MEMP’IS

 

 

BOOK FIVE – “YOGA IS, as YOGA DOES”

(Saturday, January 6, 2035)

 

 

CHAPTER FORTY  “MEAN WOMAN BLUES”

 

 

Dirty, heavy raindrops swirl round West Node in early morning's glow. Norlin weaves from his decaffinator to kitchen table, still in robe and pajamas.  A buzzer heralds the successful heating of a breakfast JatesBar; the King plays softly on KJAD... "That's when your heartaches begin!" - dreams of a lifetime skidding, fading into a DJ's monotone, exceptionally animated patter; yapping, in fact, like one of Terushka's little dogs.  "That was the King, things... and, now, something different for this new dawn of Becoming, here's Miles Davis on all-free, substance-free KJAD!"  Deep bags sagging under his darkened eyes, purple and yellow bruises still testimony to Friday's disasters, Norlin raises a mediawand like a dispirited magician or conductor seizing dominion back from a cartoon mouse... silencing the abominable jas and, finally, pointing it at the screen of his pleader, where a tiny, flashing green light indicates a successful charge of the morning's Jatesville Journal.  The window collapses into a text frame that scrolls while a pleasant voice reads...

 

At the Trouble Factory, last evening, police blamed human error, compounded by departmental aberrations for a series of errors that led to detention of Journal paperboy Butch Holstetter and a reported breach of security at the Specimen Depository...

 

A modulated, harmonic countervoice adds...

 

For the lifestory of Butch Holstetter, press control-fifteen now.  For background on the Specimen Depository, press control-thirty six now...

 

Norlin sips his decaffa, unsweetened, grimacing....

 

Thank you for continuing with this story.  Based on faulty intelligence received from an informant who proved to be proprietor of a canine bordello and serial cat murderer, the red-faced officers were caught flat-footed in that flat miles away from where thieves, unknown, made their daring entry into, and undetected escape from the hitherto impenetrable Depository.

 

For the shocking but true facts on dog prostitution worldwide, press control-eighty one now.  For background on previous serial killers of animals...

 

The autocom buzzes, recycling Norlin's curt message as his fingers massage a sore spot on his chin, tongue probing the status of a tooth, loosened in its jaw... his wand-hand wavers and the reader ventures out onto other realms of tidings and tattle, while angry voices rattle, dealing the disgraced Corporal his due...

 

"I'm an animal lover, Norlin, you kebbin' puke, and using animal killers as informers is just as bad killing cats yourself.  I hope they string you up by your thumbs, disembowel you slowly, shove red-hot pokers up your kebbin' hebe-supremecist behind, so that you will, never again, violate the sensitivities of the compassionate community..."

 

And again, only five minutes later...

 

  "...any action that contracts, converts or tramples upon matter in its natural state, whether in the name of art or industry, sir, is sin.  Image the horror of a beautiful bird in flight, killed and consumed - become a small, dark log of fex to be auctioned off at a premium because the murderer was famous!  Triple-J reminds us that..."

 

The weather remains foul by the time Norlin, gathering his keys, wallet and mobilecom to go to the Trouble Factory, pauses for another comcall.  But it is Reason, and he answers, holding the receiver to his ear while she blasts away...

"So nice of you to pick up.  With all you've been up to, it's a wonder you can spare even thirty seconds for family..."

          "You're not family anymore," he reminds her.

"Thank Jates... but Jody is, at least in the eyes of the law.  I called because Management here said they were increasing my maintenance fee, as of yesterday.  All but implied it was on account of you, but I don't have the will, nor time to file appeals... they want theirs or I'm out at the end of the month.  Look, I don't want to go to Flux, so..."

"So why don't you get a better job?  Jates Or Bust!  Not chargin' round the Viteropaedia to con people that black is white and the sun rises in the south, but something more appropriate towards your experience - changin' bedpans at a vegetable garden, cleanin' hotelrooms?   Not that I'd expect sympathy from you, or any other winnie," says Norlin, holding the receiver away from his ear (which, he discovers anew, has been cut... or bitten... by some Trouble Factory vigilante), "but those Jatesday bonus sanctions you've no doubt heard about apply to me, too..."

          "You're hardly in a position to..."

"As long as I still have a real job to go to, I'm going..." Norlin finishes and shuts off the com, but hears the pleader droning on - a new topic voice-activated by his mention of sanctions.

 

Sanctions!  Thank you for smart-selecting item 64-4 on sanctions against the Jatesday bonus that is customarily awarded all employees of the Trouble Factory.  Citing the high probability of heavy legal penalties imposed against the Departmental budget and City losses on the FexMarket, City Council President Buck Burgess announced, yesterday, that employee lays on the fifteen percent of forfeitures designated to...

 

Norlin shuts the door behind him. 

 

 

 

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