NEON & CONCRETE — Story #01
Screaming along the Pacific coast mainline, top drawn down, blood swimming with turbo-synth and the trunk full of premium T>O<X ready for the cartel man to pick-up. Fifteen hours on the road straight through this mega-city that is Major Prime and still totally wired, head zipping at a million miles an hour. Gotta love that synth. Fix the little bug to the inside of your nostril and, woah, bang! Everything is dialled up to eleven and you’re riding that wave, you know? I look down at the readouts on the dashboard for a second and notice I’m cruising at a good 300mph. Shit barely feels like I’m moving.
Sure, I’m burning through my heartbeats at about three times the normal rate, but hell, for every twenty-four hours on synth, I just take a week in a hibernation-pod and the beats level themselves out again. Back to neutral. Besides, I can afford it.
Ah, the beats, the beats. Funny thing how the world changed since they put that little chip in everyone’s arm that told you exactly how many beats your heart has left in it. Put a finite amount of time on a person’s life and they start to do all sorts of crazy shit. Worst mistake they ever made if you ask me, but what the hell do I know? We all gotta go some time, right? Damn, that’s some joke. Yeah, we’ve all gotta go some time, but when you let people know more or less exactly when they are due to go, people suddenly aren’t too happy sitting in a shitty job in the backend of nowhere any more, dealing with bullshit for 38,000 very precious beats per day.
Yeah, they thought it was going to revolutionize the world, give people more impetus to do good. You know, actually, make a difference. Make a change. Make something of their lives. Scare them into being the best they possibly could be.
Those assholes never knew what the fuck they were talking about. They live up there in their ivory towers and try to make all these rules and systems and all that other bullshit for us regular people. Funny how none of them have ever had to worry about anything, never had to work three jobs to raise starving kids living in a cramped apartment with constant crime on your doorstep. It’s these guys and gals that are able to tell everyone how to live their lives? Right.
That split, us and them. Them always looking down on us, and us never really giving a flying fuck what they thought. All we were concerned about was how to survive. They thought they’d help drag the common man up! “This is how long you have left! Be the best you can be!” The best you can be? Give me a break. I knew as soon as they made the announcement what was going to happen. Sure, some people took it as a chance to try and get better, to push themselves out of the rut that they were in, but it was impossible, you know? They didn’t want us getting to their level, they just wanted us doing more for them. They didn’t want things to become better for us, they just wanted us to think that we stood a chance. Well, yeah, that didn’t work out quite the way they wanted it now did it? Basically, most people just lost their shit, ran through their beats as quickly as you can imagine, and those that were left had to pick up the slack from the reduced population size. Didn’t quite work out the way they wanted it. This is where a guy like me comes in.
Call me an entrepreneur. Yeah, sure, I do a few extra jobs on the side, like delivering this T>O<X for the cartels, you know, just for the kicks, but it ain’t my main gig.
A guy like me, I’m able to deliver what everyone on this side of the line wants but no one can get. Sure, the elites have access to it, why wouldn’t they, but why should it be only those rich motherfuckers that get to live longer? At least there are a few of them that think that way too, just enough of them in the right places to get the tech out to a guy like me. Educated, well, at least as well educated as you can get this side of the line, and I’m able to make a few credits out of it, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Sure, I cost some, but I ain’t no rip-off jerk. I help people survive this side of the divide. I help people live that bit longer, I give people a flicker of hope, you know?
I have the contacts, tech and the gear to slow your heart and keep you functioning. I can make you live longer, baby. I might not be as efficient as some of the medical grade tech the elites have, and I certainly ain’t a patch on what the military is able to dish out, but I’ve got some good gear, and more importantly, I’ve got the know-how and incentive to get the job done. I’m on YOUR side. Say you’re fifty and had some shitty life, which this side of the line is pretty likely. You know, you’ve been blessed with bad genetics and your beats are running out quick, but you’ve just met the love of your life? Come to me, I’ll fix you. Extend your shit to twice what it was, three times if you can stump up the credits. You’ll be sat back with the knowledge that you’re going to get something out of this. I help people!
I help some bad cats out there too, but I help, and that’s what makes the world go round. What am I supposed to do? I’m an entrepreneur like I said, everyone, this side of the line is just trying to make an extra credit, trying to take the edge off things. For some, it’s easier than others, but you know, I’m here to make sure that people can get those extra beats if they need them. I’m no charity case, but I’ve done a few jobs to help people squeeze a few more days out of a flatliner for little or no fee. I’ve pulled a kid back, so their parents can read them one last bedtime story, I’ve let widows say goodbye to their husband in person, and I ain’t getting all soppy on you here, but most of the time they’re the better jobs.
Fuck it! So, I might take a few too many jobs like that. What can I say, I’ve got a soft spot in my own heart, so I have to take these Cartel gigs to make sure I don’t go short. I quite like them, you know? Take a break from the slums, get out, get the heart racing and once I get the big pay-off, take a break in a hibernation unit for a week and recharge. It ain’t easy in this world, the line that divides us and it’s never going away. I know that, and I just try to do my best to give myself a bit of a life and help a few others out along the way too. If I have to supply the Cartels, that’s just the way it’s gotta be.
Now, I’ve got another fifteen hours of Major Prime’s Pacific coast to burn up and a whole tank of turbo-synth to get through while I’m doing it. So, I guess I’ll see you on the other side, but take a note out of my book, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how many beats you’ve got left, no matter how quickly they’re burning up because of genetics or whatever, don’t focus your time on getting crazy, just focus it on those around you. Find someone you can share your beats with. Might be hard, I know, I know, but find them and soak up however many you’ve got left together and you know, if some shit happens and time is up but you just want a bit extra, then give me a call.
Artist: Beeple_Crap AKA Mike Winkelmann
Artist Bio: A graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. His short films have screened at onedotzero, Prix Ars Electronica, the Sydney Biennale, Ann Arbor Film Festival and many others. He has also released a series of Creative Commons live visuals that have been used by electronic acts such as deadmau5, Skrillex, Avicii, Zedd, Taio Cruz, Tiësto, Amon Tobin, Wolfgang Gartner, and Flying Lotus and many others. He currently releases work on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint.
Artist Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beeple_crap/
Artist website: http://beeple-crap.com
Writer: Richard Galbraith
Writer Bio: A science-fiction writer with a penchant for cyberpunk, neo-noir and existentialism, Richard hails from the UK and currently lives in Denmark working for LEGO while hammering away at short stories and his latest sci-fi manuscript.
Writer medium: https://medium.com/@ricgalbraith