Author: Peyton French

Momma doesn’t like it when I talk about leaving the state. She says that if I go to the Megacity, I won’t find anything I want except sin and red light districts. There aren’t any churches in the Megacity. She may be right, but I can’t stay in Cropton. I can’t go to school to just learn about syntheticrops anymore, and I can’t grow anything worth a squat. Momma and Mrs. Eve said that farming is all we ever gotta know. Some nights, when the fighting gets so bad, Momma will throw something at me, and tell me to work in the coal mines in Coalton, or go harvest larvae in Weevilton, to ‘just leave me, leave this world because you don’t need me no more.’ I’m confused, because Coalton has far more average deaths than Megacity, and going off-world ain’t necessary.
I think Momma refuses to move forward.
She don’t like holovids, and so we have DVDs, a flat screen “smart TV” and an old player. Kyle got a holoimplant, and he watches movies in class. We ain’t learning anything anyway, but Momma says no. She hated when I installed those wings on Peggy, but that horse can fly now.
Last night, when me and Momma got home from work and school, she sat down at the TV, and I figured that now was as good a time as any to start the Megacity debate again. Momma was at that old recliner, and so I sat down on the floor.
“Don’t sit there.” She said to me. I moved to the couch. “You’re almost an adult. Unless you’re gonna wash my feet like Jesus, no son of mine is gonna sit on the damn floor.”
“I’m sorry, Momma.”
“It’s fine. How was school?”
“Well, we had a test on the integrity of intellicrops compared to syntheticrops. So, same old, same old.”
“Did you take care of Peggy?”
“I was at school all day, Mom.”
“Peggy is your… thing. You gotta take care of it. One day, I ain’t gonna be around to take care of the horse, or the house, or anything. I do all the damn work here, and you sit around on your damn ass at school, then come home and sit around on your damn ass here. There’s a whole kitchen over there, begging for you to clean it. Maybe once you clean it, we can make wheatcakes, or peas and carrots. This house is gonna be yours one day, so take good care of it now, learn to care.”
“Momma, I don’t want the house.”
Momma was watching reruns of Paul Harvey again. I had heard this speech over, and over. She wasn’t listening to me. She just nodded along to his words, about bottles of coke being symbols of Christmas, Easter an egg. About destroying America. I think Momma refuses to move forward.
“Mom,” I started again, “I don’t want the house.”
“Why? You wanna go to the Megacity? Live amongst whores and murderers? You got everything you need here! There ain’t a corporation here, everything is self made.”
“Mom, the town was made by Cropster. We are literally a company town. We export most of our crops to Megacity.”
“Who the Hell is teaching you that?”
“Mrs. Eve—”
“Mrs. Eve is a liar and a cheat, and you will not listen to her. This is over.”
“What’s your damn problem?” I finally asked, “You never want to let me see the world.”
For the first time in years, a softness falls over Momma’s eyes, “Honey, I don’t want to lose you. That’s all.”