Sci-fi / Urban

"So, what if you could change the world, to make it just as you wish, what would you do? Beautiful question, my dears, I'm waiting for you live at Radio Capital, it's ten AM and there are 40°C in the shadow, not that there's a patch of shadow in our capital city, but before I forget my idea, dears, do you know what an old Chinese man answered?..."

The DJ's voice flows tirelessly from the earbuds, but you're not listening anymore, it's just a murmur in the thrumming of the street, like bloodflow in your ears. You add to it as you elbow your way through the crowd. Don't be ashamed, you're part of the city's blood. Come on, admit it, you wouldn't leave it for the world, however noisy, busy and hot it may be.

A row of store windows mirrors you whizzing by. You could be anyone in the baggy pants and oversized hoodie, all white but for the mirrorshades. Funny how a generation ago these were a fad, now everyone wears them, it's a necessity. Must have been the same with cellphones back in the day, but what do you know, that was before your time.

The neighborhood swallows you quietly through the narrow slit between condos. You cross with a shiver into the geometric maze, frozen whirlpool of gangways and stairs between dirty walls. It's a vast, mysterious place with its own rules. Every day the gangs rescue some careless downtowner, extracting just a small fee to teach them a lesson. They're useful, these downtowners, they give us running water and only ask for foodstuffs in return. It was worse back when they tried to play feudal lords, but then the food crisis struck and cured them of that idea.

But now the space opens again, you passed the test, you're home. Here there are still barricades, upturned cars and barbed wire, among giant grafitti, vegetable gardens and playgrounds full of color. Your condo looks like a jail, too -- a warning for loiterers to stay away. Inside it's nothing the like, doors are missing, it smells of cooking and little kids tromp around everywhere. There are ever fewer residents as you climb the stairs; a condo wind turbine holds up to a few lightbulbs, but not an elevator, and not everyone's young.

It's an ascent to heavens. Silence falls; light grows. The top floor, empty and white like a temple. In the last room of the last apartment, a bed slowly falls apart among ceiling-high piles of books, and next to it a tower of recycled electronics stands guard.

"...Beautiful answer, my dears, isn't it? But it's late and we're all melting, so sweet dreams from Radio Capital and I leave you in the company of music until tonight."


Page last modified on January 11, 2012, at 01:23 AM