It wasn’t his fault. He heard of people who ran. But where would they run to? Why today of all days were they summoned? She finally spoke as if she understood silence.
‘Can’t we get an injunction or something? It’s going to be fucking nuts after they broadcast the transmission.’
She was right of course. The planet had waited a century for today. But he knew it was better to comply and get the situation fixed sooner than later. He slurped his tea to wash the toast out between his teeth and kept quiet, assuming she was being rhetorical.
She would have loathed to admit it, but she was and so she stopped listening to the silence.
He didn’t stay long. He never does. At least I know it’s not me. It’s in their fucking genes or head or something.
I’m almost glad. He’s an embolus around the apartment – the way he floats behind me, hovering silently like an odour whenever I do anything. I can’t stand it. Then he interjects with his stunted terse commentary, or interrupts with a beaded string of concerns over shit that no one else gives a fuck about.
He can go fuck himself. Along with that Eth Calpher. He’s in the paper again today. Why anyone said it was important to retain a male perspective in the press I don’t fucking know.
The fucking misogynist – again blaming social viruses for castrating men’s faculty in today’s world. What does he call it again? The ‘Fog’.
The ‘Fog’ has decayed man’s potency in society.
The ‘Fog’ is responsible for demoralising men globally.
Well thank fuck for the Fog.
It’s about fucking time.
Our types don’t mix. It’s to be expected i guess. They say we’re walking relics, made impotent by a world that left us behind. Well i still wake with a morning glory – i just don’t have someone with wide arms and sleepy breath beside me.
It wouldn’t have been so bad – except hardly any women were left behind. Most girls of the Gap Generation were granted exemption for future contributions.
Then Zeyd was born three days after the government enacted a compulsory program to inoculate all new born. There are fetish internet sites and clubs. But i don’t want to be someone’s fetish – i’m not going to pretend to be someone’s father.
It’s bad enough i now get mistaken for my dad’s older brother. I guess that’s why we don’t meet in public anymore. Is it shame that wets my dad’s eyes, like the barren lip that sits beyond the perimeter where i live? It feels like he’s trying to conjure the spirit of a great tragedy but can’t quite keep hold of the memory.
When they conquered nature i wonder if they realised it would condemn time. Moments stopped being precious, memories became irrelevant. They probably expected the world to grow infinitely wiser – how could it not? i fear they may have forgotten too much.
He half-figured-half-hoped the roads would be barren and ride faultless. Travelling along a desolate Princess Parkway felt like the anxious lag between light and sound. Everyone would be transfixed to their lenses watching the culmination of a twenty-four hour, two year live telecast from the Papacy of the One.
He was about to say, ‘There’s no need to rush,’ and was then relieved he didn’t. But a stringent taste of resentment quickly spread realising she caused him to review everything he said.
The desolate journey only made past voices resonate more sharply.
At their lowest she accused him of knocking her up, just to get another ten years juice on ice. As if he wasn’t allowed to own any sense of loss.
As they arrived at the centre he wondered if there was anyone else not thinking about the transmission. For so many other reasons he felt today held no future.
The processing centre was deliberately inconspicuous. He vaguely remembered when these facilities were a vast precinct of buildings. He was very young and there was something to do with his brother being sick. An endless pearl-wet corridor that effused sterilizer and agony. She slammed the door which made him blink.
I called him. I can’t believe I called him – what the fuck was I thinking?
‘What the fuck do you want Sedilla? I told you not to call me again.’
‘I know-it’s just that-’
‘I can’t fucking do this now-’
‘But haven’t you thought- I mean after today-’
‘Sir, all mobile devices must be switched off inside,’
‘The world-everything’s going to be different-’
‘I have seen much change in the last hundred years-the world’s still full of bad luck and arseholes.’
‘What if it brings a war like they say?’
‘My wife needs me right now.’
‘He left you-didn’t he?’
‘Fuck you Zeyd.’
The worst part is he’s probably the closest to a man I’ve ever met. He treats me like shit and I don’t mind.
It’s funny to think this day was preordained back when my parents were young. And under the penumbra of a century wasted, waiting in anticipation for a reply on an intergalactic phone call i’ve grown old. How can any response match the fear and excitement outside? It threatens to rent the planet in two? What do i care, i’ll be dead soon.
Debated for so many decades, people have grown deaf to any outcome beyond good or bad. i can’t even contemplate a century of expectation distilled to a final forty minute countdown. Maybe it’s because i think in the old ways. Who knows? To them a year might seem like a day, and day like an hour. Of course an hour is still an hour and a minute a minute.
There will be riots. And everyone will look to the One again for guidance. The One is on the lenses right now regurgitating forgotten orthodox catechisms remixed with new age spiritualism and pseudo physics like a telesales showwoman.
It made so much sense back then when religions failed to justify the signal, and they made it compulsory – to extract the last gene that last gene that could cause our downfall. That kept us human. The denominations all fell so quickly like house cards. Lord, how people forget.
Mum and dad are late. They’re probably at my brothers. i don’t mind. i hate the way mum looks at me now, like i am the future. I am her husband, her son – a reminder of their mortality.