Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Growing Hope - Installment 9

Glass shattered just as I was about to turn the corner. I stopped in my tracks, arms over my head, muscles tensed, fight or flight response kicking in. First thought that went through my head? Fuck me, fuck me, I'm not leaving town tomorrow morning. Then I realized that the shattering wasn't anywhere near me, let alone on my neck, head, or elsewhere on my person. I quickly regained my composure and looked back at Reggie. He was getting up and leaving already, his three friends cowering. They were as freaked as me, glazed eyes staring at the corner covered in what could have only been beer. Thankfully, Reggie was headed back towards away down another hallway, away from Carol and Telson, and away from me. I breathed a sigh of sweet-lord-I'm-not-going-to-fucking-get-my-ass-beat-tonight relief. And, don't worry, I'm well aware that this doesn't make me a hard ass in anyone's eyes.

I continued quickly down the hall towards Shelly's studio. I could hear Kenchi's cast blaring through the closed door, competing well with my heart's jack hammering in my ears. “I’m going to say something, and I say this with complete confidence. I really do. I’m serious here. Don’t let this get around, because people might freak out or think I'm crazy, maybe try to 'shut me down'. OK. Everyone HIGH UP in power is out for themselves. I know, big shock to you kiddies, isn't it?” femme-Kenchi switched to robo-Kenchi. “They don't care about you or your neighbor anymore than a john cares about a prostitute,” Now to male, “Seriously. Big shock, huh?

“No?” Femme-Kenchi said softly. “Oh wait? I forgot?” and she abruptly raised her voice to a passionate, digitized yell, “we ALL FUCKING KNOW THAT ALREADY! Everyone! The people who are raping you, the next guy, your roommate, your mother, your dog, your best friend, and even your best friend's fucking mutt! Everyone with the giant phallus of corporate hegemony and corporate greed rammed in their rectum,” male, “(with no lube, because that costs extra, and the corporatocracy is all about the bottom line) knows it, feels it.

“The funny thing is: You’re not tied down. There’s no ball gag. And they’re just pounding away. The people of the Freelands hear you screaming. The people on Island TAZ hear you screaming. The people next door hear your screams above even their own. The whole fucking world hears you screaming. We've been hearing it for so long now over there in the Ameri-kas, that we're beginning to think you like it. So either learn to enjoy it, or stop. Go! Leave!

“Do you want to know why I left?? he said calmly, his voice morphing into that of a sultry french madame's, “I was tired of walking funny for weeks. I was tired of having a raw throat. I was tired of having my ears pierced by the grunting and rutting of corp execs and the wails of my fellow ass-rapees. I got sick of it. So I came here. To live and be happy. Why haven't you?” a brief pause followed after the question, then she was back, still in her madame voice. “This is Kenchi, casting from where you can only hope to be. Au revoir.”

Silence. I waited a few moments before knocking on Shelly's door, delivering the old rapataptap. “Yeah?” she shouted.

“Hey, it's Dorse. Can I come in.”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” she replied even voiced. I opened the door and went in. She was working on a painting of her deceased family, mostly based off memory and a few pictures that remained.

“Hey,” I began, “I, well,” pause, “well, I wanted to apologize for yelling at you.”

“Huh?”

“For yelling at you in Carol's room.”

She looked over her shoulder at me, slight smirk on her face, “Don't worry about it, Dorse. I overreacted. We've all got paths we're on. You and Telson have yours, the Fool's path. Me and Carol, we've got ours. Your mystical deity, Kenchi, will protect you like a talisman. I've got the clave.”

“Right... fool's card...” I wasn't certain what she meant, or if I should have felt insulted. Definitely over my head. Normally, when conversations with Shelly became more esoteric I just bowed out. “Anyway... Are you sure?” She just shrugged. “Because, I was thinking, you know, Telson and I could put off leaving for a couple days, help you guys set up the farm or something...” I trailed off.

“Yeah. I'm sure," she nodded reassuringly, "Hook put together our grid, and Carol can re engineer nanobots. I think we can handle a farm as long as we've got seed. Besides, you know I'll never hold anyone back from anything, especially not a friend.”

“Oh. Well... yeah, you're probably right, Shelly. Putting it together's the easy part.” I took a drink of beer, at a loss for words. My half-assed cunning plan to stay a couple more days hadn't worked. Now I just felt completely out of place, like a drunk who stumbles into a black tie event. “So, I was thinking about going back to the warehouse, you know, to pick up some tomatoes for trade. Most of the people around here love 'em.” She just looked at me like I was an idiot. Definitely wasn't going to take the bait. I wasn't going to get laid either. But I kept going anyways, “You want to-“

“No, Dorse. I think I'm just going to paint till the party gets going.”

“Oh. OK. I guess I'll see you there then?”

“Mmhmm.”

“Great.” Yeah. Right. Great.

Cross posted months, months, and more months ago at Frequency23.

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