Wednesday, September 16, 2009

deviation street

they arrived on deviation street and entered the baila. the air in ashleigh's secret baila, emitted through an overhead airshower, felt like a heady mixture of styrene and lambic. ivan and jesus rushed toward two of the old, svelt white plastic consoles, which were distributed in a pentagram shape in the center of the room. arturo looked around curiously, as this spot was designed for neuroelectric outsourcing, of which he was already equipped. he noticed what looked to be salvage punks accustomed to operating in the drag, motionless, entranced by the holographic pronbots at each console. the wall to the left animated in symbiosis with the psychic wavezones of salt water lapping a generically-dreamed shore. to the right, beer on tap along with a digital menu board advertising drink specials in verdana font where a fairly obvious android, reminiscent of an aging rock star's reality love show, chatted up patrons and mixed drinks.

arturo felt the world giving him the finger and ordered a drink, "more-less-by-division," he told the barkeep.

"hee-yaw, coming right up, captain," shouted the droid, as he spun liqueur cherries out of cayenne pepper rolls and threw them into the whiskey glass. next, he poured the whiskey. next layer, milk and honey. topped it off with alkermes, vermouth, strega and slid it over the white plastic veneer with calculated carelessness. arturo sat down on the aluminum stool and took a sip. pronbots were chatting with each other in the strata and delivering drinks to the cats at the consoles. arturo's eyes landed on ivan and jesus who were frozen before the console, lost in ovid-tinged erotic dreams.

for 10 new yen, ashleigh's secret offered a menu of holographic orbital erotic-dreams. arturo had telepathically transferred the 20 new yen to ashleigh's secret, and ivan and jesus had placed their heads in the consoles, securing the trodes in order for their eeg to be read. a menu of dreams hosted by the partner corporation, alluretube enticed visitors with various interactive erotic fantasies. ivan's mind wandered to the beach setting labeled "most popular" where holographic pronbots began feeding him wild fruit. his sensory perceptions were sated by his eye movements in the holo temple as he directed the women on the beach in accordance with the oscillations of his whims. three women, sand, cranes flying overhead in the gentle breeze where palm leaves shook. loves body is taken in visual literacy to the delta of venus before the light fades and time's up.

jesus, too, had found something kinkier, wilder so he thought. his eyes made their way to the "once in your lifetime" submenu where he focused on the bathroom of a dirigible untethered to the art deco night sky. a flight attendant was coaxing him, no, seducing him into the restroom. she was tanned or more of a cafe-au-lait complexion, a eurasion married to a wealthy executive who was searching for something young and fast and dangerous. jesus was her man in jesus's mind. he entered the restroom, and in a frenzy they tore off each other's clothes. he felt her pressed up against him, overtaken with longing, lust. jesus moved his hands over her. she unzipped his fly and began going down in him.

arturo continued to sip his drink, amused by the operations of the last vestiges of holo temples. a pronbot began chatting with one of the patrons, caressing his back, moving her hands ever lower. she reacted to each of his actions with programmable efficiency. she was programmed with words, odds, the entire computer system of human consciousness. the mex was putty in her hands as she moved him toward a bead curtain to the left of the bar where neon lights illuminated beanbag beds. the pronbots knew how to sell themselves and exploit the immediate need for gratification and the furtive excitement of backroom sex, but they were at a technological disadvantage to the erotic mental gymnastics possible in the wind tunnel of imagination waiting at each console.

he shot down the remaining whiskey, content to leave the two mexicans to walk back on their own, arturo headed for the door. "you pop-dream enabling types are unbearable. look at that shit," she said, pointing to the 11layr building, its spiraled slip-stream mercury swerving up, up, up to the crystal pyramid staring down on the city with tyrannical aplomb. "the collective dream of peasant favored fascism. tacky as fuck!" these words had been echoing in his head for the past week. her fury melded into his nonchalant walk to ling-po's. she was beyond beautiful, beyond anything he could have dreamed up. her cyan colored, emblemless cotton sweatshirt cut to form, her taut black cotton tights stopping just short of heavenly ankles and then what? slippers on her delicate ivory feet. arturo could see that beyond her grey eyes and the tangle of dark brown hair creeping ever-so about her shoulders lurked a terraform future, a terraform present. "pardon me?" he asked, bitten by something more than surprise - say, real stabbing pain. "you heard me, asshole. i saw you walk out of that building... look at you in that ridiculous getup, like an ancient hairy-backed roman senator. are you even human?" he scuttled past her, trying to ignore, forget. he continued on to ling po's.

now, leaving the baila, these words mutated, fractured, reverberated in his mind, tracing across the inside of his forehead like childhood remembrances of an old exorcist horror show. he toggled into the beyond and ordered a smartblade. the car tried to make small talk. “hey, pard, how 'bout the dodgers this year? escobar's due for a breakout season.” arturo managed a conventional affirmation before arriving at his galley. “hello, art,” chimed the doorbots in unison, as the thick glass parted in the middle to let their god enter his castle. He shot up to the twenty third floor where his wife was lounging on the cranberry divan in her white tunica and stola, fanning herself with peacock feathers. she immediately rose when he entered and gave him a finely programmed kiss. he had stuffed the hemp sack in his trousers to avoid detection. he told her he had some work he needed to get done pronto and retired to the study where he took out the sack, emptied the inhaler into his hand and released its aqueous contents into his mouth, soon to be strung out in heaven.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

only shallow

Outside, the semaphore-topped skyline stared down pityingly in the angel of a dirigible night, as if it too was privy to some sudden mammalian pain. He shuffled down pico boulevard looking cracked, mad, sad as ever. his head to toe white linen ensemble with the custom-tailored collar made his anguished face appear all the more ridiculous as a pride battered peacock might look after being spurned by a potential mate. an inflatable tumbleweed gaging air purity skimmed across arturo's path as he walked in the direction of his top floor galley in the sky. He typically took the magnetic streetcar from ling po's back to his galley, but tonight he was determined to find an escape, and he knew the spot to look. Down by the arena an old electronics shop had been taken over by salvage mexicans who scooped archaic mobile devices out of scrap depots with the intention of hawking them to other aliens whose work had been displaced by bots. These aliens in the city had managed to create their own underworld analogue economy, and they were tolerated as another revenue stream for the local sports franchises whose arenas would be obsolete without the salvage mexs paying for analogue viewing. Arturo was nearing the arena when he spotted two shadows outside the electronics shack. No skynet eeg. “analogue warriors,” he thought. “sure to have some junk.” he toggled out of the beyond and into the drag as he approached the two shadows.

“what you need, papa?” one of the shadows blurted upon seeing arturo's white billows glide near.

Arturo walked up to the two, noticing outdated bracelet interfaces with bandanas wrapped around their forearms, obscuring the devices. They wore name brand derivative clothing manufactured with outdated polymer, a relic of the previous decade. One kept his jet-black hair in close-cropped fashion while the other brandished a ponytail and a chip on the inside of his left wrist, which was an easily discernible fashion mod. The pony-tailed mex shot the words, “blanco. es un cientifico.” his metallic teeth reflected a faint ray of light from a nearby palm. “que quiere?” the other mex asked.

Arturo crept closer until he could see the bemused, curious eyes of the two angels, and he looked around cautiously before whispering the word slowly and haltingly: “junk.” arturo felt the sweat begin to build on his brow.

“ahHahhhaa.” they cried out. “yonqui. Ahahaaha. Un chiste, no?” they laughed and pushed each other cheerfully. The fact of el cientifico asking for junk sent them into such a frenzy a mirth. They continued to hop around laughing until the pony-tailed one gathered himself and said seriously, “Ven conmigo, apache,” as he walked over and opened the door to the electronics shack. The other waited outside, still gabbing to himself and cackling maniacally, as arturo followed the ponytail into the shop. The unlit shop was illuminated with small lcd screens and absurd blinking lights. Arturo could hear the drone of fans cooling machines he'd read about and forgotten years ago. There was a buzzing he couldn't quite make out as he passed a cathode ray tube television set he'd learned about in a history of electronics engineering class. It was playing a movie he couldn't quite place, but he recognized the actor as “what's his name? Cruise.” arturo then heard a dull thud, and within a second, felt himself fall to lower ground. “shhh. Callate, apache,” the ponytail said. They were beneath the showroom of the shop, and arturo could make out a small fire in the distance. the wafting fragrance of rice and steamed crickets began to fill the air. As they neared the fire, arturo could discern a semi-circle of makeshift canvas tents. There were people sitting around the fire eating, mothers cradled babies, and some men were tinkering with small machines by the flame. One of the men wore a not so outdated visor, which was still popular with the entropy crowd on the outskirts of the city. Arturo noticed a pile of what looked to be actual wood, which fascinated him entirely “where the hell did that come from?” he wondered. and then scanning to the right, he saw an entropy-dwelling caucasian dressed in denim and cotton. An exchange was taking place. Meanwhile, ponytail had crawled into one of the tents, and in a moment, returned with a small hemp bag. “first, we go to ballet,” he told arturo.

Back outside, voodoo city was still breathing like ambient-cinnamon clockwork. “to the ballet, amigo, to the ballet, alla, alla,” they yelled in unison in the nearly deserted arena district, only broken by the cricket vendor munching a snack (enticement purposes) across the way before he headed home for the night, wherever home was. It didn't matter. He didn't need sleep. Arturo toggled into the beyond, and in short order a smartblade arrived to whip them to the ballet.