ThinkTank

Reads: 565  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 6

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

For those of you who have looked at some of my other stories and shied away because of their length, this one is very short.

ThinkTank by Chris Green

 

I have an incoming call on my cassette recorder. Yes, I do mean my cassette recorder, a 1980 vintage Hitachi. A few months ago getting a call on anything but my phone would have phased me, but lately I am becoming used to technology around me behaving strangely. I live round the corner from the secret monitoring base, and my son, Gregg, works there. I don't know what he does exactly. He will never tell me. My sister, Agnes suggests he might be developing a new edible listening device.

Why, you are wondering, do I still have a cassette recorder in the house? Technology has moved on. What is wrong with CD or mp3? When I moved to Goldfinger Mews, CD was the first media I had problems with. I would be driving home in my Rambler listening to an acid jazz CD and suddenly The Brand New Heavies would be replaced by Why Don't We Do It In The Road or Hava Nagila. Mp3 files would simply play Morse Code. I do not use my PC any more, because the content of my documents gets changed by a mysterious third party and the virus checker complains every time I switch the machine on. On the positive side I can pick up an awful lot of stations from all over the world on my satellite dish. Infiltration from CGHQ is getting worse. Last week when I turned the hoover on, it started talking to me in Russian.

By pressing a series of buttons on the cassette recorder, I succeed in answering the call. It is Billy Golding. He wants to know if I will go for a drink later. I tell him I will meet him at The Whistle Blower at seven, so long as he doesn't go banging on about Gaia. I had that from Jimmy Lovelock last week and I had the helicopter hovering over the house for hours afterwards.

Sometimes Ellie and I go walking on the stretch of barren land that surrounds the secret base. Even before you pass the last row of town-houses adjacent to the complex, you can hear the banks of cameras whirring. Every month or so an anonymous contractor digs great trenches in the land that leads away from the grey towers of the base. I've never seen the crews that carry out the cabling work. I'm told by my neighbour, Eddie Hubble, who is a keen stargazer, this takes place at night under huge portable floodlights. The light pollution from it makes it impossible to see anything in the northern sky, he tells me.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that Prince Philip was behind Diana's death or that 9/11 was planned by George W Bush, but there is definitely a lot going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. Are bees disappearing because radiation from mobile phones is interfering with their navigation system? Are there only one hundred cod left in the North Sea? Many questions remain unanswered. Julian Assange still has a lot of work to do if he ever gets out. Why for instance is the idea that the Earth is living system where organisms and their inorganic surroundings have evolved together, so problematic for anyone, that searching for Gaia in WebCrawler cripples your computer.

Daisyworld is a planet the same size as Earth, orbiting a sun just like ours. In the beginning, it is entirely covered by an equal number of dormant seeds of black and white daisies. The black daisy, is better at absorbing light for photosynthesis than the white daisy. The white daisy's petals are better at reflecting light than the black daisy, so it can avoid overheating and dying. The temperature of Daisyworld warms up as time passes. The seeds germinate into plants. The black daisies are more efficient at photosynthesis than the white daisies and so they suppress them. Because the black daisies are so good at absorbing light, there are so many of them that they heat up the entire planet. Due to the high temperatures, the white daisies are now able to suppress the black daisies since they are better at reflecting away the sun's light and so prevent themselves from overheating and dying out. The white daisies are so successful that they spread throughout Daisyworld, but now the planet is covered with white daisies, so that so much heat is reflected away that the temperature begins to drop. And so it goes on.

I am on my way now to The Whistle Blower now. I am driving round the long way as there are roads closed off because of the protests against the badger cull. My Satnav is chattering away in German and I am being tailed by a big black BMW. No, wait! I think its a tank.

 

© Chris Green 2014


Submitted: February 17, 2014

© Copyright 2020 Chris Green. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

cgirl001

Clever and funny, my Hoover speaks German too....

Mon, February 17th, 2014 4:32pm

Author
Reply

Definitely wasn't sure how this one would go down but I through it in there as an alternative to my longer pieces. Thank you for your feedback.

Mon, February 17th, 2014 8:45am

saintdel

The writing style is good and well executed. I do like the farcical humor but I wish the story had come to some actual conclusion.

Tue, February 18th, 2014 2:44am

Author
Reply

Hi saintdel
Thankyou for your feedback. The lack of a conclusion was deliberate. I do not write very many pieces this short and I was anxious not to develop it into a 'proper' short story, as it might easily have done but I felt that this would have overcooked a slight idea. Where might you have taken it?
Regards

chris

Mon, February 17th, 2014 9:55pm

saintdel

I would have maybe panned out, going to a wider view and made some summary statement about the whole situation in general which would express my overall feeling about it, like resignation, annoyance, amusement, whatever. Or maybe bring the reader back to the secret monitoring base since that seems to be the source of everything, by saying something humorous like oh hell I think the antenna's turning in my direction I better do xyz, or ever since my abduction by aliens that thing follows me everywhere. That last would introduce the possibility that it's actually you that's crazy and not the world around you. A little funny twist at the end could enhance a story like this.

Thu, February 20th, 2014 5:11am

Author
Reply

Thankyou saintdel. I had only meant for ThinkTank to be a short frivolous piece to balance the weightier pieces that I have posted as the main body of my work here but I do take the point that the narrative could develop and maybe return to the activities inside the base. Thank you for reading. It would be fantastic if you could read and comment on one or two of my other stories.

Wed, February 19th, 2014 10:16pm

FragileEyes

Hello Chris,

Love the bit about your hoover speaking Russian :-) LOL Actually, my daughter would be ecstatic if mine did as she wants to learn it! For the pub to be called The Whistleblower' is absolute class in a story like this (if you get my drift). The way you write is so simple to follow-it's totally absorbing-and a riot. Not to mention very dry :-)

Sun, April 27th, 2014 12:49am

Author
Reply

Thank you FragileEyes.
I do enjoy writing stories about clandestine operations. I live very close to a listening centre whose name I am probably not allowed to mention directly but you might be able to guess which one it is.
Regards
Chris

Sat, April 26th, 2014 11:28pm

FragileEyes

Oh my god, really? How exciting! I think I would've been arrested by now...for loitering with intent...to nosey around :-) It's just so hard to believe that there are 'real' James Bonds out there doing an incredibly dangerous job. It takes a particular kind of person, eh?

Sun, April 27th, 2014 10:44pm

Author
Reply

When you don't know what is going on at a place, you speculate don't you which is great for fiction writers. I expect that I am on their cameras quite a bit. They're probably even reading this. Maybe they're writing this. There's a thought
Regards
Chris

Sun, April 27th, 2014 11:37pm

FragileEyes

:-) :-) :-) LOL god I hope so, very much!

Thu, May 1st, 2014 6:01pm

Author
Reply

Pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading
Regards
Chris

Thu, May 1st, 2014 11:18am

More Science Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by Chris Green

Short Story / Mystery and Crime

Short Story / Mystery and Crime

Short Story / Mystery and Crime