Read an excerpt from The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep
|The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep|
(Hardcover) by John Hulme (Author), Michael Wexler (Author)
Village of Covas, Minho, Portugal
Alvarro Gutierrez turned to see his wife Maria walking towards him from the house, their infant daughter in her hands.
"Mr. Ramirez from the bank just called again. He wants to know if we've come to a decision?"
Alvarro looked to his son and to the baby, who giggled and cooed, too young to understand -- then finally back up to his wife. In the eyes of his beloved, he was searching for hope, but all he found were tears instead.
"Tell Señor Ramirez that we will never sell this land!" He grabbed his family and pulled them close.
On a hill overlooking the farm, two mysterious figures gazed down upon the scene. Their hair was still soaking wet.
"Isn't it a little suspicious?" asked Becker.
"Don't you believe in Miracles, Briefer Drane?"
Casey pulled her Receiver™ off her belt. It was orange, with a retractable wire, and she dialed #6-2-4.
"Lake, to Weather Station, come in."
The voice of Weatherman#1 came back.
"Weather Station, here. We read you loud and clear...'
"Okay, then let's start it slow." Casey scanned the surrounding countryside, the cloudless sky above. "Vague but palpable, volume 4."
"Vague but palpable, 4." The way he yelled it, you could tell #1 was shouting directions to someone else, and a moment later, a faint rumble could be heard in the distance.
"Nice," said Casey, psyched. "Now roll it this time, with a slight, little clap on the end."
The Gutierrez family was struggling back to their house when the first rumble froze them in their tracks. Now they stood together, as a second sound sent chills down their spines.
Thunder, rolling towards them, with a slight, little clap on the end.
Casey nodded her head in satisfaction. For her, this is what Fixing was all about.
"Cue the clouds!"
The sound of a few switches being thrown piped over her Receiver, before #1 echoed the command.
"Cue the clouds!"
As the family looked up in wonder, a dark shadow moved across their faces. Somewhere in the distance, a dog began to bark, and a flash of lightening split a tree.
The flash had just faded when Casey shouted in her Receiver.
"Another one! And don't hit anything this time!"
"Georgie, the yellow lever, not the blue!"
High above, another bolt streaked through the blackening sky.
"Now?" asked #1, ready to deliver the goods.
If there was one thing Becker admired about Casey, it was her patience. She never seemed in a hurry to get anywhere, which is probably why she always got there right on time.
A thick drop of water landed on the arid ground, just missing the foot of Alvarro Gutierrez. And so did another. Maria and Sancho held out their hands, unable to believe their eyes or good fortune, but it was true. Rain began to fall in buckets, showering every inch of the thirsty land.
As the water dripped from their faces, the family burst into tears, hugging each other as one.
Amidst the torrential downpour, Becker and Casey looked down upon the farm below. The dog had joined the family, jumping around and barking, and it was hard not to share in the joy.
"Nice work, boys."
"She says nice work!" A tumult of cheers piped through the Receiver.
"Now low pressure for at least a week and then it's up to you."
"My pleasure!" shouted #1 with satisfaction. For him (and his crew), this was what Weather was all about.
Casey hung up and sat down beside her Briefer. All around the hillside, there were other farms and other celebrations.
"Do you think there'll be a Rainbow?" asked Becker.
"I don't know - that's up to the Department of Public Works."
Becker nodded, pretending to act like he already knew that. There were so many Departments and sub-Departments in The Seems, it was hard to remember who did what sometimes.
He offered Casey his traditional post-Mission treat, and she looked at it curiously, before taking a bite.
"Nice maneuver down there by the cork."
"You saw that?" Becker tried to conceal his pleasure. (You have to understand, Casey Lake was like, "the man." (Except she was a girl.)) "It was just L.U.C.K."
"The residue of Design," she laughed, and he couldn't argue with that.
Below them, the screen door to the Gutierrez home swung shut and the jubilation had just begun. Their farm had been saved....and the future along with it.
"Let me ask you something, Briefer Drane..."
"How many Fixers are there in The World?"
Becker thought it might be a trick question, but he couldn't figure out the trick, so he just gave the answer that everybody knew.
"Exactly 36, if you include Tom Jackal."
Casey waited just long enough, before smiling again, and delivering the news that every Briefer dreams to hear...
"I think I'm looking at number 37."
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