Extra Perceptory

Updated every Thursday.

Thursday, May 1

Installment J

The soft crunch of the concrete beneath my feet provided a very satisfying sound. I made my way slowly through old town contemplating everything that had just been dumped on me. Any other child my age probably would've snapped under the pressure, but I've always had my suspicions that danger was near. The only question was how long it would take to show up.

It was too late at night to go to the stores back home in my town, so I decided to take the monorail system into old town. The dark landscape made for a familiar sight surrounding all the wreckage. The concrete of old buildings and cheaply made houses was crumbled up into sand left over from the war. Fragments of destroyed brick buildings still littered the area providing an eerie reminder of all the devastation that occurred. I personally loved walking around the old town. When I was a child Amman and I lived near here in an old apartment building that survived the war. Everyday after school I would explore the wreckage and bring home pieces of pipe, metal, or anything valuable looking that I could find. However the rubble had been stripped of anything of real value long before I was ever conceived.

Everyone else's parents wouldn't let them touch the the blocks of destruction, but Amman's only words were "Just don't hurt yourself." He knew how much I loved exploring. Making the area forbidden would only add to the adventure.

There were some spots on the road where blotches of asphalt peeked through the concrete and brick gravel. A car drove by quickly, and I realized that times had changed. I was a walking target. All of Amman's savings rested comfortably in my back pocket, and it wouldn't discriminate towards who spent it. I couldn't waste any more time swimming in my nostalgia, I needed to get out of here fast.

I started to jog briskly towards the old-town store, a hotel built during the war for soldiers on leave from the nearby air-base. Not long after the war ended, the owner was arrested for involving himself in a large scale prostitution ring. Now the hotel had been remade into a convenience store resembling a small mall. It sold just about everything, from car tune-ups to fresh baked bread. The only trouble was getting there in one piece.

I passed over the invisible line separating the new town from the old rubble. As I passed by a library I picked up a newspaper from the give-away stand. The headline was about the attack on the American colony, but there were still some good articles. I started reading one about the 3rd grade class at my old school. Apparently they raised over 50 dollars for the European aid fund.

That's impressive.

I continued reading as I walked the short distance to the store. I would need to take the transit system home when I had all my groceries with me. On the note, Amman told me if I didn't want to use the mass transit system, I could just buy a cart or something while I was there to help lug it all home. Worst come to worst, I'll just call one of Amman's teaching colleagues and try to get a ride from them. I'll see how much it weighs in the end, I suppose.

The streets were completely bare. As I walked, street lamps flicked on whenever I approached then went back to sleep again after I had walked under. The motion sensors were rudimentary, but effective. I made a little game in my mind, with each streetlight that I activated a new chunk of city terrain became illuminated. I made comparisons in my head as each new piece was lit up. It was sort of fun to stare at something in the distance for awhile, read my newspaper for a bit, then look at it again once it had become clearly visible.


My arm was stretched out behind me as I lugged the trolley filled with double wrapped packages of food, light-bulbs, replacement circuits, bottles of water, etc. It was too hard for me to carry 20 dollars worth of groceries back home, so I headed for the transit system.

Luckily for me, there was a terminal about two blocks down from the store. It appeared to have been renovated recently. It was clean and empty on the inside. Rows of waiting chairs filled the building with a counter on the far end of the wall. The tran attendant was reading a magazine. As I entered he looked up at me and spoke.

"Welcome to the tran, where's your destination?"

"Actually, I have a question. I live in the new town just a few miles from here, but there's no way I can make it with all this stuff. Can I just transit my groceries, then pick it up at the next terminal?"

"Sorry, but I can't do that. Legal reasons, we can't be responsible for anything that's lost or stolen."

"That's alright. I'd just like to buy a ticket for the next town over then."

"You mean the H2 terminal, or the H5 terminal?"

"The H2."

"If you're not sure I can look up the code for you."

"No, I'm positive that's the one. I've taken the tran system before."

"Alright. You'll need to get a luggage ticket too, that'll be 25 cents extra."

"25 cents? Just for some luggage?"

"Do you have enough?" The attendant looked up from his screen at me suddenly. "It's because luggage has no concept of time. It can never accumulate a time-debt."

"Yeah, that's true. Well, alright."

"That comes to 35 cents and a 13 minute time-debt. Have a good trip."

Damn that's expensive. Hope Amman doesn't mind.

I paid the attendant. He gave me my ticket and came around to unlock the the door to the back. After I was through, he showed me to my terminal system and gave me my coords. I walked into the threshold and out the other side. The new attendant came over to me right away.

"The current time is 2:56am. Did you have a nice trip?"

"Yeah, could I space for a second? I need to call a cab."

"Sorry, the internet hasn't been working here. Our satellite is under repair."

"Oh, that's alright. I can walk it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I live pretty close to here."

With that, I left the building and started off on my journey back home. It was raining now.

The newspaper said it wasn't suppose to rain until six. This isn't exactly anything new, though. I wonder what's going on at the climate building.

As I walked by the small bookstore by my home things began to look more and more familiar. That's when a psychic impulse hit me.

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