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Gliders


Everyone in the group had been to what served as today’s standard IMAX, and for thirty five dollars
apiece—swiped in fro m a Ve ra-phone like at this theater—they had each had their minds thoroughly blown. As
great as the theater was they sat in now, it didn’t come close.
Carlo took another sip of beer fro m a black, plastic bottle. Everyone in the room had one, with the
e xception of the twins. Both sat one row back, escaping the immed iate light that washed over Carlo, Ale xis, and
Maxis.
“Stephen?” Carlo said, looking over his shoulder. Stephen was the other twin, not to be mistaken with
Steve.
“Yes Carlo?”
“Didn’t you say your dad showed you what the old theater looked like at a virtual museum?”
“Yes. Quality not anything like quality on this screen.”
“A lot smaller, too, right,” Carlo said, looking back towa rd the 3D screen as the credits climbed to the top.
“Yeah. A lot smaller. Actually sat and watched fifteen minute short film. It show us a ton of stuff about
the old theaters. Back then you could use your phone in the theater so they wou ld have to put promos on
the…uh…screen to ask the guests not to talk on them.”
“Yeah,” Alexis said. “And now you can’t even answer a call unless you step out into the hall. Your Vera
won’t let you.” Alexis sighed. “Locked into the system.”
Carlo looked at her. “You act like you don’t like being locked into the system.”
“Do you really like having to own a Vera and having a warrant put out for your arrest if you lose or break
it?”
“They only arrest you if you break it on purpose and if it’s accidental they give you a week to get a new
one.”
“Takes no time at all for them to come get you, though.”
“She’s right,” Maxis said, sipping from his black plastic bottle. His eyes drooped, showing that he had
reached the point of a decent buzz. Ca rlo noticed this and smiled, realizing that he’d have to drink at least two more
before he felt the sa me way.
Maxis, sitting to the right of him, handed Carlo h is empty bottle and Carlo handed Maxis a fresh one.
Maxis twisted the top free with one turn and upturned the bottle to his lips.
“Man, I need to stop,” Maxis said, after letting out a loud burp. “I’m on the fast track to becoming an
alcoholic.”
“Then give that shit back son,” Carlo said, making a grab for the bottle.
Maxis held it away. “Nah, fuck that nigga.”
Carlo chuckled. “It’s going to be dark when we get out.”
“Or at least getting dark,” Alexis said.
“Really good movie, by the way right?”
Everyone nodded and murmu red in assent.
“Yeah, really good movie,” Carlo repeated quietly, nodding. He grabbed another bottle of beer from his
backpack. “All right folks, let me finish another one and we’ll be out.”
Silence resumed in the dark roo m. Each took slow, contemplat ive sips of their beer. Right before the
credits ended and the various promos preceding the next show popped on the screen, Alexis spoke up.
“You guys hear about the three people that fell from this spot without their gliders? It was on the news.”
A chill ran up Carlo’s spine then, and once again that feeling of foreboding overcame him. He didn’t know
if it was connected to what Ale xis had just said or something random. But he fe lt it just the same.
No one responded to Alexis’s question for a moment, all eyes on the 3D display in front of them.
“What makes you think they didn’t have their gliders,” Maxis slurred, his beer held loosely in one hand.
No prodding needed, Carlo reached out and took it, finishing it for him. He put the bottle in the backpack along
with his own e mpty one. A le xis handed Carlo her e mpty beer b ottle and he did the same.
“Of course they didn’t have their gliders,” Alexis said. “Every glider is set to take you automatically to the
nearest platform if something goes wrong.”
“How do they do that with the un-motorized ones?”
“Those are about to be obsolete. But it’s magnetized. If you go down too low you’re automatically
attracted to a platform.”
“Our great-great grandfathers would probably think that shit is pretty amazing, huh?”
“Pretty sure,” Alexis said, her dark eyes fixed on him. She spoke with the tone of someone who thought
this fact should be pretty obvious. “If our ancestors saw this they’d shit themselves. Back in their days hover-carts
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