Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 3 –

– 3 –

“I’ve been trying to make a science hammer,” says Tom, at the afterparty.

They’re looking out over the campus and drinking sparkling water they are pretending is champagne.

“Yeah,” says Cheryl.

“I think we should integrate it,” he says. “I couldn’t get it to work. I couldn’t ever get —”

He waves his hands around.

“It’s really hard to make a hammer,” he says, “to smoosh outcomes into the desired configuration. It’s like, how do you get enough of an understanding of desired from your head, as it were, into its?”

“But you think a boot can do it?”

“A boot’s full of people,” says Tom. “A boot’s full of life, and minds, and people who can operate the various levers and . . . eyelets . . . and whatnot. A boot can manage what a hammer cannot.”

They can already see it, both of them, in their heads — the world, blue and honest below them, as they hypothetically stare down on it through Amber’s pseudo-glass shielding from space.

“We could smush it all,” says Cheryl. “Not just wolves and cannibals.”

“The snake,” says Tom.

“The living storm,” says Cheryl.

“Bad grades.”

“Haha,” laughs Cheryl. She’s pretending to be tipsy. She leans a bit, over the balcony edge. “It’s perfect, Tom. We can do it.”

“The future of humanity is a boot stomping down from the Heavens,” Tom says.

They clink glasses.




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