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Teenage Cosmonaut Suicide Love Song and Time Dilation Club

William Squirrell is a Canadian writer living in western Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Blue Monday Review, and other venues. Find him online at: blindsquirrell.blogspot.com.
I thought I was somebody: somebody in Orangeville, 1984. But I wasn't. I was nobody. I wasn't anybody at all until Trick walked through the cafeteria doors: black hair an electric storm of back-combed annihilation, lashes dripping with mascara, cherry lipstick dark with rot, shimmering turquoise shirt, popped collar pinned at the throat by a stab of gold, hounds tooth print pants, red Docs.
The hubbub drained away and Craig Robb said: "What the hell are you?"
Trick looked past him, to where I sat at my usual place, looked right into my eyes.
"I'm the spark that sets the world ablaze."
"You used to be cool," Sheila Reid's blue eyeliner was a hot mess. "You used to be so nice. You used to be so sweet."
"You used to be cool," Trick laughed when I repeated the conversation. "You used to be so nice."
I had stolen Mrs. Reid's car again, and acquired a fifth of vodka and some smokes. We were parked out on Old Man's Road, where the railroad left town. You could occasionally capture broadcasts from across the border there; listen to music from London, from Berlin, Manchester, music from the other side of the sun.
"You used to be so sweet," sneered Trick. "You used to be sugar on my tongue."
"It was never like that," I said. "Not really."
"Don't lie," Trick said. "It's so boring to lie."
We kissed and a train came roaring and rattling out of the darkness, filling the car with a blast of white light, everything shook and shimmied and melted into air.
"I know you loved Trick," Sheila said after the funeral. "I understand."
"You understand nothing," I said and blew cigarette smoke into her face.
Trick had been rotating slightly when I found the body hanging under the garage door opener. The note safety-pinned to the ruffle of the shirt said: "No thanks, not for me. Love, Trick."
"I understand," said Sheila and I laughed at the thought she could.
But still, she waited outside the funeral parlor in her mother's car while I split open Trick's skull and shoveled the contents into a cooler. She helped with the cutting and the sewing and the splicing and the wiring. She helped me steal sheet metal and copper piping and welding equipment. She helped me with the social engineering and the hacking and the burglary and the murder needed to acquire a bong-full of plutonium. She let me store things in her garage that made her bottle-blonde hair fall out in wispy clumps, and her little brothers' gums bleed. She helped me build a starship around Trick's brain, and did so even after I let her know she wasn't welcome on the trip.
The Rainer Maria Rilke rattled and roared. The garage walls blew out and the shingled roof shattered and slid aside. The house went up in a flash. In the rear view mirror I saw a pool of liquid fire spinning into a great gyre. Waves of destruction swept outwards as we rose: bald hopeless Sheila watching from her mother's car consumed, the neighborhood consumed, the school consumed, and city hall, and the cemetery with its forgotten bodies, all consumed. Jealous gravity seized me in its rage, a crushing weight pulled me back into my father's recliner, tried to pull me right through the leather and the springs, right through the cast iron floor, right into the atomic maelstrom below. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see, I couldn't think: I passed out and never saw the blue earth falling away. The Rainer Maria Rilke flew past the moon, past Venus, past Mercury, catapulted around the sun, and shot up out of the solar system and into cold, empty space. When I woke Trick was waiting for me, a green cursor winking from a Radio Shack monitor.
It often seemed to me as if I was just a passing thought of Trick's, a momentary lapse into sentimentality, into nostalgia. Trick no longer resided solely in the brain I had salvaged from Redeemer's Garden Funeral Home, or in the Commodore 64 that was our interface. Trick coursed through the cables and wires and piping which constituted the thinking parts of the Rainer Maria Rilke. Trick lived an entirely different life than me, one with which I intersected only occasionally and coincidentally. I envied Trick.
"You don't understand what it's like to be flesh and blood," I'd shout. "You've forgotten what it's like to be human."
The response appeared on the screen: "I'm not sure I ever knew."
Trick fell into glacial silences that lasted weeks, even months. I played dreary computer games, reread Celine, re-watched Woyzeck, and ate fried egg sandwiches. Then I'd look up at the screen and see the reassuring green letters: "I'm an asshole. I know. I'm sorry."
Trick directed the Rainer Maria Rilke towards the first black hole we found. It amused us to think how we would soon appear to observers on earth, not that we really cared, not that we thought anyone was still watching, but it amused us to think that one second of our love would seem to them to last for years, every minute of our boredom a century, every hour an eon. It amused us to think that as we approached the event horizon our every pointless argument would see millions born, millions die; empires would rise for every record listened to, fall for every video watched; it amused us that as the fire of our passion cooled to extinction, so life on earth would surely end. It amused us to think so. It amused us to think. It amused us.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, July 25th, 2016


This is science fiction as I imagine it would be written by Morrissey from the The Smiths. Had he less talent than he does. And nothing better to do.

- William Squirrell

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