excerpt from Last Rites of Modern Man
A newspaper headline reads: IF I DIE TODAY MUST I WORK TOMORROW?
It’s one of the funny papers, one of the rare independent ones, but not truly independent of course. Pay the words no attention and no mental strain but such words are certainly amusing. I have no intentions of experiencing the strains of journalism. There must be easier ways of making money than writing and that applies to so many kinds of work. You can sell drugs, sell bodies, sell dust, somebody might buy it. I don’t care what will happen if people have the willpower to say no. Scan the newspapers but don’t buy. Don’t like reading, don’t like writing. Too prehistoric. Messages should hit us straight to the mind, to the energy, without mental exertions. I refuse to work and I refuse to die.
Where shall I go? What shall I do with my time? The super-computers are no better. Humans created them so there’s not that much to expect. The super-computers are logical and precise humans. In the future they’ll probably make them with sex organs. I’d be pleased if the super-computer really knew the answers. They say they do or will do. Maybe I’ll go to the park. The nearest park. I’m too tired to go to another superior park.
The streets of England are too narrow and so perfect for the modern world. Some are so narrow that when you go to another country the streets are almost too spacious. But it’s changing there too. Rapidly. There’s no time to waste.
I need some cigarettes. The corner shop owners really want me to steal so they can punish my body with their baseball bats. If one day I see a baseball bat in their backroom I’ll laugh, my clever little diaphragm. There’s too much violence and the least violent people are so jealous. Buy the cheapest most disgusting brand, the strongest brand, the one they say will damage you more. It’s another lie. So eager to smoke my money I should light up before I’m out of the shop. I don’t feel guilty anymore. We’re only allowed to smoke in our coffin living quarters because we shouldn’t poison the clean respectable sort. In theory. But the smokers aren’t obeying the rules even when scientific papers shine truth into eyes. Smokers believe in history and freedom of expression, or so they say on television. These debates go on. If you’re lucky you don’t get fined. Cigarettes are the latest dog turds and they have been for a while. I’m going to smoke more today for my personal revolution. Nobody else will know about my revolution.
The streets have the reflective quality of anti-mirrors. The sun transforms so many times before it hits our skin, before it hits our eyes, if we can see. One guess is that it goes through matter, through layers of the Earth’s stratosphere, through special defensive government induced layers, through what you see as the sky heavy with oil pollution and many other kinds of pollution, through reflective surfaces, natural surfaces and manmade surfaces, through sunblock and sunglasses.
The sun must be tired.
And it’s going to run out one day. When you have sun all the time you start praying for rain but you don’t really want rain because rain causes floods and water overruns the land and I don’t want to live on a boat.
Last Rites of Modern Man is a novella, the story of 0 who is living in a world of routine.