Joe had never been a happy man. Today was no different. He blinked his eyes open and frown-squinted at the sun that rose over a bright green garden city. White towers shone in the morning light; waterfalls clear as glass tumbled in a hazy spray from organic office blocks to the roadside rivers below. He lived in a sunkissed bird-blessed urban parkland that you or I would give teeth to spend our lives in. He lived in the ungrateful future.
Joe was a wind farmer. Every weekday he’d climb into the living airship tethered by his window walkway. He’d flick branchy switches, press squelchy buttons and putter up into the clouds in a beautiful albino skywhale called Lily. Lily was GM farm equipment; a smiling-docile airmammal whose sole purpose was to fill batteries with her turbines and then float back down to the world. She was the nicest skywhale you’d ever hope to meet. And Joe was sick of her.
Lily would do all the work for him when they reached the wind-whipped heights over the jewel-green fields. Her feathery turbines branched out and drank in current for Joe to sell when he came back down. All Joe had to do in the meantime was enjoy the view, and make sure Lily didn’t get too distracted following after startled birds. If Joe could have left Lily to it and headed back down to his apartment to watch the Cloud, you bet he would have. But even then the appeal wouldn’t have lasted for long. A life of leisure would have lost its shine faster than Sunday shoes worn to the mine on Monday. Nothing could make Joe feel contented, because Joe had never been a happy man.
When Lily’s batteries beeped on Full, Joe sighed and closed his book and grabbed the controls. He took her back down through the sunset-painted clouds for the day and tethered her up, leaving her to smile her gentle Buddha-skywhale smile as he took her batteries to the energy exchange in town.
Joe had never been a happy man. When he got back to his apartment and sighed his final sigh for the day, and checked his reasonable bank balance on his cloudscreen, and kicked off his shoes to relax for the evening, he was suddenly even more miserable than usual. There was a box on his kitchen table; a real cartoon Christmas-present box with a great big bow. A true-blue present. And the present was rattling. Shaking. Moving.
Stay tuned for the next episode of Joe’s Tale!