Here is the sixth droplet of my novel Biotime.
Feedback welcome: on content, frequency, style or anything else. I’d love to hear from you.
I’m also publishing a “story so far” post for infrequent readers, bringing together all the excerpts published up to now.
Ghanaian market – Photo SDT
Biotime. The future, today. Excerpt 6
[Part 1, Breughel vs. Jones, continues]
Hans Breughel looked out of the aircraft window and saw a strip of sand where the lush green forest met the blue of the ocean.
He felt ready to die.
In front of him on the fold-out tray, bubbles rose lazily in a flute of Champagne. The cold liquid had frosted the sides of the glass. Breughel had neither ordered it nor touched it.
‘You ever noticed that? Since they invented Biotime, planes are getting slower?’ Wilhelm was in the seat beside him, his microphone in his lap. ‘They say it’s because rich people aren’t in a hurry any more.’
‘I am in a hurry,’ Breughel said. ‘But I am not rich.’
‘Elegant.’ The journalist picked up the mike. ‘So, let’s do the final piece.’
Breughel shook his head.
‘Mr Breughel. Don’t forget who is paying for this flight.’
Breughel said nothing. Was the contract he had signed to sell his story more harmful than the one he had agreed with Lumusi Jones? Both felt like they were killing him. But without the media he could never have afforded the journey.
The microphone was in his face. ‘What are your feelings as you look down on the country of the thief who has stolen your Biotime?’
Breughel’s neck ached from sitting still. His stomach was bloated from the low air pressure and the airline food.
‘Lumusi has not stolen my Biotime,’ Breughel said. ‘She is refusing to enter contribution until she has talked to me.’
‘What do you think about the rumours that the nuns at the Church may be armed?’
‘They are nuns. I will not criticise them.’
‘Of course, you are a practicing Christian. How do you square that with buying someone else’s life expectancy?’
‘Maybe it is wrong. I don’t know. But my wife needs the Biotime. I need it too. And the contract says that Lumusi Jones sold it willingly.’
‘What about the refusal of the police to enter the church to take Miss Jones into custody? Will you criticise that?’
‘I do not advocate policemen storming churches.’
‘Very worthy.’ Wilhelm shook his head. ‘So are you optimistic that Lumusi Jones will hand over your Biotime when she sees how you and your wife are suffering?’
Breughel felt nausea rising in him.
‘I cannot see how either Lumusi Jones or I can emerge from this sequence of events with any dignity.’
‘That is so powerful.’ Another journalist, sitting across the aisle, had risen to her feet. ‘Could we film you saying it again?’ She nodded to a colleague, who began to wrestle a video-camera out of an overhead locker. ‘We’d better move that Champagne out of shot.’
Breughel was hemmed in by the window and betrayed by his body. Two other camera crews were closing in. When Breughel tried to remove the unwanted glass of Champagne, his hand shook and the chilled liquid splashed the trousers of his best suit.
He saw the cameraman smile.
The recording light was on.
What would the viewers see? A Time-Expired Dotard spilling his drink in the business-class cabin of an airliner as he flew to confront the beautiful, vibrant woman who controlled his Biotime.
Could humiliation be any worse than this?
[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.
If you’d like to read some complete fiction by me, see what you think of my “wonderful, feminist and dark” Hotel Stories.