Shorter Dog February 2.0
February 2017- New Work & a Short Story from Terrible Now 2007 reprinted in Short Dog Stories 2013
So Sonic 2.0
We are so sonic
in tragic desperate dissipation
living with as much dissolute passion
in a quarter of the allotted years
left in the gas tank of youth
with the needle
sinking towards E.
Running now on pure desire
the last burn catching up to us
now would allow
one last glorious gallon
rubber burning acceleration
a lifetime of this
pedal to the metal
sonic furry driven between
us and away.
The Clock struck in Twitter time to post. POTUS adjusted his bathrobe and palmed his device thinking as he snapped off the remote on the telescreen snarling time to teach those Idiots the lesson for today.
Sleep eluded him most nights. All six telescreen Hi def 48 inch hype cyber link realty blared on 24/7
The Leader had one in every room. All Staff had strict orders. These windows on his enemies were never to be off line
Sometimes of late he would walk the halls in the White House in the wee hours.
the gravity of his position was not even lost him.
Thinking I have the codes- is this what it’s like to be God ?
Abruptly his teenage son burst through the door
Eluding the Secret Service detail-
Asking- Hey Dad I have a question for you
Your Ad Here
Becker Desire gradually became aware of the blinking LCD sensor on the nightstand next to his bed. A pale blue light gathered behind his blackout curtains (which didn’t open) indicating daylight of some sort. These days it was always merely a matter of just to what degree the constant gray would lighten to. There hadn’t been a bright sunshine day in the range of his limited memory. Desire was barely 12 years old. Becker was one of the lucky ones. He had his own comfortable habitat cubical and an employment. Two conditions of modern life for young people in those days and times that was very scarce and coveted. Becker’s parents were dead. Well that might not be true. He knew his father was. His benefactor. Before his suicide two years before, he had “sold” his son into this position. Becker was a Guest Host. Desire’s mother could still be alive. He doubted it. She had been exported to the local Cable Access Porno Pool and Community Chest when he was very small. He remembered her as being rather pretty and young. Life had become very cheap, brief, and brutal on earth in recent years. The rich still lived well. The rich always manage to live well. True they accounted for a very small percentage of the still dwindling population, but they controlled the government and the army. The only problem was they tended to get bored.
That’s why they had Guest Hosts. That’s why Becker had a job.
Scrambling to punch the first circuit prompt w/ his consumer valuator, Becker lost his balance tangling his feet in the bed sheets and fell hard and flat on to the floor, smacking his head with a loud resounding
Instantly the room erupted with laughter and approval. He shook off the blow and barely made it to the portal with his card to insert before penalty and the first corporate commercial jiggle blared across the room.
There was the sound of relief and approval from the monitors.
Another day had begun.
That was a concept Becker was increasingly falling out of touch with. He knew he was allowed a sleep cycle of varying length every fifteen hours. Becker had no concept of time in the traditional sense, much less free personal time. As Guest Host every single action, choice or movement in his habitat cubical was monitored, speculated and wagered
upon. The vast void cyber audience made up of the affluent and privileged casted votes and gambled credits upon the outcome of all Desire’s consumer decisions. And he had better log in and make them precisely on time. As long as he maintained a certain amount of profit margin for the system where thousands of other Guest Hosts (like himself) toiled with endless consumer choices, his “job” was safe.
However the only two real aspects of reality he was terrified that he truly understood was his “Expiration Date” and “service interruption”. Both contingencies were fatal to his rather comfortable, stable way of life.
Becker Desire knew next to nothing about the state of his own country or the world in general. When he was seven he was given an intelligence/aptitude test to determine him as “Serviceable” (able to do maintenance jobs) or “Expendable” (bright but of no real utility or value) Society & the social order had caved in on itself. Conditions were bad. Very bad. Indeed everything that could have gone wrong in the dawn of the 21st Century in fact had. From a general environmental collapse (fragile all ready but hastened by a limited nuclear exchange over the old blood feuds in the middle east, there were no winners, instead Israel and Iran no longer existed and surrounding oil fields were now going to be radioactive for the next 500 years) to an ensuing global economy’s evaporation, the only real thing that still was robust and functioned fully was perversion and greed. The internet had continued to flourish in a most bazaar fashion. Civilization (what was left of it) was regressing to a very basic subsistence existence as quickly as it had climbed above it during the 1900s.
Desire only knew he had choices to make. And he better make the right ones or his easy way of life was over. While he knew next to nothing about the outside world, he was sure it wasn’t good. He had no idea even where he was outside of his four walls. He might be on the grounds of a military compound or in the basement of a wealthy citizen. His shipment of supplies slid down a chute on a regular basis along with a program log. All foodstuffs, personal hygiene items, clothing, entertainment options (DVDs, CDs etc) literally everything an eleven year old could want or imagine was provided wordlessly and without human contact.
Becker Desire never saw anyone in person. He had been drugged in the middle of the night a long time ago and had awakened in here with a headache, an audio file of introduction, job description and operating instructions for being selected as a Guest Host.
The following is an excerpt of the introduction greeting transcript:
Congratulations…insert name here on being chosen as a Guest Host. This exciting and important position is a coveted opportunity for you to help shape, sustain and guide your nation’s essential consumer choices. Many very important and wealthy fellow citizens are relying on you to assist them in putting our great nation’s economy on the road to solid recovery and prosperity. Everything you need will be provided. Make good decisions. Wise consumer choices. Remember we are all counting on you. Remember you are the hope and future of a brighter tomorrow. So good luck insert name here. our newest Guest Host !!!
At first Becker had no idea what they were talking about or what was expected of him.
But Desire was a fast learner. He had to be. There was little margin for error.
The Guest Host was a mediator between a strange Post -Modern hybrid of E-Bay, Las Vegas and the old Nielson ratings system.
Rubbing his head Becker went to the bathroom. It was time to make his first choices of the day. What tooth brush, paste, mouthwash, soap, even toilet paper would he use? He had a dozen to choose from. This combination of these basic items could make thousands of credits (there was no longer paper money) to be won or lost in his first ten minutes of his consciousness. Speculators were wagering credits upon who was wagering credits on his choices and further more there was heavy action on whether he would make it back to his log in station on time. Double or nothing. Becker had to log in to the system every few minutes and that schedule changed from hour to hour. In addition, there were those voyeurs who were always watching the little boy.in his most intimate moments and with the prospect of puberty looming; surely his masturbation habits would cause both ratings and wagering to spike. How many times a day could he do it? Whose porno did he find the most interesting? What kind? The possibilities of that seemed endless. Desire was a hot property and his stock was on the rise. Every wall of his habitat cubical was covered with immense flat screen HD displays all showing different commercials and ad campaigns based upon the products he was provided with and encouraged to choose. And of course there was more wagering and speculation on that connection. In addition each screen had embedded video camera units transmitting his actions. There was virtually not a single action or movement of Desire’s that was not generating action, perpetuating distraction and entertainment, revenue streams for a degenerating culture trying to keep the collective mind off its own demise.
So the time passed. When Becker ate. They bet. He watched DVDs. They wagered. Listened to CDs. They speculated. Lost and won. Personal fortunes came and went, acquired and were squandered based upon every single trivial pre-teen preference that could be generated to occur in a controlled speculative environment.
Becker was aware of his tenuous position. He could be cancelled at anytime. He had an Expiration Date. Most Guest Hosts rarely survived past the age of sixteen. In rare cases, there was thing called Syndication that Becker didn’t really understand, that might extend his shelf-life (an alternative name for his present existence) for a few years.
The other more immediate threat was the dreaded and terrifying “Service Interruption”
This had happened twice since Becker had been in this place. It had only lasted a few seconds, but everything shut down. Everything. Complete separation from the mainframe. If Becker was off-line for more than 30 seconds the speculation on whether he would make it back live on time before he was dropped might sustain him for about two-minutes. Attention spans were short these days, plenty of other options (i.e. Guest Hosts) and time of course was money. The infer-structure grid system that kept the internet operating was deteriorating all the time. Becker had no way of knowing this. But on the outside all supporting frameworks were not only over-taxed, but more failed and went off line permanently every day.
Desires interior intellectual and emotional world was pretty much flat lined between his constant duties of the guest host, choosing for others and making them money, being completely inundated and overwhelmed by a steady flood of vapid massed produced visual and audio stimulation that amnestied as it etherized. But he had one favorite file.
It was left over from his father. And he had found it in a rare free period during his sleep cycle when he was restless and wide awake one time early in his career on a DVD compilation of animation he was supposed to view and make a determination on.
It was something called an Old Warner Brother’s cartoon. His father used to watch it with him and laugh, in what seemed like another world and lifetime a long time ago.
He didn’t understand who the obnoxious parody of Red Riding Hood in Bobby Sox was. In fact he didn’t even know the Little Red Riding Hood story. Who that Big Bad Wolf was. The grandmother. The talking rabbit. He could not fathom the world that had produced such a rich dance of song and color. But he remembered his father laughing
and him laughing along with him. And the song that girl used to sing;
. …….ta da da da dad da.. The five o’clock whistles on the blink, The whistle won’t blow and whadd’ya think? My pop is still in the factory ’cause he don’t know What time it happens to be. .The five o’clock whistle didn’t blow. The whistle is broke and whadda’ya know? Oh! Who’s gonna fix the whistle? Won’t somebody fix the whistle? Oh! Who’s gonna fix the whistle? So my poor old pop will know. It’s time for him to stop….
And that ending. That rabbit and bear sharing a carrot while the girl piled high with heavy furniture in her arms, sweated and strained spread eagle over a shovel of white hot coals looming closer and closer. He never understood why that part was supposed to be funny or why they had done that to the poor little girl.
But now he knew how the girl had felt.
She was just about his age. She didn’t look like she understood anymore about the position she was in than he did about his current one. She just kept looking down as her bottom sank closer to the fire. It was only a matter of time. He wondered if the Talking Rabbit and Big Bad Wolf were wagering on how long she would last.
Becker Desire was waking up again. He could see the pale light behind his curtains.
Only something was wrong. Very wrong. There wasn’t any flashing light waking him up.
His screens were all dark. Lifeless. Worse yet, the perpetually sealed entrance door to his habitat cubical was open ajar. He could smell smoke. Voices were yelling something in the distance.
Desire instantly knew what had happened and what was going to happen next.
All bets were off.
February Shorts 2012 Collected in Got Abstract ?
Overheard outside the Pre-K Room
And Sara just barely
four screamed in
soap opera desperation…..
You’re ruining my life
While a little boy with
moon shaped head and
big oval eyes remarked
He’s got purple all over his face…
How does he live like that ?
A Beer in Winter
Tonight it feels like
I’m drinking beer
with Dr. Zhivago
Laura’s not coming
but she did send
She took a lot of wind
out of his sails
she put it there
in the first place.
My Face Won’t Book
His memory is
just this untied
website shoe lace now.
Put that one
up on your fucking wall.
If the shoe fits
Don’t get to excited
you probably have it
on the wrong foot.
You could count all the Carnies in Canarsie
in your last ride on the Cyclone
That Amusement Park
of broken hearts
closed till further notice.
Seems all the rides ?
And he finally
spit the bit
a dirty rose. 2/12