Old soldier’s never die, they simply fade away. -British song, quoted by Douglas MacArthur
Lucy gritted her teeth and stepped into the microwave extractor. It was a customary event for people returning from long space travel. The extractor had been created due to concerns about the widespread havoc which could be cause by alien thought forms on earth. After many arduous attempts, scientists had discovered that concentrated microwave rays could eliminate extraneous brain patterns.
Lucy had spent the last three years traveling to different galaxies and solar systems and writing a novel on which dealt heavily with bipedal transportation on earth in the 14th century AD. After the novel was published critics widely panned it as a cheap and unnecessary retelling of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but these critics clearly had no understanding of the sacrifices and careful thought required to make great art.
Before entering the extractor Lucy had downloaded the novel onto micron chip which the customs officer was guarding, so she really had no need to be concern, but it’s always a little scary to have your brain activity erased.
“Ok,” the operator told her, “I’m going to count to ten and then we will activate the extractor. 1, 2…”
Lucy never remembered the number 10 after that. Something happened with the extractor, a fluke accident that made her unable to count past 9, or carry on a basic conversation.
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27 thoughts on “169: The Extractor”
This is a great loss to civilization. It might be why they changed the spelling of Lucy to Loosey. 14th century bipedal transportation has always been an interest of mine (undoubtedly an interest I got from my Auntie Marlene) and I find it pretty devastating that such research was zapped into oblivion in the microwave.
I agree. Your Aunt Marlene sounds like a very intelligent person.
She takes after my third cousin twice removed – Elaine. The whole family is like that.
For sure. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Lucy is distantly related to you.
Lucy and Brucie go together like a Simon and Garfunkel.
Lucy and Brucie also rhyme with Goosie. Apropos of nothing, I suppose.
They also rhyme with Herb if you mispronounce it really badly.
Perhaps in certain dialects…
We’ve all heard announcers capable of making that leap.
Rhyming aside – I would be interested to know if Herb in his name has the H pronounced or not. I notice (generally at least) that in the USA the H is dropped in the garden Herb, i.e. an ‘erb. Whereas we say A Herb with the H pronounced. Does the name drop the H the same in the US? Does one say ‘erbert ‘oover?
Good question. I’ve heard the name pronounced both ways. I don’t know where the dropping of the H comes from etymologically.
My personal preference is to pronounce the “H” because that’s the way I grew up with it. ‘erbert ‘oover is how I would imagine a dialect (not sure which one. Cockney, maybe?) of English English to say it. and yes a garden variety is an ‘erb. When medical marijuana had just passed here I would have stoners read my name tag at the check-cashing stand and go, “Dude! Is your name really ‘erb? Dude! Check it out! Dude’s name is ‘erb, man.” When I was younger I didn’t like my name but after I got older and found out a bit of why I was named that I became proud of it. I wrote a post about it back in ’04, https://blog.herbthiel.com/2004/10/27/herbert-e-thiel/
Thanks Herb. And that’s a lovely tribute to your Uncle Namesake. It’s certainly a name (with or without the H pronounced!) to wear proudly.
That’s an amazing story about your uncle.
I’ve always heerd bad things about them microwave gizmos.
Trust your ears.
It sounds like the loss was worth it. What if she’d written about the 15th century?
These counterfactuals are always fascinating to consider, are they not?
I bet Lucy’s next book was a bestselling. Who needs to count past 9 anyway? We’ve nine fingers for a reason.
maybe Lucy should go back in the microwave. sometimes that fixes things. certainly helps broken radios if you hit them real hard.
Good idea! You’re skills will find a valuable use one day. (Puts down fortune cookie.)
it’s only the truth.