NEW FICTION: RESURFACING BILLY by Douglas Lain

Paul Raven @ 03-11-2008

This month’s Futurismic story is a sober yet striking piece of work; Douglas Lain has constructed a moody and multilayered metaphor that compares our approach to waste management with our approach to our own minds… and the minds of our children.

Charged with subtle emotion, “Resurfacing Billy” will provide you with plenty of food for thought, and greatly rewards a close re-reading. Enjoy!

Resurfacing Billy

by Douglas Lain

About half way through my thirty-fifth year, some problems came up. My young son was unbalanced and maladjusted to school, my wife’s bohemian tendencies made her myopic and unable to respond to the situation, and the garbage buried under the wicker weave surface of our neighborhood leaked through. Toxic sludge oozed up in the parking lot of our local Food Co-Op, on the bike trail, and in our own backyard.

I didn’t know what to do about my wife and son, but my solution for the leakages in the Hawthorne neighborhood was the gumball. The design was colorful, nostalgic, and tactile. I felt confident that resurfacing the district with red, green, and yellow globes designed both to stick into a coherent and easily traversable surface and to separate into individual objects that pedestrians could manipulate, would work. I would win another ASLA prize. Organic and absorbent, they were designed to neutralize and sanitize leakages that occurred where the tarp lost integrity; the gumballs would change colors when exposed to toxins, serve as a warning system as well as a surface. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: RESURFACING BILLY by Douglas Lain”