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2: Augmented Reality

“It’s on red.”

The ground. Concrete. Cold. Feel it beneath me…

“Are you sure? Let me see. ”

But the pain, dull pain is still there. And I’m still screaming. But wait…

” No. it’s green now.”

A fog, no a shape is moving through a fog, a mist. What is it? I can’t tell…

“Well, which one is it then for Christ sake?”

Sounds outside my head…deep, male. A conversation.

“It keeps on changing. It’s amber…no, no. It’s red again.”

No, I’m gone. Underneath again.

” Okay, shut it down for a while. Give him a rest. I think he’s had enough.”

Daddy’s got a new car, come out and have a look. ….

” But we have to continue treatment!”

No. I’m reading my comics!

” I am aware of that. But any more and we could risk damaging him permanently. And where would we be then?”

Get out here now! You spend too much time reading those silly fucking…

” Of course. I got carried away..”

Three coins in a fountain, two birds in my bush, four knifes in my chest….

” We would be up shit creek, that’s where. Explaining that to management? Be my guest Malcolm!”

“Wise men say only fools rush in”, Give it a rest Dad, you are drunk…

” But don’t we have to record everything?”

I cheated on her again and again and you know what? I enjoyed it. Every disgusting moment of it.

” Record? Yes. But you forget. They are watching us; every second, every minute, every hour, breath and movement.”

Liars are not born that way. It is their external environment which influences their behaviour incrementally, over a period of…

” Yes. I had forgotten. Sorry.”

When are you coming home? I’ve made dinner. I’ve been waiting ages. I need you.

” So nothing escapes their gaze. It’s all transparent, out in the open. Clarified.”

Some say that he was attacked by a great white shark on Bondi. But I think he did it to himself.

” Can he see us?”

Io Divento Uno. Io divento Uno. Si. Questo è ciò che credo.

“Stop worrying. I told you. He can’t see a thing. It’s a one way mirror. All he can see is himself…and his memories. Poor bugger. You will get used to it.”

Here, I will play you a song. You know Jacques Brel?

” I suppose so.”

By the light of the silvery moon….

” You will.  It’s only been a few days. Give it time.”

It took fifteen years for me to realize I had failed him….

” Does he know?”

Have you ever fingered a girl? No, ha ha ha. This lad has never even fingered a girl….Of course I fuckin have…

“Malcolm. I assure you, he knows nothing. Imagine inhaling opium underwater. That’s how far gone he is, dear boy. We are not merely separated by a wall but by vast universes.

Why does the sight of a lame jack russell with one leg make me weep instantly whilst the death of thousands of people….

“Sorry, I’m not used to this. We should feed him.”

Here. Try this. You will love the taste of this. I promise. Tzatziki…

“Yes, we should. But we have to stay within our assigned parameters. ”

Jesus, say something! Say something! He’s gonna ruin the whole production, asshole!

“Yes, yes. Of course. Sorry. I’m not used to this system of working.”

Such a sad little man, wrapped up in my own romantic melancholy. Yeah, the memory of even touching her hair sends chills…

“Like I said, you will get used to it. And so will he. Now, how about a cup of tea?”

Wake up!

 

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1: Shock Me

At first, she seemed fine until I realized she wasn’t breathing properly. My hands detached from her neck and her body slumped to the floor, her head resting on my feet with her lifeless arms placed around my ankles, worshipful to the end. She wasn’t breathing at all now. Trying to think back on our shared time together over the last few months I could not recall one moment; seeing her like this now made all of those memories seem fleeting, unimportant. This was finite, eternal and I felt a profound, heightened sense; a connection with life and death I had never felt before.

I looked around the room; evidence of our shared time together. An unmade bed, a black and white photograph of a day trip to the beach, forced smiles and furtive erotic fumbling behind the rocks and sand dunes. She was quiet that day and I knew a question would come. A challenge of my devotion. How did I truly feel about her? When faced with such inquiry, I would squirm and life in that moment would vanish. Her beauty, the essence that had drawn me to her would evaporate and I would detach, watching her and myself reacting as if watching a film.

That same feeling coursed through me now as I watched my feet slowly move away from her body now. As I do this, I catch myself in the bedroom mirror and my face is blank, unshaven and feckless. My default expression. Her lipstick is on the dresser. Her kiss, how it felt. Have I forgotten it already? I remember how she danced, how her body felt pressed against me, the nape of her neck, scent of her sweat. But her kiss? No trace. Do all of them disappear into one, indistinguishable over time? I need to taste her again, just to remember for a moment.

Before I apply her make up to my lips I catch myself ready to ask her permission to use it but there is no need for that now. She is gone. And I have my freedom. My precious freedom. I wonder why I’m not panicked, look at myself again and start to cry. A shadow across my face now. The doorbell rings and I drop the lipstick. Now my hands shake and I can’t stop them shaking.  Where is she now?  The bell it goes on, cutting through my tears. I search for her.  Her body is gone. I cry but hear nothing. My hands smash the mirror, bloody shards float in the air.  I scream and I hear nothing.  A shadow pulls me towards the door. I try not to open it but the room it shakes and my hands grip the handle to see what’s on the other side. Before I can turn it, it melts away, the earth is dissolving and I see her face, no trace of a smile. Close my eyes. And there is nothing.

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