Copyright : Andy Bullock 2016
The prologue to a new novel (agent/publisher sought) –
a dark and satirical dystopian vision that could be closer than we 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 overweight human flesh.
Through the relentless permadrizzle that cloaked everything with its clammy touch, he gazed vacantly at the hazy, sulphuric, acid-yellow glow that hugged the city-distant like a giant, suffocating, toxic blanket; he turned, pulled up his collar, sunk into his jacket and walked away from the crate without the slightest concern for its contents; he could not have cared less.
In fact 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 he had always got things the wrong way round. The explanation for this unconventional start in life was as fascinating as it was preposterous; his mother was a nurse with nymphomaniac tendencies who had a soft spot for a ‘bit of rough’, and his father, a rather wayward taxi driver of mixed heritage, had a ‘thing’ for pretty girls in uniform and an open eye on a chance.
After a minor traffic incident involving his black cab, a drunken MP and an ‘exotic dancer’ (long story) he ended up in casualty, suffering minor cuts and the customary insurance-friendly whiplash, where he had the good fortune to be treated 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 unorthodox medical intervention made itself known on the backseat of Spencer’s father’s black cab, precisely nine months later, on the way back to the very same hospital where the affair began; sadly denying the tale the perfect symmetrical, poetic ending. The errant and amorous member of Her Majesty’s government did not feature in this part of the story at all; although the ‘exotic dancer’ episode, having finally caught up with him, had relieved him of his hard-won office.
Spencer had always found people tricky, awkward to deal with; too complicated and complex by half. They had thoughts and feelings and emotions that got in the way of day to day life. To his mind, putting a price on things 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 you 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 valuing 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 corrupted night air had a very specific value to him. They represented a very good living, priced as they were ’per head’ which in this instance was a peculiar phrase, for in actual fact the price included the rest of the body too.
And the bodies were still warm.
“Take her up” he shouted, as he waved to the crane operator and watched the container, clearly marked ‘With Care:Contents:Human’, swing into the gaping, greedy, filthy orifice that was the rear end of another near-full, and 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. An obnoxious ‘beep’ coupled with a “Congratulations!” was the immediate response flashed onto the screen in eager-green neon. “You have exceeded your target for the second quarter”. It promised to be another bumper payment, 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. Lovely.
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
*Population Re-balance Initiative for ZerO Vibration