“condemned” – read at “Two Hour Transport” reading series

Many of you may know about the reading series “Two Hour Transport,” a monthly event  that I co-curate with my writing colleague Nicole Bade, featuring new and exciting voices in Seattle, science fiction, fantasy and experimental writing.

In the year-and-a-half since we started this series, the work we have heard has been amazing and truly inspiring.  It is one hour of Open Mic, followed by a second hour of Invited Readers, whose work we admire and whom we have invited to share longer pieces.

One of our aims with this event is to support the SF/F/experimental fiction community, and to especially foster diverse voices in this field.  It has been our delight to hear so many different and thoughtful work through the reading series.

Last month (November 2016), we featured an all-open-mic event because this is the holiday season and our event fell on the eve of Thanksgiving in the US; we also offered several possible “holiday themes” for readers to address, if desired.

I wrote a short piece for this reading event on one of the themes, Condemned to Spend Eternity in the Holidays,   I call this little story “Condemned.”  I read this story at our November event, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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condemned by Ralph Hockens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License
condemned by Ralph Hockens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

“Tempt me no more; for I/Have known the lightning’s hour,/The poet’s inward pride,/The certainty of power.” – C. Day Lewis, “Condemned”

Well, it was easy once the election results were in.  No better motivation than the desire to change the unchangeable.  Who hasn’t been struck by the desire to go back in time?  Ah, to change a sequence of events that led to tragedy.  Lincoln’s assassination.  The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Or, that so-heartbreaking breakup with one’s childhood sweetheart.

Marcus and I started working on the invention the day after the election. We’d already been doing some tinkering before November 8th, but with the election results everything fell into place.  A few items ordered off the internet, a few hours at the local makers’ lab, well, actually several hundred hours at the local makers’ lab, and we were set.  Really not that hard at all, looking back on it.

Well, of course something went wrong.  Later we argued about whose fault it was, his position being defective parts, mine being a lack of adequate testing.  Nevertheless, the result was the same, and we had to live with it.  Forever.  Or, at least until we could somehow re-invent the Internet and figure out a way to re-manufacture the parts we needed to do it right.

But for now, there we were, Condemned to spend eternity in the holidays.

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