Author: Colin Lubner
The year is 2296, and she’s doing that thing, with her knuckle. She doesn’t bite down, but she sucks on it, you know, so her bottom lip’s lipstick makes a little top lip on the inside of her right index finger. This finger not-biting is her thing, right, her unique way of asserting and apologizing all at once. Like: “I’ve won, right? And I’m sorry for that.” For example—and this was in 2293, ’94, when we’d first unthawed from cryo-sleep—this one time, we were at Argo’s lancer track, and she bet on the right Refenelian lancer. 27/1 odds and she wins. Twenty-eight thousand in the blink of a lancer’s headlamp. And then her father teleports into the box. One of the four directors who’d made it onboard, he was hired by Argo’s government to make these propaganda films for the natives on New Earth. Everfall? The Clouds of Reykjavik? You’ve seen his stuff. Anyway, he sees us, sees Nadia (and that’s her name, here we go), and this transformation takes place. See, for the past two months, he’d been sponsoring this racer from Cordovia B. Shelled out half-a-year’s rations (not that it mattered to him) for her lancer’s tuning, training, the works. And his daughter had put down a grand on another dude. So he teleports into the box, fucking bummed beyond belief, and he sees Nadia doing that thing, with her knuckle—smiling, kind of, but in that sad way she had, you know? Like she was sorry she’d won. And the dude turns on me. What the fuck was I doing there? Who was I, really? Who the fuck was I? But I’m watching her do that thing, with her knuckle, and for a moment it’s like her dad doesn’t exist at all. Like it’s only her, and me, and we were in on the same joke, yeah? Like we’d won, and only we knew it. Anyway, I recorded an interview with Nadia a couple years back. It was meant to be for the show, but never aired. She was starring in one of her dad’s films, so she looked real sexy, real righteous. I mean, if I was from New Earth, I’d be convinced that we were sexy-ass ethical motherfuckers, if we were anything like her. Anyway, we get to the end of the interview, and at that point this song called “Sowing Season” is four or five spots down in the queue. And “Sowing Season”—that was our song back on Argo. Ours. Not romantic or anything, not at all. But ours. And she sees that it’s coming up, and she does that thing, with her knuckle. “I’m happy,” she was saying. “And I’m sorry for that. Happy?” And I was. We don’t see much of each other anymore; she’s in her trailer half the time, off shooting in one of this planet’s eight million fucking jungles. And I’ve stayed at the station, as you know. I needed an audience—I needed you, listeners—and Argo’s radio tower remained the best way for me to reach that audience. We both needed our audiences. That’s why we originally got together, and why we eventually fell apart. Anyway, after our interview, I returned to my bunk, and I thought of her, doing that thing, with her knuckle. The year was 2296, and we’d just sunk our roots into this fertile fucking Earth. So, yeah. This is “Sowing Season,” I guess. Enjoy.