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March 2037

The cloud in question was a fat, fluffy cumulonimbus. It was a bright brilliant white on its cottony top with gray to black shaded undertones beneath. At the downtown Cloud Brokerage in Cheyenne, the cloud, which was named Cumulo2017, was being carefully monitored and tracked by crystagital micro areosensors dropped into it by midget balloon droids and logged by a satellite laser system.

Reeve Mangum, a 51 year old cloud broker from Laramie and Randy Dallam, a thirty nine year old cloud broker from Pueblo, Colorado were in a fierce dispute over ownership of Cumulo2017. Mangum had registered the cloud some twenty seven minutes previously, but Dallum had claim on the cloud for the past thirty nine minutes, but his sonic computer line was slower that Mangum's lightspeed system so his regispatent was not logged in time.

The two men argued about the legalities of cloud real estate and the credibility of satellite time stamps in the Lavalounge of the Cheyenne Hologram Hawaii Hotel. Their cyber law teams brandished e-tracts signed and verified by brainscanner to be legally and morally binding.

Meanwhile Cumulo2017 gradually drifted east, where it began to disintegrate. Flashes of spring lightning illuminated its gray edges. The fluffiness was going down, the white was not so bright now, but the color of five year old underwear. This devalued the cloud to the point where desperation set in.

Finally, with the consent of the cyber law teams and the holojudge on iTV, Randy Dallum and Reeve Mangum agreed to an old solution to a modern problem. Reeve's cloud wrangler foreman Tommy Kissel produced his lucky Quarter. Dallum and Mangum nodded in silent agreement. Kissel flipped the blackened, tarnished coin into the air.

"Heayds." Said Dallum, never taking his eyes off the coin.

By then though it was too late. Cumulo2017 had broken up was now known as Cumulo2017a, Culumlo2017b, Culumlo2017c, Culumlo2017d, Culumlo201754897, and Culumlo20179846edg. As broken cumulofragments their value was now much lower than it had been only minutes before. The moisture thCumulo2017 carried was now vaporized back into the atmosphere instead of being transformed into biocredits in some cloud speculator's metaccount.

The Quarter hit the videofloor of the Lavalounge at the Hologram Hawaii Hotel in the heart of downtown Cheyenne. It spun and wobbled.

It was tails.


words: Michael K. White, Colorado (stories)
image: 'cardiac' - Jeff Crouch, Texas (more)


another story of the same penny: It Was Me (#9)


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BluePrintReview - issue 24 - micro cosmos