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Today's Story by Darren Callahan

"They won’t let me past the gate. I’m from the Media. But don’t hold that against me."

City of Human Remains – Chapter 10


|| Honda Introduces the Glide (Article Excerpt) ||


Everyone claimed to have “The Car of the Future…”

But 1 manufacturer got it right.

In 2055, when Japanese automaker Honda first introduced the DL Prix at the prestigious New York City automobile exposition, no one expected the car to become such a staple of American urban culture.  The vehicles were, after all, small and, admittedly, funny looking.  The body was made of such light material that its safety rating was questioned, bringing about another 4 months of crash tests to confirm Honda’s results.

Just as the Big 3 had done with Preston Thomas Tucker’s automobiles in the last century, the DL Prix adopted other manufacturer’s successes.  The vehicle had airless tires (like Ford) and Lane Departure Warnings (like Toyota).   But it had something more: a perfect target market.

The DL Prix was not meant for a country drive.  It was not meant for large families or even, really, for car lovers.  It was meant to be driven in urban environments – the cities of the world, particularly in the United States.

Small, quiet, easy on fuel, high on passenger comfort, and low in price, the Honda DL Prix introduced to the ever-more-crowded cities something they had never been used to before: a life without public transportation at an affordable cost.

And it wasn’t just the citizens that loved the DL Prix.  It would not have become the ubiquitous city transport it is today without the continued support of smart legislators in city governments all across America.

Honda knew this and made quick partnerships with those who could affect their campaigns.  In some cities, the city-sponsors of the DL Prix made it hard not to buy 1 of the little beauties.  By 2060, so many tax and deferment incentives were being hurled at potential customers it became simply obstinate not to want to trade in your old car for the DL Prix.  Not since the introduction of Henry Ford’s Model T had so many of the same make and model occupied the same roads – looking like matching gray hornets.

And what city wouldn’t want a fleet of DL Prixs?  Their size doubled available parking; their noise reducers changed rumbling thoroughfares to a whisper quiet rural routes – so quiet, in fact, that the DL soon was handed a new name: the Glide.

‘Glides’ began to appear everywhere in the next 10 years – bought by city taxi companies, limousine services, police departments, any adaptable type of specialty vehicle.

Years after its debut at the automobile exposition, Honda released an even smaller, quieter, cheaper version of the car – the Honda Q-Glide, a 2-seater perfect for short errands and adapted for city use in a myriad of ways.   Honda declared it, and they were right, ‘The car of the future…is now.



Hektor sits alone in the orphanage courtyard, reading the Batman comic book.  Jose has allowed him to stay behind after recess, outside, against the rules, because he is Jose’s favorite and Jose knows he won’t jump the fence.  Not at his age (11); not with his options (none.)  Better to stay where he is welcome and read his comic book.

This story is about Batman saving Gotham City from a plague.  He hadn’t read it before last night, and between lights out and now, 9:30 Friday morning, he has read it 17 times.  Hektor’s favorite page is a series of panels – Batman arched, throwing a Batarang, landing the Bat-rope on the wall of tall city building, then scaling off the page onto the reverse.  Copyright 2041; October issue; a faded antique of earlier decades.




He barely hears.

The voice may well be a transmission from the moon.

Though louder, it’s still a whisper.  Kid!  Hey!  I’m talkin’ to you!

He looks up.  He is surprised to be spoken to.  The only 1 who’s ever spoken to him through the fence is a foot patrolman who passes on rounds.  But this is not the patrolman.  Instead, it’s a young woman.

¿Usted habla inglés?

Hektor nods.

Good.  Then come here.

Hektor rises from his spot along the courtyard perimeter and approaches the fencing, the 4-meter chain-mesh barricade that separates the concrete basketball court and harsh playground from the city sidewalk beyond.

At this hour, there is little foot traffic, and today is no exception.

Just the woman.

She is in her late 20s and has an oddly angled face.  Her hair is feathered and chopped in the bangs.  Scooped sunglasses slide to the tip of her nose, the blue color of her eyes popping over the plastic rims.  In her right hand, she carries a small, black purse, tight to her hip, the strap tucked around her opposite shoulder.  In her left hand, she holds a notepad with a fountain pen stabbed into the spirals.  She’s impatient, Hektor can tell, but she also needs him, which he can also tell.

Listen, Kid.  Do you know Katherine Ximon?

Again, Hektor hesitantly nods.

Is she in today?

Hektor slowly nods.

You look like a smart kid.


All right, they won’t let me past the gate.  I’m from the Media.  But don’t hold that against me.

She flashes him an inappropriate smile.  You’re not a bad looking kid.  He doesn’t know what this implies, but knows that it is inappropriate.  There is something madcap in her delivery, her nervousness, and her hat.  The wide-brim shades her ears and her shoulders, which are exposed by a sleeveless gray dress as symmetrical as her dark black hair.  Her high heels also have her off balance.  She’s not used to playing dress up, one of the many odd things noticed by Hektor as she speaks.  And, in the end of it, she’s a woman leaned against a steel-mesh fence having a 1-sided conversation with an 11-year-old boy.

What are you reading?  Batman?

She’s trying a tactic, and he knows it.  But he itches to talk about his hero.

It’s old, he explains and holds the book up to the fence.

She bends at the bare knees and gives an appreciative look.  Fierce, she says, admiring Batman’s attack stance.

It’s from Jose.

Jose Noe?

You know Jose?

Yes, I met him three years ago.  The name stuck with me.

Awkward pause.

Ms. Ximon is inside.

What floor, sweetie?


I owe you.  She winks.  How ‘bout another comic book?  I’ll bring you one.  Next time, okay?

Okay.  He smiles.

As she leaves, following the curve of the fence toward the orphanage’s entrance, Hektor’s eyes follow her.  Something reminds him of his dead mother.  The perfume.

She won’t come back.  There will be no comic book.  Jose is the only one Hektor can count on, the only one who keeps promises.  The smile fades from Hektor as the woman passes the flagpole.