Most of the world's seventeen billion people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the world's resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?
The man’s mouth hung open as he stared at her face. His long, ashen hair had shifted, revealing a smudge of grease or dirt that made an almost perfect circle on his forehead.
“Sir? Are you all right?”
His eyes widened. “It is you,” he said. “At last. I have been looking forward to meeting you for such a long, long time.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry it took me so long to get to your table, sir. I just clocked in.”
He blinked slowly, pondering her response. “Ah,” he said. “You are a waitress, still. Well, then, General, I would have a cup of Vibrantia, if it pleases you.” The man’s expression never altered and his lips remained mostly still as he spoke, making it seem as though his voice was coming from somewhere or someone else.
Eadie clenched her teeth, trying not to laugh, though his words made her feel as though she was being tickled with a feather along her spine. “I’m sorry, sir. This is a corporate restaurant owned by McGuillian Corporation, so we synthesize only McGuillian patents. We have Synapsate but not Vibrantia. Would that be all right?”
“Of course, General. That would be lovely, if it pleases you.”
“Okay, sir. And my name is Eadie, by the way.”
“Thank you, General Eadie. And, if you like, you may address me as many have lately come to do. I am the Prophet.”
What are 5 things within touching distance?
If a guy friend had asked me this, it would be hard to resist answering with “Your mom.” Instead, I’ll list an “herbal” vaporizer, my eyeglasses in their original circa 1940s case, a DVD produced by a friend to whom I promised a review, my older-model iPhone, and my antique walnut roll-top desk which I restored and refinished myself.
What is your favorite Joke?
Two boy scouts are hiking in the woods when they come upon a giant grizzly bear, starving from a long hibernation. The bear sits up, sniffing. It sees the scouts and begins lumbering over toward them, showing its teeth.
One scout sets down his pack and kicks off his hiking boots, taking out a pair of running shoes and lacing them up as fast as he can manage. The other scout freaks out. “Why are you doing that? You’re not going to outrun a hungry bear in the woods!”
“I don’t have to outrun the bear,” the first says, standing. “I just have to outrun you.”
Where do you get your best ideas?
My best ideas always come from observing something happening in the present, and then wondering what would be different if I were observing the same situation at some point in the future. Contemplating the current state of the world and trying to figure out what will happen next is like working on a puzzle, where I’m trying to assemble myriad little pieces from everything I experience and anticipate how the picture will grow and change. Where will our food come from? How will we travel? How will we work? I think about the restaurants I pass, the cars on the street, the office workers shuffling around between the buildings… even the simplest everyday things can provide inspiration.
Once I’ve come up with an idea about how things will eventually work differently, I start building on that vision. Once in a while that leads to a concept I find interesting or important enough to put into the book. It might be technology stuff, but more often I like to explore social, political, and economic conditions. How will people be educated in the future, for example, or be considered for job advancement? What will it be like to be poor in a world with no remaining natural resources? Or, for that matter, to be rich in a world like that?
I never know which idea will be one I can develop into something great, so I always stop whatever I’m doing and write them down to analyze later. I constantly interrupt everything to capture ideas, or to consolidate them into bigger ones. Writing is an obsession rooted in the ridiculous notion that ideas have value, and it has turned me into a hoarder of thoughts.
What do you do to relax?
“You refuse to relax, ever, Dad.” –Myra, my daughter, age 12
Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong.
After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Author’s Website: http://www.markddiehl.com
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