The power drought happened faster than we predicted.
The tail end of a Bear market, stocks drop 20 points in two months, Pre-bots become the Wal-Mart of our generation.
Cheap, available everywhere, and creating just enough jobs to not notice the imbalance. We couldn’t resist them. Loan sharks sold them on the streets, no deposit, taking the solar, selling it to stores. They say it got worse overseas. No emissions laws, looser quality standards, people trapped in their apartments, going days with no power, black markets that ran odds on the daily price of solar, dark times.
We all thought solar panels would be everywhere. Pre-bots makers buy the panels in bulk, you’re lucky if you can get enough juice to run your fridge with anything after-market , the demand was so great. Me, I can’t spare fifteen minutes between repairs, and Phil still finds the words to sell me.
“When I sell the bots I fixed, then you’ll get your money, and I can’t sell what ain’t fixed, and I can’t fix what I ain’t got the parts to fix it with.” I think he was born with a coil in his throat.
“You’re making me dizzy, Phil. Just take the damn things.” I liked it better when he sent his bot over to pick up parts. I could ignore the machine. I power up the screen, start reading, he sits. I take notes, face buried in the pile of parts renting my desktop, he stands by the window, lights a smoke.
“Hell of a view.” Phil shuts the window, the last breath of smoke hits the pane. “Gotta get going,” he stretches, opens the fridge. “It’s empty.” I don’t even turn to watch. He finds something, I hear him chew as he puts his shoes on.
“See you tomorrow.” That’s what he always says. Last time it was two weeks before he came back, but I had cash to float myself. Liquid assets.
All this on my mind, and she moves in across the hall. Cheery, perky, time on her hands.
“Whatcha doing, neighbor?” Heaven help me. She’s dressed for the beach every day, bikini top, short shorts, no shoes.
I keep telling myself I only let her over because she shares her food with me. Frou-frou junk, sure, but it beats the 50-flight climb. It was bound to happen, I just knew it.
“Hey neighbor, want some wine? ” Her uncle had a stockpile, mailed her some, she tells me. Girls like this are trouble. First it’s dinner, then wine, soon, you’re watching her instead of your own future, watching her pat down her chest every five minutes as the work day slips away. “Hot summer.”
No kidding, baby, no kidding.
She leans in, finally, tilts her head, grins, looks away, looks back real innocent-like.
“My apartment’s different than yours. I think. Can I see your bedroom?”
Here we go.