Sam + Mark

A short story written on a Smith + Corona typewriter

'It’s good to feel better than other people, that’s why they did it,’ said Sam, reaching for his beer as the fire burned like the Notre Dame cathedral back in Paris, where he’d met Mark, his boyfriend. The sea an infinite black paradise, stars too far away to judge or label.  Everywhere was a red zone now.

‘What was he like like?’ asked Jamil, pulling on the Lebanese joint, finding it difficult to gauge how long Sam‘s face had been melting like ice cream, a puddle chased by ants down the sand, rolling into the ocean of tears.  Days dripped into nights, and the air rapped to the distant sound of a chaos matrix which had forced everyone to find out who they really could be, if they could be bothered to look up and find out. Capabilities flashed like unwanted dick pics. Some people were really godly at panicking, some were good at getting guns, others were better at using guns.

Jamil's skillset had had to adapt.

The skies intermittently lit-up with air strikes coming from the border, or they said it was the border, like they said about all borders - they were all policed by one force now, in light of the bioweapons.

 'It's just so brutal,' weeped Sam. ‘How they could do such a thing'.

Jamil was a hugger, and he consoled Sam the best he could, as an employee for someone who needed revenge.  It was a black market - as everything was if you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all these times were worse than an out of sync drum machine.  

'I want to fuck those guys up!’

‘Then that is what we will do.'

Dawn was on its way, so they got in the truck, drove through the carved shelter of the desert tunnels, and didn't need to talk.  They played Motörhead’s Greatest Hits, Deep Purple, and John Mayall.

Getting to the border, Jamil paid his bedouin brothers to pass, and they entered the no-man’s land of agriculture which all this particular tranche of Universal Basic Income receivers had selected as their 3 month in internment - the Organisers called them Wellbeing Tournaments. There were all kinds of warehouses which couldn’t get be fully automated. It hadn’t seemed a bad trade. Sam’s blue eyes dilated with the returning scent of wettened growing tomatoes.  It was an intoxicating memory of their time together in the solar pod here.  And the reason they’d chosen this place, and this climate.  They both loved that smell, and freshly watered geraniums. 

Jamil put his gun down his belt, as Sam guided him through the sand, beyond the artificial growing territory to the sunset view over the water, and the Organisers pods, Sam checked the names on the address plates outside, and none of the guys who had Last Exit To Brooklyned  Mark were there any more.  And data protection stopped you finding anyone.

That was the problem with this flattened system, reliable on binary blockchain economy of goods, where no one took responsibility, the three month contracts of power, which shifted in a lottery between all self-employed to prevent Corruption - it always lead to more

Kirsty Allison, London, March 2020

Written on a Smith + CORONA typewriter , scanned into Google Lens, re-edited on a phone.