A butterfly soft-ploded against the plastic perimeter of my sunshades

The thought struck me that the thought had struck me before. The brilliant idea, I mean. Then it came again, like an atom into being. My life as a daydream.

Once they realised even robots get stunted, they started switching us off. We, the ivy wastes of yersterday’s rain, remaindered, survive due to pity only. Even then, it was the pity of fools that first spared us, and as you probably know, a fool’s pity is not worth jack in this world or the next ones.

It was not enough for them to stand back and watch us rust away, conk us out in short-circuited pastures, fail to replace our batteries, run a Scancil through our credit jackers or temporarily disable our meme function(s). Oh no, some big mechanical dumbstruck freak of a head slap had other ideas, which is how Code Blue Dye came about.

Trouble was, it started getting at the droids too, the stunting. Sure, some of them had been onto it, early on, down at the laboratory or the plant, the blue dye trick. In a previous car nation governments had actually outlawed the stuff! Can you Scancil it! Not on this planet, baby. I’ve seen them shovelling blue dye into garbage bags, hauling it aboard trains, people with freaking suitcases open, they couldn’t get enough!

That was until the day that freaking droid got stunted. Did it not let up after that! Can’t even remember the freak’s serial number, how memorable he was. Some kind of ticket puncher on a train. Doing the Palmerston Sprawl shuttle, this kid stunts up and suddenly the ticket puncher’s got him by the wrist, he’s prized the sizzling thing from between the kid’s fingers, he’s dropped his punch-machine and just vacuum-enhaled the tube, in an apparent effort to re-boot in Karma land. The passengers on the train didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t have to wait long. The droid puncher’s eyes began to drip blue tears. He was stunted!

After that they began to insert a code blue dye (CBD) into all droids’ chemical makeup. Whereas any human who stunted experienced itchy blue eyes for a period of no more than a day, its effect on the eyes of a droid, as the previous example of the puncher has undoubtedly shown, is far more pronounced, lasting no less than five days. So it is easy to see why droids, Y2Ks, robots, bit-shifters and aliens alike find the human notion of the working week slightly ironic.

“I mean, didn’t we just open up a big new market for sunglasses in the mechanical community? You say there’s no growth and then you tell me you can’t cope with change. It can’t happen quickly enough for you, and then the next day it’s goodbye and thanks for all the merry christmas socks. Well, ring my bell mate! What you have is an A grade example of an attitude I don’t like! And a very good day to you too, Inspector.”

Even I winced when the video-phone googles came off. This guy’s eyes were so blue it knocked my space balls into orbit!

“Davey D, what is yah!”

“Yah is another word for yes, AC! And I is good, what!”

“Er, yah,” Alex “Anti-Christ” Camoflage stated, with less conviction.

He pops a tube, the familiar glint of azure splashing lens flares across the info-cube’s perimeter.

“That was Stephen on the Pay, then.”

“I’m afraid so, Davey.”

“Shall we walk?”

“Okay, boss.”

“Boss? Ha!”

The swaying plastic palms exude sounds of the harbour, and the shipping there. Far off, a pot clangs in a kitchen. On the edge of the continent, lights flash in a deserted cafeteria.

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