Robert Pimm

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Biotime 10: Roland Nelson was a friend of mine

Here is the tenth droplet of Biotime.  In this excerpt, Part 1 – Breughel vs. Jones – is completed, and Part 2 – Pax Vobiscum – begins.  Enjoy.

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 the excerpts published up to now.

Ghanaian market 3, Nov 04

Ghanaian market – Photo SDT

 

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 10

[Part 1, Breughel vs. Jones, continues]

Lumusi Jones had taken a handgun from the bag at her waist. It was a squat, stub-nosed weapon, almost an antique. Yet the bulbous magazine was heavy with menace.

She looked down at Breughel and shook her head.

‘I am so sorry,’ she said again. ‘But Biotime should be illegal. I must do what I can to make this happen.’ And without waiting for a response, she lifted the barrel of the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.

In the enclosed space the explosion of the revolver was immense. A gout of gore shot sideways from the head of Lumusi Jones, spattering the altar and some of the camera crews who had taken up position there. The sound resonated as she fell to the ground. Her slender fingers still clasped the pistol grip.

Breughel could see her face. Her beauty had been obliterated by a massive wound where her left eye had been. He felt the pressure ease around his shoulders as Sister Truth rushed to aid the girl.

So many camera crews were converging on the altar that there was no space for all of them. A team who had been crowded out saw Breughel leaning on his stick.

‘So,’ a red-haired interviewer said. ‘There goes your Biotime. What will you do now?’

‘I’m going to go to hell,’ Breughel said. He paused, aware of other camera crews closing in. ‘Because I killed her. She was going to die so I could live. But now she’s gone and I’m going to follow her. She’s gone to heaven. I’m going to hell. For ever and ever, amen. I’m going to die, and go to hell.’

 

 

PART 2: PAX VOBISCUM

Chapter 2

 

‘For most people, the word “progress” implies forward motion. But “progress” doesn’t always take you forwards.’

One Lifer Hope Deadman

 

Roland Nelson was a friend of mine.

It is so.

I know you’re thinking, sure, everyone says they were friends of Roland’s. Nearly every cop in Harlem used to brag about it, in the days after Pax.

The difference is, I was one of the guys Roland asked, “Are you in?”

Scan 2_3

 

 

Guggenheim Museum, New York City. Photo: Robert Pimm

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew Roland Nelson even before he talked to me that day about Morningside. He was older than the rest of us. Before we rolled up at the police academy he’d taken a six-year span of contribution to purchase the finest college education money could buy. Six years. The rest of us figured education couldn’t be worth that much, right? But you could see it in his eyes, he knew where he was at and where he fixed to aim for. Mostly, he worked 24/7 trying to provide for his wife Marlene and his four year-old son, Rocky.

He was crazy about Rocky.

Roland’s real top prize, his number one goal, his ultimate aim, was that little Rocky should never have to contribute, like other black kids in Harlem did – like Roland had himself. It was an ambition so big I felt kind of sorry for him. How else was a young man in Harlem going to get his start in life but by donating a year or two? But you couldn’t help liking a good cop who wanted a better life for his kid.

I’d just pulled into the precinct that day at the end of my shift when I saw Roland coming.

[Excerpt ends][Next episode]

 

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.  

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