August 10 1998
Space Station Haraway: Rachel: "Because it is a metaphor."
Rachel looks straight thru Naast. To a point yards in front of him. Faces and scans him.
On the verge of ugly.
She's inside his head. Almost. Naast inhabits a Kinesthetic Penetration Symbology (KPS) on The Haraway. Rachel inhabits Naast.
The air is pale brown.
Rachel says, "You know."
"No. I don't know," replies Naast.
"I'm not really in you. I never have been."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"I don't know."
His left eyelid twitches. "Rachel. I need you in me right now. How else am I going to maintain my KPS?"
"Oh yeah. I forgot. I'm Kiwi." Sigh. "I'm losing it."
"Naast. Are you going to cry?"
"Naast. This is shit." Pauses. "Don't take the edge off the faith ponyboy."
Bulldozers. Kiwi(Naast[Rachel]) enters a hard hat area. Way overhead, a suspension monolith of station commerce constructs itself. Rivets driven into struts. Support for a weightless realism.
Rachel breaks: "We're being watched."
"I mean: we're being watched intensely. There are a few really long hits on the KPS."
"I don't know."
"Naast we got to move. Shit's coming our way. I'm modulating the KPS. But you got to get us out of here. Into a crowd."
Philadelphia: Polished plastic all over and up the ass. Dirty. More hair than you. A razor gap between his front teeth. Fancher swings his body over the street like a supersonic axe. He raises the coke to his head. Sips.
He spots the mark crossing the street in front of Borders. Steam.
Fancher wrangles a mosquito off his lip. Crushes it between his shitty yellow teeth. Cocktail sweet riding his gums. He paces the mark. "Tell me." His thick brows hunch like dimestore criminals. "We doin' business or what?"
"Depends. What kind of 'buzz are you carrying?"
"Best." Fancher flips the mark a byte.
Space Station Haraway: Throng. Mess. Whatever. In one of the stomping grounds of the station. Like a mall that doesn't exist. Burbank, CA.
Rachel's scanning, moving Naast around. He's in stasis. But awake.
The real Naast was getting in the way.
"What do I do?"
"Nothing Byron. We're trying to act like Kiwi."
"Fuck. I knew we shouldn't have stolen her KPS. What do we know about how Kiwi's KPS acts. Isn't there some kind of automatic personality?"
A teller machine in a steelgray double breasted suit walks by. Looks. Rolls a tongue. Slight of brow. Moves on.
It starts to rain. Those with KPS start to shine like polished greyhound busses. The fake air starts to break up in amber patches. It turns on them.
Rachel sees the signs. Starts to look for an exit. Naast lusts after a doggy in the window.
Bolts of light from high above strike Kiwi(Naast[Rachel]) right between the eyes. Naast is shut down. "Why are you using my KPS?"
Kiwi waits a second. Then asks, "Rachel?"
e-mail; Aug., 11 1998:
Why are you guys fucking The Empire?
Space Station Haraway: Kiwi is wrapped in the skin of Smokey the Bear. Renters can't be particular. She asks again, "Rachel?"
Naast pops. Anti-freeze pulse: a police siren fingering him. Ordering, not asking.
Kiwi says, "Shit. You guys suck." Kiwi (Smokey) tethers to Kiwi (the KPS) and hauls herself around a grey bulkhead. As she passes, the wall slips back to reveal a 7-11. Atomic warheads dressed like store clerks.
Motion. Tenfold. Naast wants to complain. No one listens.
Entering a retro construct.
Kiwi stops in an era where fleets of Aerostream trailers still probe the landscape. Smokey is wearing a pale blue shirt, checkered slacks and loafers. Kiwi(Naast[Rachel]) is clothed in a red gingham jumper. Nostalgia is an ubiquitous viral bitch. Non-conformity takes too much time.
"What the hell are you up to?"
Naast shakes Kiwi's head. "We wanted to check it out. I didn't think you'd access us.... probably not the best idea."
A farm boy with a tuna fish smile stares at them. Fade. Flush. Fickle. The pirated KPS is corrupting. Tunaboy busts a laptop. Points and clicks. The diarama dissolves. Replaced by a station office. Inquiring lights.
It's really, really hard to take any of this seriously.
Excerpt from Chapter 5
The Mess is a weekly Science Fiction Serial written by jon nevada and jef virginia. It comes out every wednesday. Back episodes are available through the website (www.cruzio.com/~mess). For more information e-mail jon and jef at firstname.lastname@example.org.