“Laughing Stacks,” Jake Tringali

Judith Nelson, Drawing, 1989, 36X48


Laughing Stacks”*


their names are aelita, m-lee, kwan, cayli, dekan, brielle. flitting about rebar, boned and fractured. dusty gigacrete, the curved glass. all about the frozen megalopolis. the six play jäger through stacked city housing. they each hover. their drones orbit. kids in a playground, searching.

they have 24 hours. play for a day. morning, afternoon, evening, sleep.

m-lee’s aux-comp has vastly superior dronesync. his five drones scout complex patterns: find the other hidden children. laughs in front of an abandoned market-city-tomb. he hovers out of sight and explores a dry cement river. gutter stained mud brown. mud used to be here. m-lee scratches an invisible itch, leans forward, flies straight.

precise rows of crumbling superstructures thrust out of the barren earth, rotting teeth waiting for phantom dinner. high above, thousands of constructed lightning orbs float in the stratosphere, perpetually, generating traces of ozone for this burnt earth. m-lee and the children see their flashes high above. it is yet daylight.

the population of the eastern sprawl is 40,000 citizens, give or take. the children will see none of them today. keep an eye out for hugger-muggers.

and then, the children will be gathered, collected, catalogued, stored. cryosauna therapy, and transpo to numbered pyxides, once their exercise is over. muscles need memory. and they are not useful yet. not needed yet.

for now, the children will change their game, play queen of mars.

__________________
Jake Tringali

 

*Note previous publication in 82 Review

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