Friday 9th October
Diary Entry – 20660521
“Feeling better now I have had a couple of days to rest up. I scoured this old factory unit, not much left, a few stainless steel benches, some broken plastic chairs but most valuable of all I found a First Aid box, with bandages and ointment to soothe my bruised body. Amazing what people leave behind, in the office there are rows of cardboard clip-files full of yellowing paper records, orders, bills of lading and invoices. Apparently this was once a food manufacturing company, making cakes and pastries for Starbux and a handful of small restaurants.
Apparently lots of individuals owned and ran restaurants before MaccyDee got them all, and though there are still lots of varieties, Indienne, Chinkydink, Pastafunk, Francaise and Geeky-Greek, the food tastes much the same as in the original American Mickey. My wife and I used to go out quite a bit when we were younger, tasting and discovering different foods from all over the world, but as all those independents got closed down and replaced by MaccyDee outlets we stopped going out so much. I still sometimes get a StarryStarbux super-bean skinny-latay on the way to work if the fancy takes me. I don’t think they use real milk anymore, not after that big ‘Dairy scare’ in 54, when they killed all those cows. For nothing as it turned out, the poisonous bacteria wasn’t in the cows at all, but in the packaging plant. Tesda had to pay out a lot of compensation to the relatives of those who died, so I think they’ve just used manna-milk since then.
Why am I reminiscing about Starry Starbux for Cosmos sake? Mind you, it is one of the few things I miss, a decent, well actually, any coffee at all. I haven’t really eaten for a couple of days. I took a few potatoes with me, luckily Charlene had already cooked them, so they taste okay, but they’ve gone now. I am going to seriously have to get hold of some food soon. Besides I can’t keep holed up in here for much longer.
I think I am going to see if any of the lower-strata people will speak to me. Maybe they won’t ask too many questions. Apparently they have a different sort of credit, they have special plastic cards that change colour as the credit on them is used up, so I am guessing they aren’t under the same surv as the middle and higher strata are. I seem to be in a very mundane area, stacks of container homes, and the shops look dull and drab and are smaller and scruffier.
Not like the Tesda super-marts I used to frequent. They are vast and sell everything. It can take you hours to glide around. Everything you could ever want is there, and lots you had no idea you wanted either. Of course the screens at home have eye-tracked the stuff you have looked at, and that is waiting ready for you to accept or reject at the front of the store. That was my preference, a quick visit, in, pick up what you knew you wanted and had blinked for already, then out again. Cathy though would spend hours in there; it was her major source of entertainment; that and her salon visits. She never seemed to tire of gliding on her deck down the aisles, shopping cart trundling along the yellow line behind her. She would look at everything, picking up clothes, kitchen-ware, make-up and hair products, skin darkener and her favourite – the drug counter, where she would sample all the new designer mood-enhancers before loading up with her faves. She only seemed to stop when the cart would call out in that chirpy little voice “Cathy, I think you are approaching your cred limit and you still haven’t got any vegetables – your fridge tells me you are running low, and you won’t get more cred until next week. Maybe we should think again about some of your purchases. What do you think?” and she would reluctantly pick one or two of her more expensive items, sigh, and lift them out of the cart. “That’s better Cathy, now you can still afford to buy enough food for the week. Please follow me to the food aisles.”
Ah, happy days. Hahaha. But no, I am beginning to understand that those days, happy or not are gone forever. There is no way back for me now. Does that make me happy or sad? I am not sure really. I do miss some aspects of my former life; the security of a job and cred most of all I suppose, but yes, there were some happy moments. Listening to classical music, the Stones or Beach Boys, and sipping a latay, or even better a malt whisky. Non alcoholic, of course, but tasting wonderful, full of peptides and that hot feeling you used to get with real whisky, but without the dangerous alconoids. The drugs that mimicked being slightly drunk were far better, and if you felt you had had enough you simply poured yourself a ‘soberup’ to counter the effect. As I mentioned before though, I never like getting off my head on any drug at all; I hate feeling out of control.
Which strangely enough has been the over-riding anxiety I have felt ever since I ran away; I can’t get used to this feeling of control slipping out of my grasp. I don’t know exactly what I did expect when I followed Jonathon that day. Meeting and joining a group of rebs I suppose, but so far no real contact. The people I have met, Jonathon and the Aldwych group, Dan and Emily, and Charlene and the down and outs at Hastings are not exactly rebs are they? They are simply existing, or surviving somehow outside of, or on the fringes of, the system. Maybe that is all I can hope for too. Maybe there are no organised groups; no rebs at all. Was it all just another scare to keep us quiet?
I am steeling myself to try to make contact with the lower strata people I see mooching about near the factory I am holed up in. I am bloody hungry and could eat a synth-horse !!! At least I still have a semblance of humour left, if very little else.”