September Bloom: “Deck and Rail Revolution”

Many thanks to Alexandra M. for submitting a good deed experience that inspired me to write this month’s flash fiction story entitled Deck and Rail Revolution. Below is an excerpt from her submission.

When we were preparing to welcome our first baby, I mentioned to my friend Steven that we planned on hiring someone to build a deck in our backyard. A few days later, he said “Don’t hire someone. I’ll just build you one.” This summer Steven drew plans, ordered materials, and built it, refusing to take payment.

"Deck and Rail Revolution"

outdoor deck with flowerpotBy the year 2055, Bubble Plot homes dominated the nation’s housing stock. Demand had soared thirty years earlier when people in towns and cities sought protection from neighbors and the world. The houses came equipped with screens for watching, reading, and purchasing whatever anyone in them needed, from gaming to granola. Each house had battery-powered generators and roof top drone pads for deliveries that dropped through chimney-like passages into cavernous, refrigerated bunkers.

These windowless homes included every state-of-the-art feature for sequestering legitimate household members and sparing them from encountering outsiders. Bubble Plot deed restrictions prohibited outdoor spaces of any kind. Local laws governing them required that adults work remotely, students learn virtually, and no one venture outside, except in cases of critical accident, serious illness, or death. Exceptions for these cases required 24-hour advance notice for approval from local authorities. Bubble Plot patrols conducted daily rounds to enforce rules and remove violators who dared to venture out.

Alice and Andy became a couple after meeting at one of the illegal underground convenings of Outdoor United, a resistance movement dedicated to resurrecting connections among people beyond closed doors. The couple managed to purchase one of the more modest homes and spent a year planning with comrades during clandestine meetings. Collaborators ranged from city dwellers to off-the-grid aficionados to out-of-work execs from deck and rail companies that had been forced out of business. With the help of their underground network, Alice and Andy amassed the tools and supplies they needed for an 8’x15′ DIY deck project which they erected late one night at the front of their house.

The next morning, in full view of their Bubble Plot neighbors, they sat outside sipping coffee and eating croissants, awaiting their fate. Within eleven minutes, they heard the blaring siren of a Bubble Plot patrol van. Brakes screeched outside their door. Three patrollers cuffed the couple, deconstructed the deck, and dragged them off. Before the van’s back door closed, Andy and Alice caught sight of several neighbors slipping out of their homes and waving pictures displaying playgrounds and parades. One of the larger images depicted a porch with a group of people sipping lemonade and chatting with passersby. Word about Alice and Andy’s arrest spread through Bubble Plot lands across the region. That week all their neighbors started building outdoor spaces too, spurring a national deck and rail revolution that someone named “Burst the Bubble.”