Hey everyone! So, below you’ll find an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book West of 27.
You can pre-order the novel following this link: https://publishizer.com/west-of-27/
Every pre-order counts toward securing a publishing deal! So, if you wish, go ahead and pre-order! Thank you.
Xavier Garland and I sat on the steps of a reinforced steel and carbon domicile out in Sector G, west of Highway 27 and a few miles south of successive rows of cantilevered carbon dioxide capture plants, standing tall atop triangle shaped arcologies, redolent of the foggy, cordite smoke that had blown from machine gun nests on Normandy beach in June 1944. They, along with the slummed arcologies, were just one of twelve that dotted a gargantuan expanse of the glades west of US-27.
All shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and orientations made west 27 their home away from home. Xavier picked me up in an old-fashioned, purple Mustang at a rest stop on I-95, the whip tricked out with an accelerometer that gave me a great deal of healthy release, pestilential nightmares notwithstanding.
Xavier was a former ball player for the Miami Marlins in the 40’s; a prodigiously gifted pitcher who sized his opponents up with bulging blue eyes that shot sparks through the fused hydrogen Sun, all the while maintaining the level of focus a junkie jacked on Soul Diffusion would envy, as though Xavier’s natural gifts would be transferred like a sentient humanoid’s rigid thought processes.
Xavier always made eye contact with me when he spoke, a rare quality in the saga of transhuman synergy; this emerging epoch of humanity disengaged from reality; a cadre of crimson faced flunkies dying for a chance to fly close to the sun only to have their pseudo-angelic wings burned to a disreputable crisp. Xavier smiled often and recognized the human underneath his algorithmic brain, which had been the result of years rehabbing a forehead injury that had been inflicted by the riposte of a furious batter. He wore baggy jeans and a dapper, purple flaked, silk, gossamer tunic with engraved gold, a keepsake from the 40s when he reigned as Miami’s dominant force in the realm of sport.
Xavier banked north and sped up to over 110 mph, swerving in and out of traffic with the facility of a diffused gas. Xavier loved speed; not the drug, but the vital repose you feel when in complete control of your fate. High-rises from the Kassel Microsystems apartment blocks, each building built of interactive printed graphene—a fancy term for a construction material that responded to pressure by changing colors and streaming data—housed their employees and security personnel.
Xavier chewed on a thick clump of sweaty tobacco. “Doesn’t seem like you have much love for her. If ya’ did, you’d clean yourself up, brother.”
“I’ve been clean for longer than I can remember, Xavier.”
Xavier rolled his eyes, took his foot off the ignition, and spit tobacco juice into a cup sized piece of aluminum foil. “I fuckin’ love the GMO shit, brother,” he said, gazing off in the distance, watching the C02 capture plants work their magic. We called it by its rightful name: Magic, for the benefit the green energy monoliths bestowed on our city and the networked, hierarchical world was the stuff of fancy, the flight of dreams; a manifestation of sensational feedback looped and bandied about by synthetic, quantum, and microbial biologists with good intentions and bad foresight. In short, they shafted generations with rhetoric built on an ignoble passion fashioned with an empty cacophony.
Xavier guided the revved Mustang into an underground garage complex below a convex portion of the terraformed sector. As he ran his thick fingers across an emerald colored, close cropped mohawk, I said, “C’mon, Xavier. You never thought of crushing a neuro capsule between those canine, clenched teeth of ours?”
Xavier turned to me and patted me on the back with a gold toothed smile.“Here’s how it works, son. Don’t you forget this shit. Control is not an option on life’s chessboard. One hundred and fifty years ago Norbert Weiner may have envisioned a future where cybernetics, the animal, the human, and the machine, would meld into the transcendent man immortalized. It’s all shit. Don’t let your soul be stricken like the rest of ‘em.”
His way with words never ceased to lift dormant demons cavorting around my pockmarked soul.
“I remember losing out on life when I was your age, young man,” he added.
“You could have controlled your fate, though.”
Xavier chuckled to himself and brought an unfiltered cigarette up to his mouth, puffing on it with his thumb and forefinger as swarms of daytime revelers flooded the marketplace just beyond an open area with a golden hued skylight. “Control is a concept, Francis. Let me ask you something. Do you feel like you have a hard lease on life?”
“It isn’t my job to evaluate whether my lease on life has been renewed. Xavier, you and I both know nobody cares about a crazed synth whore who made enough stupid decisions in her life to have it taken away from her.”
“You care for her?”
“Then my opinion shouldn’t matter. It’s your job, son.”
“My father taught me that we all have a two-fold path in life,” I responded stoically, remorseful of my own detachment from the carefully guided wisdom he was imparting.
“I remember,” Xavier said. “I can quote your father Michael: We either choose to do good in this world or blitz out on excess dopamine and give in to bacchanalian revelry.’”
“That’s about how it goes.”
“I feel he was wrong, brother. Life isn’t black and white, Francis. I figured my chips of gold teeth that sparkle under the sun would be enough to warn you of that. People lock themselves in virtual trap houses and thrash in hallucinatory, kaleidoscopic dreams because the world on its surface has dried out. We got deleterious epigenetic changes by underground, fervent doctors and elite synergists in repose under the spell of a desiccated fabric of reality, skillfully convincing the populace of a black and white world.”
“I’m not one of them.”
“Yeah, because they’re too craven to stare at the middle class and the poor, as though our eagerness for social change ostracizes us as lepers in a war-torn country.”
At a Kassel Microsystems factory bar, which was designed to resemble a pre-fabricated, sandstone barrio, Xavier and I ordered salmon fillets and talked about my random summons with Chief Nunez as Kassel turbines grinded and water pressure systems bobbed up and down with a piezoelectric tenacity. Hundreds of people slithered around the bar, ordering a Corona here, ordering a Tecate there; Russians, Germans, Mexicans, Cubans, the French and even the British; a multiplicity of the myriad.
Chief Nunez had his Aether unit warmongers continually patrol and respond to threats in the city on three-wheel all-terrain vehicles manufactured by Pan-Am Aircraft Solutions, or, PAAS, a subsidiary of Kawasaki. Everything these days was some sort of ‘solution’ because we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking every problem has an answer.
For one to enter the rank and file of the Aether Unit and gun the engine of a smoke billowing, tricked out, steam churning Kawasaki required facility in almost every aspect of civilian and professional life. Kawasaki hover-cycles operated in a way mag-lev trains have done for almost a century, one of the few exceptions being that the Aether operative riding one had a full range of motion and control; their neural implants acting as an interface between man and intelligent machine.
Norbert Weiner’s vanity would be more than satiated should he ever be awoken from the dead.
“Listen,” Xavier began, stuffing a piece of the honey-glazed fillet in his mouth with the fingers he used decades earlier to throw a 104 mile per hour fastball, “we all have feelings of doubt and uncertainty at some point in our lives. You’re here now, out west, kickin’ it with those that our shitfaced government deems extravagant animals when, in God’s honest reality, they don’t know a fucking thing about blue-collar, lower income brackets, excepting, of course, what the macro statistics algorithmize for them on sterile streams of sequestration.”
I was always transfixed by Xavier’s insight; a knowledge that comes from pain, sorrow, regret, and a realization that post-modern civilization is devolving into a clusterfuck of rapidity in thrall to a sentient machine, irrespective to two hundred thousand years of the cruel chaos that is nature.
Temple transmission software received a call, lighting up Xavier’s ocular prosthesis. “A minute, kid,” he said, as I beheld the sagacious, genial, Starstutter piece of hardware. He got out of the Mustang and walked along the edge of a picnic area populated by a few couples with kids, mounted his elbows atop a glass and steel barrier that fortified the Glades’ from the beastly nether realm of wild vitality.