Tale of a Residual.
The man on the other side of the call indicated that my objective would be found on Vernon St 378 at around 17:20 (05:20pm). I gathered my things, called a taxi to the airport and boarded my plane.
Being inside of an airplane has always caused an unpleasant sensation; it ‘s neither a fear of heights nor the fear of being part of a lost commercial flight at sea. It’s the fact of being surrounded by strangers for so many hours on end. That’s makes me nauseous. On top of that on this flight, the man next to me, a Frenchman, would not shut up. I know, a little strange but that’s what it is.
His stories were about life, work, and things of that nature (from what I was able to understand). His none stop talking, the hum of the turbines, dimly lit plane, the murmuring of the other passengers on the night flight and the exhaustion I had from the weekend were the cocktail that knocked me out into some sort of induced coma. It all added to my need to arrive in San Francisco and do my job.
A constant nudge is enough to wake someone, especially if they’re tenuous. And that was exactly what interrupted my unusual rest. A nap in which mid flight our plane cruised through a terrible lightning storm. “The storm of the damned year!” apparently Thor, Zeus, and Jupiter took a vacation and went partying without giving a single damn about the consequences.
All of that fury reminded me of my father when he would get back from work. I bet all three of those gods would cower under my bed as I used to do while I listened as my mother bravely faced such commanding fury.
“Is the sleepy head awake?” The Frenchman said in very fluid and well-pronounced Spanish (in fact I could swear he had a Spanish accent, slightly Andalusian). Slightly disoriented and still gathering my five senses, still startled I said,
“ Excuse me, I didn’t know you spoke Spanish”
“Spanish? I don’t speak Spanish”, he said.
“…But you’re speaking it right now”
“Are you sure?”, he asked.
“YES!” I replied.
With a smile that stretched from ear to ear and the bright eyes of an excited child he said,” Holy shit! I can’t believe it…well, If this is what I think it is. Let me tell you. In 2027, by order of almost the entire European Union and the majority of the countries on the American continent they implemented (and of course sold us) the IOS WX-2 translator. Basically its an implant that detects sound waves and words of the person that is speaking in another language and translates it in real time. You hear it in your native tongue, that which is romantically attached to your person. In turn when you speak in your language the other person with the implant hears you in their native tongue.
For example, in this exact moment every time you speak, I hear it in perfect French. It isn’t perfectly synchronized to the movement of your lips but this is only the third version that’s on the market, little by little its gets better, like all technology.
I think that’s why you hear me speaking Spanish but… I don’t understand why you ask if you seem to be using one as well.
Once at school I saw how two guys on the football team beat the shit out of each other over a pair of tits and ass. John, who was the captain of the team, had been dating the linebackers’ girl behind his back. Amanda was the girls name, was the cream of the crop at school and the reason why John broke the linebackers knee by kicking it from the front.
It was definitely traumatic to see as spectators watching the fight. I was easily in shock and unable to utter a word for a good half hour. Surprised. In my mind processing what had happened, how much it could’ve hurt. I was simply impressed and disgusted by the grotesque image, the disturbing sound, seeing the unnatural bending of the knee going backwards being smashed into smithereens.
That exact feeling is what came over me when the Frenchman said what he had just told me.
“2027? Implants?, what the fuck are you talking about?!”
“HOLY SHIT! I can’t believe it! You’re a residual!”
“Excuse me? What the hell is that?”, I asked.
In 2017 there was a “Storm” of micro black holes in the solar system, caused by a sound the Chinese sent to experiment with black hole and to “play” with gravity. At least that’s what they tell us. You know governments always lie, but any way…
That caused multiple black holes in our solar system, leaving as a result that the time and space continuum went berserk and folded into it self. We still don’t know to a 100% what the damage caused by this event. However some that could be explained were the involuntary transitions between the lines of time and space. There are known cases of people from 2017 that were here because of the storm, others simply simply stayed in their own timeline with slight changes to their “reality”.
To those of them here and now, in your case, on June 28 2037 we call you residuals. People that suffered a displacement in the timeline but encountered no modification, what so ever in their universe, which is why you remember me from before waking up. That’s why you are in the same plane, same destination and under the same circumstances. What I can’t explain is how you could have an implant and a translator. Well its some type of “synchronization of destiny” if we want to romanticize it.
When my mind came to reality (however long that was) we were on a moving sidewalk that ran along side an entire corridor full of propaganda and commercials for different brands. The color pallet used could hypnotize anyone. It was impressive the amount of 3-d holograms of beautiful women and beautiful landscapes. Amongst the ecstasy of so may colors my companion ( the Frenchman) grabbed my shoulder and shook it a little to grab my attention. He placed his and around my ear and whispered, “ You are very fortunate my friend, but be very careful. In this year, this “future” in this present people have no ounce of privacy. It’s a global issue; they have no sense of empathy. They’re violent and at the same time secretive. We do however have many great things, enjoy them!”
He took his hand off my shoulder and was lost in one of the many hallways that appeared in a cross way of the treadmill.
Approximately 20 minutes of visual ecstasy was the time that passed on the treadmill, which ended in an endless line of people, all of them talking, making noise. They were all inside a great hall, a hall that resembled my grandfather’s hangar. It was enormous and every sound made inside would echo for several seconds.
I recall the day my friend Marlon and I counted 7 seconds of echo thanks to a large firecracker we set off, one we had stolen from old man Sam’s corral. The explosion it made was deafening. Marlon was scared shitless because he went deaf for several hours. That magnum sound was something like what was in that great hall of the airport.
The people that were waiting in that endless line were generating that sound. Discussion, fights, and crying all thanks to Customs and Immigration.
If it is true that we are in 2037 this doesn’t surprise me the slightest. In 2017 immigration control around the world was already strict and in some cases it was even very unjust to many people. It was almost as unjust and annoying as waiting in this damn line.
After two and a half hours of waiting I came to a window that had a great screen, inside a woman was projected three dimensionally. She asked me my nationality, where I was coming from, where I was going and what my Brainphone number was…, “brainphone?”, I asked.
“Yes, the number of your implant, to render you a better service”. As I heard this, I thought that perhaps this could be that damned translator or perhaps another cursed object encrusted in my brain that would be the latest trend that year. I decided to risk it a little and give her my telephone number. Which as of a few hours ago had become an antique, obsolete.
The hologram that was projected stared at me. Her stare was one that more full of life and far more vivid than my exes before she left me for Antonio (One of my best friends). It was a stare so vivid that I wasn’t sure if it was from a real person being projected or if it was just code written into a software (Again with this “real”).
“Welcome to San Francisco, enjoy your stay”, I heard the hologram woman tell me. A little surprised by the fact that I had no issue at all to get into the country. I bent down a little picked up my bag and began to walk along endless corridors full of stores and billboards of large brands. In some stands a small and agile robot would scramble about to offer me offers on hotel rooms and restaurants inside my mind. It was something impressive.
That whole festival of colors, holograms and droids accompanied me towards the exit doors. It was an unprecedented experience, I’m certain many have fallen for the bait before reaching the exit.
I heard a faint melody, as if I had earphones on. A few seconds later I heard:
“Hello, I’m Clare, your personal Brainphone assistant. I see that you are outside the San Francisco International Airport I could recommend a method of travel or I could call one of your choice”.
I stand motionless and looked around to see if perhaps an android was standing next to me. All I saw was people waiting for their cabs while others got into theirs.
“I can recommend SpeedCab to order you a cab that’s stylish and effective. If you would like to improve your Brainphone experience and see the interface, you can purchase a pair of ContactEyez, I recommend the CE Mod 5., they have a 17% discount on Amazon and your cab driver can have them when he arrives”.
“No…thanks, just call a cab”, I said, feeling like a complete imbecile as I replied out loud to something coming from inside my head.
“Perfect, we have available the S-Cab White at 10 dollars, S-Cab 2 at 20 dollars and S-Cab Black at 50 dollars. You can choose between an electric car or gas powered and between modern or classic. Which do you prefer?”
“I want to the S-Cab2 classic, gas powered”, I replied without having the slightest clue what it was.
“On its way” , replied Clare
I checked out my surroundings once again to see all the people. What caught my attention was that most were young; I hadn’t seen any more than three or four older people since I got off the plane. They were around 60–70 years old, the rest were about my age or younger and several children.
Where are the old people? What of the ones I saw before boarding? Damn, this world was freaking me out.
“You have a call request from an unknown number, would you like to accept?”, said the voice that called itself Clare.
“Yeah, its fine”, I answered rapidly being comfortable to replying to a voice inside my head.
Once again a voice from deep within my thoughts clearly resonated from inside my head.
“Hey Sebastian, I know you’re a residual now, even as such everything is still as before. Just some slight information changes. Your objective will be found in Club Jaguar, 1191 Folsom St at around 21:00hrs (09:00pm). The man is always dressed in white, always. Don’t worry about a weapon, your contact will provide one once inside the club.
The call ended with Clare saying, “End of call, your cab has arrived.
Amongst the sound made by all the cars outside of the airport (apparently electric), a very familiar sound rose above the rest. It was the roar of the motor belonging to an E6 BMW M3, unforgettable. My friend Jonathan’s dad had one, navy blue, 1992 to be exact. It was one of the things he loved the most, even more than his wife I think.
He would wake up to wash it everyday, he would eat inside it and at night he would cover it with a tarp to protect it from the dew at night. If I had one I too would take care of it more than my own marriage, it was a beautiful car.
Unfortunately that disregard to his family left him on the streets without a wife, Jonathan or the BMW. I never got to ride in it, or drive it until today in 2037. How strange life can be.
I got into that blue beauty and told the driver, “Take me to Club Jaguar”,
“Perfect”, he replied.
The BMW and the roar of the motor were entertained by the background music as I soaked in the new world around me that future many only dream about.
On the windows of the car, tiny grains of sand that would tear away at those giant buildings and massive avenues that made up San Francisco slid off of it. Now it was full of massive billboards, interactive signs and that’s what gave this world color.
All of it seemed familiar but distant at the same time. The people very different, they feel different. I feel it, “more of their world”, as my grandmother would say. Which was proven by my chauffer, which hadn’t so much as peeped a word since left the airport. Quiet, concentrated… or maybe speaking through his Brainphone, who knows.
The majority dressed the same, awesome sneakers, tight pants and some sort of cotton sweater. Everything, in tones of greys. I don’t know, it’s strange to be surrounded by human beings and not feel like one.
I asked the driver the time, “It is 20:17 my friend, we will arrive at 20:21”, he answered with a fixed stare on the road.
Crowds are something I hate ever since I got lost at the county fair; they’re something I can’t stand. I am pretty certain some sort of trauma developed at the root of that event…or it could be that I disliked masses at a young age…I don’t know.
To my good luck the club was bursting at the seams, took a deep breathe and exhaled as I took my first to step out and say good bye to the beautiful BMW. I was ready to step inside that adult amusement park. I was ready to lose and do my job.
Lights, coats, smoke of thousands of colors, doped up teenagers and girls waiting for one of those drugged up boys to pay for their drinks. The Dj had everyone in some sort of trance to the tune of an old song I recognized by a band called, “Modjo”, something terribly old. I was surprised it almost seemed as if it had been released in the same 2037. Perhaps it was retro night? I don’t know.
In-between pushing and just human flesh a path opened up to a pair of bright eyes. Almost as bright as the neon lights, little by little the lights in the club revealed the body of a woman. The most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on. She appeared to be hand made and placed into a skintight red dress. She came straight to me and with the outmost delicacy, not a single beat of the music missed she said, “Your favorite tool is in the bathroom”… she slowly began to fade into the lights, the music and the drunk masses.
I instantly knew what that succubus meant without a doubt the most gorgeous one I’ve seen. Just like a crack head itching for a fix I eagerly searched the bathroom in the clubs until I found them.
Inside there were three young men covered in vomit and beer. One of them seemed to be taking pictures of them with his bright eyes. I had no interest of what or how he was taking those pictures. I simply continued my search. I searched every spot where you could possibly hide a gun. Without any success, the boy that was apparently taking pictures of his drunken friends asked me, “Hey are you the residual?” “Yes”, I mumbled. He took a step closer and from his jacket pulled a 45-caliber handgun. “Have fun and do it fast, we got a party going on here” he said and continued with his pictures.
I took the gun and tucked it into my pants and with a firm pace, without thanking him; I left the bathroom to go through the sea of doped up people engulfed in the ecstasy of the club.
To finish this job once and for all by any means and getting the hell out of there was my maximum priority.
From within the crowd I began to look for my objective and to be completely honest I thought it would take a lot longer. It was exactly two minutes after I left the bathrooms that I spotted a man that sparkled from head to toe. Decked in all white and shiny the lights made him seem of many different colors. He danced provocatively with beautiful women, he turned and it was he…the man from my flight. The chatty Frenchman that welcomed me, the boatman that crossed me to the other side of the river, was my objective. The man that always dressed in white in a world of grey.
I have never doubted, never felt fear as I was face to face with my objectives. In fact, I enjoyed it; it was a part of me. Ironically it was different with him. I felt empathy for the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to do, and I remained frozen inside of the fire I found myself in.
I heard Clare tell me in a voice a bit sharper than the music in the club, “Remember who you are and what your job here is, remember”.
That was the text I would have on the screen of my ancient phone. Every time I used my phone I would read it and remember whom I was. I wasn’t a normal person, that I didn’t fit the average. It reminded me that I was a fucking paid assassin. It may sound foolish but it always worked in those tough moments.
I put aside everything I was feeling and thinking at that moment to let the fire flow through my veins, to feel that adrenaline the pushes you to pull the trigger and as if it were just any other job I lifted my gun in all that turmoil and walked towards him pointing straight at his forehead.
Just as Moses used his staff to part the sea for his people to walk across my Colt 1911 45-caliber opened up my path between all the people on the dance floor to get to him.
How I would get out of there after firing wasn’t a concern at the moment. How I would get back home and live MY life also wasn’t a priority. I just wanted to finish my job to get away from this wretched place and all of the people. What happened after wasn’t a concern.
As I stood about a yard and a half from him smiling and without fear even though he had a gun pointed at his head he said,
“Hey Sebastian! I see you’re getting used to the lifestyle of this year. I’m glad you’ve assimilated so quickly. Life is like that Sebastian it doesn’t matter what path or road you take you will always get to the spot that was your destiny from the start. Nothing is coincidence in this chaotic and complex world; it would be leaving a loose end in front of such perfection. You are here in this minute, at this hour on this year because it had to be this way. You are who you are because of the things that scarred you from the very first second of life. All of those things have brought you here to this precise moment. Life is like that and so is reality. So if you fire that gun or if you don’t it wont matter, either one will be the right choice. If you kill me or let me live its what was meant to happen. I’ve been saying that since the nurse spanked me when I was born.”, and he smiled.
It’s hard to take it all in, to understand that things like that can happen but for some reason it happened to me. “That’s life”, they say, truth is we have no what life truly is, we just know that its that way. Complex, that nothing is left to randomness; the smallest detail today could be something massive tomorrow and the largest could be nothing in seconds.
I continue to be trapped in this future that I never asked for but little by little have grown used to live with it and its people. With its technology that does whatever you need, be it simple, complicated or impossible. It takes care of it. I won’t even talk about the Internet; it’s a living being.
What hasn’t changed is the price increase of cigarettes. Fuck! Its hot as hell, the global warming thing wasn’t a joke.