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Embrace March 11, 2008

Posted by oblia in Peregrinatio 1.
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He was sitting on the deck of their summer cottage. He was still a kid. Maybe ten. “Snack time, love,” his grandma chanted from behind. He took a bite. Toast with butter and cinnamon. It sent delightful shivers down his spine. But then the cinnamon grains rolled off the toast, they were tiny metal balls, and out of the blue came a bunch of toddlers and started pecking at them like chicken. He looked at his grandma in horror, but there was tape over her mouth now, mmmm, mmmm, she gestured desperately soothingly as if everything was still all right, but no, nan, this is wrong, wrong, they shouldn’t be…

…chine. They are coin operated like any regular vending machine and can be easily adjusted to fit different sizes and temperatures, following the instructions in place. Siellips, the producer, said they would be available starting tomorrow in city and suburban train stations, so call now to make your appointment. 0800 994 454. Enjoy! And that’s all for now, regardful technizens, have a safe day!

Raiden! He’d slept through the bulk of the news. Others were already ahead! He snatched the phone. 0800 994 454. Busy. Raidennit! 0800 994 454. “Hello, you’re 8405 6733. To confirm your number please press 1. To end this call…” One, 1! “Welcome to ‘Optimum People’. Our program provides ever better services for enhanced technizen contentment. If you called to make an appointment with a Social Conduct counselor, press 1. If you called to make an appointment with a Personal Space Infringement officer, press 2. If you called to make an appointment with our latest, city and subur…” This is it! Three, 3! “Thank you. Your request is being processed, please hold the line.” He didn’t blink. “You are scheduled for tomorrow at 11.43 at the Central train station. Thank you and have a safe day!” He’d made it!

No idea what that was about. But, Raidennit! It was year 37 P.T.E. Post-Tech Enforcement. He was 47. He couldn’t afford to fall behind for one second, or he’d lose his status, his work pass and nourishment card! Raiden, he hated the guts of them bloody technifficials! “Bloody”. He smiled. That was his nan’s. The worst curse she could say. Which she did say when they took her away. The last hearted human in his life. The last embrace. Warmth. “Outgraded,” they said. Bloody tech! But he had to hurry off to work.

11.40. There was the snack vending machine, the medicine vending machine, but he couldn’t… Ah, there it was! Guarded by a Social Conduct monitor. They made regular eye contact. Then he looked at the machine. More like a booth of shiny aluminium foils. 11.42. Somebody came out of it. They made regular eye contact. Just regular, the Social Conduct monitor didn’t have to act.

He stepped in. He saw the instructions. He read them carefully first. “1. Step on the podium. 2 Insert the coin. 3. Press the yellow button and wait for the two arms to emerge. 4. Operate the switch below the yellow button to adjust the arms around your waist, torso or neck. 5. Press the red button to activate the warmth function. 6. Operate the switch below the red button to adjust the temperature. 7. Step off the podium. Thank you for using the Hug Machine. Have a safe day!”

He realised. A hug!! In 20 years! Oceans of blood rushed through his veins to his heart, it was pounding like a volcano flooded with hot lava trails of memories of words he hadn’t said for years and feelings he hadn’t felt for ages all muted all back alive and gushing up his choking throat and bulging eyes all immeasurably pressing all vital all a supreme ejection of colossal happiness to throw himself up FREE.

He followed the instructions. He did it. Frantically. He stepped on the podium. He inserted the coin, he pressed the buttons, operated the switches. The arms touched him. They coiled around him. They held him tight and warmly, warmly. Warmth, more warmth, and more, all the Warmth of the Earth and the…

…chine. This is a temporary suspension pending investigations into today’s suicidal hugging that caused the close-down of Central Station and damages amounting to 1.5 million. Siellips, the producer, ruled out any possibility that the incident was due to technical malfunction, and the Security Office confirmed that the explosion may have been an act of sabotage. “Optimum People,” the program that launched the hugging service, apologises for the inconvenience and hopes that the service will be restored soon under safer conditions. And that’s all for now, regardful technizens, have a safe day!

(In case you were wondering what the heck Raiden was, click here.)

(Thanks a bunch Arrow for your help.)

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Comments»

1. TheArrow - March 11, 2008

Um, where did you say they put these machines? Oh, train stations. Ok, I’ll try to find one at the Metro :). (you are welcome!)

2. Oblia - March 11, 2008

stai un pic. engleza, engleza, da’ s-o clarificam pe rumaneste: imi zici subtil c-ar trebui sa inlocuiesc “train” cu “Metro”, de fapt? “Raiden”, realitatea mea anglo-saxona se bazeaza pe antipozi. acolo aveau trains. le am in minte pe cele suburbane. cercanias in barcelona. ei, cum le zici alora in realitatea americana? sau numai mi se pare ca era o sugestie subtila? LOL we’re so ****ed up, dude, cu-atitea realitatzuri 🙂 (or is it just meeee??)

sa-mi zici si mie cind apar masinariile prin train/Metro stations, bine? sa stiu sa ma pensionez din functia de cetatean al planetei… 🙂

3. TheArrow - March 11, 2008

A, era o intrebare retorica, nu era un hint :). Ma duceam sa caut masinile astea (metaforic vorbind) la metroiul de-aici, caruia ii zice Metro. Dar ii zice asa doar in DC. La NY ii zice subway.

And no, it’s not just you, ca si mie tot timpul mi se pare ca cind imi zice careva ceva pe-aici, de fapt vrea sa-mi sugereze altceva si nu ma prind eu :D.

4. oblia - March 11, 2008

Ok, train sa ramina, atunci. 🙂

5. calatoare - November 23, 2008

no, dudette, i don’t and i’m not interested either.


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