Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lab #2 - George

{Yes, I accept all brickbats (and I have already accepted several in the form of the two submissions for the lab). Thought I'd provide a nice silver nail for the coffin:) Postmodern references (as if there weren't enough already) available on request}

"Don't you dare call me Ishmael!" And Aichi proceeded to provide a competent phonetic equivalent of his name to the bewildered customer service representative at the other end of the cell-while. The flatline drone of redundant information on the traffic channel was suddenly interrupted by yet another calmercial:

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

The dehumidifying kruegers had won this time. A brief smudged flash of the long line of SRVs going nowhere on the intertown. The rain did this here. Drove people's brains to seed. Social historians and people who subscribed to the Methuselah Manifest were now getting bolder about finding all this atavistic drive to disaster that humanity had embarked upon. Yet again. It had happened after every revision of the Public Transit Bill. The concerns of the leftist factions who supported the cause of mass transit were laid to rest using what many historians in the know referred to as offering "epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude". The Howard Family had only managed to achieve a fractional improvement over the work of the previous generation and had announced a renunciation last week. The allocated funds would soon be up for grabs through the tax-exempt growleries and their weekly trivia contests...

Aichi Je's voice broke into the void of Walker's thoughts. "Can you connect me to room six one one?"

The scraggly treescape didn't offer much of an alternative to the vista of the chocked arteries on the expressway. Walker had hoped that someone in the administration would appreciate the irony of the term and find an acceptable replacement. But then, it would be too much to expect irony in the administrative circles. All these years had not afforded a government job any more value and meaning.

"You're taking a chance by not wearing a cap, especially at a time like this." That was Aichi Je again. Referring to Walker's overdue haircut and the consequences it might have if they were flagged by a heli-cop and presented with a citation for being decalvant delinquents. Walker didn't even want to explore the irony of that phrase. He just gave Aichi a blank look peppered with the hint of a smirk. They had more pressing problems at hand.

Aichi was trying to get in touch with a feelings facilitator for some "vision reconciliation." Something about a recurring dream he was having –- some dark figure standing by his bed blowing smoke and quotes from Derrida at him. Walker wondered if the lady two lanes away would consider that a nightmare.

A short high-pitched squeal on the radio hinted that the Stochastic Signal System was about to proceed to its next iteration. This might be their chance. A short window of time and space opened up and they managed to get to their exit with just about a second to spare.

The clarity was devastating and the ambiguity had fled the box.

Labels: ,


Blogger Sudarshan said...

Cute piece of work. In fact, this is probably the most textbookish entry in both the labs so far: (a) closest to the original intention of exploring writing styles, (b) emphasis on writing style over plot, (c) no funky interpretations of the lab guidelines, and (d) short enough to read at one shot :P.

As far as I can make out, you're using Ellison's and Gibson's styles as a model, dipping into that postmodern-scifi school of writing. Nice. Time for me to set up the next lab.

Horror would be a nice theme this time, methinks.

10:05 PM  
Blogger George said...

Here's a behind-the-scenes on the article; a deconstruction that should rip all merit asunder :)
* The opening line is a tip of the hat to Harlan Ellison. In particular to the opening line of Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W, which was "When Moby Dick woke up one morning from a night of unsettling dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous Ahab." Of course, Ellison managed a double-feat with that line: he hinted at both Melville's tome as well as to Kafka's classic short story The Metamorphosis ("As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... "). I stayed with just one:)
* the neologism calmercial came from a distaste for commercial breaks and the quest for a typically counter-intuitive name that would have come out of the marketing milieu in the future
* The text of the calmercial comes from the opening of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. In retrospect, I love the echoes of this serendipitous choice of source text
* kruegers came from a vision of windshield wipers mixed with images of Freddy Krueger thanks to having a book on Wes Craven's films open in my lap as I woke up from my nap on the bus
* SRVs represent the next step in the evolution of large gas-guzzling unsafe vans after SUVs and RVs
* All that public transit ranting (as well as the extension of the word "interstate" to "intertown" conveying the extent to which the expressway system has clogged the landscape) should be expected from a supporter of lost causes
* epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude comes from one of my favourite "Yes Prime Minister" episodes titled "Power to the People" (yeah, wishful thinking)
* The "Howard Family" is a Robert Heinlein reference
* The name Aiche Je stems from a weak pun from vernacular swearing
* The final line is paraphrased from a segment in episode 24 of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" featuring John Cleese as an art critic delivering a breathless (literally) take on the works on an artist called Shunt incorporating questions of existentialism, metaphysics, train schedules, film, and general nonsense
* And then there's a guy named Walker who is driving a vehicle ...
* And from the vat of interesting words come growlery and decalvant

10:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home