Posts Tagged ‘short story’

In Clubland Suburbia

October 21, 2011

It is the dread of night in Clubland Suburbia. The streets are swarmed with towering twins of legs, above which the face of woman balances herself triumphantly. Ghoulish students, glaring from Eel-Marsh flats, draw their shrouds shut to hide the men-all-arms, the women-all-orange from sight, they know better than to look upon the feeding frenzy of all those out tonight: those muddle-class, middle-brow mister and no-eyebrows missus, stuck resolutely in the middle of the road.

The sky overhead looks bored to tears.

They all become Indian, Italian and Chinese, they enter through the vomitorium, that they may avoid the opposite during their wee hours in the morning. Waiters will shepherd them to seats; shepherds will wait on them to sit. & they eat their not-just-any-food, they eat their S&M food. Topics are chewed over, regurgitated, dropped and steak-painingly misunderstood, left on the plates because some of it’s too tough, but they delight on all that’s just been overdone. They chew on their gristle and groan. Something vintage is left on the table – the finest bottle in all the house: Pressed excruciatingly through the bones of a slave, he stamped it down and, oh painstaking master, painstakingly drew it out in red globules – immeasurable. “But didn’t he whine!” Then we’ll a toast, uncork that little round wound. And they glut themselves with glass after glass of blood red. Glut with more death.

Sympathetic, the sky overhead turns blue and black to red.

Simply pathetic, everybody soon takes leave of their trough and heads unquestionably into Abbatoir — where pop music goes to die, where Melody and Carol weep outside in eternal protest, where the uninitiated are certain to be clubbed to death. They gaddle and wheel, and slump their way around the nascent raveyard — tunestones belch themselves into existence from Mr Speaker above, who makes it his duty to give each sex their fair hearing, but the unfair sex are hard of it at the moment and the fair sex look frightened. Possessed by the stench of their excreting pestosterone, the boys all rat and toad their way around the dance floor. & stick their tongues and tails into the gaping jaws of the not-boys, the hy-men, the she-males.
Oh, isn’t Violat a tease? Oh, isn’t Clawdia sweet? Oh, just look at Dick, he’s putty in her hands! Oh, and Jude and Christina, that little peck on her cheek, and how guilty he looks! Looks like Luci’s fallen again, always bring the light-weight! Doesn’t little Belleial look sweet, cloath’d in seasons garb!
But Christ, he’s looking dangerously forthcoming, that blood’s rushed straight into his head. Oh Christ, he’s grabbed Belleial, he’s thrown her to the floor; oh Christ, he’s just grabbed Luci, and torn her fairy wings off; Christ, can’t someone stop him, or he’ll have his way with us?
Mr Speaker descends, incarnage, from his throne. He slides on over to us, in his gelatinous body — damning of those free Apple Schnapps, of that man’s eternal disobedience — his arms all clung to his ribs and legs all entwining with each other, he writhes diabolically forwards:
‘I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose serpent I am here.’
Thus spake Speaker, who, rent from his comfortable site, was laid into a stony sleep. Inslumbent.

And all the saucy devils still with the strength to stand, force themselves out from this chaos, into the ravaged bosoms of dim night. & find comfort there.

They stumble towards Paradise. They’ve heard you find the freshest girls in there. The prowling wolves bay blindly at the gates, howling at the treacherous moon-faced men, purvoyeurs of Sin & a little Death, who demand a small entrance fee, a fee for her small entrance – but we shall mark your skin, that you may re-enter freely through the back alley in future, from which the all-seeing eyes of the electronic guardians, awaiting night, vigilant at four points, avert their unsullied gaze. They take the lift & ascend, all tumult & confusion, the discord of a thousand various mouths; these overgrown-children of the night, they listen to the lift, what sweet muzak it makes. In contempt, in one fumbled bound, they tumble at last into Paradise, accosted by lewd flyerlings, & make towards that object of their quest, that apple of their eyes: they find her shear within, and fall with ease into her folds.

Somebody flutters & prowls & collapses at the feet of one whose face must surely descend from something divine – arabesque arms & legs, all entwined & entwining, a desperate Ivy clings to her sacred silver trunk – off-limits & forbidden – ascent & descent in desperate cyclicality – she hovers near the top undone & exposed, a natural beauty, oh natural beauty – & slides slowly down, descending head-first, into the pit of those unstable face-eyed bugs, who wave, in their fives & tens & twenties, the temptation of their Rightly Divine Monarch within her reach – & down she slowly slides beside the face of someone swaying rather greenly – they whisper something obscene into her ear – ‘Oh, you little toad’ she says – & she accepts his little token, & secrets it between her thighs – but there are no secrets between her thighs anymore – her nudity is absolute –

A thunderous sky is heard far above their heads.

The doors on the lift slide open again – but no battered inebriate, no bruised braggart, no musical men-strual troupe pour forth – instead, they see their angelic better-halves, they see the dreadful faces of Gabby & Michelle – & a panic ripples through the dirty gathering – they ought to arm themselves against these girls, but their arms are tired – so Gabby & Michelle grasp their spears instead – & those helpless little toads go limp towards the exit – & that fatal femme, by descent, & all her other descendants, are made to know the shame they have brought to their sex.

Embarrassed, they can do nothing but take their leaves.

Outside, confrontation blossoms, blooms, bursts, but man is unfocused and just won’t see it coming. You don’t understand my womentality!, she laments, she tears up.

An intestinal sky is disemboweled above us.

& they stumble flat-footed forevermore, to nightclub from pubclub, from nightclub to kebabclub. In rain, he thunders, she storms away. Head in hand, with slow and wandering steps, through Clubland Suburbia, they walk their solitary ways.

It’s all so pathetic — so dreadful & dead — we stand out, pathetic — so deadful & dread.

j.

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communication breakdown service provider

May 30, 2011

Your test. Is. Over.
Over?
It is your responsibility. now. To return your handsets. And your head. Sets. the batteries and. All related paraphernalia. must be returned.
Over?
An. technological experiments. unfortunately Unsuccessful. Your numbers shall all be. Discontinued. equipment Destroyed.
Over?
we shall relay the Edict. cite evidence of abusive misuse. and grounds for permanent confiscation. Concentrate:

“The mobile communication technology you have possessed since the early twentieth century, adapted from military usage, as so much of your technology is, has advanced to such a state that you are now incapable of employing a reasonable moderation, of refining and curtailing all domestic, or otherwise personal, use of it. First you installed them in your transport vehicles, and you gave them to businessmen, whose use for them was clearly based on the benefits that such an increase in simple communication could provide – the businessman would effectively never be out of touch with his business. And in a society so much subservient to profit, growth, economy, and so much distressed by the persistence of the individual, mobile technology could sever permanently the umbilical connection of family, and graft it neatly instead onto two mobile handsets between two mobile business-hands. Till then you had done exceedingly well, you had created an executive with a phone on the end of one arm and his paperwork on the other. You could have been a universal superpower – but your businessmen told your engineers things, they thought you could all act like businessmen, they thought they could attach everyone to their great cordless umbilical, crawling its way out from the omphalos City. They swarmed from termite-towers to reach you.

“The market exploded, it was all so cheap, you couldn’t help but cheapen it. Text messaging came and you put it in your phones. Wireless networking came and you put it in your phones. The internet came and you put it in your phones. Computer gaming came and you put it in your phones. Photography and film-making were debased and you put them in your phones, at the expense of all aesthetic, social and cultural merit. The Logos was stripped of its bindings and you reduced it and reduced it, you sealed it behind a screen, it was humiliated, you willingly forsook a direct connection, and you put it in your phones. Television, radio and music became the gateway that guaranteed you were shut out of the community. And so you put it all in your phones. And the community was shut out of you.

“And are you surprised that we think you immature? You, who stare mutely at a screen with all the dumb fascination of an infant, without the cognizance to connect in any meaningful way with anybody else. You, who think you have transcended the physical for the ethereal at last! but no, even this is more ephemeral than the sharp edges of the world outside. The world you have found in your phones is in a perpetual state of wiping itself out – nature simply reconstitutes itself, and it is never truly gone, never truly non-existent, never truly lost. But look how you have changed, all bleeding thumbs and blistered eyeballs:

“The figure who wakes in his bed in the morning, who ignores the plaintive death-song of the paper-boy, flexes his sinister wrist and reads all the news he’ll need to get by in the office off the screen of his alarm clock, that rings in analogue imitation. He checks his emails, because you never know who’ll have spoken to you in the night – was it the self-eulogy of another drunken girlfriend that he doesn’t want the office to see, so he reads it in bed – and he’s happy that at least her life’s in as much of a mess as his. He eats a bar of cornflakes coated in vomit of milk and reads Twitter: somebody’s broken the law and Twitter had to open its big mouth, it had to be the first to tell you, it always is. He’ll check Facebook before he pulls messily out of the driveway: Tony’s said something vaguely misogynistic again, ‘Like’. He calls Tony up on the way into the office: ‘Hi Tone’ and something about hangovers, he’s so smart. It’s a board meeting today, Tony says he’ll definitely be ‘bored’, he’s so smart, he sends Tony an idiotic little face in a text message just so he knows that Tony knows that he understood his razor-sharp bit of wordplay. He bumps into Tony in the bathroom at lunchtime, and Tony spends a long time showing him how much more impressive his new piece of equipment is, Tony lets him hold it in his hand, it certainly feels bigger but it’s not any heavier. In the evening he’ll play on the latest version of Angry Birds, he thinks he’s known his fair share of angry birds, he wishes Tony had heard that joke. At 3AM he sends it in an email from his phone to Tony, who’ll pick it up in the morning.

“That collection of familiars at the party – they used to call themselves friends way back in school – turn a television on to drown out the absence of their conversation. Somebody gets a text message, they vibrate violently through the table, and all the other phones chain-react. Pretty soon the entire party is bent double, face down over their open-drains and spew what little intelligence they’ve left out, turning and grinning occasionally at some amusing morsel. The world’s most discordant chorus. Furious fingers tapping. Would-be Sirens, if they could bring themselves to think about anyone other than themselves for a — if they could just finish a sentence before they — but they just have to answer — second, between each — reply to one more — this — text message. They sing only of themselves, to themselves, they are drawn into the silent whirlpool of their own voice. Sailors, dying for a song, couldn’t tell you what they sound like anymore. Nobody’s heard a voice in years.

“The prenuptial coagulation drag their shame-faced expatriate into the final strip club of his life. ‘All the world’s a stag!’ one of them blasphemes, ‘and we are merely playas!’ And his fearful stasis, and her bodily repulsions, the light reflected off their terrified skin, tells a lie on the camera phones – speaks unfaithful truths and faithful untruths. One misdirected message. The wedding is off.

“She won’t talk to Him because he won’t reply to her messages. Him has no missed calls. She says of course I wouldn’t call you, why would I call you if you won’t reply to my messages? Him thinks if it was that important you should have called. She doesn’t think Him really cares. About what? About anything. Him points out the message was only sent three hours ago. ONLY. Him wonders if this blink of the universal eyeball is really such a long time to wait. Him will send her a letter, handwritten, tomorrow, he will expect a reply within four to six weeks. The text comes across as bitter sarcastic, not affectionate sarcastic. Him laments the absence of an irony key. She hasn’t replied yet and Him sent the message nearly three hours ago. Him wonders if he’s done something wrong.

“‘We need to talk’. Till recently these four harbingers of apocalypse would be uttered voice-to-voice, shortly followed by apocalypse. As text message it has been known to drive people literally to the point of insanity, their anxiety of apocalypse annihilates sound judgement. Life ticks. Unbearably. Away. Nobody would know the time of their death, given choice.

“Everybody she ever knew could be reached at the touch of a button. She was never truly happy to see anyone anymore.

“Tantalus had been told how life-changing an iPhone could be. Just as he reached out for one, somebody else told him how an Android would revolutionise his day-to-day business. He turned to grab this instead. Somebody cooed over the iPhone. Somebody aahed over the Android. Tantalus wept.

“Nobody never told Anybody it was only a phone. Anybody didn’t want to know that it was only a phone, but secretly Everybody knew this.

“Corporation told a Consumer that he was an individual. He showed Consumer a phone. Corporation told a different Consumer he was also an individual. He showed Consumer the same phone. Corporation told Consumers it was important that individuals should have this phone, and they both bought it – good and proper.

“Somebody’s phone went off in the classroom. Teacher shot Somebody in the face, just like she’d promised.

So you see. we must confiscate this technology. for your own benefit.
The voice that had leaked through the static stopped. The Walkie Talkie was quiet.
Over? – said Johnny.

j.