Palmerston Sprawl, satellitic

The Sprawl roams erratically through space, tracking stray electrons packed with micro-information – refugees from a computer age, when bits were free. For the moment, in this aftermath, the City survives on its landlines alone. Obeying a tendency to cluster itself according to subtle shifts in information balances, the City metamorphoses its rhizomic tangential growth into spotlights, huge beams that can be seen from space. Meanwhile, the Sprawl crawls on, unattended. Out in the dark harbour, balloons fall. Weather packets, maybe. Orders, threats.

The bar sits out over the water somewhat, its rough-sawn floorboards gone mouldy on the underside, dripping spiderwebs, though only a diver would know it. Have known it. Someone obviously left this place in a hurry, maybe only a couple of hours ago. Last night, at the earliest. Curfew.

I walk to an old-fashioned juke-box in the corner of the cafeteria but then realise I have no change. I walk back, my movements satellitic.

“AC, you got any change?”

“Nah.”

“Doesn’t work, anyway,” shouts a hologram, whose arrowtag reads “Yogi”, from behind the bar.

Jesus, they’ve even forgotten to turn the hologram off. Must have been in some hurry. Wonder if there’s any spirits here.

“What, the jukebox?”

“Yah. We’ve got some beer, though. From the city!”

“Yah, yeah! The city. Hey listen Yogi, I’ve got a train to catch. Let’s make this quick, hey?”

Now I’m getting that queer look again, like I’ve got paint coming out of my nose or something.

“What do you mean, “Y2K-whose-name-I-cannot-pronounce-in-holo”?

“Davey. Davey Dreamnation. That’s my name. And I fought hard for that name, Mister “Bear on your knees”! And if you don’t tell me in the next five seconds where your master hides his relics, I’ll turn you off!”

“You and whose cheesecake, Mr Damnation? I should inform you now, perhaps, that I am fully equipped with a home-style detonator, and that said detonator’s stop-watch/clock is set to reach the end of its countdown in approximately five seconds! Goodbye!”

“Oh, right. I see.”

We waited there for maybe twenty, thirty seconds.

AC kind of coughed, cleared his throat or something.

Yogi stood there, eyes scrunched up, like he was working so hard to make himself explode he’d gone and got constipated.

“Problem, Yogi?”

“His relic box is downstairs in the keg room! Please, spare me!”

AC hurried out of the room, leaving myself alone with the dunderheaded holo.

“Thankyou, “Android-toilet-with-penises-for-ears”. Your cooperation will be noted in my report. Yours sincerely, Davey Dreamnation, etc etc.”

I made a small swish with my hand, gave him back his Scancil Jacker and walked off.

“It is surely the greatest pleasure for me to be of even such miniscule assistance in this regard, “Giant-throbbing-wanking-action-with-two-hands”,” snarled Yogi as his battery began to flash warning signs, leaving him eventually invisible, behind a bar on the shore of the harbour, along which crystal drifts of light could be seen to sprawl, winking away the distanced.

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