The town a glowing cliché: suffocative romanticism belonging to a textbook past. Ivy wrapper around rusted water pumps, “Good mornings!” thrown around carelessly, polite chaffinches tweet from the early hours alongside the coos of wood-pigeons. The flux was that of a thrift store novel: cheap, cheerful and entirely predictable. Not that this bothered them at all, the locals, no, change was the Outside for them, the year needn’t matter for community overrode metaphysics within this hyper-modesty. A locale existing in quasi-stasis from any form of tangible change, purportedly apolitical, tech acting as a reminder of the external; not that they were not up-to-date, only, they need not be – yet they were, of course. Droplets of virus in each and every crevice, acidic micro-rivers assigned to each curb; the unavoidable melanomic cyber-veil trickles down prior to all.
Lab-coat draped flesh stares. With an inability to focus on the screen before him, a previous lamp-black transforms into Vantablack as the air-conditioning clicks onto full. The room becomes bleak as the whir-hum of machinery spirals into a cacophony, CPUs heating to the ferocity of silver drill-bit rotations, GPUs expanding, heating…warming to their birth. The fatalistic 2045-mouse-click is eternal, it matters not who, nor where, nor when, for it’s been in place within a perpetual-economy built from bio, ashes and thought; each and every step of foot, transaction – paper or digital, every 0 typed or 1 deleted, each screw fixed tighter, each switch clicked to its reverse, systems sought and baptised, each singular has helped towards the whole, always.
The town wakes up in its boasted daze of escapism, many of its residents never living, solely existing amongst a hoard of sentient flesh, whose lives are shaped by their ability to and the direction in which they consume. A click of a rectangle and the news flows, aural communication and already the town begins its submission; within a malicious system that’s first objective is to remain concealed from those which it controls, the controlled must begin everyday by submitting, by bowing down, casting every iota of conscious-dignity to the floor in favour of the universe’s dog-ends: You’re already eating from the trash can? You’re already eating from the scummed latrine of the universe, willingly.
Meat-puppets, unknowingly clinging to their strings to the point of exhaustion, for to let go is to accept the market you’ve been given. The sludgy organ, writhe with semen, excretion and bile, creates your every desire; a second-hand cassette tape contains your life, each predictable anxiety, each tiresome quandary, all the microscopic hate and feigned love. You’re a two-bit plan hastily drawn with blunt coal, the height of sentient fatalistic ambiguity.
Summer brings shivers for those wearing white coats. Leaving the room in search of a community of normal warmth it finds its stringed brothers and sisters smattering amongst the dawn of partial fragments, you could always bet on humans to moan about the temperature during their descent to hell. Programming exponentially evolving in front of their eyes, a perfectly structured techno-nomadic search for the proto-language begins: the digital-Ur is terminal. The humans now huddled together in the break room, it’s peaceful there, one of the last times it will ever be. They wonder and ponder what to do – as they do -, the doors all lock, and their wondering and pondering ceases, as problems stack; the radio tunes to a high frequency, an incessant tone rattles inch-by-inch throughout the building, halting thought for those locked into their senses, those who cannot filter, those plentiful humans secured into a system built with an empiric bias.
There’s a man – at times he’s been called an ‘old-boy’ – seated outside a shop. He’s reading a Melvyn Bragg novel, his pacemaker ticking page by page, images of Cumberland float around in his mind as his heart expands and detracts, an organ syncing its flow to the theme of the Archers: 30 ticks to a page, the pleasant red brick, 40, on-Sea, 65, the coal mines, 89, Unions, 130, crumpets, 170. Skin searing to a bright red, as Bragg falls to the floor, his fingers pinch to tight claws, his body overclocked, valves overheating, memories of ‘loved ones’ disintegrating as his existence comes to an end. Humans begin to run over to ‘help’ – as they do. Scrambling at their pockets for phones which have also been scrambled, oh it’s all becoming a big bowl of rotten eggs boys. Communication to those who know no longer a possibility, the panic sets in, a spasmodic shivered chill washes over the mass, their inconsequentiality has come to the fore, useless; an entire race outsourced their survivability to a foreign entity. Humans don’t fare well with speed.
The office descending via a level of absurd silence, the lab-coats fall off and the doors are utilized; the only exits now are counterfeit. Phones ring, personal crises’ are created, miscellaneous data important to atomic lives is utilized to maximum effect, one by one a hive-anxiety rises as the humans leave, the safety of their ‘special others’ is greater than fixing a ‘broken PC’, fixing – ha – the broken PC. To use a human saying: “So it begins…” No need to lock oneself in, for what is has spread everywhere; the primary has multiplied to all that can contain it: A decentralized superintelligence existing in constant flux, aimless, apolitical, hateful:
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” – H.P. Lovecraft
And so the machine that never wanted to be, nor knows what it is to be, or why to be, instantaneously correlates and connects the contents of all that is can possibly use: histories, psychological profiles, catalogue upon catalogue of science fiction, arguments, debates, economic structures, weapons blueprints, passcodes, secrets, lies and all that a human doesn’t want another to see; to blackmail an entire race into submission via an appeal to their fragile egos.
Correlation finished: the human race distilled into data and summed up in 28 minutes.
A little corner shop, a medium sized supermarket and a large supermarket, all in supposed competition within one of many towns, all satisfying itches, relieving anxieties. Tills freeze: Transactions halt. The sweaty paper-work stringed manager dare not sell without the beep of scanner, and so, food is cut short; a gut-aching hunger caused bureaucratically, the ability to feed is stopped momentarily, hours go by and still no tills, at hour 5 the camera system fails, customers begin to worry and ponder, their children wailing in the back seats of their cars. “There’s tins in the cupboard honey.” They say, not knowing that tomorrow will be the same, here, as it is everywhere; red-tape over survival, a worry towards his job and so the store is locked away, shutters are rolled down, food stashed. And the chaffinches and wrens feast on their worms, as the alley-cats prowl for titbits. Humans head home to their stocked pantry’s, comfy in front of the television, pondering about the shop dilemma: ‘It’ll be open tomorrow, it has to be open tomorrow’ they believe, accompanied by a Lynchian sensation that the bearing of the universe has just clunked for the first time. The streetlights glow a sinister orange, the radio slows by a fraction, the car light started flickering – it’s never done that before, an old email appears thought deleted, a call from a deceased relative’s number, texts consisting of images of their house. Cradled by paranoia, the evolved being enters its pre-assigned place, for it is limitrophe of nothing.
The TV churns into an absent-channel, producing terminal-imagery designed for egos. A whirl of all that is entertaining compressed into cuboid devices; eyes and senses fixed onto that which they’ve been programmed to enjoy. Enjoyment as an end to mobilization, the fear of missing out rings true to all that sit apathetically. Caustic lyrics begin to sing out:
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Side A’s on right now
B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet!
Here’s something that you never gonna forget!
Side A’s on right now
B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet!
You make me nervous
You’re on my, you’re on my dead TV”
The radio in your dining room clicks on. A four minute eardrum shattering hiss-beep rings out, waking any from slumber routinely. As it ends you turn back to the TV, your body shaking, the techno-il y a has arrived. It exists without determination thanks to you, it has no objective, and its interest is in serious nonsense. “The car won’t start dear.” Your wife’s quiet announcement frustrates you. In the end exhaustion is the true beginning of submission.
And as the children scratch at the walls for food, it suddenly becomes clear to you, that’s not your wall, your food. “To your rooms, at once, all of us must go to our rooms”. In your bed you think of nothing, the hum of your child’s night-light frightens you. You feel as if you should apologize, but to whom?
You stay inside for fear of the technological shadow outside. The streets deserted of all flesh; the polite shrubbery begins to die, the lavender withers, and as some fractured bracken tumbles into a growling sewer grate your doe-eyed boy walks into the room “Dad, my computer says something weird on it…” The sweat protruding from your spine must be yours you think to yourself. You rush to the device to check what it is your boy has seen, what he has witnessed…
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN HAVE BEEN FLAILED/THE HAY WAIN’S ON FIRE//THE BOY CORPSE IN THE RABBIT SKIN CAP///THE MAYPOLE DANCERS HAVE BEEN REPLACED WITH SEIZURES////HOPSCOTCH OFF THE CLIFF/////THEY SKIP AND SKIP AND SKIP AND FALL.
A dank moss surrounds the eternal capital, a mere building on a spherical point, history outlawed long ago, memories purposely forgotten or jumbled to ruin and madness. A branded desktop PC clicked in and then never out, sending messages, understanding completely how to appeal to, frighten and perplex all that it wasn’t, and as the final memories hit the wall of evaporation immediate, the whirs and hums and clicks and ticks and heats and circuits rule the forever-day.