Friday night. The possibility of two days off from work stretched in front of Carson. He smiled, sipping his daiquiri at the Salt Lake Bar & Grill not far from the office. He was alone, but Goldie was plenty company.
Three true things you'd never say out loud, Goldie suggested. Go!
Carson pondered. They loved this game, and since Goldie was inside his head, there was nothing he couldn't answer. I was born above ground.
Ooh, why'd you move underground? Goldie asked.
My mother murdered my father. Then they moved me here.
That's an interesting one. Next, Goldie said.
Um, I hate high places, Carson admitted. Yeah, I know it's silly.
Well, you've got a good reason to, David. Okay, two, Goldie said. Last one.
Well, I guess Tex is kind of good-looking, he thought.
I knew it! Goldie said. I told you, she is so amazing!
Shut up, now! She's my boss. It doesn't matter, Carson said. Besides, I think she's married.
Too bad, Goldie said. But you don't actually like her like that. You just agree she's pretty.
Yes. Carson took another sip, watching the ball game.
You guys are so awkward, Arc complained.
Aren't you busy being bored? Carson jabbed. Shoo! Arc complied.
What're you going to do? We've got two days, Goldie asked. Are we going up to Denver?
Nope. Carson took a sip of his daiquiri. We're staying put and having fun.
"Fun"? Goldie asked. What sort of fun?
Not sure. Just going to hang around town and stuff. Nothing big, he responded.
Got a girl coming over? Goldie asked.
Come on, I've told you, no, Carson said. I'm going to do what normal people do. Sleep in, watch my feed, and maybe take a walk.
You're not a normal person, Goldie said. You've got Arc and me.
Carson smiled, finishing his drink. Let's visit one of those cool places you keep suggesting.
Like New York City, Goldie hummed. That's where I met Glace. She's so awesome.
Carson shuddered from the onslaught of indecent memories rolling off his mind guest. Okay, fine. Let's go. He paid his tab and jogged home.
The projector machine hummed as it scanned Carson's mind. Goldie provided the details to Manhattan and the landscape formed before them. The program filtered out the people, boats, busses, and other things, and formed an empty city of buildings in water.
"This is amazing!" Carson exclaimed.
She was a taxi boat driver, Goldie said. That's how we first met.
"You miss her," Carson realized.
A lot. But I don't blame you. It was an accident, Goldie said. I know how this weighs down your soul.
Shut up. Let me introduce you to my city, Goldie said.
They flew through the city, Goldie telling Carson everything about the city of her youth. It was beautiful, but above that, it was sad.
This was my first apartment. I had a punching bag hooked to the ceiling and I'd practice all day long. My mom thought it was unhealthy, but I didn't care, Goldie said.
"You seem to have a nice mom," Carson said.
Had, Goldie corrected. She died of cancer fifty years ago.
"My mother's in a cell in Santa Barbara Penitentiary. I visited her about five years ago," Carson said.
I'm sorry, Goldie said. Your mother's a real jerk.
They flew around Central Park, a large lake that used to be a vast green park in the distant past according to Goldie.
"Isn't it called New York Lake now?" Carson asked.
Yes, but who needs post-war names when you remember pre-war?
"You remember pre-war?" Carson asked.
I was three. So not really, but kind of.
They slid to a shady alley and Goldie stopped. She tinkered with the software and a scene from her memory started playing.
Goldie and Glace were walking down the alley, their arms linked and heads together. Glace whispered something and Goldie laughed out loud. This was it, Goldie said. The end of our innocence. Some days I wish I had stayed home for this, and other days I don't regret anything.
A strange man appeared at the end of the alley. Goldie screamed, clutching her beloved.
"Give me all your money!" the man shouted, pulling out a gun. "Now!"
Hesitantly, Goldie moved to reach for her purse. Glace stopped her.
"Come on. Stop dawdling!" the man demanded.
Glace pulled it out of her pocket and it was done before Carson could blink. His eyes widened. "What?"
Glace had shot the mugger in the face with her Glock. His spirit floated off his body and joined Glace.
"Sweetie. What?" Goldie muttered. "What did you just–?"
"Don't," Glace whispered. "Don't speak of this. Ever."
I knew there was something different about her after that, Goldie said, ending the playback. The alley returned to emptiness. She told her about it, and I got so excited. This could be the thing I was waiting for. We could live forever. But at a price neither of us ever expected.
Carson nodded. "And then the greed came, and the boredom, and to elevate boredom…"
Yeah. After a while, we did it for fun. Nothing more, nothing less, Goldie confessed. I look back to the girl who was saved by her girlfriend's quick action and… I don’t know anymore. I don't even know who she was. Somedays, I believe we really did die there, that day.
"Glace," Carson said. "Let's get a good night's rest. It's over. You're with me, now."
Don't do what we did, Glace said. Don't give into the false promise. Follow Tex. Find a better path.
"I won't, I promise. After what my mom did, I can't," Carson said. "But thank you. For everything."
It's the least I can do, now that I'm bodiless again, Glace joked. ns 184.108.40.206da2