Driver's Side Airbag #45

hertzan chimera


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Kevlar Kubez
By Hertzan Chimera

I had been troubled all that morning by the pile-up, a mind-burning premonition of meat and metal welding inseparably. In this haunting vision you cannot even cut the dead body loose while the mind is buried alive under meters of pain. I had never been in a traffic accident, but I had treated the lacerated face of my late stepfather when I was six years old. His facial injuries (this was before the age of seat belts and safety glass) rendered him barely recognizable and all the towels in the house were caked with his blood.

The click of heals in the cold concrete world of the departure depot. The shoes? A woman’s shoes maybe; delicate yet sharp like a glass splinter, the footsteps not urgent not panicked but quick all the same. A luggage wheel rattled against the corrugations of the irregular paving, like blunt teeth that ground at the rubber wheel covering; chocking, retching. The terrified smile of a western man confronted with a noisy trio of Japanese tourists asking directions they would ultimately ignore.

Bored of waiting, the tightrope walker balanced along the rain drainage grid, avoiding the pigeon shit, hands in his pockets like a swanky professional, cigarette in the corner of his mouth, squinting at the smoke that crawled leprously into his eyes. He had on the hunting cap from the Catcher in the Rye - the red cap, turned back on his head. He was a young lad of no more than sixteen years of age; barely legal, just like that kid in that legendary tale of teen angst.

His older brother was there, reversing into cashmere negligee of fantasy, fur-lined collar remind you of ocelot terror viewed down the telescopic lens of a hunting rifle, smiling like a fool. There was a dizzying sense of dread in the damp air. Nobody spoke in a language I could understand. In the streets, indecipherable signage hosted inscrutable script, abstract font.

The sun occluded the sorrow of the sky.

The forlorn rustle of a superstore carrier bag. Her hands digging deep - something she had expected to be there wasn’t. What was she hoping to find in that superstore carrier bag? She had been searching in it for a couple minutes now and I for one was intrigued to the point of distraction. I couldn’t take my eyes off it even when her top fell open, revealing her right breast, fully flashing the nipple which was all shrunken, contracted against the cold. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw, a completely white nipple more like a giant goose pimple than a suckling gland. Odd beyond odd.

Everyone impatient as pacing lions in a cage as cold as insomnia, the murmuring line of Kevlar Kubez warmed up. The deafening hiss of the cooling fan. The bronchial wheeze of the nitrous oxide that powers the air-conditioning system. The euphoria of soft-cell mentality decorating the corrupt interior. Sumptuous free-load on a cushion of hot air. They’re crowding us in now, filling in the slats, like African slaves to the rhythm of the rumbling chassis of the Kevlar Kubez. What would happen if you just kept on packing people in? You know, what’s the critical mass of bodies in a hermetically sealed, air-conditioned enclosed space such as this? CMS - critical mass sandwich.

Green vinyl jackets shriek - Sorry, Not in Service. It had officially been years since I had ventured out into the bacteria-choking open. I wasn’t sure if it was still fashionable to wear a face mask. I wasn’t even sure which style of face mask the season favoured. I was that na´ve - so imprisoned had I, like most inhabitants, become in the ever-dying world of light entertainment. So rife was the disease of light entertainment that by day, reality lost as yet undiscovered species of creativity, huge nebulae of personal genius rubbed out in honour of the hard sell, the easy sequel, the page turner, you name it, human minds were being ground to pulp.

It was Autumn again by the time we moved off. Naked nature was patiently awaiting Salvation’s Xmas Cola sponsored decorating spree. Someone’s wrist-mounted alarm shrieked like a cry from the heart. The cars ground slower and slower behind one another, the trains also in some wetter part of the line. In the sky, planes circled in stacks five miles high. A twenty-layer stainless steel cake with the lovely human jam crammed into the middle. Not even a bird could swim through the torrential turbulence.

You can’t imagine this place before the floods. Sure, this had always happened, rain had always fallen. And if rain had fallen at an unseasonal moment, when drainage was diminished by sopping acres, then, sure, the fields would fill to the brim, only separated by the high rise of urban motorway and rail track. But for years, humans have been living on the fifth floor and above. They get around in small hovercraft in the rural retreats or dinghies in the inner-city sprawls. I tell you, the world is getting smaller in more respects than the speed of planetary mind numbing. It is a simple, clear and natural management of land acres. Compression of everything into less space = meltdown.

Acceleration. Blue palette litters the Canterbury road. Zone ends. The sauce on the pasta was wet and cold; the greasiest food in the whole of the Western hemisphere. You cannot write with a spoon the way you can eat a yoghurt with a biro, if push came to shove. The ladybird overlooking the flood plain.

The backs of heads sweating in nauseous proximity.

Super turbo charged old relics of what they used to call cars accelerate up the private lanes. You can see old bikers on neighbouring Kevlar Kubez through the psycho-refracting walls, you can see in their road-reddened eyes a sopping dream of the ways things used to be, the freedom of the wind in their lead-encrusted hair, the sinking lungs, the Hell on Wheels. The shine of lakes glimmering in the mist. I remember a time when motorbikes (garage industry we called them) could dodge and weave in and out of the corporate power lanes of standing traffic. No more access routes into the mainline, not even a little kitten could squeeze through the car park of Kevlar Kubez.

The sun burned one side of my face the whole trip, blind in that eye. The shaking, rattling, something rolling loose in the overhead lockers. The hiss of decompression, coming down into the sprawling cityscape of lights. A rattling land of lies. When I was a young lad growing up on the streets of this sceptre isle, you got used to meals on the move, catching a bite when you could. An old dying horse watches swallows flit about in the chill, its’ good eye clouding over incessantly.

The journey into the unknown had officially begun.

The Fundamentalist Way had achieved a level of religious and social penetration greater than all the living Gods of live newscast combined, uniting all under their sordid black corporate banner from childbirth. What-you-gonna-do? Of course, nothing is quite as well-oiled as it should be, even at the corporate level, schedules are a series of stand-up gags and the joke is on you, the consumer, their benefactor. A grinding of Kevlar Kubez shunted silent strangers cross-country from A to B. The squeal of friction pads a yawning sneer in the face of innovation. The popping of clogs on Death’s Entertainment Highway. The privately owned covered market crushed by the underpass weighed down with the sheer number of Kevlar Kubez - no corporate casualties, thank God.

The sun came out again like that scene in Stanley Kubrick’s film, you know, the one where our hero, Alex, is treated to a private film festival of the ultra-violence under the most obscene drug fatois, and all seemed quite normal, maybe it was just a switch of focus, a swipe, a blend, maybe a cross fade of cultural adjustment. The familiar scene suddenly looked rosier, for no good reason. Cars crash, planes fall from the congested sky, countrysides drown in Autumn downpours, romances fail under the strain. Lighting often strikes twice. Avoid parking the car in the centre of town - Park & Ride they called it. They no longer bother with such words of advice.

Caterers for all occasions, they call us in the press. The hardcore game fanatic peddling his rotting wares outside of corporate bandwidths and middle-management hardlines. We are a small band of Creatives replete with kamikaze bandanas and leather goggle eyes. Breast watchers, we could feel them moving behind every weft and weave of living fabric. They are that tuned into the human animal. In broad daylight, 800 thousand player games of chance congest the ether, all frequencies brown mud. Footsteps recede, voices don’t. The last gun rider in town.

A frosty reception from the recently released jailbird. She knew all the nastiest facial put-downs. Good scar, just over her left eyebrow said something about the way we treat ladies nowadays. They let more people on - the crush increased to undersea pressures per surface millimetre square. Locked in for the duration, a gravity of gravel becomes another solid slab for the shit machine to defecate on arrival.

A Crash - somewhere, can’t see any survivors in the twisted intestines of blood and bones and metal all fused into one charred result. Our transportation unit shufties up one space and we reconnect with the rest of the stinking line of Kevlar Kubez, headed east away from the now setting sun. I saw a face turn to rock before we moved off, female eyes like salt drying in the sun. I thought she would melt before my return, little did I know these lady drivers.

Pulled awake besides new passengers, must have dozed off. All the colours have mixed and the trees have morphed into dragons. The growls of the tattooed ladies, the wrinkles of ticket holders, new zombies of consumerism fit into the queue. When will this dire situation end? It is always someone else’s stalemate - makes you want to cry. When you get yoghurt all over the place and the water casket is dry.

With eight miles to go, the feeling return to my autonomic system, like a clock wound by an unseen hand. Soon I will be back in the Land of the Rebels, the Creatives. Fuelling old electronic highways from their garage yards of two-wheel ultimate drag strip. The trees rush by in a sudden back draft of ether. Decelerate to disembark, retinae come online with a synaptic slap.

Her name was Wendy and she used to be a Receptacle. Really twisted game lust and polished gold chassis and succulent strips of loin meat internal combustion fuck factory under her jade green hood. The smell of the locker room and the greasy leak of lubrication dripping from the ceiling, the memories will never die. She had matured beyond her archaic technology of flesh-marbled chrome, now access ports gleamed all over her like a rash. You could join her global game via any connection but the one that really got you in, the one that ran at super-fast baud rates beyond known, legal, technology was the one in the nape of her neck. She kept it freshly shaven like any good Geisha, the cold white patch of neck skin begged attention. You could just sniff the static electric glowing in the living portal to get a rod on the strength of a polycarbonate carrying a wing rider over thermals the height of Everest.

The pungent smell of a Liquid Gold container a-bumbling and a-tumbling in Wendy’s badly ether lit nether regions, a bees’ hive of glowing shadow. The knees separate with a soft click of sweat. The straight back, beautiful grace as she stood there in the public toilets of the destination transport terminus. Her eyes as emerald as they will forever be. Her radiance as she stood in the piss pools, even here, she glowed like an angel.

Wendy should never have helped those luckless fools Whysilage and Giger out of New York that day, she should never have surrogate mothered them onto the eroto-frequencies that became her unique domain, the mistress of evolution. But there she stood, a beacon in the stink, a perfect automaton of lust that long ago superseded the sluggish industry of the Fundamentalist Way. Their groaning slabs of ironmonger foreplay transformed to the sleek and planar and solidly and functional of her splendid whim. Every public transport users friend, they call the Fundamentalist Way. Don’t pay them till they get you to the other side - should be the opener to their rip-off sermon.

Come with me, she grunted in porkly undertones.

In between daze, our hero finds himself back in the straightjacket of narrative penmanship. The ultimate foreclosure, if you will. I jack in, as the old Gibson Bibles soliloquise, inserting my shriveled cock into the back of Wendy’s brain pan, I feel rubberized lips gyrating on my glans. The thickened meat of shaft sucked by the super-fast transfer rate into the depths of the game. The late arrivals curtail our smooth transit between states of psycho-sexual acceleration. The orifices of gleaming chrome decay into a flowing river of probability raging against the flood of forty million global participants, vented through her, collective.

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