Cyberpunk Archives - Lyonesse

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Second Home, Second Chance

He was alone. The cramped apartment seemed strangely empty now. He sat with his back to the window, the sole source of illumination. The sun was setting; its rays cut horizontally through the room, slicing it into light and dark.

The room was half the size of a garage he once rented in the old country. His neighbors’ apartments were all identically proportioned; he had lived here long enough to have seen them all, though it was rare to be welcomed inside because of the lack of space. The dimensions supposedly conformed to strict regulations for government-supplied housing. Based on his experience of this land, none of its natives could argue they had been treated unfairly.

He sat in what the locals called a ‘living’ room: a space for kitchen appliances plus a square table with four chairs. The wall to his left was decorated with a photograph printed on canvas. It was mounted on brackets which had once supported an outmoded television. Pencil drawings were pinned to the wall on his right. The photograph showed the man with a woman; she embraced him as he cradled a naked infant. The sketches featured fantastic places that could never exist in the real world.

Doors led to two bedrooms, a washing cubicle, and the elevator lobby for the 180th floor. With twenty-four families per floor, the locals treated the floors like neighborhoods. He could hear the neighbor’s children running around and around the central elevator shafts. At one point he thought the kids had knocked on the door, like they used to. They were sorry that Keisha would no longer join their fun, but were too young to dwell on such matters. Their racket distracted him but not enough to cause him to rise from his seat. Let the kids play, whilst there was still somewhere they could.

He had stopped reading the letter, which lay in shadow upon the table before him. The remainder of its contents could be deduced from the opening paragraph.

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My motorcycle hung, thirty feet up the side of a brick wall, suspended only by luck and willpower – which is about how I managed to hold onto the katana, too.

Motorcycles are different from cars. Cars, by their nature, want to stay upright. If you leave a car alone, it’ll stay upright. If a sudden gust of wind hits it, it’ll stay up. If you lose your balance while driving, it won’t fall. If you hit a slick spot in the road, you might lose control – but the car won’t topple over. A car has four wheels under it – four fat, wonderful, stabilizing, traction grabbing wheels. Cars are nice that way.

A motorcycle, by its nature, want to fall. They say their are two kinds of motorcyclists – those who have lain down their bikes and those who will lay down their bike. Motorcycles throw away two of those wheels under the theory that stability is optional. They’re held upright by a freakish combination of gyroscopic physics and balance. The former only works if you’re going fast. The latter depends entirely on the rider. And all of it can fall apart in a heartbeat if you hit a slick spot, a sudden gust of wind, or a redhead that makes you do a double take.

Let me tell you, a motorcycle suspended three stories off the ground wants to fall in the worst kind of way.

But maybe I should back up a bit, because you’re probably wondering how I got up there. And if you know me a little bit, you’re probably also wondering what damn fool idea got me on one of those two wheeled monstrosities in the first place. To be honest, I’m still not sure why I did it. But I can at least tell you how it happened.

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