~ (aka Swung Dash) by Ray Ogar
>>> COPYRIGHT 2005
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<text from the back cover>
A few minutes from now Internet search engines will be made from junk DNA. The girl next door will sell her insides to local gene farms and Big Brother will be a million-headed serpent made from microscopic wormholes. Some people will sell themselves for memory upgrades. Hustlers will swap data hacks like housewives trade recipes. Pranksters will use nanomachines to turn buildings inside out. Artificial Intelligence will be so primitive it must experiment on humans to understand itself. Spellcheckers will be programmers that alter another’s gender through gene sequence modification. Cloning will be so imprecise that the duplicates wonder if they are too individual for government work. And one young man will discover one hundred twenty-six bad copies of himself that all seek to be the original.
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Hormones pump from his pores, his sweat glands, and his underarms.
His mind seems to background most everything now.
He is bored.
And he is trying to remove himself from the drama that is Microsoft.
But now the city seems to stalk him personally.
So, daily he affects a simplistic escape trying to log off from all the ambivalent connections that surround him like gnats.
In this case, he lets his body jitter and hum under the thousand pounds of diamond dust that pump over him and three hundred others.
Thick sheets of bass press the crowd of partiers together like black lozenges of oil.
Dust hovers around one girl like cocaine near petroleum jelly.
Some of the dust settles around her eyes and then her nose.
She starts to bleed.
Now she rubs against Csiklee.
Trying to take pleasure.
The undergrowth of bacterial tattoos across the girl’s body immediately repairs her skin.
The blood will dry later and eventually chip away.
Disease will decant.
Csiklee starts to bleed himself.
Since he came to this city, none of the local gangs has invited him into their tattoo infection rings.
The tattoos are their own language.
All of it frightening him.
His skin does not yet affect the minor repairs that the girl’s does.
So, he fights for passage out of the crowd.
Maybe to a spot where he can watch.
Or gather data.
Maybe even a spot where he can settle and dump himself into the internet where he is most comfortable.
He will not talk to anyone face to face.
He wishes to be where he can create his own brand of modular personalities that can-or-can-not impress whoever he wishes.
Now though, he is pressed against a wall, covering his mouth with a hand.
The diamond dust flushes from above and refracts every nuance of the room.
Light takes on dimension and substance like colloidal saturation.
He presses further and ejects from the party into the glassy hull that is the street.
The city acts more like a germ of ultra urban expansion--almost pastoral if you consider houses to be backgroundable entities.
Storefronts competing for recognition.
Threading vendors scattered around the perfect city blocks like neatly followed-up Usenet postings, all of which are properly indented and nicely headed in a regular manner.
Everything is easily identifiable and obvious like a desktop icon.
Csiklee stumbles, brushing diamond dust from his brow and then the light blood anchored to his fingertips.
He palms his cell phone and dumps a series of search engines into the web--he notices his dot name keeps fluctuating as Magpi’s software promised.
He tries to imagine the network of boats and tankers that push his domain name from place to place.
How they merely float around the world, constantly selling the names of their domain holders into the hands of like-minded conspirators.
This allows for all avenues of marketing.
And it allows anyone that desires to remain missing to do so.
As their name moves around, so does their GPS location.
He is safe.
And that is boring as well.
Csiklee sits on an ultra-clean chair in front of a plug-in-play coffee bar.
At times, he tries to figure out just how much of Microsoft is real and how much is transitionally programmed RAM.
In this case, the chair is too comfortable.
That is, the chair exists without an individual defining character or challenge to conformity.
It merely gives the sitter what she or he wants, ultimately not forcing any self-defined characteristics on that person.
Csiklee sets down his cell phone and reaches into his backpack.
He removes the broken shards of a stack of vinyl he fabbed before he attempted his own brand of hustling at the party.
He immediately sours.
Fabbers, the direct manufacturing technology that is so sparse in America, are abundant here.
Ubiquity and mobility permeate the fabric of space like everything in Microsoft.
Not paradise, just lack of direction.
He throws the vinyl memories to the ground.
He can always run off more copies of the music from his collection of mp3 files.
That is, he can push them into the nth evolutionary stage of Kingston dub plate cutters, where vinyl records can be pressed in minutes, taken to a party, thrown on turntables and then later trashed.
Csiklee just sits.
His eyes wander and hug the grooves of the broken stack of records on the ground.
He ponders the real reason this last wave of self-indulgence came about.
He is obviously trying to block out reality.
Turn to any channel on the TV and Magpi’s image is the latest marketing technique.
From his own trash of party gossipers and groupies, he has discovered a thread about Magpi’s extraction.
He cannot recall if he was there for that one.
A second capture took place and now she sits in sub orbit along a Lagrange point.
Now she plays the supermodel she always pretended to be.
Viewers can purchase and log on to a secure hydra, or if that is too expensive, purchase time on a fixed webcam to watch Magpi’s every move.
Of course, this is all some candid extrapolation of television viewing.
With either technology, viewers can place themselves anywhere around, near or inside Magpi.
They view her as a commodity.
View themselves as her.
And they can always take advantage of the limited time offer that is Magpi.
She has no say.
Csiklee turns from staring at the broken vinyl on the concrete.
He listens to several patrons at the next table.
Soon he cuts off his search engines and disconnects from the internet.
He just walks home under the city’s thrash of misdirection and tailored oxygen.