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Milky Way Boulevard (standard:science fiction, 54052 words)
Author: Thomas ThompsonAdded: Mar 03 2009Views/Reads: 3101/2653Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A free science fiction / cyberpunk novel in the tradition of William Gibson and Philip K Dick and a more serious philosophical piece discussing the nature of faith, reality, dreams and fiction in our lives, with comparisons to Jorge Luis Borges.
 



Milky Way Boulevard 

(c) Thomas Thompson 2006 

"Schopenhaur wrote that dreaming and wakefulness are the pages of a
single book, and that to read them in order is to live, to leaf through 
them at random, to dream." 

- Jorge Luis Borges 

*** 

There's no problem a drink can't fix. That's why he was here, in the
same seat, in the same bar. This bar was his home now. An island 
between two worlds, it was the one place where everything was still 
possible. It was his place to dream. He looked around, scanning the 
room. There were two others slumped over their drinks in the corner and 
a lone bartender needlessly polishing glasses. Otherwise, the joint was 
empty. Of course it was. He motioned with his finger. The bartender 
reached under the bar and came back up with a straight bourbon in an 
old fashioned. He slid it across with a nod. He took his drink and 
stared up at the small black window in front of him. As he sipped the 
burn ran down his throat and turned into a heat that spread through his 
cells, making his whole body tingle. That wasn't a good sign. When your 
body starts crying out for its hit like that it means something. Means 
it's time for another drink. He looked up but there was already another 
full one sitting in front of him. Outside it was streaming rain, a 
steady downpour through the darkness. Just like yesterday and the day 
before that. Just like tomorrow would be. He looked down at his drink 
again and moved his hand towards it. An inch from the glass he stopped 
and switched his brain on for the first time in days, weeks perhaps. 
The glass slid across the bar into his palm, as if drawn by a magnet. 
No one else noticed, but it brought a small smile to his lips. As he 
sat back and got on with drinking he stared out the window and tried to 
recall if he'd ended up here because he was trying to remember, or 
trying to forget. He could never be sure anymore. Not with all he had 
done, all that he knew. He was riddled with rich seams of guilt. He was 
there to sink down into the mine and dredge them up, polish them into 
hard, shining jewels. He stared out the window and began to dream. 

* 

The car flicked along through the raindrops, fifty feet in the air,
seeming to wait till the last microsecond before swerving to avoid the 
assorted billboards and rooftops that reached up towards it. The 
autopilot didn't need to see the obstacles to know they were there. 
Kane let it do the driving, it had far better reactions than he did 
anyway. Besides, he was lost in his own world, with its own 
distractions. He sat in the driver's seat, the cable leading from just 
behind his ear to the car input. The data port. Some still called them 
radios, but they were so much more. At the moment Kane was sitting 
around a campfire with friends on a warm summer night, drinking cold 
beer and smoking good weed. Looking up at the stars. There wasn't a 
cloud in the sky in his world. In reality he sat in the car seat with a 
slack, dazed expression on his face. His eyes were open and glazed 
over. He was fifteen minutes away from where she'd last been seen, and 
it was best to spend what time he could relaxing. Besides, what was 
there to look at out there? Darkness and rain, the usual story outside 
the Grid. And if he dared get close enough to street level a lot of 
other, nastier things might flicker across his headlights. The car knew 
not to get too low though. It would stay out of range of the hookers. 
Music began to leak out of the radio and slowly increased in volume, as 
if trying to make itself noticed. It was a simple tune, something 
easily remembered. Something that would stay with you. Kane was lying 
back on the sand when one of his friends began to hum softly. Then 
another. When he sat up everyone around the campfire was humming along, 
staring at him with blank eyes. Then they all disappeared. He shook his 
head to clear the last of the images from his mind and found himself 
back in the car. The fucking radio was playing up. Oh well, he could 
have it looked at later, they weren't far away now. He yanked the cable 
out from behind his ear and peered out the windows to see if he could 
recognise where they were. It took him a couple of seconds to realise 
the song was still in the air. At first he simply couldn't understand 
what was happening. He'd pulled out the jack, where was this sound 
coming from if not from there? The car didn't have speakers, there was 


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