Flooded / Parched
The things that were deleterious to her health were the things she enjoyed most in life. She found her life an endless set of binary “yes or no’s”—multivariate options always at the “0” or “1” click or the “on-off” surge—so that her neural pathways were rutted at all the same intersections. Well-worn and smooth were her decisions—overwhelming were her proclivities. She lived in an endless feedback loop, constantly depressing the dopamine/serotonin levers for exultation/equanimity as required. But these chemicals, foods, people, and experiences were no longer keeping her buoyant in a dying world.
One night, in the blue redeeming light of a hitherto unknown messiah, she realized she was trapped in the closed circuit—endlessly lapping. So she wrote a note:
June 8, 2050
I am 66-years old. Today is the day I decided to become a suicide tourist. Switzerland is one of the few places left in the world where there are a handful of trees left and it is still remarkably affordable to “off” yourself—or rather have someone administer a fatal soporific—while you watch the muddy eddies of Lake Geneva. I won one of the last Poweball lotteries in the Northern American Republic in 2048, and am able to afford the check point crossings and one of the last international flights east to Europe. Western approaches are prohibited by the New Sino-Asiatic Empire, and for the mere price of $2.8 million I can afford to spend the last dregs of my winnings watching the last bit of organic potable water dry into a puddle of mud while listening to the cries of the starving masses on the other side of the ramparts. Nothing has grown in the dead equatorial regions of the world for the last dozen years, and after the space programs all crashed and burned after the Jericho Trojan in ‘46, it’s all gone to hell in a handblender. Just on the secure ride here I saw hordes of hungry “old worlders” feeding on a dozen African migrants drawn and quartered at communal troughs—something designed by the New Ordination, don’t you know—still an ingeniously evil lot, they.
All the ice disappeared in ‘48, earlier than projected… anyway, in this all too brown and sweltering world… what hasn’t flooded has parched…
The simple pleasure of having classic Sigur Ros piped straight into my ears as I munch on a bacon maple doughnut (my last request—it cost a cool $66,000 to procure the ingredients and have it made at the Quietus Centre) is the last thing I’ll taste and remember I am told. Although, how do they really know?
I suspect my neurons will fire a few more hundred times as I ebb into the implacable darkness and who knows what synergetic effects I may experience…
Perhaps mother’s Chanel No. 5 in my nose again, but she’s long gone and poses no danger to me now—oh how she poured those bottles down my filthy mouth. Maybe grandma’s flan as she shoved the spoonfuls in my mouth, cracking my right bicuspid as she screamed: “eat it bitch, the kids in Ethiopia have nothing! Didn’t you hear the song?”
Maybe I’ll taste one of dad’s White Castle burgers — the ones he brought home at 6am, when he returned from his overnight shift at the steelworks and fed me while I was still half asleep—and made believe I didn’t feel him fondling me as the smell of minced onions commingled with the stench of dried sweat and coal fires.
I don’t know if the doughnut was the best choice, but it was all my own and unmarred by the history of violence. Well, the violence I tasted with my… wait, this is… this is it… is this it?
What I’m Reading:
“That is exactly what literature is like. As we write, we know that there is something very important to be said about reality, that we have this something within reach, just there, so close, on the tip of our tongue, and that we mustn’t forget it. But always, without fail, we do.”
— Eduardo Halfon / The Polish Boxer