"Silence is Golden" - T-Shirt slogan bearing the face of Deryk Kokzynski
Something is in the air tonight.
I can feel it.
As bad as a dose of Phil Collins after a night on the curry.
& to top it all, my eTarot has slapped me with The Tower.
A man hurtling from a tower that has been struck by lightning.
An ill omen indeed.
Deryk has been silent all morning. Being the man of few words & pragmatic speech that he is, this is nothing unsurprising. He received a Netfone call late last evening. He just sits in the lounge, chain smoking his skinny rolled ciggies, checking out street maps & floor plans over & over again. Marking this point & that. Counting time on his fingers. Working everything out. Committing it all to memory. Rubbing his head as he thinks. Pacing & talking to himself. Connecting the dots. Seeing it all in his imagination. For a split second we make eye contact & he grins at me as a wolf would. Then he gestures turning as he does & he is back in it.
Right in there.
Damn, I wish our side had recruited him.
I do not want to disturb him. He will come out with it when he is good & ready. I just need to continue peeling potatoes but now my guts are on fire with the anticipation of it all.
One night there was a really strong electrical storm outside. The lightning was so bright it lit up the whole sky to daylight. The alley cats were flying around through the air & all over the place.
I feel like that.
Just peel those potatoes as if nothing else matters.
Forget for the moment that you could be involved in committing a crime just as serious as any public-trans or Choob attack.
Forget the danger presented towards innocent people who you have sworn to protect.
Blood will be spilled.
Just. Those. Fucking. Spuds.
Thirty minutes later there is a huge pile of peeled potatoes in front of me.
Enough for a platoon.
& I stand looking at it, hands on hips when Deryk bursts into the kitchen.
“Looks like we're going down to Old Lurk, boyos!”, he growls.
& like that, it starts.
The streets of The Scapegoat, Old Lurk East D-10 are littered with ratshit & torn plastik bags. This is what the Inna-City looks like now. Miserable squints & pinched Low Life dog-faces in brightly coloured plastik clothes. Parks with cheap grass that seems painted on, that make the jagged grey brick angled buildings seem even more like a failed social experiment. Even the glow-trees seem pissed off. Probably wished they had been planted somewhere no cunt is going to tear down or swing from their lower branches.
Well, now the wildest of all has come into The City.
Today the Unergy Governor comes to The Scapegoat to speak to the The Scapegoat Council & to declare the opening of a fifth generation Qubit Unergy plant in "The Curry". At least jobs will be created. Where the once strong men of The Scapegoat toiled underground in the carbon mines at the edge of the Industrial Zone, now they will be anti-rad suited up button pushers or security guards with vicious dogs & semi-autos. Black Rot will be replaced by fifteen toed children & the face of Jesus on their malignant growths as they tackle with that quantum Unergy & all that loose canon potential reality flying around.
Quibit plants are, of course, the only power source with enough pragmatic energy producing capabilities for the current increasing Oneiroic populace. There are just too many damn ideas in the Oneiroisphere.
If you had been bothered, you would have read about it in the Netpaper.
That deal a month ago with those sneaky Gallik companies.
A high profile hit but we know that this would only be a minor victory for The Dirty.
This would just be an introduction to the grand Old Lurk public.
So, of course I have opted to do the hit.
The temptation of it all.
I have grown to respect Deryk for the leader he is.
Shall I commit treason for these people, for this idea?
Treason against a system that forgot to work in the interests of its citizens a long time ago. That sacrificed this once most glorious City-God to the highest bidder. I will quite happily go unto whatever shit tornado I gots coming to me just to feel alive for that one single & pure moment of decision.
According to the plan, I do a Tsararov to the side of the head of the posh bastard. Blasting his importance all over broad daylight & right in front of Channel Lurk-1 robo-cams. One to the head & two to the heart as he hits the ground. The Governor will not be heavily protected. Probably just one or two well-suited gorillas draped on either side. No biggie. Deryk & Jess are to unleash covering fire & whoever has not been subjugated (splattered all over the shop in a hail of fire & death) makes their own separate way to two separate vehicles scattered around the city centre. The hacking teams will be working, at an undisclosed location, on intercepting & blocking any distress signals to give us extra time. Then monitoring media signals from afar & sending just enough confusion & disinformation send panic & awe to those who need to be prompted.
A fairly routine hit by all accounts.
Still, it will get the old blood up & pumping.
Appearance matters. It is a big day after all.
Do you think they would let any stinky boiler suited tofu weaving fascists near the Governor?
No chance. This is a total Foto-op for the Unergy Corps & the powers that be & we are dressed to the fucking nines. All in black. To commemorate the occasion.
The Man In The Black Suit for today.
Jess has even got herself a fake pregnant belly to wear under her veiled funereal dress to get closer to the bastard. A real black widow, she looks.
Who would suspect a pretty heavily pregnant lady?
In the chaos who will they be able identify?
We will look like everyone else.
We are the old Mayor Fatcha's Children.
Grabbing at life like that Valkyrie bitch taught us too.
I am thinking this as I stride towards Brutus Square with Jess. Scanning left. Scanning right. I can see the entourage & the pomp stood on the steps of the Kouncil House. I finger the Tsararov in my pocket as we stomp, smiling, towards the flashbulb crescendo & zooming robocams. From the corner of my eye, I see Deryk come in from out of nowhere & join the greeting party, mingling seamlessly into the small & fawning crowd.
He had toyed with the idea of a lone gunman up in one of the windows there.
Day Of The Jekyll style.
The witnesses will see an organised & lethal group attack, not the actions of some crazed lone gunman that could be manipulated by the media. Instead The Dirty will be public enemy number one to some. Inspirations to others. Tomorrow the word "OnFasc" will be on lips & tongues of every citizen in Old Lurk. About time this City was shaken up a bit. It has gotten far too soft & complacent.
Hah! Listen to me! Old Lurk, soft! Hah!
I don't half talk some rubbish!
I am close enough to the Governor to sniff the fucker's tangy eau de toilette & I wonder how long now before the chain reaction starts. For months, my noize-kam has been relaying Gigabits upon Gigs of sexy information (from sonic scans to facial recogs) to HADES, who in turn would have been passing on (most of) the important stuff (we like to keep some juicy bits to ourselves) to the powers that be, who in turn would have teams of men counter-plotting & sending snipers & gods know what else to neutralise The Dirty before any shots are fired. It is a risky business, especially with the hackers out there somewhere causing havoc & picking out pieces of data from the air, like digital candy floss men, but it has all snowballed so fast & Deryk has kept things so tight to his chest.
Suddenly that moment of choice is upon me. I live for this. With one movement I can destroy everything I have worked for & maybe one day I shall do it.
Become a traitor on a mere whim.
But not today.
Deryk is in front of me & I continue with my act pulling my gun from the holster inside my jacket. Suddenly, I feel his hand grip my bicep tightly & he is pulling me away & I as I turn he whispers something into my ear.
“A change of plan”
There is only silence.
I look with more than my eyes & the wool that was pulled falls away.
It is only then that I understand why Jess is kitted out with a fake belly under her dress.
& I hear the soft words, “Move. C'mon!”
I am whisked away & I feel the whole apparatus that has been set in motion around me begin to crumble. Out of the corner of my eye I see the armoured shadows of snatch squads above us. I want to tell them to run away as fast as they can but I cannot as I am caught in a law of nature. We break out into the open, away from the crowd & their perfect smiles. Behind me some polite clapping fades with every swift step & I think I hear Jess screaming a single distraught sustained note. Then we are up & running as the rush of air from a Kopter brings noise to where is not wanted.
I feel the explosion way before I hear it.
We are thrown & tumble with the force.
Debris showers us.
Pavement & limbs.
Deryk picks me up & then we are gone, baby.
I am on my knees.
Hands clasped on top of my head.
The barrel of a Tsararov touches my left temple. I feel its weight. Its potential bearing down on me from way above, from the wretched buildings surrounding us, from the heavy pregnant clouds disgorging that never-ending rain, from gravity itself. & I smile quietly to myself.
Izzy, on the other hand, is shrieking while she gestures wildly around me. She has an expanding snot bubble growing out of her right nostril. Tears piss down her face. She looks so sweet like a child chastised by her mother for touching an attractive yet deadly caterpillar. Deryk sharply pushes the gun a little heavier into the side of my skull, increasing the tenderness around my temple. After all it is a pressure point. Hit hard enough I could suffer some real head damage. I recoil with the pressure, then resume my former position.
My smile never falters.
Not for a second.
My knees hurt with a sharp ache.
These wooden floorboards certainly do not help.
They are not meant to be knelt on.
That is for sure.
& I am certainly no Buddhist monk meditating while being set on fire.
That is defo.
I lower my gaze & stare at a natural hole in the grain of the wood just in front of my knees. I can see right down into its depths. Right down into the earth itself. I can see past the floors & ceilings & rocks & the soil & the worms curly-wurlying & struggling in the eternal game of life & I feel Deryk's breath on my cheek as he leans in to whisper a single word.
He does not need to say anything else.
But I would like to tell him that he is wrong.
To be traitor you first have to believe in something.
I never did.
I feel the waft of air before the blow, as the butt of the handgun smashes into my jaw. I turn with the strike, as a tooth flies out of my mouth, followed by blood & saliva, to land on the kitchen table next to the mug that reads “Yoga Kills”. Izzy screams again as my head hits the floor. In the next room a radio is playing. The music floats into my ears with the impact of bone & gristle on wood & it sounds to me as if Izzy is singing some strained & painful melody.
As my head is still just about connected to my spinal column, my body collapses & twists itself after it. I grin widely as salty yet sharp fluid trickles down my throat & I lick my split-open lips & dab the wound where my tooth used to be with my swollen tongue. Quickly as a snake tastes the air.
Deryk always knew.
All the secrets that matter.
I confessed everything to them.
Not because of the pain.
Not because I felt guilty.
But because they deserved, at least, that.
The sacrifice that Jess had made.
If she could do that, then I could tell them.
It seemed only fair considering the storm that is coming.
I confessed with the calmness of one who is content to have been fooled.
Isn't it funny how things turn out?
I confessed that their whole plot has been played out to last degree,but I left out the happy ending & now I lie on the floor as a boot kicks my skull with such fury. My eyes roll back into my head & I hear Our Lady Of Last Resorts as she whistles through her pearly whites that old tune that we all know so well as the long awaited stomping of heavy military boots rattles up the staircase. As the pummelling of the door crashes its way into our senses. As the soft thump, thump of silenced rounds scatters everybody to the four winds. As screams become the inevitable silence. As people mutter into devices & I am taken away into a smothering drone as the ambulance hurtles from side to side.
In my glorious failure my smile never falters.
The Beginning ...