[Void Galaxia] Chapter 29: Hamlet Blockade

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      The next day I checked out of the hostel, determined to stop fucking around in Lunatic Alley and fly spear-direct to my sweet Sadi-phelia in Fresno.

      Wasn’t easy though.

      At the station they explained to me in primary school cadence that all the buses were broken and wouldn’t be operational for another two weeks.

      ‘All of them?’

      ‘That’s right.’

      ‘What happened?’

      ‘Someone broke in here last night…took all the engine parts out and…yeah, they’re all dead till we get those new parts in.’

      ‘And that takes two weeks?’

      ‘Fraid so.’

      ‘Seems like a long time.’

      ‘Well, yes and kinda no. See, the parts aren’t all American, some of them are actually Ghanaian…’

      ‘Ghanaian?’

      ‘…Accra-produced. Ghanaian, that’s right. Suppose you could try the train station…if you haven’t already? They tend to go to Fresno.’

      ‘Great. Thanks.’

+++

      Train station wasn’t much better.

      Apparently, the only track going to Fresno…stopping in Fresno…was occupied.

      ‘You mean the only train?’

      ‘No, the track itself. There are people on it. Actors.’

      ‘What…why?’

      ‘It’s spontaneous theatre. Ever since the economy went bad, these guys have been popping up, doing Shakespeare, Mamet, Soyinka, Cheever, stuff like that. And now it’s our turn.’

      ‘That’s-…I don’t understand. They’re performing plays on the track?’

      ‘Yup.’

      ‘The railway track to Fresno?’

      ‘That’s right.’

      ‘For how long?’

      ‘Roughly…two weeks, give or take.’

      ‘Kuso…’

      ‘If it’s any consolation, they’re not awful. A friend of mine saw them last night. An Indonesian reinterpretation of Hamlet apparently.’

       I almost laughed.

       ‘Is there any other way I can get to Fresno?’

       ‘You could drive there.’

       ‘I don’t have a license,’ I lied. Didn’t want to tell them my license had a picture of my old face, not the Japanese one.

       ‘Oh, that’s odd. Well, I suppose you could try the bus station.’

       ‘Thanks.’

       I turned and got out of there, trying to think what I was gonna do in this bizarro city for another two weeks.

      Then I had another thought.

      My passport…

      If I’m Japanese, and my passport isn’t…how the hell did I get here?

      Why did no-one stop me?

+++

      On the bus to the new, less eccentric hostel I’d found online, I thought back to the airport.

      I remembered showing the passport.

      I remembered the immigration woman looking at it.

      I remembered her looking at me.

      I remembered her handing it back without a word.

      I remembered not being arrested for fraud.

      Conclusion: Japanese scientists had a much, much wider reach than I’d ever imagined.

+++

      I stretched out on the new bunk, cyber yellow sun stenciled on the wall behind me, thinking of excuses I could use if I ever managed to get to Fresno.

      I delayed, Sadia, but only for a day.

      I’m not Hamlet.

      Really.

      I would’ve come sooner but all the buses were dead.

      All the trains were…

      I’m not really Japanese, it’s make-up.

      I do love you, really…

      The door to the room opened and a blonde woman with a hiker’s backpack walked in, almost as tall as me. I gave out a polite hey then faced the part of the wall with the wind stencil, cutting off all further lines of communication.

      The next two weeks…each day…there would be nothing but thoughts of Sadia.

      No more distractions.

+

Schedule of those two weeks

+

      Tuesday: Walked around the area near the hostel, checked out a tar pit that had fake dinosaur bones, had shit food, pretended to read Fahey book, read Moon Prison.

      Wednesday: Strolled up to the big observatory, recreated the famous laser fight from Planet Dark all by myself,  had shit food, pretended to read Fahey book, felt dystopian about anarchism, read Moon Prison.

      Thursday: Took the metro to the nearest uniiversity and tried to blend in, scrolled through Big Brain Bakunin, read old Fisher piece, watched vlog of some guy graffiti’ing OBJECT WAS HERE on Baudrillard’s grave, talked to an American-Serbian girl for a while until her boyfriend showed up, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Friday: Walked around the old Hyperloop station, marveled at the twenty-two metres of track, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Saturday: Walked around, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Sunday: Went to one of the original VR plazas on Sunset, spent an hour working in the mine with the seven dwarves, groped Snow White while she was mopping the floor, felt bad about it, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Monday: Walked around, talked to tall, blonde woman about Japan, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Tuesday: Walked around, had shit food, meandered around wilderness of Big Brain Bakunin, stared at Aziz death loop paradox, pretended to read Fahey book, felt utopian about anarchism, fucked very tall blonde woman in hostel toilets.

      Wednesday: Walked around, had shit food, returned to the unii, scrolled through Big Brain Bakunin, skim-read articles like ‘Bol on A.I., Kristeva Wrong About Horror, Exiting The Hotel Beyond The Vampire Castle, pretended to read Fahey book, promised very tall blonde woman I’d visit her in Estonia, thought about Sadia, Sadia, Sadia.

      Thursday: Walked around, had shit food, read Moon Prison., erased tall blonde woman sex from memory

      Friday: Walked around, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Saturday: Walked around, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Sunday: Walked around a retro mall with an Under-Repair water slide, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Monday: Walked around Venice Beach, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Tuesday: Walked around Koreatown, tried bus station, still no buses, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Wednesday: Walked around, had shit food, read Moon Prison.

      Thursday: Walked around, had shit food, pulled out Žižek book, put it back, watched dramatized retelling of 1st International [Marx Kenyan, Guillaume Thai, Bakunin a woman].

      Friday: Read in the paper that Hamlet performers had been arrested for brawling and train track to Fresno was now open. Ran to train station, got ticket, thought about calling Sadia, remembered I didn’t have her number, got on train.

      On train: scrolled mindlessly on Big Brain Bakunin, felt bad about quitting unii, switched to social theory, read the following from Žižek book a few times, mostly agreed:

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If you take McClane’s actions as a starting point, and the socio-psychological viewpoint implied by his resistance to his wife’s career then it becomes clear that this is a man who can only function in a crisis.

When the antagonistic force asserts itself on the plot, McClane becomes heroic through the same qualities that make him misogynistic in the stasis period between crises.

His endgame, as we see through his actions over the course of the filmn, is not simply to oppose the antagonists, but to oppose his wife…to get her back in the kitchen, if you will.

And it is successful…he wins her trust by killing the threat to her life, the heroic impulse other writers love to intellectualise over, despite such an impulse indulging violent and pathological fantasies, which will clearly erupt again when threatened by other external agency, most probably his wife, I believe, and her desire to prove the ‘I’ in ‘wife’…a desire which acutely conflicts with McClane’s subject-view of the world.

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      Finally, the train arrived at Fresno.

      The announcer guy made a joke, saying the name of the train station and claiming it was the only place worth visiting, and an elderly woman giggled two seats down.

      I pulled up my rucksack and added another place in my head.

      Sadia’s housse.

      Which I had the address of in my phone.

      Stepping off onto the platform, I looked around for the ticket gate. Nothing in sight, so I followed the few others who’d disembarked up some piss-stained stairs and over a bridge with two broken windows into the main station area.

      It looked fairly modern, which was a surprise as I’d read that a lot of Californian rural infrastructure was falling apart at the seams due to adventurist neglect. Or adventurist redirection of municipal funds.

      But this place…

      Ah, not that much of a mystery. Small place, not decrepit, must’ve had someone important living in town. Or an aggressive mayor. One or the other.

      I headed through the ticket gate and straight into the toilets.

      Taking a cubicle near the end, I ignored the Robot Fucking Fallen Robot graffiti and pissed out what I had, then stood there a while, trying to figure out my next move. Going straight to her place was probably a mistake, especially with my face the way it was. And it was pointless messaging her on the writing site again. Which meant, conversely, adversely, on the other fucking hand, going to her housse was the only real option. But how could I just turn up there? It was too bold, my mind didn’t have the courage for it, either of them.

       Unless I had a few drinks inside me?

      Yeah, that could work. Get drunk. Message her. If she didn’t respond, which she wouldn’t cos she wasn’t ever online anymore, take a deep, drunk breath and go there direct.

      Flushing the toilet, I moved out of the cubicle and went to the sink. It took me about four minutes of hand waving under three different taps to activate some water and another four seconds of hand washing through faintly yellowish water before I realized a guy was staring at me.

      ‘Alright, mate,’ I said, squinting at his hazy reflection in the soap-streaked mirrror.

      He didn’t reply.

      I considered explaining to him how to turn the tap on, at what angle to place your hands, but he was quite big and guys who stood in toilets just glaring at others were, based on my personal life experience [Japan & Liverpool], capable of anything.

      Could have a knife, gun, samurai sword, hammer…

      ‘You’ll never have her,’ the nut said, eventually, wiping his hands on the wall and leaving a spluttered trail of yellow.

      ‘Sorry?’

      ‘Not while I’m existent. Existing. Not here. Wap wap atta tah.’

      ‘You okay, mate?’

      He switched to the mirrror, smearing more yellow goo on the glass, then walked a curved line to the door, clipping me on the tip of the shoulder as he went past.

      The yellow goo stayed glued to the wall, and the mirrror, decorative, sliding down slow like Satantango.

      ‘Psycho…’ I muttered, just as the door was closing shut behind him.

      Image and Scene pulled out of some old Lynch filmn.

      Weird 80’s lunatic in his own little dimension.

      Though, as I headed back into the main part of the station, it did give me an idea. Somewhere else I could go to find her.

      If it was actually a real place.

      If everything she ever said wasn’t in fact lies.

      If my two brains didn’t break down.

      If if if if ifffa if…

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