Futuristic/Sci-Fi, 341 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud
For decades, Homo sapiens, the current species of humans, has been experiencing a leap in evolution. For many it will mean significant advancements for humankind, for others it will mean starting over.
Forty-one year old Jeremiah Langmore sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. He squinted and used his hands to cover his eyes as he tried to discern where he was. He looked around the room and slowly pulled his hands away from his face. His head was pounding and he had no idea where he was. He glanced over his shoulder to find a strange woman in the bed. He immediately felt remorse and guilt.
Nearly a year earlier, his wife, Christine, had died in childbirth. He was unable to shake the feeling that any interaction with another woman was somehow cheating on her.
Christine was five years younger than he was and she had wanted to wait to start a family, so they could focus on their website start-up business. They met as co-workers in a downtown Indianapolis bank. He was a department manager in the finance area; she was a programmer. They had started chatting over lunch one day. That discussion led to more conversations. One Saturday afternoon, he found her in the library working on her laptop. When he found out she was building a website for a friend, he presented her with an idea he had been working on.
His idea grew to become their idea. Working side-by-side on weekends, their mutual business interest turned to romance; within a year, they were married. Within another year, they found enough financing to quit their jobs to pursue their website business full-time. After a few years, they started getting pressure from his parents to start a family. He was the last in a long line of Langmores, whose roots traced all the way to the original Mayflower Pilgrims. If he did not father children, the Mayflower Langmores would cease to exist.
On their fifth wedding anniversary, they sold their company for $10 million dollars. Their plans to start a family started the next day. Within two months, she was pregnant. At seven months, they found out she was having a boy. The night before she was due to deliver the baby, a brain aneurysm burst while they watched television. She and the baby both died before the ambulance arrived. He was a forty-year-old widower who spent most of the following year drinking himself to sleep.
Since he was financially secure he had no need to go back to work. He and Christine had been so romantically involved and focused on their business that he had lost touch with many of his friends. The handful of close friends he maintained were well aware of his predicament and worked diligently to bring him out of his funk and back into society.
He remembered that three of his old friends had picked him up to complete a pub-crawl down a trendy downtown social street. By midnight, his friends needed to head home to their wives. He had loosened up enough to stay behind, telling them he would just get a hotel room and then take a cab home in the morning. As soon as they left him, a redheaded beauty approached him. By 3:00 a.m., he was checking into a hotel room with her.
“Hey, time to wake up,” he said as he patted her thigh.
“I’m awake,” she mumbled. “I’m just not ready to face that sunlight yet. Do you think you could shut those curtains for a while?”
It occurred to him that her request was brilliant. “Yeah, sure,” he answered. As he stood to walk toward the window, he caught a glimpse of his nude body in the full-length mirror on the wall. He stopped for a moment. He noticed that his short brown hair had a minor case of bed head. The bags under his eyes were common after a night of heavy drinking. Once he grabbed the curtain cord and pulled it to block the sun, his headache instantly subsided. “Sorry ‘bout this,” he started, “but, what’s your name,” he finished with a chuckle.
“Oh thank god!” she answered, exasperated.
“Oh thank god, what?”
“Thank god you asked first,” she answered with a chuckle as she rolled over to reveal her face.
“You too, huh?” he said as he smiled. “My friends call me Jerry.”
“I’m Sarah. It’s nice to meet you, Jerry.” She stuck her hand out to shake hands. Jerry crawled back into bed and shook her hand, responding, “It’s nice to meet you as well, Sarah.” He paused for a moment and continued, “Do you have any idea where we are?”
“That bad, huh?” Sarah asked. Jerry simply raised his eyebrows, shrugged and shook his head to acknowledge that he had no idea. “The Marriott downtown,” she continued. “We were both pretty hammered. At two-forty-five-ish the bartender announced last call. You announced that you were grabbing a cab to the nearest hotel with a room. Then you asked if I wanted to join you,” she finished as she rubbed both hands through her short red hair. As she crawled out of bed, it became apparent to him that she still had her top and panties on.
She reached for her jeans and pulled them on. “You checked us in, opened the door, walked over to the far side of the bed, stripped and crawled into bed. I wasn’t in the bathroom for more than a minute. When I came out, you were already out cold.”
“Wow, was I that good?” he said with a laugh as he pulled sheets on to warm his naked body. He could tell she was looking for her purse and the exit, so he continued. “Hey, Sarah, hang on a minute, I have an idea.” She paused and looked in his direction, so he continued. “Look, whether it was due to my complete inebriation or not, nothing happened here. So unless you’re upset because I passed out, or you really have to be somewhere else, how about you let me buy you breakfast?”
Sarah grabbed her purse, sat in the chair and looked at him. Jerry looked at her. She most definitely looked like she had just crawled out of bed. But, he thought, “if this is her worst, she’s pretty attractive.”
“Can I take a shower first?” she asked.
“That would be a pre-requisite for me, as well.”
She paused to ponder a moment longer before saying, “Well it‘s Saturday and I really don’t have anywhere I have to be right now.”
“Great. Then it’s settled,” he announced. “You can go first. Then if you are still here when I get out, I will know that I haven’t freaked you completely out. Go ahead and get started. I’ll call down to the front desk for a couple of toothbrushes.”