“Gutentag, y Bienvenue a BuffaGrill! E-iner Ein XXXXX!” She’d pronouced the ErrorGarble, “EeeX.”
“Schr–pecken Zi- R’aLAnglaissS?”
“Yes, yes, we speak English, thanks,” said Pam.
“It’s an opening line mom!” said Rachael, chagrinned.
It was a very small blonde Japanese girl on a levitating Segway. She had on the shortest little orange miniskirt, fake NeauTats, bubble GumLips, retro airbrushed mascara, and candy blue eyes. “Oh, ok, um, what’s the Offset today?”
Rachael chimed in. “She means the like, what is it, Projection Costs for the end of the meal.
Her Grandfather went off to the restrooms after making the long journey out of his booth.
“Ah–I think…Let me come back to you.”
“Fine,” said Pam, dismissively.
The waitress came back with news on her face.
“We are protected under First Privacy Rights or whatev, um, well, you guys have nothing to worry about.”
“Oh okay fine then,” said Pam, instantly reposing to her colorful Static cardboard menu.
“Wait, what do you mean?”
After a while the manager arrived.
“Hey you guys, is there a difficulty ordering, I ah–my Server Angela here told me there were some questions that you had…”
Both of them at once. “Yes,” “No.”
“–What’s the meal gonna be at the end of the stay here?”
“You mean…the price?”
“It’s fixed on the menu.”
“Fixed, meaning, it changes.”
“Well, it can change, but it doesn’t usually.”
“Why is that? What is this?”
“Well, we’re immune to Price Projections cause of Bitzeri.”
“Cause of Bitzeri, how?”
“She is still four years old good sir, don’t worry about it, go about your business,” dismissed her mom.
Rachael didn’t care quite enough to press on.
“Ok Rach and Nana, while we’re waiting… why don’t wait a little bit longer until your Grampy comes back and then we’ll ah, well, we’ll start opening presents…?” It was also her Nana’s birthday, or at least, they were celebrating it today.
When Grampy came back he still had nothing to say and looked sick. “You okay Grampy?” inquired her mom, formalistically. “He’s all right,” reassured Nana.
Unwrapping of presents had been going on in the meantime. Pam had actually given Rachael a set of NeauDice, and she was beaming out of it. “Thanks mom,” she was utterly surprised. How’d she remember, she never remembers anything important…?
In another, slightly larger box, Rachael again bolded her eyes and then squinted a out of what might have been shock. There it was, the holy grail: “NeauMaquillage!”
“Oh my God oh my God, thank you so much Mom!” The inside was nothing but a tini-black box that could barely be seen inside a clear white box. It had a large CAMBIAN insignia that burned its way to the top seemingly rising from inside some kind of invisible liquid. She touched it and it came to life, first turning a dark steel black, like some kind of molten liquid, after which it opened and gave a little Halo presentation of the assortment of different ways to make use of the little blue stick set in the center of the black steel.
Rachael picked it up and examined it as it were a little wounded bird, cupping it in her palm and raising it to try and make out details on the muted material. There were none.
“Remember Rach, when you go back to the presentation, touch instructions and it’ll tell you all about it. You gotta put it in its box every night now…”
“Oh, really why”
“Yeah, I don’t know, but that’s what it says…”
Rachael replayed the last part of the presentation.
“It says it needs to soak…” Rachael then turned to her mom and looked at her glassy eyes. She was trying to look in. Was it in her head or was her mom just impenetrable. At least she hadn’t stopped smiling, and that seemed genuine.
Pam even gave her a big hug after that when she said thank you. She held her tight and seemed to tremble slightly. No one else would have noticed, it was faint and subtle, but Rachael did.
“Okay folks, let’s start picking up this wrapping paper eh?” said Pam, Nana and Grampy had opened their presents halfway. Nana had indeed opened the first of three little boxes and beheld a set of incense candles and a Rap Music gift receipt.
“Nana you sure do like you’re ghettie rap huh?” Rachael was feeling generous. “Yeaahup,” said she, from another world, blank eyes.
Pam took up the baton. “So, we’re…we’ll this is what your Grampy picked out for us to see tonight…
The waitress decided to leave and come back. “It’s okay, he left abruptly, so…” Rachael said to the waitress, apologetically. Pam didn’t even think of it.
Pam distributed the brochure like pamphlets to everyone and left one sitting there for the ol’ Colonel on his place setting.
Rachael then faintly pantomimed all the actions involved, had she vomited all over the table when she thought everyone’s attention was securely sucked into their spectacles, reading… Her Nana, her Grandmother, caught it, sitting right in front of her, amongst the four of them at the round loud yellow table. She then gave her a brief smile, but then a half-joking look of warning.
“At Last, Something Wicked,” it read, a Playbill for some cheese-ass, as Rachael would put it– ‘old-people play.’ All the actors and actresses were featured as glossy crystal clear and colorful images and indeed, were all seniors of the Bitseri-Maryland Resort itself. The peppier ones. Or at least, Senior actors of the München District.
“So…” It was the ‘I have news tone,’ Pam always used.
But Rachael stopped thinking of that and settled into a weary feeling creeping down her spine…
“We have someone waiting actually!” said Pam, now beaming of some virginal light.
Standing there, right there, coming into her vision, was a tall attractive boy with dirty blonde hair. Beside him was Helen, directly in tow.
Rachael turned to Pam instantly. She’d already processed what she thought her mom’s root motive was in this.
“Mom, that is fucking not fair, you did not tell him there would be this kind of company.
She thought she was using her mom’s own sense of etiquette against her, but it was no use.
“I do not fucking care, you will take him and her away, as soon as we get a break!” She was whispering. Violently.
Her mom merely smiled, gloating. Then reached over to take Rachael aside.
“Give us a moment.” She had not ceased to beam light.
“Rachael, I know I just brought it up, but Helen contacted me because there’s a new event, soon, for engineers, and girls have a leg up being a minority…”
There was a dagger of betrayal engulfing Rachael’s throat, making it thicker and thicker, breathing harder and somehow clearer, profound gasps, though she was trying to hide the physicality of her indignation. Tears were welling up. Arms were cold and jittery.
Yet she could not in that moment muster the feelings of hatred for her mom at the likes of clear and rational Helen. Lone Helen, as of Troy? Maybe not, Rachael considered. But of somewhere better, and got plopped into this shit, this culture…then ended up believing half of it…
Such was Rachael’s theory anyway.
The betrayal in that moment, was mixing in, not like oil and water, but homogenizing into a distinct affection for Helen.
Girls don’t fucking have periods anymore, Camille! What the hell is causing these emotions!?
Rachael thought this, reproachfully, yet eagerly and in some way, unidentifiably greedy for it. Whatever ‘it’ was.
Andrew was an Adonis.
RD AUTO Message 170: Sat 12, Octobre 2086 – Steinenhurst, Maryland |
The air would have been gray.
There was a breeze that sort of didn’t dare make too much sound.
Old people were marching in unison.
The new UFED Cooperation with the Steinenhurst Micro-State of Maryland kicked off an Ad campaign targeting the 45 and up. A series of blockbuster romantic comedies featured newly revived, key pre-era celebrities–and had now consolidated the previously scattered market for seniors. Among these changes; we now had funeral parlors, B&Bs, pancake and breakfast houses, diners, nursing homes as well as Assisted Living communities, all contained inside official Theme Parks with rides!
The beach of the local Bitzeri ‘Arrangement Living and Interment’ camp was a faint sap green and billowed into a muted tan around where its dunes would peak. You could see the yellow blotchy horizon, and the bay, even the ocean beyond, but somehow, none of these things seemed to make a difference. A fog of atmospheric haze coming in from the sea collided with the long perspective of the boardwalk until it disappeared into the sky. The walls that lined the boardwalk were made of a watery blue brick that loomed over their tennis courts and workout cul-de-sacs. Somehow it looked as if to be missing the crown of its own barbed wire. But there were no imprints of where it would have been, as the brick was freshly painted twice a year.
The pitter-patter of quiet sneakers hitting the ground seemed to be in slow motion. Looking at an old painting try to move and watching these people exercise would have required the same visual attention. Somehow it was as if witnessing only the aftermath of some distant speed. They had on noisy jump suits that represented the entire color spectrum. And still, the sharpest thing in Rachael’s gaze was the grayish-blue metal of the fence she clung her fingers to.
She felt playful, suddenly. Murmurings of things past echoed throughout her mind. She’d known pure boredom enough to make life a race against it. She started playing with these thoughts, tossing them around. She did this until she discovered the game in her head had turned her into an insect.
More like a bumble-bee, maybe.
They had made their way into the waiting lobby when her mom turned to her. “Rach–what’s your SSN again?”
“They can’t pull up Fingers or Hands here.”
She gave it to her and looked around the dull yellows and grays that made up the lobby’s ceiling, aside from the skylights. A small company library could be seen to her right, possessing a curious addition on an island in this adjacent room that could have at one point, been a kitchen.
They stood in the center of the circular lobby filled with baby blue chairs, marble seeming walls, shiny black tile floors, and funny looking glass sculptures. All of this on the axis of a tiny fountain of ornate, undulating white metal. It was inactive and sort of hidden. Hallways spun off from the lobby in four directions.
They were visiting her Grandmother, not quite ailing enough yet in her old age, they all thought, underneath it all…
It was the one on her mom’s side. Rachael was always bored with this sort of thing. Smiles, nods and fractured anecdotal conversation was her fate every time she went. Why should she be made to think anything different?
They made their way down hallways of that sweet, sickly aroma so indicative of rotting flesh. That is, of old age.
Monitors passed them, stuck one after the other on the walls, maybe ten of them to a hall. They were most of them, dead, black screens. Dead to their Eyes anyway, but not the Eyes of the inmates here, or any of the staff for that matter.
“So, I have to tell you Rachael, there was something I did talk to Helen about that I’d like you to consider seriously…”
RD AUTO Message: -2090, Sun 17, Octobre 2081 – Centerville, VA. Off-Line |
The vintage bicycle was a shiny blue.
And silver. Leaves fell. Many bright colored leaves covered that mat quality of the early morning tar meeting the sun.
The kick stand came flying up into its place. The spokes of the wheels were not rusted as she’d thought the night before, just some dirt. She shined its surface every other day.
Rachael was sitting on the shiny red seat, and a puff of air trapped inside, came out like she was farting. She hated that sense, the sense that things weren’t serious. But she had to forget it, there was work to be done, a journey ahead of her. She’d been at the hospital the night before. That one last night. With him.
The woods would lead to the clearing and from there, she would take the path to the riverbed near the Airport. Orbs of white and yellow light were seeping from the crest of the horizon where the river water mixed with the sun and the harbor ocean.
The bike was going fast! She heard the music in her Ears blaring and she couldn’t help but think that the land, this expanse of light and endless sidewalk, the endless blue tin railing…they were the music.
Roaring could be heard and she was then feeling the air envelop her entire body, lifted from the bicycle, her heart pounding with excitement. Her purple cloche hat nearly came right off, she was so fast. Her white dress, cinched at the waist, was filling up with air and flapping all over the place. She sat on it and that seemed to solve the problem.
Today is different. I think I’ll avoid the woods.
This roar was of a DerGoG Jet, rising like a flying whale from the depths of the river, the last of the Airbourne flights in the developed world.
Her bike profiled, scrolling with the Jet, enormous NeauMetal and bellowing steel. A bulbous fuselage, but elegant; 2more like its predecessor, the old Airbuses before they’d been put out of commission, long ago.
She looked at her tiny silver watch: 5:30HRS.
But it’s not time!
Rachael sped up, faster and faster, pounding her little feet to the peddles.
She hadn’t actually seen the planes. But she remembered. She could always remember.
The Great Hall extended two kilometers in either direction.
The multitude of paper Thyn, textureless, organic and intelligent data systems comprised the surface of its perfectly self-illuminated white walls, cascading fourteen meters tall, from ceiling to floor, covering every inch of the length of the Hall. There were featureless steel looking vaults at either end. Only spoken User-Authorized command could let anyone in, and only those pre-Authorized on the fly, every time anyone entered. Even the echoes of voices were dwarfed by the immensity of the space it enclosed. And it was wet, but only on either side, so the floor and ceiling were perfectly dry. Thin, and sometimes, micro Thyn waterfalls of all kinds of speed and slowness fell either toward or away from gravity, only to disappear, then seemingly reappear from the ceiling. Or was it the floor? One couldn’t tell the difference unless the streams were ‘mapped out.’
“We’re all glad you’re back Helen,” said her boss, Dr. Damiand, his voice, echoing next to the quietly streaming water putting a dancing light on Helen’s smooth round face. Her eyes were even more crystalline in the blue and yellows reflected off the sparkling falls. The side of her face that stood next to the water, caught the glint of a sharp melting pocket of light when it mixed in with her hair.
“Yes, good to be back!”
She’d taken off a few days from work to help David with the yard software.
“Yeah, good to have you back!” he repeated as if nothing had been said the moment previous. “We were getting a tad worried you’d get too used to the retired life, after three days, that is…”
Helen moved the petrie dish that seemed to have nothing on it, from one tiny rectangular white plate to another, then began to feed it into the blank wall. The flowing water opened smoothly, like a curtain, its edges quickly conforming to the shape of her hand. Her delicate finger tips pressed to the surface of the unrelenting Wall, perfectly dry, as it took in the petrie dish. A featureless levitating metal slate stood beside her at arm’s level that held a whole set of different lengths of Thyn glass cylinders, a dull surface to each one. They looked almost too Thyn to support their own length.
She and the head Dr. or U-Dr., were in the Una-Hall, right there in the center of the ‘Higher Dynamics’ department at UNATRAD Headquarters, deep within the compound she had so acclimated to over the years.
The walls had no markings on them of any kind other than the fact that it was white and the surface looked like seamless, polished marble. It was actually a series of machines with interacting nodes that lit up if anyone touched any of them. The vault door they were closest to, looked to be the size of a car wheel, the other, the diameter of a dime.
“Turn on the Emo-Reader,” said the Dr.
“Yes, of course,” said Helen. “Yes, Final Sunset please, it will soothe her…”
Helen clicked her fingers over a few green squares that emerged from the wall as buttons and then receded back into the wall as if never having changed its shape. This activated a set of instructions read in yellow light with light grey outlines, emerging as real as ink on paper, in the consistency and most of the physics of both. This was her work, she and this wall. “Me and my wall,” she’d joke about at home. She could say certain things, as long as they were without context or claim. It was here on the surface of the wall that Helen spent most of her hours and days. She lived through this, because she couldn’t think outside of ‘the many.’ Not in a serious way. She was and would always be of the few, and for the many.
The instructions that had appeared, were as follows:
U CAN = Run. Syntha TURBINES Cron Manager Commencing via POWERLITE INC. = NMR to CVR 25655 (Africa) S C E N A R I O
THEN. U = Enis.
UNDER. U = Run 62% Enis; Then. All Sub Drives.
WITH. Ab U = Collate. Divise. Collaborate Run Program.
IF. U = F-Dev. Avail. Capacity. Trans.
THEN. UJ = Run Gateway
IF NA THEN U = Gateway Active
IF LESS – THEN U = Run Forum: January.
U = U
“Okay, here we go then..,” said Helen, stretching dormant vocal chords with a choppy start.
IF U = U. THEN –
Please wait a moment…
She could remain still like this while the computer processed, sometimes for whole half hour stints.
.U = January-Transitional Commencing.
U = Forum Inactive.
U = Run + X O X A X B X X L X I S T X X X XXXX||||
She tapped something in midair and then this appeared…
U = Run + S O X A X B X X L X I S T X X X XXXX JuXXX
U = Cron-Morning-Snow.
U = Forum Active.
U = Gateway Active.
U = DoubleFace. Active.
U = Morning Active.
U = Phonograph Commencing Periodic Sound Vibration ‘Music.’
USC = “To whose star do you face Helen XXXXXXXX?”
“Morning Snow,” said Helen back to the MachineWall.
UJ + USC = DoubleFace. Active.
D345fgh9987d345fgrpentagonissued=+?< – RUN PENTAGON ISSUED DOCUMENTS TO USC INDONESIA CLIENT – ON -MEGA-FLIGHT 25655 USC (Affiliate) AIR – >Ca>Home<-/-*DARA> U = RUN HOME = END STATE THEN <-/-*DARA HOME> wait the birdcage is|
a fw-class-678cf2122651d430a0e345ea7406ee74 Indonesia Client 25650 = FALSE. libido animals produce| D345fgh9987d345fgrpentagonissued=+??D345fgh9987d345fgrpentagonissued=-?D345fgh9987d345fgrpentagonissued=+?< D345fgh9987d345fgrpentagonissued=-?< D345fgh9987d345fgrpentempty|more
TRUE>libido animals . more
Active = Morning + Snow += linkedseries = linkedseries ++
MORNING ACTIVE 2…
“I Face Early Morning Snow.”
And with this more zillions of calibrations were made, and she was finally in. For that day.
“Okay, Dr., now I think we’re ready to proceed.”
“Good, good, okay…Is Gateway Active?”
“Sure is. And, the new Sonic-Architecture is underneath everything.”
“Great, okay,” he said, adjusting his spectacles, appearing also to get slightly more situated in his medical Jacket. He was a much older man than anybody she worked with, in his late 90s.
“Did you tell it what Star to Face?”
“Yes, she is facing Morning-Star, January Transitional Commencing.”
“Cron is checking for receding fractions. Oh, sorry, receding Pairs.”
“Yes doctor, the fractions are finally multiplying in pairs.” Pairs are the most efficient way that equations of this sort could multiply organically.
“Ha, my god, that’s…That—are—are you sure??” He knew she couldn’t be more sure.
“Well, aren’t you surprised at least, I mean, the Theorem worked, we have Gateway responding intelligently to multiplying exponentials here, that act biologically, no less. Don’t you get it–not only a Learning Brain, but a brain that can self-evolve its own biological matter!”
The absence of excitement was shored up by Helen’s ever present miniature smile existing only on the right or left side of her face, like the Mona Lisa. At least that was the joke around the Lab.
“Well, it’s what we’ve been working toward all along here, isn’t it?”
“Helen, you’re such a talent, and yet, you don’t give a shit or a hoot about any of it.” He’d said that smiling, but reproached himself when he suddenly asked why. To himself, of course. But it was too late, he had to pay attention, and resigned his thought on the scroll of his presently focused mind.
She knew what a revelation he must have felt, what a breakthrough this was for him. For him. For everybody else. She was simply delighted though, in the emotional reaction people made, that actually made things, produced things–could feel like. She’d always pay his passion just the proper amount of lip service though.
But all she could think about was The Game with her Hubby later on that evening. It had been like this, for as long as she worked at UNATRAD. She was just so damn good at everything requiring the quick witted understanding of harmonics and Bio-Symbol-Systems, I mean, you name it in terms of what she’d sought out to do. Certain concepts that took others forever, she could do in minutes. Made her non-expendable.
The good Dr. did find it mildly odd she shared no exchange of passion with him, ever. Maybe that’s just how women are, he thought. It never occurred to him what actually resulted in putting this conclusion to action. Then again, he didn’t do much other than spend time at the lab’s facilities in some way or other.
There were also the rumors. Oh, the rumors, she’d say to herself. But in the end, she told herself she cared and ignored the fact it didn’t change her life in any immediate way, so her interests would then stray to thinking about something random, like Jenny. This typically wouldn’t last very long before she was on to Kenson’s new album and her top Fetish shows.
She looked at him just then, almost to test herself. She knew what he’d done. The child he molested was nine, not ten as the authorities reported, and there were rumors that bounded through Space and Time itself, it seemed, that he had been molesting his daughter, Harietta, all along. There was no way to prove anything either way but the surveillance of the church the incident occurred in.
Intra-Cam Nano Surveillance wasn’t allowed in the homes of certain elect Diplomats. Dr. Damiand had no Nano Recording installed in his home, ever, due to his membership to Global Community One, GCO–CAMBIAN’s Central Global Networks, since 2044.
She had known the wife, Johanna. But whenever this thought came back into her head, somehow she had a harder and harder time imagining it. What she didn’t realize is that if she’d ever tried, she would have discovered the same difficulty in imagining anything. And the test resulting in the same thing: she couldn’t feel more than distant from actually loving this stuff.
She also and weirdly, knew that his daughter was no longer ‘present’ on God’s Good Earthen Soil, either. Harietta Damiand had died in a horrible Hover accident involving several or more automobiles. She was nine at the time of her death.
He had loved her, like Daddy’s do. Or like, Daddy’s can. To complicate things, Johanna, his wife was going senile. Her sudden dementia was combatted with restructuring software and everything, but in the end, she just slipped away.
This made things more convenient for him of course, especially. Harietta had been made of God’s Good Flesh when she lived. She was made of God’s Own Good Born Silicate and now, well now, she was made of wood. Dr. Damiand, resurrected her by copying what the Intra-Portable Equiv-MRI Bot, that is, the brain software, had recorded for the duration of her life. Damiand, being privy to software and Skins in the Lab, got quite a discount in taking over the more expensive parts of her. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a Hollywood man, nor exposed to many artists, so he regarded Human Silicates to be cost prohibitive. Anybody with his income could have found a less expensive Human Silicate Equiv., but he was an old fashioned kind of guy, and the new Networks Spots and channels were a little too fast paced for the likes of him.
The IPE-MRI Bot had obtained most of the details. Things like the surface textures identities of formica or certain types of metal and wood etc., didn’t copy over. Amongst an entire host of lost data, such as her first time using the toilet, which as a mahogany wood Real Girl, a subtype of Rubber Girls and RBoys.
So, Harietta was now made of mahogany, fine polished dark cherry wood. The Dr. Had grown to like the aesthetic of wood. But his sexual appetite was taken care of on behalf of the FED Marriage Sexual Health Act of 2067. He had amassed enough FED-MSHA-2067 money in a special FED linked account, to buy him RealSkyyn, or actual organic home grown genetically engineered flesh and muscles in a small private Lab. She would have RealSkyyn, soon.
There was something different though, even to her now. She had begun uttering things her mom had said, his wife and himself, could only have known, as they had never shared certain details with Harietta.
“Hey Cam, come here quick for a second.”
“Ok, what’s up?”
“All right, first of all–are you Mikin’ sure that this Switch Light is the only data device that’s retaining this event?”
“I mean except for Unambiguous. eah…why?”
“Take a look at this. Look, the two numbers.”
“What? Oh, wait, yeah, I guess–they’re not the same number but…”
“But they are the same number of digits.”
“Holy fuck, you are right! So what does that mean? Naw, no way, were not doin’ what I think you’re getting at.”
“Oh, so you know what I’m getting at?”
“I think so, you wanna use these digits somehow to…to make money somehow…”
“Yeah, literally, like, Print money.”
“No one uses Print money anymore.”
“Not off the Main Line.”
“So, the only places we could use whatever you’re concocting is here in central CAMBIAN?”
“Not, ah, what about Oakland Community Mall?”
“OCM is so…”
“Ghettie I know, but not entirely, they have some good stuff cause like, business men go through there…”
“I don’t know, Oakland? That’s so dangerous though.”
“You know it’s funny, as much as you say you hate your mom, sometimes you really listen to what she says…”
“What?? Whatever, I guess, well anyway, I’ve got nothing against going, but well, what are we even talking about here Kim?”
“Camel Toe, this is an entry key code for bills, and its just a coincidence it matches up here, I mean, not just the digits, but the letters and dashes too! And Una gave it to you, prolly for a reason. Mike! This is what my Dad does or well at least knows a lot about money printing in the old days and he pointed out the number range of certain numbers that are or were allegedly, numeral skeleton keys.”
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