she was thinking.
“Married,” she said, as she held out one hand. She felt her cheeks flush red as her smile froze. That had to have been the worst single word she’d ever uttered.
“You’re married? Oh!” He took her hand, stepped up to the top step and held his arms wide. “Come here!”
Jove hugged him. His chest was taut under his dress shirt. He must have worked hard to get strong in Earth gravity again. How many years did it take to convince him to skip the cologne? God knows she couldn’t convince him when they were together in the NASA astronaut corps. Before his wife came back.
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