Chapter 11. Altamont Highway Super Cream
"You bastard!" Though I keep it to myself. He’s changed the music again. Just when it was getting good. The wind whipping past and the desert flying by. Old Chili Peppers song playing. Now it’s just lounge jazz, the kind they love. At least it’s below normal bug count on the wipers. I look at him. He’s wiping sand from his eyes. Those huge oval eyes, black nictitating membranes flickering on the orbs. A spastic winking. There’s no joke there. ‘You really should put some moisturizer on that’, I tell him (her?). Skin’s not too good in Earth air. Too much nitrogen.
It’s hour 12 and it’s sprawled in the back seat again, reading old hardcopy Variety. Claims to be a fan of James Cameron’s early work. The car’s hovering at maximum speed, and I take my eyes off the road. Got better things to do. Like look at his (its?) triple-jointed limbs scratching the upholstery. Behaving as if they own the place. And why not?
Crenellated warpships cruise overhead, like flying Scottish forts. If only the Scots had thought of multiplanar geometry and folded space. Flying tesseracts with iridescent gun ports drifting like dandelions on the breeze. These ships don’t file a flight plan with any authority.
We stop at a 7-11 to restock. Chirps and clicks to me indicate I should not skimp on VitaWater™. Back on the road, and we’re doing 250 tops till we decide to trade life stories. I can’t quite get started. Nothing to unspool. My life has no tape.
Instead, I partially listen as he/she/it begins the whine-o-rama. You’ve heard it all before. The hive-dominance tussles, who’s the runt of the pod, how hard it is to be the middle drone in a cluster of ten K.
We go on. The homes we fly by change. Children run out to stare. Cars must be getting rarer than I thought. My companion flicks fingers at them. Regally. The children wave their pseudopods, the cilia at the end producing a realistic ‘up yours’ sign. We fade away towards the big egg-yolk sunset, shot through with fluorescent chemical fires from the townships. A motel room with a cold beer sounds like heaven. Maybe we’ll go out back, practice on the bottles again with its pocket pulse gun. But right now, there’s just gasohol fumes and dust.
The sky glitters with the belching down-flares of orbitals. Dying contrails from the warpships weave within the dusky smears of clouds, lit from below by sunset’s last gasp. I’ve got the radio tuned to some space pirate broadcast, maybe all the way from Vega. The beat is positively lunar. Its (his?) spindly fingers with the three-inch nails keep time with mine on the dashboard . I’m feeling real brotherly, quite mellow. Till he yanks the chain on my neck. Implodes the vibe. Oh, yes boss. “You bastard!”
Cynosure. (screenplay) Mokhor-Xkrach Immersive Entz. MMCCCX CE