Challenge number 19: Write a short story.
I’ve been reading a lot of list-type blogs today, and after reviewing my own I decided it was time to tick another one off the list. That, and there was no wine in the house, then words started appearing. I won’t bother with a blog-like introduction seeing as I’ll have changed my mind about publishing it before I finish, so here it is. Leave a comment and tell me what you think if you like*.
*the word ‘like’ refers to liking the story, not liking to leave a comment**.
**I’m joking. I can take constructive criticism if you would like to offer that too.
Strawberry Fucking Daiquiris
The sweltering auditorium was crowded with emotionless suits. Fuckwits. All of them. The expressionless faces pasted on the mass was just another beige feature of the population that didn’t care for anything real. A choice of black or grey. That was it. A variance on the depth of the grey if they were adventurous. The only depth any of them had to offer. Hack, hack, hack. Type, type, type. Process, process, process. These people were machines. Machines that had seeped into once-living beings once they were fully grown and replaced the blood in their veins with wires.
Where were these people who once existed? I don’t care. They had a choice. They chose to leave their lives for a place in a system fuelled by a false sense of importance. Don’t make eye contact. They’re almost diseased. Don’t catch it. Just do what you need to do and leave. Smile? No. Foreign language. Numbers and figures. Ones and zeros, business, business, business.
Almost time. Almost there. You have to reach in as far as you dare before you can run away, remember. This is it. One last pitch. Tie the knots, secure the ship, and cast-off on the lifeboat. Small and insignificant to the rest, but the bright orange rafts are what they all cry out for in the end.
It’s a joke that it has even come this far. To opt out of the system you have to opt in to the deep end. Take a dive off the high board to get to the deep end quicker than swimming from the shallow water. Reach the water, feel the impact, then get the fuck out as quickly as you got in.
Phew. Exhale. Okay. Let’s do this. Good morning gentlemen! False enthusiasm for a crowd that wants none of that. Drone, drone, drone. Buzz words, don’t forget the buzz words. Profit margins. Endless development opportunities. Numbers, figures, numbers, figures. All made up shapes on a screen anyway. Reports, findings, investors, more reports, people like you. Yes, on and on.
It was an accident really. Anyone could have done it. The idea was floating there in the air waiting to be plucked. For those that could see it anyway. To most of them it would have been invisible. An idea, visible for the eye to see, ha! It really was though. It was so simple. Barely able to label it an invention really, it was the obvious next step for the techno-obsessed. Just one more thing to add to a thing that already does all the things for you. Turning the ultimate never-leave-behind gadget into the certainly-never-leave-behind gadget. I still can’t believe I got there first. But that’s it isn’t it, part of what you give up to be part of it; the creativity. Leave it at the door with the rest once the suit is on.
A polite round of applause. They’re impressed. They make turns towards their neighbours and imitate small nods of approval. The ones even deeper into it are already on their phones. Making calls. Sending emails. Whatever, there’s no rush, but they can pretend if it pleases them. I’ll pick up my things. What things? They don’t belong to me. A presentation device, a laser pointer. Accessories for the number crunchers. I smile. The first genuine smile I have smiled all day. Happiness is in freedom, and freedom has just been bought for me by a group of strangers that sold their own long ago for the right to buy and sell more of it.
Ones and zeros. Plenty of zeros. Sitting there waiting for me. It’s all you need really; you just have to be clever about it. Work out what you need, how to get it and you’re done. One quick dip in the executive pool, a round of golf doesn’t hurt, and make a quick exit before you forget the reason you were there in the first place. Then run, run away as fast as you can, and don’t look back. If you look back they can grab you, and then you’ll never get out.
But that’s it now. I’m done. Done what I had to in order to take up my tiny patch and breathe their air, now sit back and relax. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the sunsets. Fuck, enjoy the strawberry fucking daiquiris and tequila if I want to. Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset. I wonder what they’ve done with it now. How many colours it comes in. How many Christmas lists it’s at the top of. The coffee jar is empty again. The phone call comes. Tuesday, 9.30? Yes, sure. 14th floor, come to reception. Bring the papers. Yes sir. It’s in the diary sir. Looking forward to seeing you too sir.
Fuck the fucking sunsets. There’s no such thing.