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Friction Slipping

It was early afternoon on Saturday. Jeffrey had just bought his second iced coffee from the Starbucks across the street and now he was sitting on a park bench reading a Stephen King novel. His eyes widened as he realized some astonishing plot detail, and as he went for a sip of his coffee, the cool plastic cup slipped out of his hands. It landed on the cigarette butt covered cement and, very strangely, it began to slide away from Jeffrey’s reaching fingers. Jeffrey was astounded. Why was his overpriced Starbucks coffee sliding away from him? He rubbed his eyes and stood up to go after it.

But, as soon as he began to stand, he slipped and fell. He fell forward, and very oddly, he began to slide along after his coffee cup. He wasn’t getting any closer to it and then all of a sudden he bumped into a middle aged woman wearing a green dress, who was, like himself, sliding along the concrete. The collision flipped him backwards, and he had a quick glance of the woman sliding into the street before his head fell gently onto the concrete. He heard a loud crash and felt something wet splatter onto his pant leg.

The blood on his leg wasn’t what caught his attention because the car that had run into the middle aged woman was, lacking any other words for what was happening, unraveling. The screws holding the wheels to the car popped out, the doors just fell off, and the car began to sink into itself. He barely noticed that the fabric of his clothing was breaking apart into individual fibers because there was a deafening reverberation, and a crack opened up in the middle of the street.

Everything on the opposite side of the street started to fall. But, before that even happened, the buildings disintegrated, clouds of concrete dust filled the air so Jeffrey could only hear the dying screams of pedestrians imploding. The building that he was currently grasping onto, since he’d slid away from the woman, broke apart into its constituents and turned to a gray dust. The concrete all around him dropped with astonishing speed into the abyss all around. For some reason, the small area that he occupied remained standing. He looked around in a wild shock. As if it were a tidal wave, the world he knew fragmented into gray dust. Into the distance he could see water rushing to fill the dusty plain and sink without resistance.

Everything, absolutely everything, was turning into gray goo. Jeffrey looked around. He was on a jutting pillar of concrete. Somehow this little piece of land had been spared, a six foot by six foot section of safety, a spire in a silent desert-like gray ocean. There was no more wind. Jeffrey sank to his knees and prayed, repeatedly kissing a small golden cross that hung around his neck, the only thing left on his naked body.

He thought to himself, and by accident spoke the words aloud, “Thank God for sparing me from the apocalypse. Perhaps an angel will come this way to bring me up to Heaven.” The words sounded dull, without resonance. Then, as if on call, he saw a silvery white speck in the muted sky. As it came closer he recognized it. It was the classic angel, just like he’d seen pictures of in church as a child, silver seagull wings gently flapping, a golden halo around its beautiful brow.

The angel landed on his pillar and smiled at him. He smiled back. Jeffrey was about to speak when the angel stepped forward, and with a divine white arm, gave Jeffrey a hearty shove. He fell backwards, and in the last moment before he fell over the edge of his sanctuary, he saw one last glimpse of that angel with its artificial celestial smile.

He fell towards the gray sea like he was in outer space and let out his last breath of despair as he slid into the shimmering abyss.

Friction Slipping


Chicago, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 3

Artist's Description

This story attempts to describe a scenario in which friction exponentially ceases to exist. It also includes some post-friction drama, involving organized religion.

Artwork Comments

  • Richard Hariri
  • Richard Hariri
  • tolabrennan
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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