Ham taylor lost in time, p.1
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       Ham Taylor: Lost In Time!, p.1
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           J.P Jackson
Ham Taylor: Lost In Time!


  Ham Taylor: Lost in Time

  J. P. Jackson

 

  For Mo and Billy

 

 

  Copyright© 2015. JP Jackson.

  All rights reserved

  — CHAPTER ONE —

  New York City, New York: Oct. 10th 2045

  His day began by opening a vein on his left wrist. The cut was good and deep enough. Blood dripped from his fingertips and a bitter wind over the Brooklyn Bridge forced the metallic scent up his nose. He pressed the butt of a blood stained cigarette between his lips and dangled his feet over the inky black East River.

  After savouring a last lungful of tobacco and the sleepy sight of silhouetted skyscrapers, he knocked back a cocktail of opiates and alcohol, then waited for nature to take its course.

  *

  Battery Park Esplanade was the place for morning joggers and dog walkers. It was also the ideal location to take in views of the river, and of all the things caught in its current.

  The Metropolitan Command Center (MCC) colloquially known as "Sky Eyes" should have spotted him and notified Waste Management, but these days it's artificial eyes and processing power were forever focused on the city’s interior, and her 14 million disillusioned inhabitants.

  An elderly lady in an ivory overcoat stood over her great dane as it squatted to shit. Although the park was quiet and pleasant enough, it was early still, so she peered over her shoulder as if wary of strangers.

  "Come now, Franklin. There's a good boy."

  While Franklin concluded his business, the woman reached into her handbag and removed a green pill the size of a shirt button. Franklin stepped aside, kicked his hind legs and licked his balls while the woman dropped the pill onto Franklin's smoky deposit.

  "Home time.”

  The pill reacted with the excrement, reducing its chemical compounds to a popping green foam. Seconds later, any trace of waste was replaced by a small puddle of water and an artificial fragrance reminiscent of spring.

  The woman cast another careful glance behind her and grew concerned by a rustling in nearby bushes. “Who's there? Come out!" She took a step back. "I warn you my dog is a killer! He'll...tear your fucking throat out!”

  Franklin tugged on the leash and the woman lost her grip. She called out, but the dog sprinted towards the path curving alongside the river. The old woman hobbled after him and was relieved to spot three joggers on the path. At least she wasn't alone.

  Franklin stopped to inhale the scent of piss on an iron fence bordering the path and the river. When the old woman reached him, she snatched his leash and beat him between the ears with her handbag. “You want me to get murdered by some damn red thumb?”

  Franklin grovelled and after catching her breath, the nervous woman apologised. Securing the leash several times around her wrist, she noticed what appeared to be an upturned dinghy caught in the river. Scrutinizing the object further, she gasped.

  "My God! Somebody…Help!"

  A body was caught in the current, face down, arms and legs unmoving.

  "There's a person in the river! Anyone!"

  The joggers heard her panicked call and organised a prompt rescue. A young man descended the esplanade steps, threw off his shirt, kicked off his running shoes and plunged into the choppy water. Two men in spandex bunched up at the steps while their brave friend locked his bicep under the floater's chin. Working together, the men linked arms and pulled their human chain out of the river. They then laid the sodden stranger flat on the grass and collapsed beside him. He was around 6 feet tall with caramel coloured hair, receding at the temples. His eyes were sealed shut, his vacant body wrapped in weeds and soaked in sewage. He was between 40 and 50 years old, difficult to tell due to his ghostly skin and the narrow trenches traversing his forehead. While observing the man's condition, one of the rescuers tapped a finger against his own right temple. "Display!"

  An interactive beacon of light glistened from the young man's contact holo-lens.

  "Police!” he said, wiping his wet face while his eye scrolled down a list of emergency services. "Ambulance too."

  "You are currently on the waiting list for police and ambulance dispatch," a chirpy computerized voice answered. "Estimated time of arrival is: 98 minutes. If you wish to advance your estimate, please upgrade your current emergency service package. In the meantime, hold for these important messages."

  "Estimate is nearly two hours," said the young man, trying to ignore an advertisement playing over his field of vision.

  "Mario Balsar has defined design for a generation," said a scantily clad young model. "This year, Mario has created a shoe for men and women that transcends both gender, and design!"

  The sopping wet rescuer looked up at the gathering crowd. "Anybody have a better package?"

  "Here," said the elderly woman, reaching out to him. The pair touched fingers and a pulse of light ran from her fingertips and past to his. A monetary transfer had been completed.

  "Thank-you for choosing the NYC Emergency Dispatch," a voice droned in the man's display. "Estimated time of arrival is: 63 seconds. Your account has been charged for this transaction."

  The weary jogger tapped a finger to his temple and the light retreated into his holo-lens. Spectators meanwhile were activating their own, snapping images and video of the still man on the grass. As they uploaded or live-streamed, most of the ghouls where startled when the dead man abruptly vomited back to life.

  A fountain sludge was forced out of his mouth and nostrils. Turning onto his side, the man violently coughed until the breath returned to him. The onlookers, meanwhile, held theirs.

  "You okay buddy?" chattered the hero jogger, rubbing a chill from his arms.

  "You’re alive!" the old woman rejoiced, crouching closer. “You cheated death son! You cheated the Grim Reaper!”

  The drenched man, faculties returning, pushed Franklin's slobbering tongue from his face and sat up, examining his river-wrinkled palms and the clotted slash across his wrist.

  "Fuck!" he growled in a thick Scottish accent. "Can't I do anythin' right?"

  Dr. Hamilton Taylor fell back on the grass, cursing his luck as the ambulance arrived.
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