NEW Story: Drip
Kaohsiung changed hands maybe four or five times. Each time the city fell, another company of Chinese burrowed themselves into the city, and each time it took about two months to drive them back into the sea. This was mostly done by the KMT and the Americans, who had heavy equipment. In Taiwan’s mountainous interior, a rainbow coalition of former colonies, indentured states and free-world ideologues fought brutally against the invasion of 2045.
It was a real nasty kind of fighting in a real nasty kind of war. Insects and dengue fever. Most of the fighting outside of Taipei happened close-quarters, or even hand-to-hand. His time there affected the rest of his life, and changed the way he looked at the world; looked at people. It forced a reconsideration of the sort of creatures we are, and the sort of management we need to keep ourselves from doing what we’re capable of doing.
What he liked about Tzipora was that she understood what it was like to come out the other side of a thing like that. She did not want to be rehabilitated; she did not want to be treated or talked to or sympathised with. She wanted to move on and pick up where she’d left off — form some kind of life for herself in Vekllei, among decent people. The real killer of civilian life is the dysphoria of the supermarket, and the synthetic quality of domestic society in the shadow of the extraordinary hyperreality of violence.
He’d wasted the best years of his life in a jungle in Asia — that experience was now part of who he was. Tzipora understood what that meant without asking. She was not so different, after all.