Sunday, July 30, 2006

Neon Aloha: Into the Canopy

Comments appreciated, thanks.


I'm standing outside the Morphosis, a popular bar and grill, where a violent shooting between a gang known as the Mercury Pheonix and several others has taken place leaving 5 dead and several others wounded. Police are currently undergoing a rigorous investigation, and we'll keep you posted on all developments.


"Gibson, " static voice in his head.
"Cute. I want this show pretty, understand? If I regret this decision to use some upstart rookie tomorrow when the mayor asks me what I'm doing about the Morphosis, you are going to hurt. Bad." The weight of the tone cut through the limited audio spectrum of the earpiece like shards of glass, sinking in to his mind.
"Crystal as vodka, sir. Kai will come through on this. He's got hubris syndrome, but he's not stupid."
"You better pray so."
"Like a Catholic."
"Oh and Gibson."
"Clean your fucking office when you get back." The hiss cuts off. Asshole.

Gibson continues on into the darker sides of the Canopy, trying to steer clear of the unsanitary whores and furs spasming, raving, eyes dilated beyond recognition. Cumulative effects of "tsu", the latest evolution of the drug once known as ice or crystal meth. Tsu or "tsunami" or "wipeout" - essentially the same mind and life altering effects as ice but amplified and with the peculiar quirk of causing the user to feel as though they are drowning, initially.

A hundred feet beneath him, in the dark choppy fjord between an old Sears Tower and a gothic, coke-bottle shaped building that used to be the capital, Gibson watches one of the "spider" boats work. The recycler boat is about the size of a large tug-boat but is shaped more functionally squarish like a cargo ship. A large crane erects from it's middle, at the tip of which is a controller's booth, where a mole anthro operates the mechanism, heavy tremors and whirs as the crane adjusts it's position. On either side of the booth spring great metallic arms like crab pincers, in the front of the booth, a flexible nozzle extends, analogous to that of a firehose. The pincers place a 40 foot long steel mold, shaped like one of the bridges, between two buildings several floors below. The mole then maneuvers the nozzle into a socket in the center of the metal casing until it clangs into place. Large pistons begin to pump, and a basey gurgling hum emanates from below as the mold is filled. Auxiliary pumps channel sea water to assist in the cooling of the new bridge: the next thread in the 'spider' web. Further down, another spider boat blows an apartment-sized, clear sphere, which floats in the water and is tethered to a building with the nylon cables that are machine-spun silk.

A woman revealing illegal amounts of creamy skin from behind vacuum tight PVC and too much make up presses up against the cables next to him, taking a pull on her cigarette, bloodshot eyes doing sidelong prey analysis of him.

"Landfills." Gibson says.
"The plastic, it comes from the old sub-surface landfills." Gibson thrusts a clawtip out where the sun dives into the ocean in brilliant dissappating crimson and amethyst. A few other spider boats are dark shadows against the surface, leaving or coming back from a spot several hundred yards out to sea, like a sparse ant trail.
"They drill for plastic now, like they used to drill for oil. cook it, melt it down, refine it, shoot it back out. Recycling, you know?"
"Never heard of it." She presses her showcased breasts back off the ropes and moves on. So does he. The sky fades to black, only the brightest stars cut through city-neon reddened air pollution. The land cools, the salt and plastic prevailing winds reverse.


"Welcome to New-Shangri-La."

A mammoth plank of what appears to be artificial sequoia is supported on either side by equally massive totem poles. The style of the pole carvings appear to be a polygenous amalgamation, borrowing from everything from Native American to European to Japanese; wolves, bears, birds, jaguars, some unidentifiable animals. As he through the portal, he is reminded vaguely of documentaries he saw on the history channel of those aesthetic centric, almost ethereal places like Bali, Kyoto and Tibet, yet with something decidedly futuristic. Or post-modern. Or of the Now, whatever that consisted of. It reminds him also vaguely of one of those hippy communes, the smells of incense and herbs illegal in a great deal of more heavily regulated civilization filled the air. Actually, the atmosphere seemed to consist of it; a mind-altering, love-electrified, nirvana reaching stratosphere permeated by pulsing, tribal-ambient music, tied together by a lyrical poem in a woman's voice that could have been Mother Earth herself. Quite nearly everything here was canvas - the ancient concrete of an economic machine that left the dead area like a crop-rotation was painted with some expression, some dream, some story of humanity and furmanity (?). Furs and humans of all species and races mingling in everything from tye-dye to tribal to kimonos to full medievil costumes to 20's flapper garb to any time or place or frame of soul. The trash-sucked plastic was fashioned as well, McDonalds soft drink containers and Honda dashboards alike, transmuted into varicolored blown-plastic sculptures, machine-poetry. Some utopia. Something too good to be real. Something limited to a population with less than four zeros, and to the frontier of technically 'open ocean'. Something in trouble. Gibson spots a massive mural of the Mercury Phoenix rendered four times the size of a condor, he enters the building.

"Tauros! How long has it been, since our souls aligned last on this plane, brother?" The Lion's voice is deep, immense, like he is channeling the universe, a voice you imagine of visionaries. The lion's great, feather-laced mane is a blanket of warm paternal love against Gibson's cheek and neck as they embrace, a thing that could absorb all the ignorant hurt and violence in the world. Gibson felt some buried piece of himself sting as he tried to remember the last time he was called by that name.
"Kai... a forever too long." Gibson draws back and glances about the den. The treasure-hunting rodent children are there, sharing a meal of fish, soup and bread along with dozens and dozens of forgotten, hungry souls. Behind, there are solar and wave-powered ovens set poetically into what were once arrays of cubicles. To the side, a former board-meeting room is converted into a temple of sorts, humans and furs engaged in all manner of spiritual activity without any real sense of dogma. The lieutenant smiles wistful.

"Looks like you're doing well here, Kai. I'm truly impressed, I'm happy for you."

The lion returns the smile, scars on his cheek curling, badges earned in a war older than Gibson himself.
"I do what I can, I try to."
"The protests seem to be going well enough." Kai nods solemn.
"Facilitating the awakening of today's overwhelmed eyes to their own duality is at once easier and exponentially more difficult, but of course always possible."

A pause, then Gibson sighs, stares at his boots, "I wish I could have your heart, Kai." He could almost feel the old indigenous Asland's divine gaze, emollient, caressing his soul. He could feel it in his pacific words.
"What is it, Tauros?"
"You know what it is, Kai." Tone slipping out of past nostalgia, towards something more acerbic.

A longer pause, and it is suddenly cooler, the nirvana seems further away.

"The Morphosis." The lion with a certain unfathomable sadness.
"There's nucleic acids all over the street says members of Mercury Phoenix took part in the bloodshed."
"I know this. Paradigms within us have splintered, unfortunately. These individuals are no longer a part of us, in that sense, the cell is divided. Unfortunate that they are unable to realize their oneness yet..."
"Kai, that doesn't help me any."
"I ask you again; What is it, Tauros?"
Another pause, Gibson's tone quiets.
"This is serious, Kai. I need names, I need whereabouts."
"As I said, the individuals involved in the incident are no longer a part of Mercury Phoenix, I cannot assist you there, and at any rate I was informed that the humans instigated the fight."
"Kai, I'm forever grateful for what you've done for me, you're a godfather, but that is just not going to cover it. You know. I've helped keep the system out of here, now I need you to help me."

"What is it that you need, Tauros? What are you searching for? What is lost, brother?" The lion's words stirred something tectonic, and Gibson erupted, fangs baring, brows creasing, the ends swooping out like flames.

"Look, cut the fucking Jesus-Ghandi charade, alright, Kai? I risked my job to protect you. Only reason they gave something this high profile to a rookie dick like me is they know I've got networking here, I told'em I could negotiate. Two humans killed by furs? There's no way I can leave the Canopy empty handed..I got my boss breathing fire in my ear. I got the Department of Human Affairs want to get you in stocks, behead you in fucking public. You think anyone cares who started it? You think anyone gives a shit three furs got knocked off? Forgotten faces in some database, Kai, serial numbers. If I screw this up, I'm getting pulled off of this case, probably demoted from lieutenant, and then where the fuck you gonna be? They're looking for any excuse to take this place down, put you in some box where noone's gonna hear that riveting voice of yours except whoevers riding you - and you know they'll do it Don't think they're not onto this covert subversion stuff either. You're cost-inefficient, Kai. You can paint, smoke pot, free love, feed the hungry all you want in your little paradise far away. But you start making real waves, you disrupt capital gains, business as usual: they make you go away like *that*. You know the game. You know how the matrix moves. It's all mage, Kai, stories. The city needs a framing of safety and stability, They need to maximize profit. I need my fucking job."

Catching his breath, feeling as though some of his own words hurt himself...

The lion's paw squeezes Gibson's shoulder, as though at once massaging life into it and hanging onto it like the edge of a cliff..
"It's always the needs that get us in the end, don't they?" he laments.


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