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Friday, 4 April 2008

Published 'Sivullinen' 1995




The streets were blurred with rain.  Sebastian Kite was wandering the backwaters of a town he thought he knew like the palm of his hand.  But, as the forthcoming night brought the skies closer to ground-level, he found himself in quarters impenetrable - which, in warmer, less foggy days, were speedy with the hard-limned faces of the Undergones.


            He had been employed as agent provocateur by forces unfathomable.


            "Go and find those who need sympathies to latch on to."


            "I'm not the sort to have followers."


            "Just smile, Sebastian, because we've replasticked your image into a likeness they're bound to have drooled over in the walkin-walkouts."


            Sebastian looked askance.  He could not recall his own childhood, as if he had always been a VR junkie, with no home or mother to speak of.  His brain turned over with tolerances and margins-of-error that had been built into the flesh-corroded metal of his skull - whilst the resultant tunnel-vision cranked hard to keep pace with moving targets.  He was not perfect, but if he had been, he'd've been even less so.


            Heavy drizzle was easy.  Though when the shoreless slanting skies opened up later, Sebastian closed his eyes and took heed of the gyre-needle within his shell hat.  They had said that if all else failed, he could try that particular reality-gizmo, tipped towards winning within its loose-oiled gambleworks.  The needle, indeed, would be necessary when beyond the end-scenarios of the city in vicinages that neo-teens and sub-fogeys roamed in whatever weathers.


            Sebastian had been told that grown-ups, in the old sense, had realised that it had gone on all along, but, in rebellion against the inevitable bid-and-offer gaps of the various generations, they had constructed histories which only they could control ... until, too late, they died out, leaving exactly nobody in control.  Their youngsters had discarded all feasible histories, even the false ones.  Mutant gangs of these ill-grafted souls ranged the now leafless suburbs.  Mind-spinning less than their forebears for fear of religious rust, holding on to their identities along with their dreams, thus the trouser-head culture was spurned.  Sebastian found one such, crouching in the gutter's flow.  He then prised the microbone from the dry area of his ribcage and thrust it under the nose of his first target.


            "Those at home will be interested to know what made you come here?"


            "Where's thy spunkin' camera?"


            Sebastian pointed to the helicopteroid the churning blades of which raised the spray.  He then thrust a finger up his left nostril to take control as the huge hosepipe that had lurched from his spinal column thrashed to and fro as it docked with the pulsing belly of the helicopteroid.  It was a live programme of which Sebastian Kite was the celebrity of ceremonies.  His mind had once belonged to a craze-crossed youth, so he knew, or thought he knew, what made their innards tick.  That was why the adult breed had employed him: they needed someone who straddled the cultures.  Sebastian had taken on the job, for he wanted to be in the mainstream of the media, to strut his stuff under timechecks, quickflash captions and transverse-screen news-futures.


            Sometimes, the interviewees failed to behave, as they would have done in real time recordings.  Today was one such occasion.  Sebastian was only a little older that those who stalked for the benefit of the armchair brigade - those couch potatoes and sofa sausages that had square souls.  But nothing seemed to tongue up this particular guttersnipe.


            "Hey moosh, git that spunkin' makeen outta the air, clattrin and splattrin like a spider biggus a nigger's igloo."


            "Hold on, hold on, there are millions watching from that thing up there, wanting to know, to understand the culture you represent.  You see, you are a derelict, an underclass, and they want to learn about you before Sunday Dinner."


            "Underclass?  Undieclass.  Spinning-glass.  Yep, I'm a grunthead, but more flesh and bone than ever the likes of you, Kite-shite.  The rain fogs me bones, but rather that than be like you, O TV Man!"


            Sebastian carried the gaze of millions upon his back, which he now tried to shake off like a dog fresh from dunking.  He watched the young refusenik crawling away along the gutter and he signalled desultorily for the helispider to hang lower.  He took the mouthpiece between his gritted teeth and tried to sound off between the ratchetting of the carapace rotors, as if he were commenting live upon the needle match of his own existence.   Meat versus metal.  The rain clouded his face like interference on an old recording.







Posted by augusthog at 7:58 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 4 April 2008 7:59 AM EDT
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