A Pebble in the Pond
By Jan Mears Cooper
“Yes, but what does it DO?”
The two women considered the contraption attached to the living room window. Clare swallowed her irritation. The discussion was going nowhere. Fiona wouldn’t be expected to know about all the technology, but she didn’t need to be so condescending about it.
“The advertisement said that it cooled the air.”
Both women continued to stare at the unit. “I don’t see it.” Shaking her head, Fiona was the first to walk away. She strolled around the room fingers sliding over the television set, radio and finally, the lamp. She sighed and spun around, her black dress twirling at the movement.
“It’s all so primitive! How do you stand it Claritia?”
“Clare.” This was the third time that Fiona needed to be reminded.
Fiona waved her arm in dismissal. “Yes, yes, of course.”
“Why are you here Fiona?” Clare crossed her arms and tapped her toes. She wondered at the sudden visit.
“I’ve wonderful news!” Fiona clapped her hands. “I’m here to bring you home.”
“The Supreme Guardian is allowing me to go back?”
Fiona rushed over and grabbed Clare’s hands squeezing them in excitement. “Yes! Can you believe it?”
No she couldn’t. “Why? His ruling was final.”
“He’s worried that you might somehow impact Earth’s natural development.” Her words were fast and tripped over each other in the rush to get them all out, “Which we know wouldn’t happen.”
“Just like that?” Suspicion rose up in Clare’s mind. “It can’t be that easy. What’s the catch?”
“Nothing really. Just minor rules to follow.” Fiona shrugged and casually picked up a vase and put it down. She wouldn’t look Clare in the eye. “You will be monitored at all times and you still won’t be allowed in Court.” She turned and smiled, “See? Small changes.”
Clare glanced around the room, taking in the comfortable easy chair, the natural wood paneling and felt a rush of pleasure at the textures and color surrounding them. She loved the feel of her dress as the smooth silk swished and flowed around her legs. She liked Earth.
“I’m not going back.”
“We can begin transport…, what?” Fiona stopped and gave Clare a look of horror. “You HAVE to come back!”
“No I don’t.”
“You realize that once I leave, that’s it. There will be no contact with home.” Fiona’s words hammered at Clare forcing her to see the consequences. “If you somehow effect Earth’s progress, you will be sentenced to death. Remember what happened to Tessla.”
They both shuddered at the memory. It was just enough of a threat to make Clare hesitate. She shook her head. “Tessla was a genius. I’m not. What harm can I do?”
Their conversation was interrupted by a handsome young man who entered the living room. Clare’s heart sped up when she saw him. He smiled when he saw Clare, “There you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
“Well, you’ve found me, darling.” Clare reached out her hand to his and pulled him over to Fiona who had resignation written on her face.
“Fiona, let me introduce you to my fiancé, Paul Jobs.”
Disclaimer: Jan Cooper is in no way suggesting that Steve Jobs was raised by an alien…but sometimes she asks, “What if?”
Jan Cooper, a frequent Modern Retro Woman short story contributor, lives in an imaginary world where she interacts daily with her characters. Sometimes reality breaks through so she also works as an elementary school teacher.