Smoke Thirteen

The graffiti walls disappear overnight, only to be replaced by acres of crumbling bricks. Animated characters from Monkey prowl the screens of the subway cars and stations, drilling the denizens in security and respect, performing kick-flip manoeuvres with pixellated aplomb. I watch vacantly as the main display shows the progress of the train through the netwerk like a virus along a vein. Each time the train is infected by an intersecting virus a three-coloured circle appears, and more people shove to get on and off. Sitting there, jammed against the wall by the crush of black-haired Koreans, I realise, as if for the first time, the utter remoteness of my present situation from that of my previous life as Hanna, my incarnation if you will, as an interpreter for the Refugee Amnesties and Repatriations Commission (RARC) that had been set up in Melbourne after the war. Three thousand miles away in Free Korea, trapped in a corner of conformity, sweating garlic like the rest of them, interspersing sips of canned coffee with flicks on the switch in my pocket.

Express yourself