Listen to “Smilers” at Podcastle now! It was originally published in Bourbon Penn #20 in March 2020. Science Fiction World will also be translating “Smilers” into Chinese in a future issue. “Smilers” also received an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow‘s Best Horror of the Year Volume 13. The Smilerverse is spreading!
We’re loaded down with tampons and pads, and Mom’s heading straight for the cute checker’s lane. Seriously? I’d die if I had to stand there while he rung us out. It’s obvious, right? I totally get it, she’s distracted, sad about Lance and all that, but right now we’ve got bigger issues. I steer her toward the old lady’s lane.
Ms. Solevacj was in the middle of her 72-lap morning mile, the early sluggishness in her muscles burned off, leaving her feeling strong, a machine gliding through the water. This was why she swam, to reach this Zen-like headspace, her mind and body simultaneously relaxed and stimulated. In this state, and only in this state, she could think clearly, almost calmly, about the Smiler virus.