Joanna Lowry
Once Upon A Post-Industrial Time

Lucy wanders through a dark green pine forest near her house. She likes how it smells like a clean bathroom sink. Lucy picks flowers that are almost as pretty as silken ones, and drinks mineral water she buys from a vending machine, handily located by a fresh-water stream.

Lucy owns a geo-pet; a very affectionate, friendly, loving micro-chip (she is really very fond of it). When she leaves the house she turns it off. Lucy doesn't need a dog that barks.

Lucy went to see the Great Wonders of the World Theme Park, because it saves some travel time when the pyramids and the Eiffel tower can rise together, side by side, scaled down neatly to fit into your camera frame. Lucy once saw a picture of the Mona-Lisa, and marvelled at the digital photograph's exquisite quality.

When Lucy eats a lemon it tastes washing powder fresh. But it still doesn't look as appetising as wax fruit. Glace cherries are sweeter. Saccharine sugar dissolves so quickly you wouldn't know the difference.

One day, Lucy fell in love. She said "it's nearly not as good as it looks on TV". And Lucy flickers her lights on and off in a darkened room, and turns up the bass on her stereo to a rumbling boom, because she can make thunder and lightning blossom whenever she likes. Lucy doesn't wait for autumn to come for storms.

Once Lucy cried and wondered why she didn't look as glamorous as the Hollywood girls (who cried glittery glamour tears, and were sexy in their sorrows, gorgeous even in grief). Once Lucy bled just like the blood on 'E.R' except that it hurt, and the paramedic who came to save her was ugly. When Lucy speaks, the words don't sound scripted enough, somehow.

The sun is too hot for Lucy outside, so she goes indoors, where the air is regulated and pure. The view from her balcony is not quite as nice as the one through the picture window. Lucy lies in bed, reading her book on tape. She gazes up at the plastic yellow stars pinned to her ceiling. At night they really do glow in the dark. As she falls asleep Lucy makes plastic yellow star wishes. They don't ever come quite true.