Tales of the Storage Space, Part 68

Martin was still wondering why this girl had brought up a bloody Clint Eastwood movie…Million Dollar Baby, he thought she’d said, though he’d never seen it…when he was feeling all soft and trusting and about to tell her his whole story.  Bloody Clint Eastwood, “make my day,” ultimate American tough guy thumbing his nose at any old-world male vulnerability?

But they were all snuggled up against the fog about to descend on the Marin hills, where they were watching the sun set over San Francisco from so high up they imagined they could see the Farallons.  And she’d given him what she said was an extra iPhone, so he could cross “watching the sun set over San Francisco Bay” off his new, trusty to-do list.  Plus there was the latest vanilla latte she’d bought him in the other hand.

She sighed heavily.  That he could feel with her snuggled up against him, a blanket she’d brought wrapped around them both.  What he still couldn’t do, however, was remember her name.  Because that annoyed him, he defensively blurted out, “You said it again in your sleep last night!”

She turned and looked up at him with dreamy but conflicted eyes.  “Said what?”

“Ma cushla, or whatever that is.”

“Mo chuisle?”  She reddened.  “No, you must have been dreaming again.”

Probably meant dumb, prissy, effeminate, vulnerable Brit that could never hold up to the likes of Clint Eastwood, even if Clint Eastwood was now ancient.

She ran her fingers over his shoulder, probably without realizing she was doing it as she looked up him, thoroughly gobsmacked.  “Where are you from?”

Couldn’t hurt to tell her that.  “Originally?  Canterbury, Kent.”

Soft fingers traced delicate patterns around the back of his neck.  “What was it like there?”

Again, what harm if he told her?  He looked beyond her, to where the sun would soon drop into an ocean afire with pink and orange.  For some reason he couldn’t remember, the first thing he thought of was his father’s garden hose when he watered the flowers.  Insanely, this tranquil memory made him shudder.  The pink and orange Pacific Ocean undulated.  Had he really stopped hallucinating?

FREE ebooks & audiobooks as of May 16, 2018

What would happen if advances in longevity kept Baby Boomers alive long enough to be used as guinea pigs to test interstellar travel?

The latest addition to my rapidly growing, promotional collection of free ebooks and audiobooks is my Hugo-nominated sci fi novella:


I had great fun writing this fast-paced romp into a darkly imagined future!  Baby Boomers have been kept alive long enough to be elder-abused in brand-new ways, including…but not limited to…the rigors of interstellar travel.  Here are some reviews:

From “verified purchases” on Amazon:

“This is both a fun and thoughtful piece of writing. Being a Baby Boomer myself, I was curious about how the topic would be handled in Science Fiction and whether it would just be another superfluous old people story. Instead, I found it witty, insightful, suspenseful, and thought-provoking. She writes very well, too. I like her style. Oh, yes, and I laughed a lot!”

“This intriguing novella tells an adventure-filled story with twists and turns that will captivate every reader – young and old.”

“All the fast-paced fun of pulp fiction without any of the creaky, inept, embarrassing bits that might lead you to question reading sci-fi. What a great read!”

From Claudia Deutsch, journalist:

“Sue Hollister Barr deftly walks that fine line between science fiction and horrifying reality. Let’s face it, the aging of the Baby Boomers would be causing massive societal problems, even if climate change didn’t threaten famine and mass dislocations. Barr’s vision of how unscrupulous folk can take advantage of the situation is unfortunately quite realistic. But her vision of how a few courageous folk can successfully fight back leaves her reader with hope. Brava!”


Tales of the Storage Space, Part 67

Imogene had all but given up on RL, like forever, when Homeless Hag finally turned her back on that cray cray, def-not-woke bitch who’d like actually thought Imogene was pregnant. Homeless Hag looked like all annoyed and impatient, but she seemed to spot something under the reception desk, now that she was turned away from Cray Cray Bitch, snatched it, fumbled it, and then like sent it clattering across the reception desk toward Imogene.

It was a key to Unit 38.

WTFwasImogeneCoca: Like OMG Homeless Hag def not woke re $ I owe & gave me key!!!

^URSunPC&proud: Zayum! Suh w/Cray Cray Bitch?

WTFwasImogeneCoca: < ::poof:: so don’t no…already on stairs tho just heard loud thud behind me.

^URSunPC&proud: Unit #?

WTFwasImogeneCoca: 3

^URSunPC&proud: Just 3?

WTFwasImogeneCoca: Like why u like need 2 no?

^URSunPC&proud: < never saw u RL but no u better than RL here. So need to no all.

WTFwasImogeneCoca: ?

^URSunPC&proud: Hahaha but u gotta go RL & get ur stuff.

WTFwasImogeneCoca: Sec.

^URSunPC&proud: K.

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Lit! I’m in!

^URSunPC&proud: Ur unit? Everything still there? R u sure everything still there?

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Why u so thirsty? U the 1 told me 2 put my dad’s stupid carvings in here!

^URSunPC&proud: < not the 1 told u to tell him u took his stupid carvings! Why u goin all salty on me?

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Like no reason. Like I don’t like care if he beats me even more than usual. Tooth still loose…

^URSunPC&proud: < didnt think u’d tell him…

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Like why did u like tell me 2 take his stupid carvings? U there? Hmmm?

^URSunPC&proud: < had an idea. Thought it might help.

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Help how? U there? Hummm?

^URSunPC&proud: Thought it wud frighten him.

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Why wud stupid carvings missing frighten him? He doesn’t frighten.

^URSunPC&proud: < wrong. So, so, so very sorry!!!

WFTwasImogeneCoca: < can’t get all this shit out in 1 trip.

^URSunPC&proud: Dont take all. Leave the elephant. Say it broke.

WFtwasImogeneCoca: Like he’d really like RL like kill me.

^URSunPC&proud: Tell him when it broke u saw something inside, but just left it all in ur unit & will get it tomorrow.

WFTwasImogeneCoca: Huh? And what elephant? Dont even remember an el…oh here it is.

^URSunPC&proud: Dont really break it!!!

WFTwasImogeneCoca: How’d u no re the elephant I never even noticed?

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 66

The Storage Space couldn’t stop shuddering.  And it didn’t even think a building could shudder.  Yet whatever had prompted those simply awful shudders seemed to have disappeared, but in an odd way…as if instead of going away it had slithered so close that the poor, long-suffering Storage Space could no longer see it.

No matter.  Something slithered through the Storage Space’s mind that told it it had far more important things to think about:  Karen, that frigid fucking bitch!

The Storage Space was appalled, simply appalled.  Where did that thought come from?  Such language!

Was it recompense, or more of the same, that directed all of the Storage Space’s attention to dear, most beloved Karen?

Poor, long-suffering Karen!  How truly extraordinary that she had survived without medical care through so very, very much and for so very, very long.  But now, seated half-unconscious behind the reception-desk counter, she was being cared for by an absolute angel.  For not only was it equally miraculous that this angel, almost equally in need of medical care herself, was the one administering treatment rather than the one receiving it, but it was very clear that this angel knew what she was doing.

The lovely Karen moaned, clinching her lovely teeth, eyes still half-closed.

“I deeply regret causing you pain,” said the old woman with the exquisite voice, mostly to herself, “but it’s medically necessary and…though the supplies I stole from that mad man include almost everything, even this suture tray with scissors and scalpel…they didn’t include as much as a single aspirin, let alone anything substantive for pain like Dilaudid.”

Karen screamed.

Both the Storage Space and the old woman shuddered.

Karen’s eyes snapped open, not seeing for a moment before focusing on the old woman.  “Who are you?  What are you doing to me?”

“My name’s Amelia.  I’m trying to provide you with medical assistance I don’t think you can wait for a moment longer.”  Amelia wadded up some bandaging and shoved it between Karen’s teeth.  “All I can offer for the pain is to ask you to bite on this, and forgive the following pathetic attempt to distract you.”

With that Amelia started to sing, “Sleep my child and peace attend thee.  All through the night,” as she resumed her work.  Not surprisingly Amelia’s singing voice was as beautiful as her speaking voice.  What still remained of the grand old stage, though relegated to a mean space under a hideous metal staircase, settled and creaked happily.  The once-exquisite carving of Romeo’s Juliet came to life again under Unit 38’s tacky 20th century carvings.

Karen screamed again.

Amelia stopped singing.

“Sing!” Karen sobbed.

Amelia went on with, “Angels watching, e’er around thee.  All through the night.”

“Like, what is this, a fucking ER with lullabies?  Like, I really need my things!”

Karen swooned.  Amelia looked up at the pregnant teenager that neither of them had noticed walking in.

“Like, carvings…”  the teenager trailed off as she narrowed her eyes, studying first the unconscious Karen, then Amelia.  “Unit 38.  I…um…like…forgot my key.”

Karen stirred, starting to come around again.  Amelia hurried to finish treating her.

Karen let out a heart-wrenching sob.

Frigid fucking bitch!  Again the Storage Space didn’t know where that alien thought came from, but then that same slithering, illusive alien presence seemed to be prompting the poor, long-suffering Storage Space to communicate with what was, after all, the poor, long-suffering Karen, to console her.  That the Storage Space could most heartily approve.  Though it heard some other words, “witness this time,” that made no sense.

Karen screeched.

The teenager yelled, “Like, my key, please!  Unit 38!”

Amelia sang, “While the moon her watch is keeping.  All through the night,” and put the scalpel down, almost done.

Karen whimpered pathetically.

And the Storage Space then did all it could possibly do to reach her, in her mind with every soothing image possible, every beautiful thing the Storage Space had ever seen or heard.  But something else came slithering through the Storage Space’s connection with Karen, something about “self defense” and jugular veins.

Karen grabbed the scalpel.