Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2. SaDex Drip #3

18:88:88 EST WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2059:

A swift crystallisation in his peripheral vision. A sharp breath as familiar neuromolecular links clacked into place between his amygdala and something deep in his brainstem that felt like a solid vitreous blossom.

He awoke to a very different form of consciousness and stared raptly at the videoboard, which his window framed perfectly.

Cruciate loved advertising. Especially on SaDex.

His favourite was the current Disneycosm single. It was an aggressive, resilient performer and ought to be looping around soon.

Shadowing the mighty traffic nexus of St Kilda junction, the videoboard was a monolithic hoarding of many million semi-intelligent pixels, co-operating to form an image of perfect clarity. Videoboard acreage was viciously contested. Heavily-armed advertising singles warred for board-time, in a sophisticated form of natural selection.

Disneycosm was a fighter. It had endured, almost unchanged, since Cruciate had come to the Bayview. Squinting, he thought he could already see sections of the single’s initiation sequence manifesting themselves in small patches over the board. Once these viral precursors infected a majority of pixels, the single would come to full screen and battled to run its course. It was a law of this strange battleground that once an advertisement began it was allowed to complete seventy-five percent of its duration. Otherwise the audience, most of them boxed in silent casimir cars, would be inflicted with a continuous strobing of unruly images.

The familiar strains of the Disneycosm fanfare produced a buzz in the Realistic’s tiny speaker.

Cruciate’s dark, hooded eyes locked. His emotions stilled.

Eggshell blue squadrons of smiling Dumbo blimps arced their way across a garish computer generated sky. Gaggles of laughing children happily sucked on the lumbriciform tits of dextrose-enriched Goofy-balls. A hundred frogs-of-burden, ridden by black DutyFlesh Lobster-Mobsters - each with a patented grin - hoppity-hippitied through the infinite complexities of a fractal phase-space. Earnest, dark suited executives arrayed themselves about a table in the impossibly attenuated spire of Disneycosm’s new convention centre.
Cruciate allowed the single to operate on him, lull him. His surrounds became vague. He fell into a torpor of carnival imagery, as the drug’s immaterial fingers stirred his brains with the sensitivity of a cheap Taiwanese insinkerator.

The Realistic chirped:

- Kids! Do Your Parents Love You? Make Them Prove It! -

18:88:88 EST WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2059:

Cruciate leaped.

The flesh of his buttock had been caught by the crack in the stool. He paced the flat, gingerly massaging his behind through his jeans.

He looked to the Realistic. 18:88:88. Swearing, he kicked it across the room. It cracked loudly against the brick wall, putting out the eye of the Bounce! cat in a shower of paint flakes.

It had been many hours.

Already, he could feel pangs of withdrawal. There was nothing in the squat now. This time the dripsac would remain empty.

He remembered Winebald. He cast his gaze to the doctor’s business card, with its sleazy arabesques, tacked to the front door jamb. He had no recourse but to risk an appointment.

The squat was the safest place to be, but the sinuous logic of addiction was beginning to tell him different. Death, if it was inevitable, was vastly preferable with SaDex than without. Even life - without SaDex - was probably worse than death. The possibilities clattered around his skull as he pulled on his black leather jacket and fished his last fifty from a zippered pocket.

Through the window, he saw The Bayview looking back at him.

He peered - it was perfect in every detail: from the crumbling mortar letters of its name to the window of his squat, in which he could just see himself, staring at himself.

Huge letters writhed out of the ramshackle brickwork.

- Reflect on This - said the Realistic.

The videoboard was perfect mirror.

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