Copyright : Andy Bullock 2017
The prologue to a new novel –
a darkly satirical, dystopian vision that could be closer than we ever dare imagine …
Sometime in the near future, maybe tomorrow. Location: Heathrow airport, London.
“How on earth had it come to this?” wondered Spencer Strong as he threw the heavy latch shut on yet another crate of human flesh and gazed vacantly at the hazy, sulphur-yellow glow that hugged the city-distant like a mellifluous, suffocating, toxic blanket.
Blinking through the relentless permadrizzle that cloaked everything with its clammy touch rendering the greasy tarmac sheer, reflective, a black mirror to the choreographed non-stop ballet of take-offs and landings; he wiped the moisture from his tired, cynical eyes and turned away from the crate without the slightest concern for its human contents.
He could not have cared less.
He had long since ceased to care too much about anything. Anything but money, that is. Nothing else had ever really seemed to make much sense to him; since being born on the backseat of a car and conceived in a hospital bed he had, throughout his life, continued to get things the wrong way round. Cart before horse, you could say. The explanation for this unconventional start in life was really quite straightforward – his mother was a nurse with (mildly) suppressed nymphomaniacal tendencies and a (very) soft spot for a bit of rough. His father, on the other far rougher hand, was a rather wayward taxi driver and most decidedly from the wrong side of the tracks. He had an eye for pretty girls in uniform and after a minor traffic incident involving his black cab, a drunken MP and a reluctant rent boy (long story), ended up in casualty at the local hospital, suffering minor cuts and the now customary insurance-(un)friendly whiplash. It was on this fated night that he had the good fortune to be treated in the privacy of the curtained-off cubicle by Spencer’s soon-to-be mother (you get the drift), who administered a little more TLC than was strictly necessary. The result of this rather unorthodox (and necessarily swift) medical intervention, which was clearly not part of standard hospital practice, made itself known on the backseat of Spencer’s father’s black cab, in a traffic jam, precisely nine months later on the way back to the very same hospital where the unfortunate affair began, thereby denying the tale the perfect symmetrical and poetic ending.
Spencer had always found people tricky, awkward to deal with; too complicated and complex by half. People had thoughts and feelings and emotions that got in the way of everyday life. Putting a price on things, on stuff, always felt like the fairest way to judge anything. You knew where you were with money. It couldn’t lie to you, it couldn’t two-time you, it was exactly as it appeared to be. It couldn’t in itself disappoint or let you down.
Money just was.
You could certainly have too little but you could never have too much in his opinion. Money was solid, money was real; like assessing a house or a car, you knew where you stood once you put a monetary value on something. The human bodies currently being lofted high into the complicit, corrupted night air had a very specific value to him. They represented a very good living priced per head as they were, which in this instance was a slightly misleading phrase as in truth the price per head included the rest of the body too.
And the bodies were still warm. 37°celsius to be precise.
“Take her up” Spencer shouted, as he waved to the crane operator and watched the container, clearly marked contents:human, swing into the gaping, greedy, filthy orifice that was the rear end of another near-full and (considering the circumstances) rather ironically named Boeing 747 Dreamlifter. This was one of a large fleet reconfigured to carry a maximum cargo payload. “Nett weight 5.4 tonnes” he tapped into his smartphone app directly connecting him to global weight transfer control. A mildly obnoxious ‘beep’ followed by “Congratulations!” was the immediate response flashed onto the screen in an eager green neon. “You have exceeded your target for the second quarter”. It would be another bumper payment he thought, his team were working hard and would all benefit from an excellent bonus at the end of the month. “Thank God for prizov*” he said, to no one in particular, while walking away miming an old-fashioned grocery store till ringing up a huge bill.
“Kerching!” He added.
One year earlier. Location: Global Council Headquarters (GCH), Shanghai, China.
At a special summit meeting, on climate change and global warming, some shocking news was about to be delivered to the members of the G3 convened in the pristine but anodyne glass and steel surroundings of the new GCH complex ……… cont’d
* PRIZOV – Population Re-balance Initiative for ZerO Vibration