Friday, 28 June 2013

OffSpring


He loved her so much. If he could, he would give her the world. And some. He knew it was a cliché, but for once he was sure. And he had never been sure of anything in his life until now.  Been a train running on full speed, with no driver for so long. But now he was going to sort it out. Fix everything.

He was a child from before the OffSpring scheme. From a time when everyone, including his mother, were allowed to have children as they pleased. The thought had messed up his mind on many occasions. He hated his mother. Her unwillingness to give him a single glance, let along some comforting words. A slap on the face if he had been brought home by police, perhaps. A mothers touch. But did he wish he had never been born?
Well, here he was. Born and bread in a council flat in Gypsy Hill, south east London. Wanting to get away from the smelly flat, with his sweaty nicotine stained mother permanently camped out in the sofa watching dramas, he had roamed the city. He could not count the fights, the smashed windows, the bottles of cider. It was not a pretty childhood.

When the government publicised their plans of giving double the job seekers allowance if you did not get a job within the year, he had happily voted yes. Even though the price was high. Chemical non-permanent sterilisation until you could prove a suitable level of income to support a child. The un-loved brats roaming the cities, wrecking havoc on the streets, had become too much for the new government. "The OffSpring scheme is only for the benefit of the children, the ones who do not get the love and support they need. No one will be left un-wanted ever again!!" The suggestion had been hailed as a revolutionary idea. No longer would poor women be able to have children just to claim benefits. Children they neither wanted nor cared about. More benefits would be available for everyone. He had looked back on his childhood and agreed with the government. So had the majority of the population. At the age of 23 he had received his compulsory injection. A small injection just behind the balls. Could be reversed at any time. As long as you proved you were married and had a stable income of no less than £15000 gross per annum.

It only took three months after he had signed up for the new job seekers scheme before he had been offered a job. He liked it. Not that he had ever dreamed about being a postman as a child. But then again, he hadn't had any dreams at all. He liked to be able to walk outdoors. To wear a uniform. He knew the streets like the back of his hand and always planned his rounds to make sure he had spare time to chat with shopkeepers and pub owners when delivering their post. The salary was good. £13000 a year, with a 10 percent increase every 6 months for three years. Life was getting better.

It was a sunny day in September, a surprise late summer warmth in the air, when he met her. A cashier at the new teashop on Westow Hill. Their shop uniforms were pale blue, and he remembered how her beauty made him breathless as he entered the teashop with their first ever delivery of letters. Her dark brown eyes had smiled at him as he gave her her post, and he had suddenly found himself without a single word to say. Every day for a month he had entered the teashop with butterflies in his belly, and every day she had smiled at him and he had stayed silent. But one day it changed. He thought he saw something in her eye. A twinkle? It loosened his vocal chords and he finally blurted out his first words to her: "Would you like to go for a coffee with me on saturday?" She had laughed, said she preferred tea, but had happily accepted his offer. He didn't sleep for the rest of the week.
Their first ever meetings were strange and beautiful. They spent most of the time in silence, looking at each other, wondering if this was too good to be true. After six months they moved in as newlyweds into a small flat above Gypsy Hill train station. The trains were noisy, but so were they, riding on the waves of passion. Life was perfect.

Her illness crept up on them slowly. It pretended to be a common cold for the first couple of months, but then bloomed out in full blown pneumonia. She survived it, but her throat didn't. The scarring left her with a permanent cough and a dark raspy voice. He didn't mind. Made her laugh by telling her she sounded like a sexy jazz singer. The owner of the tea shop did mind however. Apparently no one wants to buy tea from a raspy voiced cashier who coughs on the fine blends. She was moved to the back, stacking boxes at two thirds of her pay. He tried to comfort her, but she didn't stop sobbing. Every night he cradled her in his arms, wiping her tears as the trains rumbled past beneath them. He knew why she cried. He had done the maths too. With her current income he would need to earn at least £20000 for them to be able to reverse their sterilisation and start a family. He had never heard of a postman earning that much.
But he loved her. He was going to sort it out. Fix everything.

On his way to the meeting with the head of the Post Office he passed a playground. He decided to sit down for a bit. A small girl was climbing the climbing frame, shouting at imaginary crewmen as she captained her imaginary pirate ship. He smiled. The mother of the child sat at a bench opposite him, her head bent down, emerged in the latest app on her smartphone. The girl fell and screamed. He felt like he needed to comfort her and help, but didn't want to intervene. It was only a bruise, and the girl had soon wiped her tears and was climbing again. The mother had not looked up from her phone once.

Sitting on a bench by a playground, he cried.


GENomskådad


Hon sätter sig framför datorn och knappar in adressen. Handflatorna är svettiga. En vag darrning.
Sidan laddas omedelbart.

GENomskåda!

Så löjligt glad titeln ser ut. Knalligt turkosa bokstäver på grå botten. En glad titel som döljer ett mörkt budskap?
Hon har aldrig förr använt sig av den nya tjänsten. Eller ja, ny och ny, den Amerikanska internetsidan har funnits i över ett år, men först nu har Sveriges riksdag klubbat igenom godkännandet av förslaget. Ända sedan regeringen sålde ut både justitiekanslern och justitieombudsmannen till privata bemanningsföretag har förslaget varit på gång, och fått stort intresse i media. Alla har haft något att tycka om den databas där alla sveriges medborgares gener ligger snyggt uppradade, och huruvida den ska vara tillgänglig för allmänheten. Självklart, tycker hon! Hon förstår sig inte på alla de som klagar. Alla människor är faktiskt inte lika, utan kommer med ett genetiskt bagage, och alla har rätt att kolla upp vem de till exempel arbetar för eller, som i det här fallet, vill dela sin kärlek med.



Det var bara tre dagar sedan hon träffade honom, på universitetets bibliotek. En riktig klycha! Hon hade tappat tre av sina böcker på sin väg tillbaka till sin lilla läshörna och som en gammaldags gentleman hade han plötsligt suttit på huk bredvid henne och hjälpt henne att plocka upp böckerna. " Så kan det gå! " hade han sagt klämkäckt, och hon hade rodnat. Hon rodnade alltid. Förbannat. Han hade givit henne ett brett leende och gått därifrån. Ett par timmar senare tänkte hon fortfarande på honom - de blå ögonen och det halvlånga lockiga håret som ramade in ett klassiskt vacker ansikte. När han sedan stod framför henne med en liten papperslapp i sin hand rodnade hon mer än någonsin. Ett telefonnummer. Med löfte om att träffas nästa dag hade han gått sin väg, och lämnat henne med hjärtklappning och klarrött ansikte i läshörnan. 

Dagen efter mötet hade varit som en dröm! Med kopiös handsvett - som fick fingrarna att slira runt på nummerskivan på den gamla retro-kobratelefonen - hade hon slagit numret redan på förmiddagen. Passade en lunch kanske? Det gjorde det. 

Han var perfekt. Pluggade psykologi precis som hon, men i året under henne. Gillade brittisk nittiotalspop, hundar och att se på Lynch-filmer. Skrattade med otroliga smilgropar. Lunchen på kafeet hade blivit middag på restaurangen över gatan och några öl på krogen halvvägs hem till henne. Hon ville inte låta honom gå. Så hon gjorde inte det heller. Med ett stort pilimariskt leende tog han emot inbjudan om en nattfösare i hennes lägenhet. 

Trots att det var mitt i tentaperioden hade de tagit ledigt hela nästa dag. Med huvudet på hans bröstkorg och hans hand lekandes med hennes hår hade de pratat om allt mellan mekanismerna bakom kognitiv psykologi och fördelen med hemlagad senap på varmkorv. 

Hon är kär. Så ofattbart kär. När väninnan imorse påminde henne om att gen-databasen var igång kunde hon inte hålla sig utan satt nu insmygen i sin vanliga läshörna med den bärbara datorn igång på bordet framför henne.

GENomskåda!

Orden nästan skar in i ögonen på henne. Det lät så smutsigt på något vis. Sm om Han skulle haft något att genomskåda. Som om hon inte kände, med hela sitt hjärta och sin kropp, vem han faktiskt var. Kände hans själ. Men det var väl ändå hennes rätt att få veta om det nu, mot all förmodan var så att han kom med ett genetiskt bagage! Eller? Nu när tekniken fanns att få veta, varför skulle man inte ta sig den rättigheten då?! Eller var det verkligen en rättighet? Med namn och personnummer på den vackraste själ hon någonsin mött inskrivet i den lilla rutan och med handen svävandes över enter-tangenten var hon inte längre så säker. Hon tryckte ner knappen och blundade.

Det som en gång är sett kan man inte göra osett. Det man gjort kan man inte göra ogjort. Sittandes med ansiktet gömt bakom sina uppdragna knän grät hon tysta tårar medan telefonen surrade på sängen bredvid henne. Men vem svarar på  ett samtal från en framtida alkoholist?

Friday, 7 June 2013

I dont wanna rub any thing in but...

... this is all I am planning to do for the next week!


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Finally finished all work needed before the holiday. Time to pack!

//  Tee

Holiday!! // Semester!!

So... 6am tomorrow morning my flight leaves to sunny (it'd better be!) Bordeaux. This means I am at this very moment very near the top of the first peak of this excellent diagram:


Essentially, what I am trying to say is that Teetime is off...

Click HERE for a video to make up for it!

I am hoping that lazy days in the french sun (and a wee bit of wine perhaps) will bring outstanding inspiration for short stories!
Till the trough..

Tee  //  Stockpiled 50+ sunblock yesterday. My complexion is used to the Scottish summers after all...