Pebble Towers pt2
The rain smacks the pavement, and the pavement squeals like a newborn.
I knock back another gulp of hot black-grit water.
I’m in a coffee shop, in Upper West Dulwich. I give a nod and the waitress brings me a fresh cup. She’s an Original ; I see her tattoo as takes away the vacant vessel. A slow curve along her forearm like a worm looking for a home. She looks at me funny. Everyone is looking at me funny.
Ok, stop it. No-one knows who I am, I’m cool. I’ll kill some time, wait for the people … I’m miles away from my pad.
I’m sitting in the corner by a window that looks out onto the street. People out there…all with somewhere to go, something to do, swimming around in the rain and blending into each other like toilet paper in a hard flush.
I punch up the local news on the mesa and make like I’m studying events. But I’m looking at her ; the Original.
I’d known an Original once…years ago now. Young guy, a driver for my old company. I’d been intrigued by his hard-core beliefs, that the genome shouldn’t be augmented, interfered with. They believed a strict ‘Darwin-restrict’, that human evolution should progress at it’s own pace without improvement from the very beings that it had created. This irony was lost on them, as it always is with fundamentals. For the most part they’re indoctrinated from birth and the benefits purely illusory. The negatives are all too plain : less than half the life-span, susceptibility to disease and genetic disorders. It always seemed crazy to me how people could choose the less over the more.
She clocks me scoping her ; I check a look into the street, all nonchalant like.
“Thank you for your custom Sir.” She slips the bill under the saucer like a croupier taking all the chips. I look at her and she nods subtly downwards. As she turns away I check the plas-sheet : “Second cab west”. I dig. Old style. I throw a glance at the Original as I leave … if she knew what I was carrying I’d already be dead.
I slip into the street and the rain backhands my face. I look down the line and see the cab, it’s top light flickering with optimism. Over my shoulder, she’s watching me go, face stretched behind the glass, the running water a prism.