“Do you know what taxonomy means?”
“Bees tend to be more suicidal than wasps…”
“…but not all of them.”
“Watson, what’s yours doing?”
“This case is more conceptual than I first thought.”
The year was 2079 and half the earth was anarcho-communist.
Aliens had been discovered six years earlier, a series of telescopes in Paraguay picking up a signal that, when deciphered by twelve year olds on the internet, simply said, ‘what go on?’
Discovered was a generous term
Contacted by was more accurate
But the Americans insisted on it, and everyone had to listen to the Americans as they had funded the telescope construction, at least fifteen percent of it, and when the second message arrived two days after the first, they used their satellites to intercept and their machines to translate and a six hour star-stunted special to present it back to the world.
The content of the second message?
‘We visit. Don’t move.’
Inhaling the Nietzschean horror of it all, Jaq set the shovel down against the stacked wallpaper and pushed open the door. Apart from token furniture – queen-sized bed, Rosewood desk, slightly worn Bibendum chair – the bedroom was empty, cursed with the same ‘turd brown’ wallpaper all second floor suites possessed. Nothing auspicious about this part of it, he thought, heading straight for the bathroom.
But this place…
He flicked the light switch, forgetting that it was broken, ignoring the emaciated voice somewhere in his head saying it was his job to fix it.
…this place had something.
I couldn’t remember renting the place but
this green walled block on
a shitty street in
To Kwa Wan was home for me, I was sure of it, and home for her too it seemed as she knew the code to get in and the flat number we were going to and as we walked in silence through what some people might call a lobby with all the walls painted the colour of a sad envelope the security guard smiled at us both and said, have you eaten yet, was it good, what did you eat?
‘We ate in Mong Kok,’ I lied. ‘Japanese buffet place next to Dundas Street.’
His face dropped, like Malcolm McDowell reading the first draft of ‘Auto-Muff.’
‘Are you okay?’
‘Your Cantonese has improved, wow, like a native speaker. The tones are right too.’
The scientists drip fed small quantities of Jupiter’s atmosphere into the body of John Cassavetes. Nine parts Hydrogen, one part helium, 0.001 parts miscellaneous. At first there was resistance but, after two days on the bottle, things were a little more settled.
For the rest of the week, as they flew towards Jupiter, they continued their treatment, gradually increasing the dosage. At the same time, the draining was done. All the water left in the corpse was removed, replaced by ammonia, and the skin was coated in a proto-neutronic compound to prevent further decay. In addition to this, a super strong flame retardant spray was applied to resist the 1,000K temperatures the director of ‘Faces’ was about to endure.
‘What if it’s higher than 1,000K?’ asked the youngest scientist.
‘It won’t be.’
The light broke off in the TV studio, five seconds dark then it turned back on.
The news anchor said her line again.
She tried to say it a fourth time, but a man in a black mask appeared in front of her, shouted something in Cantonese then cracked her skull open with a chopper.
The news anchor remained calm.
She repeated her line.
The masked man chopped again, harder, and this time her head broke in half.
‘… … … … … …,’ said Faye, holding her mouth.
But it was okay.
There was no blood.
No brain either.
Just a glass box full of circuits with the letters ‘PPPP’ written on the side.
‘Is this real?’ asked Sila.
‘I don’t know.’
The TV screen went blank for a minute then another newscaster appeared next to the woman with a computer in her head, pointing inside and telling the audience not to worry, it was an experiment in robotics by the studio, it wouldn’t happen again.
The lighting maintains its standards
and there’s another lunatic homeless guy in the final room, completely impervious to reason. Link stabs him twenty odd times, drinks some of his blood then makes his way back out into the desert.
Two homeless guys down, one to go.
Which sounds bad
and would be bad if he wasn’t giving 5 quid a month to Shelter.
Am I still doing that?
He isn’t sure.
‘I’ll check my account later, in the village.’ He rubs his head. ‘If I can get past that green rock.’
Greetings again, aliens
We have four languages: one for us, one for relatively similar alien cultures, one for telepathic cultures, and one for sentient gas clouds.
It is our experience that most cultures lean heavily on pronouns. We do too. Ours are divided by region and job. The first sound denotes region, the second denotes job, though the second is omitted when dealing with alien cultures like yours.
Here they are, translated approximately into your own language:
For possessive + object pronouns, just add ‘us’ onto the end
Repeat and remember.
Sleep late. Go to Bled, see another castle. Very pretty, but a little too obvious to do anything cinematic with.
Walk around the lake. Think I see Lincoln, but it’s just a big rock with someone’s jacket on it.
Idea – The Fall of the House of Usher. Film it in Slovenia, change the second half of the story. Include more Ushers, make them fall, use more blood. Robert Knepper can play lead Usher, Sucre can take gardener role.
Get back to hostel and am recognised by a group of drunks. Try to put my hat on, but it’s too late. One guy gets a marker and tries to take my shirt off. He says he wants to draw a map of Fox River on my tits. I throw the marker across the room and go to bed.
Think about drunks and marker pen. Don’t really understand, PB was years ago. Don’t these fuckers know I’m a writer now?
Scrawled on the wall of the toilet were the first two-hundred and fifty-seven pages of Crime and Punishment, truncated in places.
Nick Nolte the polite, American character actor saving the Muscovite poor read it to the end, where there was a small note saying:
‘There is more, but it’s not really important.’
He sat back against the wall, trousers round his ankles, hair up in the air, and thought about what he’d just read.
‘That man, Rasky…’
Yeah, that man, Rasky. He weren’t no ordinary man, that was for damn sure.
He pulled his trousers back up and walked out of the bathroom, muttering, ‘I am Napoleon’ to the handle of the door.
On the restaurant floor, he walked up to the manager, picking up a knife on the way, smiled, said, ‘Russia ain’t Russia anymore, padre,’ and stabbed him in the neck.
The cop who liked to know why saw what was happening, saw the blood, heard gunshots from the station, and dived under the table.
I take a shower, fast, dry myself and watch some old TV.
There’s not much on.
No Country for Old Eagles.
Eagles in the Mist.
I’m not really liking any of…
Ah, Eagle Beach.
I sit down and grab a cushion.
Eagle Seven is in the kitchen, suitless, putting her hair in a clip.
She seems distracted.
I know why.
It’s cos she’s pregnant.
She’s pregnant with the sixteen cells that were transferred from Eagle Nine ten cycles ago.
Eagle Fourteen doesn’t have a clue.
He’s making breakfast, suit on.
Bacon [4 pixels], fried egg [5 pixels] and coffee [2 pixels].
That’s a small coffee, Eagle Fourteen.
No wonder she’s fucking other guys.
The scientist put a jacket over Pot and told him he was doing okay, his vital signs were stable and in a few days he could start his re-implementation into society.
‘I’m not an implement,’ said Pot, taking off the jacket.
‘Mr. Pot, please…put the jacket back on, you’ll freeze.’
Pol Pot shook his head and walked out of the lab.
Outside it was snowing. Pol Pot looked at his surroundings, unsurprised. It was a castle. Somehow, he knew it would be a castle.
He walked down the slope and onto the path that led into the forest. He was cold, but forced himself not to shiver.
After walking through the forest for an hour or so, he came to a road. There was a sign in what looked like German.
A truck drove past. Pot stuck a finger out and brought it in.
‘Where to?’ asked the driver, not seeming to care that Pot was naked.
Hot light from Spanish land spread over the pastel-white buildings and the churches and the marketplace, making the 47 bodies of Lisboans killed that day look like idle sunbathers.
No one bothered to move them as if they did there’d be 48.
Instead the locals played their guitars.
And talked about the weather.
at eleven o clock in the morning.
A stranger with no luggage or purse walked into the main plaza, almost tripping over two of the 47 bodies, both women. He glanced at the slash marks on their necks, the blood tails creeping toward the church steps…then at the man sitting on the same steps, strumming a tune about the glorious coastline of La Coruna.
‘The waves are large, the sand is clean…
The rocks are smooth, unless you’re mean…
In La Coruna…La Coruna…’
At the end of the Saturn Conflicts in 2175, Jackie went to live on the moon of Saturn that no one could remember the name of. At first, he imported young women from Earth to keep him company, but they soon got bored of him as all he ever talked about were ‘the better days’. After the women had gone, Jackie turned to children, importing them in one at a time and reportedly dressing them up in his son’s old clothes. When they turned thirteen, he’d send them back and bring the next one in.
In 2199, scientists at the Chan institute, funded by Jackie, were tasked with finding a way to travel to the past. Instead, they discovered a way to accelerate time and then slow it down again.
The 23rd Century was over in a second.
He walked up to the mannequin and looked at the desk behind it.
There were seven scripts lined up.
He picked up the first one and read the title:
FILM ONE starring Tom Cruise
He flicked through the first few pages and each one looked like this:
Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise.
Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise…
Lermontov walked around the park with pieces of meat attached to his jacket. It was night, he was alone, it was perfect.
An hour later and the meat started to smell.
Lermontov sat down on a bench and wondered if the leopard would really be stupid enough to attack a man wearing meat. Probably not.
He pulled off a strip and dropped it on the floor. When he looked up again, the whole park was full of cinema screens.
David Warner leaned across the bench and whispered in his ear, ‘you know what.’
‘It can’t be…’
3] A failed writer, 52, from New York, New York, USA, journeyed to the 1940’s on timeline 211064 and stayed in the same building as 16 year old budding writer, Holden Caulfield. He got to know the young man and asked to read his work. After doing so, he told Caulfield that his novel was ‘hopeless, hopeless, fucking hopeless’ for a whole year. On December 28th, with the failed writer slouched against the opposite window, Caulfield threw his manuscript and then himself onto the street below. Like Leslie Cheung, he landed on some railings and was almost cut in half; luckily the wound was not that deep and his waist somehow held itself together. He still died, of course, but the body was slightly less gruesome for the mortician to look at. The failed writer retrieved the manuscript and published it a few years later under his own name.
Flash…Statham is tied to a slab in some kind of laboratory, possibly the same set used in Hollow Man. The woman appears and tells him it won’t hurt, and when he wakes up he will not only have his existing skills, but also the accent learning power of Meryl Streep and the intelligence of Ed Norton. Statham doesn’t know what to say, but after a few seconds he gets out one question: How? The woman points to two slabs in the other corner, where Meryl Streep and Ed Norton are also tied down. Statham says, ‘hey, what’s gonna happen to them?’ The woman says they will die, but part of them will live on in him.
…it had been over a century since Robocop had stuck a spike in the neck of Clarence Boddicker, but he’d often thought of it, the casual violence, the impulse not to try and talk to the guy but kill him dead, the same impulse that had ruled him and his actions for the last hundred odd years, the conservatism, the intolerance of not wanting to give any of these scumheads a second chance, and now that he was spinning into the time-fucking Space hole, Robocop knew what year he wanted to go back to, the year of the death of Boddicker, and not just the factory site where he’d died, but further back, when there’d been a chance to do things differently, and as soon as he thought it, he was there, standing in the same place, the same warehouse, holding a smirking Bodicker by the collar and getting ready to throw him through another sheet of glass…
First dilemma: Where to live?
The anaconda said rainforest, the wolf said snow.
It decided on rainforest.
To combat the extreme heat, the wolfaconda attached a fan to its neck.
There was no electricity, so it used a system of faith.
How did things go?
The first few weeks were a sharp learning curve. The sharpest of them all. The lower half of the wolfaconda kept heading towards the river, the upper half tried to move its face closer to the fan.
The alien drooled, gnashed its teeth, gnashed its second set of teeth, hissed, raised its arms and said [in its own language] ‘Mum-raaaa!’
Burke reeled backwards, petrified…well, his face went back a few inches, but his body stayed pretty much the same.
This is it, he thought, sweating. Die time. Teeth bites, blood, holes the size of Bill Paxton’s head. Fuck. Don’t run. Accept it. For the Company, humankind, corporate hegemony etc etc.
The Alien waited off-screen, still drooling.
Wait. I don’t want it to be it, Burke counter-thought. I’m too slick to die. I’m too smart, too good at manipulating things, too…
The alien lunged, ignoring Burke’s personal narrative.
A noise from the ceiling. Some shitty workmanship. A piece of metal beam, military grey, fell onto the alien’s head and killed it instantly.