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Fugue (standard:science fiction, 37012 words)
Author: Saxon ViolenceAdded: Jan 05 2013Views/Reads: 5471/2945Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A man with no name struggles to reassemble his memories while the World Crumbles


Chapter One 

Bill was far too heavy to weigh on a reasonably affordable home scale.
The local health food store had a very nice electronic scale in the 
vestibule right outside the main entrance. A sales clerk had once told 
Bill that the electronic scale would weigh anything up to eight hundred 
and fifty pounds. 

Bill wondered about that from time to time. Why eight-fifty? Eight-fifty
wasn't anything like a round number. Why not eight hundred? Or nine? 
Why not make it an even one thousand? 

Maybe, Bill thought darkly, the scale had been originally designed
around a metric number. The thought of the metric system caused his 
upper lip to start to curl into a sneer. He hated the metric system. 

The thought of the metric system caused him to go over his short-list of
things that Bill disapproved of. 

He hated plastic Guns—and don't try to tell him how cheap and reliable
they might be. He had his doubts but felt it was completely irrelevant. 
Plastic Guns were just wrong. It was an open letter slandering 
Pistoleros everywhere that such things existed. 

He didn't exactly hate soft drinks made from corn syrup and bottled in
plastic. They still tasted better than the next-best beverage. 

He thought of a friend who'd had gastric bypass surgery. Her Doctor had
told her that she'd have to give up carbonated beverages for the rest 
of her life. No bypass for Bill! No sir-ree! He'd rather give up sex 
than give up carbonated beverages. 

Still, the old soft drinks made with pure cane sugar and bottled in
returnable glass bottles had tasted much better. Real buttermilk with 
flakes of butter had tasted better than the modern “low fat cultured” 
buttermilk too. Butter was superior to margarine and lard was a better 
cooking medium than vegetable oil. 

The old Smith and Wessons—with their recessed chambers and pinned
barrels—were better than the later ones. Smith had jumped the shark 
with their gay little security locks. He wouldn't feel right about 
using a keyhole Smith, even as a trotline sinker, without some 
compelling necessity. 

The old 1911A1s were far better than the abominations with firing pin
blocks. Ditto the old Browning High Powers. The Ruger Security Six was 
a far better Gun than the GSP and SPs that replaced it. And the modern 
limp-wristed would-be Pistoleros eschewed pinning their grip safeties. 

Words, words—ugly truncated words! People said: “tarp” and “deli” and
“sides” instead of “tarpaulin”; “delicatessen” and “side-orders”. 

There was the Hughes amendment and the Brady Bill—not to mention the
”Patriot Act.” You couldn't buy catfish steaks anymore. Sometimes you 
could find fillets, but never steaks. You could hardly find a church 
that sang the old-time hymns anymore—and what passed for “music” 
amongst the young nowadays... 

Bill cut his ruminations short. He was at the scale. He carefully
climbed onto the platform and fed the machine two quarters. He was 
careful to insert both quarters face up. He always inserted coins into 
vending machine face-up, or if the slot was vertical, head facing 
right. Of course he knew it didn't matter. Why would he go to all that 
trouble, if he thought it made a shred of difference? 

He stood very still as he fed the scale his date of birth; height; build
and gender. He liked that about the machine. For his fifty cents it not 
only weighed him—it gave him a card with all his vital stats on it, 
including his weight, what the machine thought was his ideal weight and 
how many pounds he had to loose to get to his ideal weight. 

Of course he already knew his height, gender, age and build. He thought
the low-ball figure the scale gave, as his ideal weight was the 

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