Every once in a while I post free stories, usually science fiction (because I think science fiction is the only really hopeful literature, despite the snootiness of the "lit-writ-chure" crowd and the endless self-absorbed self-gazing of their psuedo-realism and psuedo-surrealism). Here's one I enjoyed recently.
For links to a few others try
The Contrary Gardener by Christopher Rowe
"Kay Lynne knew that her garden was part of the Federal war effort in a distant way. She knew that this man was talking about something not distant at all.
“What do you mean to make war against?” she asked.
Just then, a bell rang and a loud, controlled crash sounded from down on the track. Kay Lynne heard the hoof beats of swift horses, and then she heard the sonorous, spectral voice of the Molly Speaks. “And they’re off!”
At the pronouncement, the faces of the three agriculturalists took on identical dark looks.
The younger man said, “Against apostasy.”
Kay Lynne realized she had found her father’s fellow thinking machine conspiracists.
Their plan, as they explained it, was simple. They had weapons taken from the wreck of a Federal barge that had foundered in the river in a nighttime thunderstorm (when the younger man said “taken” the older man said “liberated”). They had many volunteers to use the weapons. They had, most importantly, tacit permission. They had agreements from the right people to look away.
“All we need is something to load into the weapons,” said the younger man. “Something of sufficient efficacy to render a thinking machine inert. We grow such by the bushel but Federal accountancy robs us of our own wares. We’d keep our own seeds, and make our own policies, you see? If we can increase our yields enough.”
Which was where Kay Lynne came in, with her deft programming, her instinct for fertilizing, her personally developed and privately held techniques of gardening. They meant to adapt what she knew to an industrial scale, and use the gains for anti-industrial revolution.
After they had explained, Kay Lynne had spoken aloud, even though she was asking the question