What Goes Up Must Float there Until Payment is Received

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

What Goes Up Must Float there Until Payment is Received

We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.” -Wernher von Braun

Gretchen walked into the door of her apartment to find that her world had been turned upside down.  As her napkin holder spun slowly in midair, she groaned as each little paper napkin strayed off towards a different direction.  She saw the couch blocking her path to the kitchen and pushed it down to the carpet.  The three-seater hide-a-bed lingered around the floor, but Gretchen could tell that it would probably head to the ceiling at any moment.  She really thought life before the gravity bill had been much simpler.

Like many inconvenienced citizens, Gretchen blamed the government.  She pined for days when gravity was free, not a social service that was regulated and controlled.  Gretchen remembered ten years ago when she could lay on the ground, her hair in ponytails, and read Nancy Drew books as she rested her chin on her hands.  When she was a girl, she did that for free.  Now she had to pay for her right to rest on a surface.

Scientists had claimed that their control of gravity was the greatest benefactor they could have dreamed up.  They spoke of elderly people with aching joints being relieved of pressure on their joints.  The biologists remarked that the change in how they operated meant that they could work on concepts in a zero-gravity environment.  Although many in the intellectual community admitted that much of the joy of being an astronaut was gone now that floating in the air was an everyday occurrence.

The whole idea had started on a small scale.  Individual labs were fitted with the Gravitational Nullification Unit, or GNU.  The machine did exactly what the name promised.  Much like noise-cancelling headphones were capable of blocking out ambient noise by matching frequencies, the GNU negated the force of gravity by exerting an opposing force.  Like a hovercraft for all matter, the GNU kept anything within its range free from their previous weighty restrictions.  It was soon declared too important a discovery to be left to industry alone and was mass-marketed to consumers.  That was when things to got hairy.

Who knew that a GNU would be such a nuisance?

The government stepped in and decided that all these different levels of gravity needed to be regulated.  What if a house was being moved by a GNU which malfunctioned and fell on a small child?  Who would be responsible for guaranteeing that dump trucks driving through various areas wouldn’t have their entire load end up littering the sky?  And of course, there was the famous Superbaby concern, where any child that wandered into the wrong place might be sent into the stratosphere.

With a vote that was nearly unanimous, (two representatives felt it was immoral to regulate nature) Congress created a system that would license, regulate, and bill each person for the GNU’s services.  With GNUs occupying eighty-six percent of all consumers of an annual income exceeding forty-thousand dollars, the Gravitational Regulating Organization for Weighty Laws had their hands busy.  The GROWL went to work right away and set out to collect one thousand dollar start-up fee from each member that was using a GNU machine.  Then they added a monthly bill to “continue to assure governmental and proper use of such equipment.”  Many people, including Gretchen, bemoaned the matter.  There were already discussions about voting out the established government representatives due to their apparent over-charging in their monopoly.

For the time being, Gretchen was trapped.  She tried to tie her purse onto the doorknob, but it started to remove itself.  Gretchen screamed, slammed the door shut, and swam her way to the bathroom.  Thanks to a last minute appeal by medical professionals and human rights organizations, bathrooms were required to always have gravity.  Every toilet had a built in gravitational system of its own that extended in a ten-foot diameter.  There were some questions as to how much strain was put on the structure when walls shared gravity on one side on no gravity on the other, but bathrooms needed things to go down pipes.  Showers needed to send water down onto a person, not floating every which way like some sort of psychedelic rain storm.

Gretchen floated along the bottom of the bathroom and shut the door.  The doorjamb-sensor was activated and she heard the familiar clicking noise.  The GNU turned the gravity on slowly, allowing Gretchen to find her footing.  She was already dreading turning the doorknob, which would deactivate the machine at the same rate.

Gretchen wanted things to go back to the way they had been.  She wasn’t a fan of flighty behavior or fancy technology.  She liked her belongings to be practical.  Her books had all been carefully arranged in a nice order, and now, because she had forgotten to pay one little bill, she would have to reorganize all her things.  That of course, was after she found her cordless phone that was floating around somewhere in her apartment.

Gretchen screamed again as she sat in her bathtub.  All she wanted after a long day of work was to take a nap.  She wanted to recover from her menial day as a receptionist before she had to go back tomorrow.  She wanted to cook food on a stove without the scalding hot water reaching up to burn her.  She wanted to sit and read a book in a chair.  When it came down to it, Gretchen preferred the down-to-earth way of life.


About Cosand
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

2 Responses to What Goes Up Must Float there Until Payment is Received

  1. suburbanlife says:

    Absolutely brilliant! I think any children you might raise will benefit tremendously from your ability to think outside rigid parameters and your ability to spin out possibilities will aid them in gaining a view of life the value of which cannot be measured. I pity their poor teachers, wll, maybe not pity because i would have killed for students of such capacity when i taught schoool. I entered into this dystopic expose, fully, and was completely engaged. thank you for making my day by finding your blog. G

  2. I promise that my teachers only encouraged me to be mildly crazy. That’s why we got along. 😉 But I assure you, my sessions with my nieces encourage acting goofy and reading Roald Dahl. Thanks for the kind words.

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