25 Short Stories and Novellas - novelonlinefull.com
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hoped for. She had imagined doing something with singing in it, or
music, or maybe acting, at least. When she had first come to the
center there had still been seven veterans living there and a staff of
twelve, but one by one the old guys had undergone random system
malfunctions, probabilistic events that became statistically unavoidable
the deeper you got into your second century, and now only Uncle James
was left, the last survivor of the army of the War of San Francisco.
The staff was down to four: Dr. McClintock, the director; three nurses.
But everybody understood that when Uncle James finally went they'd all
lose their jobs.
That morning, when Carlotta showed up, there was a note from Sanchez,
the night nurse, waiting for her in the staff room. G.o.d HELP YOU IF
ANYTHING HAPPENS TO YOUR UNCLE IN THE CITY TODAY.
"Hot weather today," Uncle James said, as they emerged from the
building. "Very nice for December, yes."
"Hot. Not just nice. Hot. It must be a hundred degrees."
"A hundred's impossible, Uncle. It doesn't get that hot even in Death
Valley. A hundred and the whole world would melt."
"Bulls.h.i.t. It was a hundred degrees the day the war started. Everyone
remembers that. The fourteenth of October, hot as blazes, a hundred
degrees smack on the nose at three in the afternoon. When those n.a.z.i
Stukas started coming over the horizon like bats out of h.e.l.l."
"n.a.z.is?" she said. "What n.a.z.is?"
"The invading force. Hitler's Wehrmacht."
"That was a different war, Uncle. A long time before even you were
"Don't be so smart. Were you there? Like eagles, they were, those
planes. Merciless. They strafed us for hours in that filthy heat. Blam!
Blam! Chk-chk-chk-chk-chk! Blam!" He glowered up at her. "And it's a
hundred degrees right now, too. If you don't think so, you're wrong. I
know what a hundred degrees feels like."
The temperature that morning was about eighteen, maybe twenty. Very nice
for December, yes. But then Carlotta realized that the degrees he was