Fiction

This is where it begins…

this is where it begins…
01/01

What a godfuckingawful way to spend New Year’s…The acid content in the rain’s been particularly high lately and it ate through the protective polymer on my coat. The corrosion ran in white rivulets against the black surface of the coat so I spent the whole night stumbling from party to party looking like I’d been shit on by pigeons. I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised. They call this place “RainCity” for a reason.

My name’s Jon and – when I’m not trying to eke out an existence in a couple of jobs so NL2 it’s embarassing – I write. I do it under my P-NET handle SuaveMetal. It’s from the Japanese “kamisori” which was Yakuza slang for “razor” back in the day. It’s an anime/manga reference – like a lot of other things in RainCity, which, if you haven’t got a clue, is actually NewSeattle. Don’t call it that though. Not unless you want the NL2 (non-life loser) brand stuck to you like a bad tattoo that just won’t remove. It’s been RainCity ever since the terrorist attacks.

It’s a re-birth thing. A local-process version of what the entire country went through when it morphed into AmericaNow during the anti-terrorist war. Seattle got hit particularly hard but everybody knows that part of the scenario. The 9/11-Now! terror cell detonating a suitcase nuke in the Seattle faultline – the quakes and devastation that followed. What you won’t find on .HISTORY is the emo of it all. How we needed something to hang on to through the pain while we rebuilt. So we took the oldschool RainCity label and made it much more a part of who we are now than “NewSeattle” will ever be.

It still hurts to think about that transition, so most of the time – we don’t. We cocoon ourselves in the Ichi anime/manga-dream-life and try not to think about the parts of the transition’s legacy like the Zero – Aum Supreme Download – and the Meat Cutter. We cocoon ourselves with the image-fuck – methadream, or whatever other pharmo-street drugs happen to be in fashion this season – and clone-perfect imitations of celebrity.

I’ve been thinking about celebrity a lot lately. I even wrote a short story about it. It’s about Kiku and it’s based loosely on a lot of chat I got from friends in .FASHION about what really went down when she self-destructed. I’m extrapolating a lot, since I wasn’t there for any of it – and yes, some names have been changed to protect friends and keep my ass from getting sued. The story’s called “Beautiful Pain” and the first part’s below.

I

You had to be very careful how you layered them or they wouldn’t turn out right. Each strip of cloth had to be soaked first – otherwise it wouldn’t stick together. Then you had to put them carefully one on top of the other. You had to smooth them out quickly – before the mold had a chance to harden. If you didn’t, the contours of the mask would be ruined – and you’d have to start all over again.
Kiku’d been making the masks for a little over a year now – she’d started doing it shortly after she’d come to the NAKAMURA INSTITUTE. Making them had been her idea. Her father’d been against it – but her Doctor said that it was probably good therapy. “Providing a healthy outlet for her condition” was what he’d called it. He understood – Dr. Tanaka seemed to understand everything. He was young for a doctor. Young – but very professional – and verysexy. Good looking – totally in control. She was working on a mask for him. It was going to be a Nyorai figure – a Yakushi healing Buddha. That would suit Dr. Tanaka. Maybe then he’d notice her as something other than just a patient – maybe even think she was beautiful. Then she wouldn’t have to make the masks anymore.
When she’d first come to NAKAMURA she’d only been able to make masks from computrash. Imitations of Kabuki figures – fashioned out of recycled silicon chips and old port connector cables – then she’d give them an industrial feel by melding them to the faces of high-impact collision dummies. That changed when Dr. Tanaka started working with her – treated her with mono-amine oxidase inhibitors – started her experimenting with plaster-of-Paris – gave her a DVD on Z3N, on Buddhist culture and artifacts – so she could get ideas for other masks. Now she had all sorts of figures. Everything from Tennins to Shishis – but no actual humans – never any humans. She wasn’t ready for that – not just yet. She still hadn’t recovered from her first failed attempt at making a human mask.
She couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. She’d seen it done for years – even studied how it was done before she was a teenager. Her father was a verygood mask maker – it was what he did for a living. She could remember looking through some of his books on the subject when they’d first come out on holo-format. He was one of the best. He’d started as a child – learning the mask-maker’s art from Kiku’s grandfather – working with only his hands and crude sculpting instruments. Then the first machines came out – they linked virtual imaging with ultrasound to create a perfect picture of the mask you wanted to work on. Then you programmed them to do the cutting – the molding – the layering. All accurate to within tenths of a micrometer. There were some people who hadn’t liked the machines – Kiku’s grandfather was one of them – he’d said true mask making could only be done by hand. But Kiku’s father had been smarter than that. He’d known the machines would take over – so he’d learned very early on how to make them work with beauty and precision – how to make them his new instruments. Now he could take any mask there was and turn it into something else. If there was something about your mask you didn’t like – then you went to Kiku’s father and he changed it for you. Only the most 1CH1 went. Her father was veryexpensive. That was what made it possible for Kiku to become PLANETNET’s first real pop-culture icon.

Let me know if this works for you and I’ll post more in a few days. Right now I’m off to try and track down the Zero I bought the coat from. He said corrosion was supposed to be a non-issue. As-hyped, this was supposed to be a clone-perfect knockoff of the year’s verystyle raincoat, worn by male Ichi everywhere after its debut on the runways of the Peter 6 fashion show here earlier this fall. Serves me right for being stupid enough to buy anything on the black market. Never again.

See you spaced cowboy…