Exhibit C, State of Western Europe v Minkin : permission to enter granted on the grounds it places the accused in the vicinity of Professor Lanisquot’s laboratory on the days prior to the attack.
I wouldn’t have gone to Pessac’s if Boyle hadn’t run out of Rojam and begged me to buy him some more. He’s hooked on the stuff, and thankawed.
Yesterday, then, 1643, I was leaving Pessac’s Convenience. Before the door slid by, I saw a girl’s legs strut down the stairs from the pavement in standard black Spanish leather. Her knees almost knocked but didn’t; I remember thinking ‘Please let me see her face.’ Then the door wasn’t there. I smiled; I couldn’t stop smiling. Old silicon heat roasted up inside of me and my portal itched. Her hair was red and black and jagged in the twenties style, the way Val Driver had hers then. The girl smiled, too. There were mutations unravelling inside of me. Rolls and rolls of shakes and heat.
Then the girl looked past me, face-changed. The pessac was there and its pink rubber mouth moved, but no order came from it. The door was bumping pneumatic hisses and needed to close. We, the girl and I, had to carry on, so we did, careful not to touch.
I checked my Rist and it said 1643, and though something small and trembling inside of me wanted to go back in, I knew I couldn’t. The pessac is hard-wired suspicious.
I saw a lake once in a photograph. There was no chemical froth anywhere and the water reflected the fuzz of distant trees, perfectly, across its surface; there was some kind of sunshine. I’ll never see anything like it, but I’ll stare at it forever if I do. That’s how I was thinking, yesterday, about the girl. I could have stared at her face the way I’d gaze at a clear, frothless lake, because it was a mirror. I thought about her face all the way up the high rise in the dark, but she started evaporating and I had to say things to myself, things like, ‘There was a ripple on her cheek and her lips were more pink than red.’ I tried reconstructing her face in my head, but lost her more each time.
Boyle has five locks on his unit door; the eye piece reminds me of the sucker on a mollusc. He’s the nervous kind, obsessed. He snatched the Rojam into the dark and told me ‘Sorry,’ he was debugging.
‘What, again?’ I was using fun, but he slammed the door. A minute later the balance on my screen flickered up six eus and Boyle scripted, ‘Ys.Again.TU.’
I walked down to Pessac’s again today, only a little later. I meant to arrive there at 1643 instead of leaving then. I wanted to walk around Pessac’s at the same time as the Val Driver girl.
The street outside Pessac’s was all gloom and grey; it was so empty, but my Rist was saying 1643 exactly. A replacement turned in my stomach: energy out. I was wondering whether or not I should even go in when the door hissed open and the girl just stopped.
She looked caught and my face smiled again and my head burned. She was holding some rope and her lapel was empty. She scanned me back and I realised my lapel was empty. She wore small black Sambrellas with creases over the toes. My boots lost their verve before the summer. She looked at them, I think, but didn’t react except to form a pinchy little smile. I liked it. I did. I liked her smile.
We shuffled around each other – the space between us trembling and silent – and I went into the store, with tree fuzz inside of me, from so long ago.
The pessac was impassive, but it scanned me for longer than normal, blinking its large faux eyes. I had to buy something, but right then I knew I’d buy a pencil and this writing paper. Amongst other things, obviously, though not rope; I couldn’t buy rope. A pencil, yes, but not rope. Scribing this memory is the only way to keep it solid state, to keep it in the world of decay and accidents, winds and collisions, to keep it safe.
The rain wriggled like silverfish on the street, all mercury, today. Her black figure walked towards me and I was thinking ‘Thankawed,’ over and over. Even with our impermeables up I knew it was her and I knew the hour exactly.
Inside, we both unzipped our jackets and opened them out. My chest was drumming, but I calmed down enough to feign interest in Pessac’s Sunday Dinner chew display. Eventually, I walked up the aisle, closer to where the girl was. She was pointing a finger along a cheap range of single-serving meals, the powdered kind near the chew varieties. Then she picked up some saltpetre.
I made myself look at her, but her eyes darted away. Her nose was strong and it made me feel weightless. My stomach fused and I was quivering so much and was unbearably happy. I wanted to move closer to her, but at the same time told myself, ‘Don’t.’
When it was time I turned to her and she responded; like mirrors we scanned each other. On her lapel was a corp badge.
Her name is SinSin.
Then she smiled – her eyes are the colour of jade-screen. We were so close I could tell she was wearing perfume. The rain kind of lifted it from her skin.
SinSin went to see the pessac first. I stood to stare at the meals.
It’s funny, I wanted to look at her all the time, even though I couldn’t bear to. I wondered if camaro.net could explain that.
At home, I switched everything off and sat on the floor of the kitchen, in the blindspot. Then I closed my eyes, swabbed my right portal, and plugged in. First, I recreated her face in a Phyz programme, then I used Ghostware to match her with the half-billion other feminines on the base. When I crossed the results with ‘SinSin’ it took more, much more than a minute to lock in, but there she was, a ghost lit up before the kitchen disposal unit, floating. Her red hair was swept all to one side and she looked at me, a good soldier, staring down catastrophes. There were lines at her eyes and freckles constellating her cheeks. Her family name is Minkin.
According to camaro.net I need to monitor my dopamine surges and make sure I don’t let them peak more than three-fifty over datum. They also say mimicry is a way to show interest in another human.
All through the day, I wanted to think about SinSin, but there were confusing shouts coming from Boyle’s unit and I couldn’t concentrate or afford the credits for mute phones.
When I left to see SinSin, I wanted to knock Boyle’s door down. The eye piece blinked at me; I knew he was there.
Inside the store SinSin and I both looked at the titles of the meals. We knew, I think, we didn’t have long; the pessac rattled behind its counter. SinSin’s hand reached for a Taste of the Sea. I reached for one, too, through the racket of our pulses and the crying in our leather.
Then the pessac clicked more franticly, and I knew we had to go. SinSin’s hand was shaking a lot and my ears rang out so much I thought I’d slump right into the Sunday Roast display, end up with bars of Lobster Thermidor for eyes. Neither of us could speak.
We picked our meals from the rack and I waited for SinSin to move, but she didn’t. We just stood there, as if we were alone… my face heating up, SinSin’s lips unsticking. There was a mist around us and the fuzz of far away trees.
The pessac’s clicking became a buzz. I turned to see where it was, but it was in the aisle already, aiming scanners at us. Its lo-tec voice squeaked through its rubber lips, “No loit-ring. Buy or leave. No loit-ring. Buy or …”
I think I heard SinSin breathing then. It was like a quiver. When I looked at her jade screen eyes, I couldn’t decide if she was scared or just curious. Or else, only beautiful. She snatched up a pack of brown sugar and paid with a cool swipe on the pessac.
At the door we turned our separate ways and – I’ve never been more certain – listened to each other’s footsteps ‘til they tapped into the static of the rain.
Story by: Gavin Ritchie
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