A tale of the future
The Fowlers lived in the amber house in the canyon. The canyon was an artificial feature; Mr. Fowler had in his youth seen pictures of a former stretch of land called Arizona, and then for his family realized the pictures with the aid of a wishgun.
An elevator led up one side of the canyon, and there on top lay lush meadows.
Catherine Fowler liked the canyon and spent days and weeks exploring its considerable length on a landhover, taking the mule along. Every night she'd spray the mule and herself with Germex before going to sleep on the hover. Catherine called the canyon Marin County and wrote little poems about her adventures there.
Mady Fowler hated the canyon and spent her days on the lush meadows. Sometimes she'd press a certain button on her programmer, and if she was lucky a young robot came and took sweet revenge on her.
Laurabelle, Mrs. Fowler, had grown to be a desperate woman. She had crushed her programmer years ago, and was using a handyfreezer instead. As soon as she woke up she froze herself again.
Mr. Fowler didn't care and was very busy anyway. Sometimes he'd catch his wife unfrozen, and every time she'd beg him to get rid of the canyon and that awful prison you call a house. With a smile he'd answer that he liked the hexagon.
Laurabelle, one day, unfrozen, found an old photograph in a memory and switched it onto Mr. Fowler's bedside table. It showed her and her sister Ellen when they were small, both in bathing suits, their hair water-wet.
Mr. Fowler looked at it for some minutes, lay back, and had his contacts soaked out. Mrs. Fowler reached over and opened a button of his shirt. Oh yes, his heart was beating.
Now, Laurabelle, how many corners does a hexagon have? Five, six, seven?
Copyright © 1981, 2001 Johannes Beilharz
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