Georgie was brushing his mouth stones and I came in breezily and sat on the shit seat. ‘What are you doing?’ he said, glaring at me in the mirror.
‘Food outing,’ I told him.
‘Can’t you wait?’
‘Er,’ I said. ‘Yes, I suppose.’
I would have to be careful. I had made a mistake and the day was a mere four minutes and fifty-two seconds old.
I went back to sleep room and stood in the corner immobile until I heard Georgie leave tiled place. ‘It’s free,’ he shouted as he plodded across interim space to the football poster gallery. I’d been prepared for food outing by observation, but it was the oddest feeling having a bit of your inside squeeze out and plop into waiting blue water below. I pressed the button and the seat throat swallowed it with much saliva-ing.
Downstairs, food inning was happening.
‘There’s your tea love,’ Derek, my cocksman, said.
‘Thanks,’ I said. I was shook by my earlier mistake. Five of those and I’d have to exterminate the family and as that was against protocol 17, I really wanted to avoid that. Who knows maybe I’d be exterminated. Sooner or later someone was going to get exterminated: that is the only certainty in this garbled mass of information reception we call reality. To avoid questioning and examination, I turned the television on and stared at the sofa people discussing garbled chaos.
‘You see if people had known all this before the referendum it would have been totally different,’ Derek said.
Georgie came in, drying his head strands with an orange cloth. ‘Buyer’s remorse, huh dad?’
‘I honestly thought it’d be funnier than this,’ he said, mouth turned down to indicate despair.
The tea tasted like dried leaves boiled in water and then garnished with cow tit juice. I add sweet sand to alter the taste. Georgie half burnt white fungal growth. Georgie left first to his education house and then Derek inquired ‘Are you all right, Sally?’ – I pursed my lips and sent eye water out which seemed to appease him – before he headed off to the selling people things they don’t want place.
In the tile room, I doused myself and then exchanged sleep garments for day garments. I used my phone to connect to the BOSON.
How’s it going?
Really tough. I’m in but they are weird. I’m not happy with the translation program.
Okay, what about your host?
She’s okay. I can feel her thoughts beneath. Can’t we just wipe it?
No. Then we’d wipe everything and then where would you be.
I see what you mean.
Do you want to be exterminated?
No, thank you.
I could hear Sally, gabbling away in the background. Her thoughts were the panicked foolery of poorly informed fear. But I needed her because every now and then I needed a cue like who to recognize and what to do next. Connecting to her long-term memory I realized I was going to be late for money time. I walked to the underground train tunnel and rode with the library people in the sway cylinder. Food smell wafted on the street and the sun was about 14 minutes away and the planet was tilted on its axis so the northern hemisphere was getting closer and so it was medium warm.
‘Hi Sally,’ Brian on the desk said as he buzzed me into the building with a painful erection.
‘Hi Bri,’ I said, using name chop for friendliness.
I went through corridor maze until I found my sit-down space. ‘You’re pushing it this morning,’ Ali – total bitch – said, handing me half pint of coffee and cow tit juice. The computer blinked in front of me and Ali goes through my day schedule. It seemed full. I’ll have to be drinking deeply from Sally’s bucket of life knowledge. ‘And you’ve got the Prime Minister at four.’
I briefly revised Prime Minister in Random Access Memory and let out a mild taboo excretion.
‘Fuck indeed,’ Ali agreed. ‘That’s why I thought you’d be in early. You know she’s going to want the immigration figures. Ironically, the reason we don’t have them is she was such a shit arse when it came to her doing her job as Home Secretary.’
‘Don’t talk like that about Democracy!’ I snapped.
Ali laughed; and gun shot me to death with her fingers. I felt an intense urge to bite through her throat until her head fell off and her inside wetness splashed all over. Luckily, she left the room and I was left to work in peace. There would be meetings. I began to wonder at my choice of Sally. I had wanted someone who was brain fast and full of information taint, but this work time was going to be enhanced difficult. Using the primitive computer phones advertising trivia system supplemented with paper splattered with ink I soon gathered the basic information needed to complete my tasks. I used a basic statistical model to breakdown a detailed survey of the entire population of the area, split into political definitions and age, work status, likelihood of criminality, fertility rate and then projected the whole thing into he future by five solar year increments. I transferred all this from my head bucket and poured it into the electric basket of the computer and then printed it out. It was challenging because I had to use the number language and thinking techniques that I hadn’t used since I was in first education house all those TDSs ago. It took 43 minutes.
Brian came in and closed the door behind him. He smiled. I smiled back. He unzipped his trousers and took out his squirter. ‘You’re not my cocksman,’ I said.
‘What?’ he said.
Sally was trying to scream help or plead via eye signals which was irritating but ineffective. Then I realized that Brian was a secondary illicit cocksman, used to satisfy daytime thrusting urges, something Derek seemed less and less interested in, what with him always watching the kick ball matches and being so tired from selling things people don’t want to people, which admittedly – even at a cursory glance – was not an easy thing to accomplish.
The angle of declination had increased. ‘It’s drooping earthward,’ I said.
‘Sally!’ Brian exclaimed, abashed. ‘I thought…’
I didn’t feel I could reject Brian outright as he obviously thought this was the norm and I could feel a disequilibrium in his feelings, but at the same time, I felt I needed every moment I had to successfully learn Sally’s function and accomplish it without detection of substitution. I calculated by eye and then put forth my finger combine and manipulated as efficiently as I could.
Five seconds and ‘Jesus Christ!’ Brian shouted, ejaculate going everywhere. ‘How did the…? What…?’
‘Read it on the internet,’ I said. It was a ‘go to’ phrase, along with ‘I have a blinding headache’ and ‘sorry, I was a little drunk last night’ to be deployed to avert suspicion.
‘Wow.’ Brian stumbled from the room, wrapping his softness into his trouser but not zipping. I used the briefing papers on border controls to wipe up the potential baby goo.
‘What did you do to Brian?’ Ali said when she came in. ‘He was crying.’
I pulled noncommittal face 13 as I handed her ejaculate besmirched briefing papers. ‘Get rid of these please,’ I said.
‘What did you do? Spill your latte?’
‘Your eleven o’clock is ready.’
We went to a room that had been artfully designed to look like boredom and listened to a drone mouth. I used the time to familiarize myself further with Sally’s responsibilities, which was difficult because her thought voice kept shouting at me. ‘Shut up,’ I told her. ‘Or I’ll have you exterminated.’
‘Who are you and what do you want?’ she negotiated.
‘I am Phil from Zarodz. I’m taking over your body for purposes of education, survival and entertainment. Don’t worry; we can make this work for both of us.’
‘This is…’ followed by inarticulate and frankly distracting screaming.
So far I had gathered that I was above a citizen but below a king, in the same way I was better than a pigeon but not quite as good as a dolphin. All things taken into account. I had a workable intelligence place and was quickly becoming aware of a capacity for destruction that included self-destruction and sadly dolphin destruction. I’d need to send a message to the dolphins at some point. An entire cohort had gambled on that particular manifestation and were going to find themselves either in captivity or tuna tins.
Midday food inning took place with a penman who recorded our conversation as he asked me about ‘my ambitions’. I told him I wanted a workable solution for all problems, a realignment of value systems, a resolution of the previously irresolvable and a new policy on dolphins. I went to the tile room and let out red urine. Potentially blood. Midriff ache set in making me wish superficially that life would end. Sally seemed gleeful.
The Prime Minister looked startled to see me but scanning all published photographs I later realized she looked constantly startled. ‘Well…?’ she said. ‘Tell me the bad news.’
‘Blood urine,’ I told her.
‘What?’ she laughed. ‘Oh, you have your period. Possibly a little too much information. But … ha ha! Girls together and all that.’
Heartiness imitation dissolved into uncomfortable zygomatic spasms.
‘But immigration…’ frowny face middle distance gaze.
‘Yes,’ I said. Then I power-pointed her for ten minutes.
‘Wow,’ she said, copying Brian. ‘I can’t… that’s really impressive, Sally.’
‘You’ve been hiding your light under a bushel, Sally,’ Peter Hamill said, permanent secretary, 48 and diabetic.
I got pay car home. Derek and Georgie were watching kickball on the radio window. ‘How are you love?’ Derek said.
‘Lovely. Indian’s in the microwave.’ I assumed it was an idiom and went upstairs to stand in the darkness and consider all I had learned. My smooth meditation was disturbed by a lingering doubt. What did it mean? ‘Indian’s in the microwave’? What fresh barbarity was this?
The shouting room proved easy enough. With all the voices raised, mutual erasure. The policy convinced not only the governing people, but the people who wanted to govern but weren’t had to admit gritted through mouth stones the plan, analysis and policy all made brain rightness and released the appropriate brain juice to make a reasonable person smile and say yes that’s it. I went to the window screen nexus and spoke to Jeremy Paxman who loud voiced and was rebutted. Sally enjoyed the show. She is becoming more pliant. She volunteers useful advice. After all, if I am in pain or embarrassed, she had to sit there and take it exactly where I am sitting because in the end Phil and Sally Bowers are the same person. Inhabiting the same space and time.
We went to the pretend we care place and talked to people pretending to be ordinary people who were also pretending to be angry about things they were merely annoyed about. Governing people in other countries are talking about my policy. Hamill contacted me on the testicle cancer machine. His face is like a normal human face, but when I hear his voice, I always picture a large watermelon being punched to bits by a very large gorilla. ‘Why are they calling this the Bowers policy?’ watermelon man said. ‘We explicitly told you to call it the New Morning initiative?’
Across from me Brian Turner wanted to be angry about the roundabout and the one-way system that he believed was negatively impacting his selling foot gloves to people who don’t want foot gloves business. The truth was people bought foot gloves from cheaper foot glove outlets. ‘I need insulin,’ I said.
‘So what? So am I?’
‘I need it now.’
‘Well, go and get it.’
Two-fold win. Conversation stopped, and now Hamill would think of me as a fellow sufferer. ‘Where are you going?’
‘You need to take your insulin?’ Brian Turner was heading for the door. ‘I’m sorry but I despise the sight of needles.’
So threefold win.
I told Derek I wanted to stop being married to him. ‘What?’ he said.
‘What?’ said Sally.
‘You mean you want a divorce,’ he said.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘A divorce. I’ll have one of those, please.’
‘What are you doing?’ Sally cried, deep within and louder than ever. Derek’s eyes were splashing about in water and Sally was doing pig slaughter impressions and damned good ones.
‘We’re a family,’ Derek said. ‘Georgie…?’
‘You can keep him,’ I said. ‘And the house.’
‘You like cocking men,’ I said. This was obviously not the reason but it felt like a good enough reason to present and it was also truth. Sally stopped her abattoir music. ‘Really?’ she said. I internally monologued my evidence.
‘That’s really why he liked watching so much football,’ she said. Football I thought. Not kickball.
The BOSON was very long that evening.
What’s going on? You were supposed to blend in, learn, scout, not do whatever it is you’re doing.
There was no chance of that happening. They’re just too different. Plus, they’ve only got about two hundred years to go the way they’re going about it.
Two hundred? What’s that? Half a TDS?
Hardly seems worth it. Shall we just exterminate?
No, the place is good and they have giraffes.
What are giraffes?
Okay. I guess you can have a free hand. What the hell. I mean, we can always exterminate.
I don’t like the idea of extermination. Because there would also be the clean-up and that means destroying everything humans have ever created and removing all trace of them from the planet. This would be a shame as I really like the window shirts they call ‘curtains’. I like caramel macchiato as well. It involves cow tit juice and burned sweet sand. Ali handed me to the cardboard cylinder and smiled with something like terrorism in her eyes. Her fear was kept in check by her ambition. ‘The Prime Minister wondered if you would have a few minutes this afternoon,’ she said.
‘I’ve finished menstruating,’ I told her.
‘So that’s a yes,’ Ali said and backed her way through the door. Brian came in for his five seconds. He was dependent on them now and I exchanged them for a series of job that he would mindlessly and devotedly do for me. ‘That’s disgusting,’ Sally said.
‘You haven’t got a clue,’ I told her. ‘Do you know that birds think that cars are actually animals that you get inside and ride around in?’
‘Birds are stupid.’
‘They’re limited. Crows can only count to five. But they can still count. How far can you count up to?’
‘I don’t know. Infinity I suppose.’
‘You guys are pretty much like crows to me.’
‘That’s not very nice.’
‘There’s an Indian in the microwave,’ I reminded her.
‘That doesn’t mean what you think it means.’
According to Zarodz law, power means safely ignoring stuff. I felt the same way about the languages that were used. We had made a fundamental mistake using google. But going back and redoing the software wasn’t worth the hassle and it had actually becoming entertaining to me, the challenge, of using dumb stupid words with obvious misapplication and still manage to take over the company.
The ‘I don’t want to do this job anymore’ speech by the Prime Minister was thought to be her best moment. It was applauded by opposition parties and her own and all the talking about things people loved it and said they loved it. They should have done. I wrote it. I dictated it and Hamill wrote it. Hamill barged into the room the next day.
‘The first day of your leadership campaign and your husband announces that you are getting a divorce and abandoning your family!’ he threw the things you can read on the internet printed out onto the desk.
‘And?’ he looked like he’d been meaning to expel air backwards but had felt the drop of solid in his trouser. ‘And!? How is this going to look?’
‘I’m dedicating myself to the country,’ I said. ‘My marriage was a sham. My cocksman…’
‘Stop calling him that.’
‘…was having other things happen in the bedrooms in hotels.’
‘Do you know how to buy a caramel macchiato?’ I asked him.
‘I thought you were diabetic,’ he said, startled from his anger (which had been the intention).
‘I got better,’ I told him. I only employed Hamill so it would give me an excuse to get rid of Ali, but the fact was I needed them only in the way I needed Sally’s body, so I would look normal.
BOSON were enjoying the whole thing now. We had rewired the sky with these reflectors so that everyone could see everything back on Zarodz. I’d become a celebrity. Never had we encountered such a ‘civilization’. Honestly, these ‘people’ were just such utter squirters. The leadership contest was no contest at all. Angela Limpett stood against me ‘to engage in debate’, but her head strands looked like a kind of hat and during the debate on the radio window she said something about her father being a hard worker when it turned out her father was a fool face who told the internet printed out and sold daily that Jews were dishonest. It didn’t matter. I had released all my policy ideas, which were carefully calculated to make everyone who read them clap their hands and shout ‘where do I (proverbially) sign?’ which then gave me the idea of having everyone sign up. It would be a CONTRACT FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. I won the leadership contest and went to see the Queen. She didn’t wear her sparkly hat and was covered in powder. I asked if she wanted to sign the contract and be the first. ‘Oh, could I?’ she said, her eyes doing little yippees.
The contract had all my solutions and requested informed consent. It clearly mapped out in succinct language benefits involved on both a personal and national level.
‘What about royal protocol?’ a footman at her shoulder muttered.
‘Pish,’ she said, whipping out a previously unseen ink stick.
Outside video guns and sound suckers took my first prime ministerial audio and video and splashed them all over, even as I thought of the BOSON reflecting it all back to Zarodz. Sally went, ‘for fuck’s sake.’ She was immune to my charms because being with me all this time my intelligence had leaked through her brain splatter and given her made upgrade plug ins she wasn’t shy in using.
Then Ireland phoned and said: ‘Can we be part of the United Kingdom?’
‘How many giraffes do they have?’ I asked.
‘We have a… few in the zoo in Dublin,’ the Taoiseach said.
‘Right you’re in.’
Before long, the Europeans were in touch and the Americans. Hamill told me they were contacting us via diplomatic channels. ‘Where are they?’
Hamill laughed and shook his head. ‘Priceless,’ he said, which either meant worthless or invaluable but I didn’t ask.
It had been hard, but we had done it. Only one hundred thousand giraffes had existed in the world when I arrived but now, they were protected and thriving, the numbers looked set to rise exponentially. According to my calculations we should have them safely in the millions within two decades. To do this with a real sense of security and to make it irreversible I had spent a lot of time reorganizing the humans in a way that meant the giraffes weren’t unduly bothered by them. First of all, I solved all the wars in the world by getting the countries that made the weapons to stop making weapons. Some knife fights continued but I soon managed to settle that as well. The religions were a tough nut to crack. There was the Jesus was the son of god bunch that was against the Jesus was all right but not the son of god and they both hated the Jesus was a prophet and again not the sun of god, despite a lot of agreement. And then there were all the who’s this Jesus? groups. Lots of them. I offered actual proof of God and using the BOSON delivered. At first, they resisted.
We can’t do that.
There’s got to be a rule somewhere.
But I was confident there wasn’t and what with extermination now the only alternative they said okay, run with it. I knew I had them because now everyone on Zarodz was absolutely glued to what was happening. It was top class entertainment though some of the snootier members of the community said that it was trivial pap, similar to the sort of entertainment a very young being might get from tasting one of their own orifices. But these were the kind of Zarodzi that were always complaining as if complaints tasted like strawberries in their mouths.
The BOSON enacted a series of miracles I’d predicted. Parting the Irish Sea so the five giraffes from Dublin zoo could be ushered over in-between the water walls, skirting the Isle of Man and then being received with much joy by ‘The World’s Media’ and me. I took to wearing transparent diaphanous dresses just because it irritated Sally.
‘People can see my nipples,’ Sally would screech in the background.
‘No one is looking at your nipples,’ I told her. ‘They are too busy gazing adoringly at my eyes.’
‘No they’re fucking not,’ she said.
So, I’d solved the wars, the religions had been reconciled and all the refugees had gone back to their country of origin accompanied by the unemployed who worked to rebuild the cities and infrastructure. Palestine and Israel looked at each other like a pair of drunks the morning after a night of debauchery, and with wry amusement did the political equivalent of saying ‘what on earth were we thinking?’ There were hugs as well as some rueful shaking of heads on the day Palesrael was established and the walls and checkpoints ceremoniously dismantled, except for the ones that were daubed with Banksy murals and were preserved for posterity, with NEVER AGAIN written in poignant letters across one section of wall that remained. China phoned that night and said – translated – ‘You know this one-party communist shit is getting pretty old.’ I said, ‘I’m so glad you said it first. We were all thinking the same thing.’
‘Who was that?’ Derek said. He was holding hands with Tom.
‘China,’ I said. ‘They’re in.’
The Sallymass meal had been wonderful and we’d radio windowed it internationally because of the ‘unprecedented demand’ and Georgie gave me an awkward hug. I thought he might want to ejaculate but Sally shouted ‘NO!’ and for once I thought it better to listen to her. He’d settled back into the education house and with my reforms already in place his intelligence was significantly better than that of crows. Sally was happy to have him near her and I let her take a bit of control and enjoy it a while. A celebrity food preparer famous for shouting at idiots prepared it and we inned it, happily. Tom slapped alcohol juice into his front hole and Georgie got all wet faced when he had to go so I let him come to Buckingham Palace where the Queen was waiting for me with Hamill for a nightcap. The Queen was getting into this being more involved thing. I liked having her around. She always knew when it was time to have a laugh. ‘So what does the New Year bring?’ she asked. ‘Africa, Europe, the Americas and now if tonight is trustworthy also Asia, all have been brought under your benevolent power. So what next? Rid the world of disease?’
‘Dolphins,’ I said.
‘What?’ said Hamill, who had been a great critic of my giraffes policy.
‘Dolphins. There are lots left but I want them to really take off. How many dolphins do we have Georgie?’
‘Common dolphin: 3,179,000, Striped dolphin: 1,485,000, Spotted dolphin: 1,782,000, and finally the Spinner dolphin…’
‘My favourite,’ said the Queen.
Everyone chipofftheoldblocked etc but Hamill still wasn’t convinced. What he didn’t know was that his aorta was like a bicycle innertube that was about to pop. It saddened me. I’d got him addicted to the 5 second ejaculate. Actually, I’d got so well practiced it now only took 2 seconds from flaccid to wa-hey! Maybe another discreet one in the bathrooms of the Palace would get him to lean closer to my position but the problem was his aorta probably wouldn’t like it. ‘Okay,’ I said, doing up turned corners of the mouth thing. ‘Dolphins and world disease.’
Liz clapped her hands, delighted. ‘Frightfully good.’
And we drank port.
Next day, Jenny phoned to sad news me that I don’t know how to say this but Peter and then three dotting his demise. I brushed my mouth stones and spat. When I looked in the mirror, Sally looked back, eye-splashing with mute on.
Never drink port. If there is one lesson it is that the ruby red sweet fortified wine gives you the head bashing that is usually reserved for the truly evil in a just universe where the retributors have really large hammers and the punishment for evil is to be hit in the head with the hammers. Port. I got hooked. Long dead Lizzie set me up and I suspect if this isn’t my inner voice paranoiaing me to confusion that she did it on purpose. Like when she said to me ‘Would you like to wear the crown?’ And I said what? The shiny hat? And there was a flinch. She flinched. Like when Georgie killed himself and at the funeral Derek hugged me but the hug turned into a squeeze and he tried to throw me in the hole him and all while the security men despite all their expertise finding it difficult to pry open the iron arms of grief. And all the world’s media were there to capture the moment. Worse yet, it spooked the giraffes. When they finally got me out of the hole and my diaphanous dress badly ripped, they pulled Derek up and I told them to punch Derek in the face. ‘As hard is humanly possible.’ They didn’t want to do this and it was probably the port bastard behind my eyes but I went a bit apeshit screaming, ‘Do it just do it’ like I was a Nike advertising slogan from the turn of the millennia but being emotively misapplied.
Sally was mad with grief and definitely blamed me. ‘Coldness, lack of empathy, inhuman!’ she accused and yelled. ‘Inhuman?’ I risposted. ‘Obvs.’
These humans are such a bunch of stupid shits. They’re hardly even here. What? Eighty years maybe? Hundred tops? And Georgie couldn’t even get to forty. The minute the miniature blood bags squirt into the world you should start mourning them because they’re already on their way to the soil place.
All over the new reformed infoscrawl that gets projected four feet in front of everyone as a result of the BOSON like technology I gifted them, replays of this humiliation were interrupted only by reports of the REBELLION. At first my people said it was underground and in one of my now thankfully rare lapses into literalism I had them excavating hither and yonder. Seven thousand square miles of open cast mining took place in all the likeliest spots before someone got up the moxy to add a question mark to the end of a sentence and I could dial it back.
Palesrael – ungrateful goat vagina ejaculators – became a center of resistance against the United States of Everyone, but bubbles of discord were starbucking all over the globe. But instead of delicious caramel macchiato screeds of extraterrestrial conspiracy and revolutionary calls to seize control were being launched. My own fault for educating everybody beyond their previous crowlike limits. No one was close to me. Even a 5 TDS-old Zardozi could outwit them, but there was a cumulative bacterial intelligence to their numbers.
It meant when I got back to the Palace and food outed from my mouth into the sucking chair, I was not feeling my best. I should not have picked up the Boson.
Okay, enough already with the giraffes and the dolphins.
You don’t like them anymore?
We like them all right, but ruddy nora…
Look, I’m not a branch of the light entertainment industry you know!
You kinda are.
And it’s getting boring. And dark. What was all that stuff with Derek and the grave and you telling them to punch him in the face.
I was upset.
I just buried my son.
Oh my God.
What is it?
You really are upset.
What are you talking about?
You’re burying your feelings. You’re acting out and lashing out. Even to us, but really you are upset. Phil, what’s going on with you?
Why did he have to do it? I gave him everything. I made him clever; I gave him a great job; security; everything he could have asked for. Why couldn’t he just be happy?
Maybe he needed to do those things himself. Maybe all the gifts you gave… maybe they are like the dolphins and the giraffes. I mean they don’t know how the populations have increased and they don’t care. They’re never gonna be grateful. They’re not gonna rebel. But a human, well, maybe a human needs to think that they’re doing it themselves. And if they don’t they do rebel. Or they surrender.
You don’t guess. Think about it. You know.
I got carried away.
But you felt things like a human being.
It’s the port.
Probably that’s part of it. But still…
I guess we’ve learned a lot.
We’ve learned something.
Not a lot?
Get over yourself, Phil. We’re Zardozi. We know practically everything to begin with.
So what next?
Lord, I thought you’d never ask.