“Dystopia’s not so bad.”
My guide spit into a tear-filled gutter as he spoke. Hocked up a gobbet of pleghm, and then inconceivably swallowed it.
“Takes some getting used to, but you’ll get there. We all do.” He placed a warm and coarse mitten on my back (I could feel it through my vest) and urged me forward through the urine-soaked streets.
Feces fell like hail, and the occasional rain was best avoided. No one had water enough to be sprinkling it on the streets – unless it just had to go. My mask, ah, my mask! I breathed each moisture-soaked lungful as though it would be my last – infinitely grateful that there was no smell attendant to the humidity.
“We don’t f*** around with the masks.” My guide winked knowing. “Military grade.”
He finally reached over and removed an aluminium siding from a vast hole it had been hiding in a wall. “Step in,” he said, waving a little impatiently. Might have been the dead dog sailing past on a sea of ants. We dragged the shield back in place, and Jack sprinkled a new generous circle of sulphur for good measure.
The masks came off only twenty feet in, past the battalion of fans that perpetually sucked and filtered the s*** from the air. No guesses for their colour – was that rust?
I walked in, and finally got comfortable enough in the new environment to reach into my slack satchel, pulling out a notebook, carefully bound in crocodile leather. Fitting, I thought. (Where the reptiles dwelt was likewise often less-than-speakable.)
“Uhm,” I started, clearing my throat.
My guide stopped. “I notice these fans, – ” I began, before I saw his finger making a beeline for my open mouth, which was quickly shut. “Sh,” he said simply, merely waving his brown gloved finger in the vicinity of his own whiskers while his left index hovered like a warning over my lips. The rumbling overhead was more than the beating of the fans.
Suddenly, all hell broke loose as a wall gave in, constituent parts flying across the throughfare in a brisk spray of brick. Figures in bulky covert op clothing swarmed like bees from the opening, each bristling with two nasty gunmetal stings before its body.
And in their midst, behind the ranks of the unnamed legion of terror, stepped through the dust of crumbled clay, …. – no one. This was after all reality, not James Bond.
Twenty-four uzis and a twelve-gauge revolver pulverised the two men before either could escape, or the grizzled guide make a sardonic comment that the interview was over.
And thus ended the last vestige of free speech in the great and proud republic of Dystopia.
All hail Dystopia.
Long may it rain.