Digital Ischemia

29/04/2012

Meeting

Filed under: What You Wish For-S — Teepwriter @ 16:13

EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE – 2013, SPRING, DAY – ESTABLISHING

Scottish uplands.  A sturdy, stone mansion faces a glen from a hillside undulation, surrounded by a cottage, barn, small estate buildings, mature trees.  The burn and a dry stone wall form boundaries on either side.

In the front doorway, DAD, 60s, beams a welcome from his pale, worn face.  POLLY, 30s, skips to him, arms outstretched, face glowing with suntan, fit but empty.

A fine wooden porch shelters the front door.  Its carved design has a circle with an embedded gold ring.

EXT. UNIVERSITY GROUNDS – DAY – ESTABLISHING

Spacious campus.  Paths and grass areas link a mix of old and modern buildings.  Clumps of students mill about.

INT. UNIVERSITY LECTURE THEATRE – DAY

In grand stage wings, Polly fidgets beneath her professional façade.  Beside her, ANDREA, 40s, is calm, in control.  They peek at the steep, gathering audience.

POLLY
Is he a student or just wandered in off the street?!

ANDREA
Which?

POLLY
Row two, ward nine.

ANDREA
Some state!  Did you see Knitting Nancy in row four?

POLLY
Is she wearing the other end?!

Andrea chuckles.  Polly freezes, staring at the audience.

ANDREA
That has to be twins by the fire exit.

POLLY
Hm?

Andrea glances at Polly.

ANDREA
Never mind.  Show mode.

DISSOLVE TO:

The auditorium writhes with diverse, variously attentive faces.  Polly poses on the stage, deliberately facing one side of the audience.

POLLY
(projecting)
…the parapsychological powers of newly hatched chicks were suddenly irresistible to me.  Any ideas what this is?

Polly clicks a pointer.  An abstract image projects behind her.  She steps aside, narrows her eyes, sweeps the audience.  Most audience members consider the image.

Polly focuses on KNITTING NANCY’S unfinished garment, reluctantly allows her eyes to flit along a few seats.

WILL, 30s, tries for unremarkable but exudes intriguing intensity.  His eyes pierce at Polly.  She regroups.

POLLY (CONT’D)
Uh, okay, any guesses?

INT. UNIVERSITY BUILDING FOYER – DAY

Airy, bright concourse with French windows to paved and grass areas.  Polly mingles among groups of audience, answering questions.  Andrea keeps a distant eye on her.

A couple of groups away, Will weaves through the crowd toward Polly.  She glimpses his approach, drifts to the next group away from him.  He closes on her.  She evades him, reaches an open French window, darts out.

EXT. UNIVERSITY BUILDING – DAY – CONTINUOUS ACTION

Polly leans back on a wall, breathing out anxiety.  She monitors the open French window.  Will exits, searching.  She catches his eye, winks.  He grins, jerks to her.

WILL
Feeble attempt to avoid me.

POLLY
I want you to myself.

WILL
So I can identify your mystery picture?  I’m horrified that you’re still getting mileage from my intimate–

ANDREA (O.S.)
–Polly?  Are you hiding?

Polly peeks to the French window, implores.

POLLY
Five minutes?

WILL
Is this it for another year?

Polly focuses on Will, shakes her head.

POLLY
Dad’s giving up the house; the old heap’s finally mine.

WILL
I heard about your mum.  Sorry.

Polly opens and closes her mouth, gently touches Will’s arm.  He starts, his eyes fixed on her.

POLLY
So, you know where I am.

EXT. UNIVERSITY GROUNDS – DAY

Polly and Andrea scoot between buildings, carrying professional bags, grasping clothing against the wind.

ANDREA
Sign them today, okay?  Should I have a note of your confidant?

POLLY
What?  Oh, no, unrequited childhood nemesis.  Uh, he’s Will Timmott.

ANDREA
The physicist?!

POLLY
Is he famous?!

ANDREA
His lecture style is… almost as weird as yours.

Polly chuckles nervously.

POLLY
The picture is him.

ANDREA
In what way?!

POLLY
His perception of me, recorded from… extracranial field holograph-atising… magic.

ANDREA
Oh, yeh.

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21/04/2012

Six

Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 16:43

You thrust a fistful of grubby, glinty cinder dust on the bench. The evidence clatters, scatters.

“This is yours.” Where’s the rush of relief, the release of withholding?
“Aye,” Nicol expires, in his usual, barely interested fashion. He draws his attention back to you with fierce concentration. “I needed more, do you see? For this.” He gestures the surrounding explosion of components arrested by the cave.

Why is he guilty? Side-swiped again, you hurtle down cognitive cul-de-sacs. Only one remains:
“You sent Laz to buy it from me.”

As usual Nicol makes a grinding gear drop to match your sputtering spark. He never uses his information advantage.
“I needed you to lead me to it.”
The belated impact takes your head back a full four inches.
“This is your catalyst?”

A nexus of gnats swirl on an eddy of air, their tiny wings flipping between dark and pale grey as they wheel through a shaft of sun. For brief time there you had a value.

15/04/2012

Four

Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 08:47

An exquisite anticlimax. Inertial ground rock set into a swooping sensory illusion as your receptors adjust back down.

“By all means supersede Einstein, but you can’t create energy.” Your narkiness arises from a niggling imminent cognition around conversations had. Nicol’s gaze seems patronisingly fond.
“I don’t need to. There’s plenty. Wasting. I just need to harness it.”

Laz’s cocky rejoinder fires joyously, looping around your skull. “Surely your man of the moor, MacHauch…”
Nicol MacHauch. How did you miss that? Grievous error. Bad news. Each pass at the name stirs your nausea.

Your lethargic mind shudders to deliver another gem: the mineral. Your finger, tapping on the fascia, soothes, aligns your gathering cognition.

“What are you thinking?” You barely notice how unusual it is for him to ask.
“By… any… chance… when you inherited the land…”
Nicol goads your inferior intellect toward his impending doom with resignation.
“…did you also acquire a title?” Your gratification at the cunning deduction suddenly dissolves to fear as you express it, with no easy explanation.
“Aye.”

Nicol Mor MacHauch is frighteningly motionless. He stares at you with what could be despair, disappointment, horror, or just absent-mindedness. He snaps his head to face the moor and jolts into his dominant mental routine, away.

Your cranium strains to contain the explosion of implications: could he know you lift the mineral grit from his moor? How far did those cursed, bar-sodden bastards set you up? They all call him Mor. ‘Big’. Not even an original substitution for that impossible articulation of letters.

The plaid fan of a sparrowhawk’s tail glides over a fence. It must have held motionless this whole time.

08/04/2012

March

Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 16:03

Between descending layers and greys of cloud and drab, half-lit land, a sharp strip of monochrome hills detail.  Just the two of us between the land and sky, again.

A few questions remain.
“For a start, how did you get all that kit into a cave with a three feet wide opening, five miles into nowhere?”  You wonder if your petulance is endearing.
“Same way I got the car out.”  Nicol doesn’t mean to be smug; he just isn’t naturally open.

“Why here?”
“My uncle didn’t like me.”  Nicol is not one bit self-sorry.  “His final attempt to mould me into something worthwhile was to leave me his land.”  He gazes over the moor with brimming love and not a shred of ownership.  “I may make something useful yet.”

“Why?”  Your word doesn’t come close to encapsulating your wonder about the creative imperative.
“Being disconnected from nature, I can’t rest; it makes me so uneasy.  Everyone seems in a haze of denial.”

“I would think you could start the leverage with the price of petrol.”
“Indeed, and then the health impacts, and the wasted time, and eventually maybe they’ll realised we’re polluting our home.”

“We’re animals shitting in our food.”  Clearly you haven’t cracked the art of metaphor.  Nicol smirks at you, still processing at a deeper level.
“Aye and we know so much better.  Think what we could do if we just raise up our heads.”

More than he’s said in twelve months.  You propel your eyes to each landscape feature in turn, grasping for continuance.
“What did you do before your uncle died?”
Nicol nods to the sky and smirks.  “You’re the first to ask.”
You nod slowly, so carefully reeling in the answer.
“Everyone else knows already,” he finishes.

Your expulsion of an impatient, irritated lungful is audible.

01/04/2012

February

Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 10:57

Mist and vast diamonds of smoky blue cloud, sharply edged with seams of pure, pale sky, transform the familiar hillscape.  The glen mutates into some other; more imposing, more threatening.

Having your expectations utterly undermined is a welcome mindfuck.  At last you’re lost in the moment.

“I can’t control my thoughts!” you blurted.
“You control your body; the sensors do the rest.”  Did he mean sensors of tiny twitches or pressures across your skin?  You’re not sure you have control of those either.
“You don’t need to lean quite so far into the corners,” he mocked you with half a smile.

The sky lightens, the fading cloud patterned like a fleece worn thin over the sun’s pale glow.  Green trunks carve up the lowest layer of air.

Nicol is uncomfortable here.  He’s covered every eventuality of vehicle control and rebellion, of other static and moving objects, of your psyche melting down, but still: what would happen if he crashed here, among the medieval robots, the Laird MacHauch and his precious, precious mineral?

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