Excerpt from West of 27

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September 29, 2084, Midnight

            The square slums of Sector G were bustling with the livelihood of a Byzantine marketplace; cybernetic interfaces from Kassel, Rostrum, and Arclight were thrust at me from every direction; wines, wares, crystal decanters of absinthe, and GMO flowers for Allison; a general vibe of beauty unseen or heard out East, downtown, where the techie junkies coiled their spindly fingers around terrified elites who had their cybersecurity networks compromised. Irene and Christian Kassel, matriarch and scion, had ensconced themselves in their porcelain tower of greed and the fear of losing it all.

It is a harrowing fact that one slip-up can lead a recovering neural junkie to commit himself to a lawless abandon in his body and soul. From some piece of my brain even a surgeon would have difficulty excising, I let that slip-up in the situation room compel me to abandon my better angels and trail dead fragments of a detective whose life had once shone bright on the horizon under a purple streaked sky; where the splattering rain of so many days and nights fertilizes a deep conviction in the decency of our species.

I fell in black chasms and rain-soaked drainage ditches; shivered from the neuro capsules depressing effects; searched for somebody who was willing to sell their poison to a cop who currently had almost no regard for the law, ambling up and down the unpaved streets of Sector G through black fumes rising from the grates underfoot.

I walked into a corner drug store and liquor parlor. There was a turret with a camera affixed to the ceiling. I bought a bottle of Kahlua and a shot of Listerine and mixed it in a drainage ditch a few blocks away from the store, the mixture looking and feeling like a White Russian served at one of Nunez’ lavish parties.

The next morning, I ran seven miles across the MacArthur Causeway, the Soul Diffusion and liquid, gaseous, Crispr analogues fermenting in my brain.

For how long I was like this? I’m not entirely sure. A couple of days? A week? One morning I woke up from a nocturnal poisoning, with my cybernetics hot to the touch and synthetic pieces of my body tattooed over with phrases such as ‘stick a fork in it and move on’ or ‘Ghost in the Machine.’ Reverberations from the motel room’s speakers were playing a built-in alarm, a scheduling error that probably was supposed to be in another room, but all throughout the morning I felt my tenuous sanity deplete.

Humanoid hookers serviced me from head to toe until my cash ran try and I couldn’t even enter a liquor parlor to buy some old-fashioned Kahlua with which I could drown myself. The interface abuse from my bio-limb was taking its toll on me, but there exists a truism, brief but heavy with meaning, that outlines a frayed blueprint for nearly every neural booster, synaptic multiplier, or Soul Diffusion addict. It is best summed up by an addict’s myopic understanding of what awaits them if they can’t pull out from within themselves the will to admit that their sanity is on borrowed time.

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