Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hot Scotch

A response to The Economist's article on artificial photosynthesis and an article that Annie Q. Syed linked to on twitter regarding a new form of economics that stresses sustainability.

The repo man pounded on Trenton's door so hard it shook dust loose to float in the sunbeams shining through the frosted windows to the side of the door. Trenton sighed, as long as they didn't know he was here they had no right to break and enter. The shaking door caused the towering volcano-like pile of mail standing before the door to shift, a landslide of federal bills for money he didn't have. The mail slit squeaked and Trenton ducked into the bathroom out of sight of the repo man. The house was warm, too warm to draw manga, but he dared not go upstairs to the balcony until after the repo man left. The mail slit squeaked again as the repo man released the spring-loaded door.

Trenton's socks slid on the recycled flooring as he hurried into the kitchen. He opened the freezer, pausing to feel the cold air blow against his cheeks before he grabbed two ice cubes and dropped them into two fingers of Mortlach scotch. Expensive stuff. It was his last bottle and he couldn't afford scotch of any age any longer with all the sustainability credits required to produce the amber liquid. But his manga didn't flow freely, it needed a catalyst, something to get it moving.

The repo man's jag kicked up pebbles to ping against the metal trim on Trenton's house. Trenton couldn't imagine the size house the repo man must have to generate enough electricity to afford the jag. He sipped the scotch knowing that it was going to take more than a couple sips before he could sit down and draw. He padded up the spiral staircase to the upper floor and onto the deck overlooking the Oakland Hills.

He blinked at the sun's harsh light that reflected off the white, pink, and orange pastel walls of his neighbors' houses. His uphill neighbor's house jutted away from the steep cliffs to shadow his house. It wasn't an inherent problem at least not until Ted Jones had finished his extension and Trenton could no longer produce enough electricity from his deck tiled with iridium photosynthesis plates. The late afternoon sun, wasn't enough to fuel Trenton's needs. He heard Ted Jones's gossamer helicopter coming in for a landing on his iridium photosynthesis pad constructed directly above Trenton's head.

This wasn't fair. He sipped the scotch and knew that he wouldn't draw any manga this afternoon.

Looking up at the wooden supports connected in triangular joints that held up the pad, Trenton smiled. Was it worth a 60-year-old bottle of Mortlach speyside single malt scotch? He grimaced at the waste, but it was the only option Trenton saw to earn money again.


  1. What an interesting application to post modern sustainable practices. Enjoyable reading.

  2. Thanks Paul, I didn't manage to touch on how the economy affected the arts which I had originally thought to touch upon as well. Of course, I may be a little biased on that point.

  3. Hi is very interesting for me to see application of topics I am interested in, in a manner I wouldn't know how to put into fiction. This was very cool!


  4. Annie, thank-you for the kudos and also for one of the articles that helped spawn the idea. This world has more to speak to me, so I'm hoping to expand these ideas.