Saturday, December 20, 2003
Monday, December 8, 2003
I almost never remember my dreams. But I cut down on coffee and kept a notebook by my bed. So, for your edification ...
Two spies, a man and a woman, are stalking around in a futuristic shopping mall. They’re up on a high level.
WOMAN: (bored) We always come here.
MAN: Where else are we going to go?
He looks around suspiciously.
MAN: We’ve got to get out of here.
He instantly leaps off a railing and grabs onto the wall right below it — it’s a sheer drop of 90 feet or so to the mall floor. Obviously not wanting to, the woman follows him and does the same. What they’re actually holding onto is some kind of plastic film on the wall. For a second or two, they’re just holding onto it. Then the thin layer of plastic starts peeling off like an enormous vinyl sticker. Still clutching onto it, both start to fall.
WOMAN: We’re not going to make it.
MAN: Yes we are.
The plastic film is peeling off faster and faster. The man and the woman go down with it. Sliding down the wall faster and faster …
But, just as they’re about to hit the floor, they leap off, do a tuck and roll, and walk away unharmed. The mall crowd seemes rattled, edges away from them. The two exit the mall into a outdoor courtyard. It’s bright daylight, a blue sky.
MAN: Try not to look suspicious.
She rolls her eyes.
Out of nowhere, instant nanotech skyscrapers start popping up out of the ground all around them and bursting up into the sky. They start running like crazy trying to avoid these.
A guy in a mall takes off a pair of VR glasses. It’s ME.
We start seeing things from my POV.
SALESMAN: And that’s just one of the exciting games going on right now at NanoCon24. If you …
ME: Thanks. Just give me the MDDs.
SALESMAN: Of course.
He hands me my two complimentary anime-action discs. These are like DVDs, only smaller. I take these and leave the mall. I walk out onto a platform where a floating, futuristic bus stops in front of me. (Its roughly cube-like proportions are more like a small movie theater; it looks more like a building than a vehicle.) I enter.
Inside the bus/building, I start looking for a seat. Everybody else is watching floating display screens in front of their faces. On one, an enormous buzzsaw cuts a car in half. A man inside screams.
VOICE: What’s in your wallet?
Two black soldiers, both dressed in the fatigues and berets of the Urban Anti Terrorist Squad, enter and start asking people for money.
SOLDIER: We’re collecting for disadvantaged inner city kids. All of your money goes to buy some poor damn kid a new pairs of pants. You can’t get anywhere in life without pants.
He holds up a jar with a sad kid’s face on it. It's actually a scanner. People start sliding rings and bracelets across it. Virtual coins and bills seem to drop inside the jar. The SOLDIERS continue down the aisles. Being cheap, I avoid them and sit down in my own seat. I’m the only one without a floating display in front of me.
An OLD MAN sitting next to me smiles.
OLD MAN: Not addicted, I see.
OLD MAN: (indicating the soldiers somewhat derisively) Urban Anti Terrorist Squad. You know what this bus needs? (leaning and whispering conspiratorially) A good detective. Like me.
ME: What the hell are you talking about?
OLD MAN: (whispering) What these soldiers fail to realize is that two terrorists are already on board.
He nods up at the luggage rack where two Arab guys are lying sprawled and smiling beatifically. They seem hypnotized.
OLD MAN: And a bomb.
In front of me, a floating 3-D display graphic helpfully shows me a cutaway diagram of exactly where the bomb is.
ME: You mean you’re … so why don’t you?
OLD MAN: Don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen. We have them conditioned. They’re not going to do anything.
Cut to their smiling faces.
MAN: We just need to know where … it’s all part of the big picture, see? The big picture. You know.
He winks, makes a button lip gesture, nods, and closes his eyes as if falling asleep.
From another aisle, a woman in her late 50s looks at me. She seems dignified, has long black hair.
ROYAL WOMAN: I am Spanish royalty, you know. But in another life I was a Hindu saint.
ME: Sure you were.
Irritated that I don’t believe her, to prove her point she gets into a yoga posture, and does a good job of it. Perhaps she’s the real deal. Another woman – a SLOPPY DRUNK – notices this.
SLOPPY DRUNK WOMAN: Yoga? Yeah, I also do yoga. Watch me do yoga.
She gets into a yoga posture herself, embarrassingly putting her leg behind her head and wobbling in her seat in torn, stained stretch pants. It is not so dignified and impressive when she does it. The ROYAL WOMAN looks away and ignores her. I do the same.
The floating bus/building stops in front of a funeral parlor. I get out of the bus/building and enter.
FUNERAL DIRECTOR: (rushing up to me) I’m sorry, sir, you’re too late for the cremation. (holding up a pair of black men’s shoes, still smoking) But we saved you the shoes.
In the distance I hear an explosion.