I am so excited! I have been bursting to tell you all something for the past two weeks and I can finally to reveal it today. I have a new science fiction short story called “The Cleaning” being published! Here is the premise:
“We’re making a safer, cleaner world…”
In the Digital Age, printed books have become as obsolete as the public libraries that house them. The government has spent millions of dollars to ensure that all print books are properly scanned and preserved as e-books before recycling…all except for the dangerous ones, that is.
The story will be on sale soon at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords on September 17, 2014. I’ll let you know just as soon as preorders are available.
For now though, here is a sneak peak at the story.
The leather-faced librarian sat behind a massive mahogany desk squinting suspiciously at us through the thick glass of her bifocals. I selected the paperwork for our most recent cleaning job on my electronic tablet and slid the device across the scarred wood toward her shaking hands. I barely noticed her watering eyes as I wrinkled my nose in disgust. Like all the others we’d visited, this place smelled of dust, mold, and decay and its lone occupant reeked of despair.
I gestured toward the bottom of my tablet’s screen and tried to keep my tone light. “If you’ll just give us your thumb print and signature there, we’ll get started with the cleaning.”
“No respect!” The tears were leaking faster from her eyes now. “You youth show no respect for the actual weight of the written word!”
I crossed my arms and looked at my partner in exasperation. “Look, ma’am, the close of this public library has been scheduled for months and it will proceed with or without your approval. So unless you want to see your books lost to the ages through total reclamation, please just let us do our job.”
“They will be…” she whispered.
“What did you say?” Collins put a hand casually on the butt of his gun.
“I thought not,” he said brightly. “Now just sign and imprint Agent Lee’s documents and we’ll begin.”
She finally did and then scooted the tablet back to me. I signed and sealed the Cleaning Permission Form just under Librarian Geraldine’s signature and then closed the document program with a wave of my hand. “Do you still have the old card catalogues?” I asked.
She nodded. With a damp tissue still in hand, Geraldine led Collins and me to a corner of the massive main room where the old book organization system stood. While I brought up the word-recognition and book scanning software on my tablet, Collins pulled out the top card drawer and lugged it over to the dusty table where I was setting up our work station. He set the box down and began rifling through the yellowed cards as I adjusted the legs of the scanning arc. I attached my tablet onto the top of the arc and ran a quick diagnostic to make sure that everything was working correctly.
“Here, try this as your test copy,” Collins said. My partner handed me a brittle index card boasting some horribly faded writing.
I set the card on the table below my tablet and tapped the screen. In less than a second, the card’s data was collected by the tablet’s camera and sent 2000 miles via wireless internet to the national archives’ secure data server at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
A message popped up on the tablet screen from the D.C. system saying: “Data recognized and determined. No errors. No flags. Please proceed to next item.”
I smiled as I grabbed the card off of the desk and chucked it in the recycling bin Collins had arranged at my feet. “We’re in business, Collins. Go work on the computer archives. I’ve got this…”
Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!