“It’s just a jump to the left!”
“Oh sweet Jesus not yet!”
Zach Seklof groped for the snooze button on the uni-wand by his bed like a newly born kitten. Theoretically sentient yet clinically unable, as yet, to open his eyes. That holo-alarm had seemed like such a hoot when Flo had given it to him for Christmas but in the elemental darkness of a January morn after a night on the Fullers having Tim Curry doing a virtual grind in your direction is none too pretty. Flo remained oblivious. Flo often did. It’s a talent.
“Oh Merde!” His mood was not improved by the discovery that he had invoked that 10 minute escape clause more times than he had thought. Better call in and make some excuses in advance.
“Spectrum, Chris speaking.”
“Oh hi Chris, running a bit late today….” opened Seklof weakly.
“Heard it! You know the drill Zachery. Get your arse down here and get on with it. You know the alternative…”
“OK, OK! I’ll be there in 20 minutes!”
“Fucking bicycle repair man. Bloody toady like the rest of ‘em.”
Zach Lycra’d up and popped open a tin of “Willesden Green”. What he would have given for the bacon and eggs of his youth. Of course since the food shortages of the ‘20s BritGov had resorted to doling out tins of a pate like substance named simply after its colour and place of manufacture. Most people reckoned it tasted of, well, Willesden.
He pushed off and joined the insectoid throng of London Road swarming towards the Spectrum power mill.
“Another day at La Bastille.”
Chris was there at his position already as Zach shuffled into the dynamo room, Bulbous and leering like a slave ship drummer. 11 other bodies were already toiling away, one position stood idle. It had his name on it, blinking red on the LCD screen facing him. Chris sniggered.
“Let’s see some action Seklof! Get pumping! Mayor Beckham wants to see the lights on today!”
It was fear more than duty that carried him onto the bike. Slowly gathering pace his limbs were crying out already. 67. Another eight years before they’d let him stop. He had not noticed that his legs were not moving until they hauled him away, tears but no weeping as he briefly recalled another life.
Flo sat alone in the darkness, feebly wafting the uni-wand at the silent EntCube.
(c) Barry Fentiman, 2011