Robert Pimm

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Biotime 2: how to spend your final two minutes

Here is the second excerpt from my novel Biotime.

I published the first excerpt a few days ago.

I plan to release Biotime in droplets – around 500 words, fairly often.  All feedback welcome: on content, frequency, style or anything else.  I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll also publish a “story so far” blog for less frequent readers, bringing together all the excerpts published up to now.

 

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 2

[Part 1, “Breughel vs. Jones”, continues][Previous excerpt]

Flight was impossible. The $300,000 she had received from Doktor Faustus seven years earlier had long since been eaten up. Most had gone on mama’s medical bills, before she was late. Lumusi hadn’t a cent. Why should she? She would never need money again.

Ghanaian market 3, Nov 04

Ghanaian market – Photo SDT

Adam Boateng was still at the front gate. Lumusi had invited him in for tea the evening before. The two of them had reminisced. Adam had pointed out that there were better ways for Lumusi to spend her final night than to sit alone in her kitchen. Lumusi had sent Adam back outside. Perhaps the thought of the bonus he would receive when Lumusi was safely delivered to Castle Road had helped keep him awake.

Lumusi sighed. Some of her friends had organised Termination Celebrations to make the most of their last few hours. Others had wept away the night, alone or with their families.

Outside, across the clean-swept yard, she saw Adam check the time on his police-issue timepiece. Five minutes. How would her life-swapping partner have spent the last twenty-four hours? She imagined a room full of sophisticated people, elegantly dressed, raising their glasses to the lucky recipient of her Biotime. Who was he, or she? Lumusi realised she had pictured the party guests as white people: English perhaps, or Americans. But they could be Chinese, or Indian, or even Ghanaian. She would never know.

In her bedroom the curtains were drawn. Lumusi threw them back. In the back yard, the big leaves of the banana trees gleamed in the morning light. She stripped and put on clean underclothes, an ankle-length crimson skirt and a crisply ironed white blouse which showed off her lustrous skin.

The DFLI doctor had remarked on her complexion when Lumusi went for the medical exam.

‘You are healthy, girl. Healthy!’ the doctor had said. ‘I estimate you live ’til fifty five years. You are eighteen now. Doktor Faustus pay ten thousand bucks a year. You start contribution at twenty five, that’s three hundred thousand – and seven years to spend the money, starting today if you want. You can live damn good for seven years on three hundred thousand dollars.’ His eyes sparkled. ‘Sure this Biotime thing is all new now. But in ten years time, everyone will be making the most of their lives.’

So Lumusi had signed a Termination Contract to supply DFLI with thirty grams of Biotime, starting on her twenty-fifth birthday.

It was 7.58. She stood for a moment in front of the small bedroom mirror, her trusted calfskin shoulder-bag hanging at her waist. If she had to go, she damned sure wanted to look her best.

At that moment she heard a heavy knock on the front door. Lumusi felt a flash of anger. After seven years, eleven hours and fifty eight minutes, they had come to collect her life two minutes early.

[Excerpt ends][Next excerpt]

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this excerpt from my novel “Biotime”.   If you’re interested in hearing about further episodes, follow this blog by e-mail (top right, “click here”); or follow me on Twitter @RobertPimm (left hand side).  I can promise you a fun ride.

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