Dream the Future

Teenage revellers gyrated off-tempo under unforgiving UV light, animated by the irregular beat synthesised by a cocktail of legal highs, cut with a strong helping of MDMA. The romanticised drugs of the past, ecstasy, opiates, had fallen by the wayside, cut too well, more talcum powder than high, the new generation of “clued-up” kids too ping-smart to be cheated out of chemical paradise. And they wanted it cheap. Body mods were still expensive these days, or the popular ones, at least. Fingertips fitted with chemical sensors sent drug breakdowns and calorie counts to microchips fused into skull bone. Displayed feeds across a high-tech retina replacement, the information travelling along microscopic optic fibre masquerading as neural pathway. Uninterrupted by social notification bubbles, pre-programmed software tinted teen vision green or red in line with the desirability of chemical breakdowns, ending in a swallowed bomb, or a dead dealer.

Tommo cursed Rezik’s name as he pelted flat out down forgotten back-streets, through the gaping maws of dead buildings, bomb craters, still smoking stacks of rejected human flesh. The enhanced cries of his already pinging assailant echoed in the empty streets like the bark of a vicious dog. Warm blood dripped from a gash across Tommo’s pounding head, a killing blow interrupted by a clumsy tween high for a hookup. He jumped a battered garden fence and for a brief moment forgot Rezik to berate himself, feet pounding across rough concrete and barren dirt. He’d known this would happen. The new mod updates released last week had updated scanners to catch sugar levels in chem soups, revealing the trick behind the deals Rezik’s guys had been offering pingers for the past month. And, as always, it was Tommo that inevitably took the hit.

Shift’s End

At 5am the wheels aren’t turning,

Cogs are slowly creaking underneath.

Mannequins masquerade as lurkers,

As bin men smoke smoke smoke smoke in the streets.

While homeless rouse from a rowdy hell unslept,

Worn bar workers stagger home, drunk on not drunk,

On sticky, swollen, shoeless feet.

Scarf tucked tight against the cold, naked legs freeze.

Pockets jangle marching tunes for the last push home,

Or offer up a visit to the taxi queue,

As a lonely glow on the horizon proffers food

With a side order of drunks.

Traffic lights changed on unruptured cycles

Unbothered by no-one there to stop and see.

The town hall clock chimes the final round til light,

While keys are turned and beds are reunited.

And everywhere tucked up in houses,

People rise with the sun they’re paid to meet.