International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!
In celebration of the most excellent International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day (a response to the rant by Howard V. Hendrix) I am posting a shortshort called "consumed culture", which was living in my notebook and which was otherwise likely to die there. The editing is minimal, and the thinking in it light, but I think it's the principal that counts. Scalzi for president, etc.
I am listening to Britney Spears when I die. We are in the car, my sister and I, counting down the top ten, our enjoyment inversely proportional to the ranking. Then the other car comes and I die.
My sister doesn’t die, just breaks her leg. I am only dead for a little while. But I am dead—lying down and not moving at all. But then, I don’t know, maybe one of the ambulance guys knows voodoo or something because he brings me back. That’s what they tell me: ‘You were dead but he brought you back.” I figure it must be voodoo. Because I’m dead, right? I just haven’t stopped moving.
It takes me a long time to work out what I am, who I am. I put on my old clothes and I go back to school, but I’m different. I know I am. I can feel it. My clothes and my friends no longer feel comfortable. None of the old labels fit me any more. I stand apart.
The worst of it is the food. I can’t eat it now. Because I’m dead. It tastes like nothing. I spit it out. But I am so hungry.
I figure maybe I’m a vampire so I buy some blood from the butchers. Pig’s stuff. I’ve seen how you can do it on TV. But it tastes so gross and it makes me gag, so I toss it down the drain.
Next I think maybe I’m a zombie. They eat brains but I’m not cool with that at all so I buy a hot dog from a vendor on the street. That shit’s got to have some spinal cord or something in it. You get all sorts of shit in those things.
But it doesn’t work, and now you wouldn’t believe how hungry I am.
Since I died, I’ve got all new clothes. All from thrift stores and places like that. None of them have designer labels because I can’t find any that fit me any more. My parents say I’m going through a phase. “Adjusting to the trauma.” I saw a shrink but her neat TV sound-bites we no longer things I could understand.
That’s another thing: the TV. I can’t understand what the people are saying any more. How can that be a phase?
Eventually I work it out. I don’t know how. But I see my sister’s T-shirt drying after the laundry and it has this great big designer logo on it, curling and unfurling all over the fabric. My mouth starts to water and I can’t help but take the T-shirt and start to push it into my mouth. Eat it, I suppose, but not that exactly, something else that I’d brought back with me from being dead.
When I’m done it is just a plain pink T-shirt. The is was gone. It’s inside me. And the hunger isn’t quite as bad. But I lose control a little then. My sister’s out and I go to her room. I go through everything she has. I eat it all.
She doesn’t seem to notice. Not like you would imagine anyway. But she feels it. So can her friends. They stand with her differently, talk to her differently. She listens to them differently. She is like me.
We take others now, one by one. You’ll see us, standing apart, clothed in blank unembroidered cloth. Our numbers are growing. None of us look alike but still you will spot us. Because we look nothing like you.