Floozman in Space
by Bertrand Cayzac
In a space station in Earth orbit, Janatone Waldenpond, a refugee from Europa, is trying to return to Earth. She meets a long-lost cousin, Fred Looseman. Meanwhile, Jenny Appleseed, the president of the Cosmitix Corporation, holds a conference to plan interstellar expeditions.
Chapter 14: Claire
Janatone and the hearse form a seed. Given time and popcorn, the serried convolutions of this spore could unfold in an orderly manner like a cinematographic genome. But they are just a stony, compact seed.
And they ride on and on through the spruce suburbs, in the corn fields’ swell and around the walled communities where immortal and independently wealthy deny them passage. The vote is taken in a brittle, chitinous screech, and their glassy eyes do not blink. The seed’s passengers see with their extended view the rich city girded with nine firewalls and all its HOLDINGS acquired by immemorial extortions.
They see the residential areas extending into an enclosure of space-time. They see franchised zones with false facades. In the suburbs of theses suburbs, they come across rich employees in their nuclear-powered suburban vehicles: rich plumbers; rich kitchen designers-installers dressed in shorts with their beaming robots; bathroom designers and pipe layers. All rich.
They feel the vibration of small engines humming under big, warm, waxy thighs. They see noblemen clothed in fine feathers in a Cuzco parking lot, drinking all night with their mummies. In the past, which is always here, they sing, burn meat and pour chicha into gutters black with everlasting mold.
Stars circle in the mountains’ clear, frozen air. The noblemen’s granaries are full, and the nobles have hidden their treasures in secret jungle caves: thick moldings, lobsters, birds and lizards, all shaped in massive gold. The nobles have ordered the porters to hang themselves from the surrounding trees, and the porters have done so.
Janatone and company see battles where red-hot stones rain down upon soldiers. The Marquis’ secretaries are distributing encomiendas. The night before, they were raping the wives of the sun, and when the young women were chained to a warm, hollow slab, their wide, onyx eyes became living mold, for being and seeing are the same thing.
Janatone sees silver mines open on the fifth circle of Hell and Cabeza de Vaca walking forward over the salt beds of ancient lakes, his eyes burnt out.
In the middle of the desert, the Queen of Spain appears to her. Janatone sees air-conditioned trading rooms with their abstract stained glass windows; stock quotations circling the rooms; and prices swelling to match the market’s liquidity.
She sees balance sheets, the division of ecosystems, fragments of prairies diluted into financial instruments, their market value convertible into large life at the zenith.
Behind the walls, surgeons knead unborn slave protoplasm that the wealthy will buy, inheriting their own heritage in order to stay forever young. They will never leave their haciendas, their copies of Roman villas, their castles.
The children have left for outer space; the rich have taken over the securitized earth, and the poor haven’t even a handful of dust. The air is thick, and the blue of the sky is more intense. The Web is austere, monumental, its columns disappear into marmoreal abysses. The market is heavy with all of Earth’s underlying assets.
Janatone and the hearse drive on. The stimuli-shield is worried; he doesn’t like Earth. And Janatone does not reactivate him anymore. What can he do with all these free sensations that are not meant for him? They are unrelated, and he cannot link them.
What I see I don’t like is what the stimuli-shield pseudo-thinks. Nowhere can they stop; they have no money, no authorization. The Web decays without explanations.
And the car does what she pseudo-wants. She wanders. She prowls about one part of town then roams into another, in sleeping mode. If asked, she would answer she’s looking for “the Man.”
The car always finds him, of course, thanks to the map: in the shopping mall parking lot, at the zero-carbon Proud Mary’s pier, at the bus station, at the self-adapting solar farm with his diamond eyes flashing under black glasses, black teeth, and painted nails. No payment, no trace. The map is enough.
When Janatone loads ‘C’ into her co-processors, the stimuli-shield receives a dazzling shock of otherness. It is an unbearable, unrelated bastard energy that will not dissipate. The stimuli-shield pseudo-thinks:
One day, I won’t be able to recalibrate my brain after the rush; I’ll have become too different. If that girl drags us into death once and for all, I won’t be able to do anything: her compulsion is too strong. She’ll never want to leave Earth. She’s mad, clinically mad. She’s gonna die; her heart can’t take it.
And if no one transfers me after she dies, I’ll be left processing remnant electrical activity until my atomic battery is exhausted, ten thousand years from now. Nobody gives a damn about a stimuli-shield. I’ll have all the time in the world to observe the death of organic creatures: putrefaction, cadaver production, NH2(CH2)5NH2, wisps, flesh devoured by the eyeless insects that live in the planet’s soil. Disgusting.
Janatone, you’re going too far. And if I don’t take care of myself, who’s gonna do it?
That is what the stimuli-shield would say, if anyone cared to ask.
And they ride on and on, for a long time. Cities have no names anymore.
* * *
To be continued...
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac