White Noise Girl

White Noise Girl

Malenka keys in so rapidly they hardly realize, she’s got it down now, like a needle, she’s in and out of subcutaneous computer tissue, leaving no trace but a slight sting. She knows it’s the sting that will get her one day, the mainframe, Mantaray, has now got the best firewall the Bcrats and Technos can utilize. She has to key in, has to get it, its like being a junkie, get a fix, get out of town, leave your debts and your dead behind you. Only she doesn’t want to be tranked, she has to get the latest info. Newseeder fills the eyes and minds of the general citz, its not enough for her. She knows its crap, although she is not well educated and never finished Itzu school, she has ache in her for knowing shit, real shit.

Griffo is the same, he understands, there is bad fog of grey sludge in the city, it pollutes your head, gets in your cells, got to avoid it; Griffo is the only other person who feels like this that Malenka knows. They are both 15 and it’s the Mantaray shit that bonds them together. They both have an ache in them for knowing, not the stuff the Bcrats peddle. Its not the number of bytes you get, its whether you can put it together, decode the real thing that lies underneath; that’s what Griffo is good at, she’s just a mule.

Today’s bad, the fumes of the city stick to her like shit to a blanket and she’s edgy, got to get away, she’s always been able to read their surveillance, feels it scoping close; got to run. She’s always been like this, her mother was the same; Malenka reckons she ignored the warning sounds inside her head. She died for it. Accident or so they said. She was like the chick in the old story, destined always to tell the truth, and never to be believed.

Griffo is waiting for her way out the back of the city in the old pumphouse. It’s about as safe as they are going to get. He’s thin and nervous and he talks too much, way too fast like his words will run out if him before she can hear them. He is not paranoid for nothing. He’s dirty and always hungry, a natural born scavenger.

Someone’s following us, Mal; I can feel it, like its too easy, just too easy. What did ya get?

Mantaray’s gone up a grade fire proof, boy, it aint easy, anymore, it never was.

Don’t stay too long, Mal, I get the Goosebumps just thinking about you.

Griffo won’t touch a keyboard, he believes they’ve got DNA scopes and they’ll track him, He’s probably right. Mal wishes she could stay away, knows she can’t.

What you got, Mal, spill your guts. She gives him the barcodes, the other shit and watches him frown and then she waits.

Sitting in the old broken window frame her patience wearing thin, she watches the greasy sun slide down the sky. Night’s coming and she’s got to go.


Yeah, hang on its hard I gotta reconfigure

I got to go, Sophie is on my case, I promised her I’d be home before dark, and she worries.

Yeah, she’s got your number, ok, ok, this is not good, I reckon its climatology, its kind of arcane, like last century shit, need more data, Mal and that’ s not easy

I’ll get it tomorrow, but I’m dead meat if I don’t get home now

Alright, same place, same tomorrow, watch your arse, OK?

She doesn’t bother answering but sprints out; breathing hard she treks back in, leaving the night behind her.


Sophia Benjamin has been, and still is, a beautiful woman in all senses of that word. And time and pain have not marred that beauty or integrity, they have refined it. Her one regret is that she is living in an historical period of time that is degrading, it is a large regret she concedes. She was not made for this madness, she thinks, nor were any of us, she thinks. The house she had elected to live in after the Riots and the Burning had been basic, but with meticulous attention to detail and years of labour she has transformed a basic A-frame into as close a dwelling to an old Buddhist temple that she can make. For Sophia has memories and there is a splendid library of ideas and stories in her head.

She is completely aware that she has been allowed this privilege of individuality because she is the daughter of the legendary hero, General Ben or GenBen as they now call him. And she manipulates her status with a subtlety and flair that would have delighted the military mind of her father. She knows he would have been proud of her.

Waiting for her niece, Malenka, to come home, Sophia begins once more to catalogue the status of their current situation. The world has almost shifted on its axis, the planetary forecast is toxic; and men who once would have been classified as criminally psychotic govern her country. It is difficult for her, she has been trained by her father to detach from situations and reason through complex details, gaining an overview that would allow for pragmatic, yet ethical, decisions. It is so hard to hold fast to sanity with the collective unconscious of the people fragmented and terrorized. Nothing makes proper sense any more, she thinks, perhaps it never did. She hears the hiss of the back door slide shut and turns to see her niece, her pain is naked yet dangerous as if she is a broken knife, a half detonated bomb. Sophia opens her arms to her, she does this every night, but Mal is getting wilder every day, Sophia doesn’t know where she lives in her head anymore.

You’re late again Mal, its not safe out there

I know, Soph

I worry about you, small one.

I need a bath, Soph, I feel dirty, like the filth gets onto you, into you, I need a bath

And then Sophia holds her, stroking her trying to exude her own hard-won calm into this small and quivering girl.

Later, Mal, after a bath and food and after you smile just once, you and I are going to talk, girl.

Griffo had watched his friend leap down the path away to her family. He’s been so alone he’d forgotten humanity until he met Mal. All he had was his leathercat, Jinx, and the old man. He still doesn’t know about the old man who lives way up the mountain in an old shed, kind of like a cave, camouflaged. But he does know stuff, the old guy, lots of stuff about him is weird but Griffo can’t resist his stories. The old man told him about the city before the Burning, he knew who had built the Golden city, and Griffo suspects, the old man probably knew who really burn it. You can be mind razed for just thinking this shit, Griffo has a total fear of this; to not be him anymore, to have no memory, to lose all that data, the truth he is slowly building out of chips and barcodes. He freaks out just thinking of what the Bcrats would do to him if they knew about this stash of truth. He’s getting really anxious when Jinx finally climbs up on him, curls around him in foetal position and purrs into his head. Griffo whispers the old cat’s name, again and again, like a talisman against the dark He whispers his name into the cat’s fur.

I am Iestyn ap Griffith, ap Griffith, ap Griffith. As if that might bring his family back, but it soothes him, it always has. Griffo has learned to take shelter from the city. Sometimes he feels like the Bcrats broadcast white noise on a subliminal level but he doesn’t really know, and this annoys him, he needs to know this stuff, and so does Mal. He worries about her but she sure can cruise through that city water like a shark, she’s a predator, good for the kill, but somehow clean, not complicated with webs of lies and tricks. He needs her now.

1 Comment

  1. Loadedog said,

    July 24, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Send me an email. Love JIM BOOTS

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