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ARG! After yesterday’s post I spoke with a friend of mine from Puerto Rico who told me peaches don’t grow in Puerto Rico. Ah well, #FirstDraftLiving. She did suggest that I could replace the peach tree metaphor with a ceiba tree which, she says, in Puerto Rico, is viewed as a very strong tree so I may switch the story to that in the next draft or sooner. Anyway, I’ve worked a “peach” reference into today’s writing so I can still quietly reference my phone conversation with Harlan Ellison, who passing was announced yesterday.
“Well if it isn’t Uncle Julio in the flesh,” Dot said just after we arrived in the middle of Jill’s lab at NH (Nowhere House). I exchanged a smile with Dr. Green who was looking up from a book she was reading on one of the couches outside of Jill’s circular lab. KJ, Kate, and I all exchanged hugs and then, as I was about to introduce Dr. Green, Dot, and Jim to Julio, Dot spoke again: “AS I WAS SAYING… WELL, if it isn’t, Uncle Julio, in the flesh.”
“I don’t think we’ve met,” Julio said, turning to look at Dot but then stopping and looking around at the greater library space. It was obvious he was impressed with what he saw. Dot didn’t let his distraction stop her from talking. “Well, my name’s Dot. And we’ve sort of met, but not really. My very good friend, Wise, well, he was told by a mutual acquaintance that you had in your possession a piece of technology that belonged to him.”
“This is an… incredible place, Jill!” Julio smiled. “You running away makes even more sense now, to me. With this place to come to!”
“So, did you hear me, Julio? You have something that belongs to my friend, Wise.”
“I don’t think I’ve met anyone named Wise. In fact, I’ve been working for the government for so long, I am not around many wise people, most of the time.” Julio smiled at his insult.
“Dot, please!” Jill interrupted her. “You can talk about that later. Right now we need to hear the rest of what he knows about the Strife.”
Yep, somehow we had picked up the term Dr. Green’s people were using for this cold war.
“First, you tell me about the security of this place,” Julio said. Jim cracked a grin spoke flatly.
“What’s to tell. The only way in or out is via a Fire Escape.”
“What about communications?” he asked next. Jim explained: “We are located at an undeterminable place and time. We are in between the trimension Earth exists in and the Fire Escape dimension. At least, that is the working theory. We really don’t have that much hard evidence to go on and, Dr. Rivera has requested I not investigate further.”
“So if there are any security holes, you have no idea where they are.” Julio had a good point but Jim also had a pretty reasonable response.
“That may be true, but Nowhere House has been a stable singularity, out of the Earth’s time stream, for several generations. At least five different generations of scientists have called this facility for much of their lifespans.”
“That is incredible! Julio. Julio Velasquez,” Julio said, approaching Jim, with his hand out, ready to be shaken. Jim held out his hand ready to shake Julio’s hand but, of course, Julio’s hand pasted right through Jim’s hologram hand, causing Julio to do a serious double take. Jim looked at him awkwardly. “Sorry, I keep forgetting.”
“You’re not real?”
“There’s no need to be rude!” Jim smirked.
“What?” Julio smirked right back.
“Sir, I’m no less real than your smart phone and hella smarter.”
“OK, that was funny,” KJ said.
“Wow–that was extremely disorienting.”
“If you enjoyed that, you should try eating some hologramatic food sometime!”
Julio looked perplexed. His expression clearly looked like he was wondering just what drug we’d somehow dosed him with when he wasn’t looking.
“Hologramatic food?” Julio sounded baffled.
“It’s delicious. Tastes like peaches.” KJ was having fun. “You think you’re eating a steak but then it hits your tastebuds and you’re like–” KJ pantomimed a dry heave and then continued “–PEACHES! Wow. It’s life-changing, man.”
“Yo, so what’s the story?” Kate said, smiling and shaking her head at KJ.