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Author Topic: EP728: The Cost of Wonder  (Read 1065 times)


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on: April 17, 2020, 05:08:41 PM
Escape Pod 728: The Cost of Wonder

Author: Leah Cypess
Narrator: Tina Connolly
Host: S.B. Divya
Audio Producer: Summer Brooks

This story first appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, February 2019


I’ll keep this one, I thought, that day at the fair, as the sunset cut a sharp line across the sky. Gina’s laughter rose in a crescendo of delighted giggles, and life seemed absolutely perfect: a sparkling gift of wonder and joy.

I could never afford a memory like this, but I wasn’t buying this one. I had made it, and it was mine, and I wanted it to last forever.

I’m not going to sell this day.

But even as I thought it, I was calculating, trying to guess just how much it was worth. I had known today would be magical; I had dressed Gina for the part, in a little denim dress and matching hat, both of which I’d bought with my earnings from last week’s trip to the playground. The hat flattened but didn’t tame her curls, and her round face was stretched by her smile. She squealed again as soap bubbles filled the air, trying to catch them with tiny, uncoordinated half-jumps, unaware of the iridescent globes settling all over her arms.

My heart swelled with a joy so potent it almost hurt, and I swore it again: I’ll keep this day for myself.

But the next morning Gina woke up sobbing, with a temperature so high she was hot to the touch. I had to beg the doctor to let me bring her in. He was busy, but he relented; I always paid on time.

It was, as I had feared, strep throat. I looked at the antibiotics prescription, which included the price, and knew the day at the fair was already gone.

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Languorous Lass

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Reply #1 on: April 19, 2020, 03:39:44 PM
Excellent story.  It heartbreakingly captured the hopelessness of poverty and its insidious strain on relationships, without turning into a sermon.  And Tina Connelly did her usual wonderful job as narrator.


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Reply #2 on: June 22, 2020, 09:39:54 PM
I really liked this story. It was very subtle, almost too subtle. It took me a while to understand that the grandmother didn't particularly like the mother because she had sold all her good memories of them together and was left only with the bad. I think it's amazing that the mother then took steps to make sure that didn't happen to her and her daughter. Well done.