Author : Peter Pincosy

Steel floats overhead, encased in concrete, wrapped in duct and wires, our own inorganic trees. Coughing bloat from the towers pushes out heat into the sky, lays labor on the air. In the cracks fly screaming machines their tops reflect varied colors. Shuttle to a corner, stop, take the light at speed, the rhythm falls in precision. A humble man stands in his booth, hands at his side. He smells the spring air and sighs at another day, his hands pass money along with speed. His booth consists of snacks, magazines, glossy simple somethings that provide little sustenance, an item to pick up on your way. Soft hours pass in which nothing happens, but the breathing air around him fills with objects, sounds and he tilts his eyes.

The ugly past arrives in recall. He murdered men. Some that look just like the ones that file past in suits. In dark alleys, he remembers their struggle. Easy with experience he finds the thought appealing now and then.

But his hands are tied by the monitor. Lashed around his neck, buried into his brain stem it reads his body, scrolling numbers, lines and lines of information. If he could remain perfectly calm and hallucinate a scene of pastoral making while committing the act, he could do it again. He wipes a sweaty palm on his shirt and reaches out to take a proffered dollar. One by one he pulls them in and each one represents a slim movement upward, a piece of food, when he used to just take what he wanted.

Now they watch him closely, and he’s allowed to operate, but at the first sign of disturbance, if someone wants to detain him, if he moves from a state of humility and gains ego or dreams of murder too intensely it all stops and he can feel himself looking out from a useless body that must be reset. A man in a mask comes along, pulls out a key, and inserts it into his neck. Searing pain overcomes everything and chemicals are forced into receptors, another hard reset. Afterwards, out of the dark, he arrives and starts again, and the memories, the passions, it all comes slower, the effect of the new start manifest in a decreased sense of self.

With a stiff one dollar bill he receives a note, written in a crooked hand, “Your monitor has been blocked, live out your instincts.” And adrenaline rushes through his body. He could do it right now perhaps. Reach over the counter and pull the old lady close to his face, spit and breath mingle with choking sounds as he rips the life from her. And as he imagines this he realizes that he wouldn’t have made it this far if the monitor weren’t blocked. How many could he manage to finish off? Maybe they’ll realize and he won’t get another chance. He sees a man standing next to a secluded opening. Quickly, he turns in the face of the puckered old lady who shakes her dollar at him insistently. He flies through the back door and as he approaches the man, his fingers already feel the life end under their pressure. The man looks directly into his eyes, unwavering, unafraid. One hand in his pocket, and it moves, only a step away, the world suddenly halts, functions shutting down in sequence.

On the ground, as his sense of scent closes off and only eyesight is left, a note flashes in front of his face. “Another step toward squashing your brain to mush. –Recidivists Eradication Project”

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