- The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products.
Rodney had barbed wire for lips. Or so he told himself. He wasn’t dying from the cold. He couldn’t be.
“Damn thing,” he said, pressing his lips together. Rodney rubbed his lips side-to-side, feeling the dead skin. “Damn chapstick,” he muttered. His trembling hands ached. Not from the cold. He pressed himself against a brick building. The wind rattled the building. He adjusted his scarf.
Sharp air stung his nostrils. Rodney clutched to himself, fighting against his exhaustion. How c-c-c-could he be s-so co-co-cold? He scurried along the shaking brick wall.
“Number 47,” a voice called from above. Rodney couldn’t see the source. It didn’t matter. They already found him. “Number 47, back into the social area. Don’t want to catch a cold now, do you?” A man announced from atop a floating stone tower. The tower looked like a salt shaker with a big TPU inscribed in the center.
As far as Rodney could remember, it was always like this. The world was a series of buildings inside of a giant factory. A projection of the sky moved with a large digital clock that appeared at 10-minute intervals. It was always cold, but not really. If you were cold, you were sick. If you were sick, you were put in isolation. If you were put in isolation, you’d receive positive reprogramming. He’d been reprogrammed 47 times. There wouldn’t be a 48th. He was done.
“Utopia requires all of us to participate, Number 47. All of us,” the miscreant on the tower kept asserting. The man was another enforcer who confused the illusion of safety and dominance, with being a mindless, compliant drone. “Society is for all of us Number 47.” The man edged closer. A mechanism extended from under the tower. It popped and sparked. Electricity flickered then swirled around the protruding rod.
Rodney held up a finger. He had no idea why. The instinct consumed him. He held the finger up high. A flashed blinded him. ZAP!
The man on the floating tower tossed a blanket over Rodney’s twitching body. He fired a net that clamped Rodney to the eroded sidewalk. “The Sanctioned Heralds Inc. of Trans-Human Emergence and Accelerated Development will know what to with him,” Number 2 announced. Like his peers, Number 2 was also a S.H.I.T.H.E.A.D.
Number 2 was like everyone else. He did as he was told for the good of society. He was much younger than Rodney and had never had a real name that could get programmed out of him. He had been reprogrammed twice. Like a good citizen, he didn’t need another.
Number 2 was simple. He wanted to be a member of the Precedential United Society of Special Youths. A PUSSY.
To be a PUSSY, a person only had to be partisan for more than one generation for no reason. Number 2 was a model citizen. He was great at doing things for no apparent reason, just like every other number below 10. Number 2 was strong. He was one of many. In public, Number 2 was “in this together”, but in private he was an avid hater of “snowflakes” and “sus cucks”. Regardless of who Number 2 thought that he was, he knew he only needed numero uno. But, not really. He also made it a point to see his therapist, eAI, weekly. Fortunately, it was a voluntary mandate by the “Global Health Authority Services and Technologies” or GHAST anyway.
Number 2 loved being aimless, shapeless and formless. His parents told him who to be and school told him how to be. Marketers, drug-addicted adult children in big pharma and their friends at the FDA told Number 2 what to eat and how to physically feel. No one told Number 2 how to have fun, except the brandnames in fun. If it was fun, he knew it had it, tasted it, saw it, smelled it, fucked it, licked it–you name it, he’d done it. Like every other pre-15, he’d proudly declare every meaningless effort that made him feel like he was finally in charge. Like every other pre-15, he knew that he was, but could also never be, so awesome. He was groomed to be this way. The Number Ones needed it this way.
Number 2’s zipped through the digital sky. They smiled and pontificated, sizing each other up. Secretly fearing that the other might be better in some capacity than them. Unseen by the patrol, Rodney cut a hole through his net. He had been wearing shockproof clothing. He wouldn’t be in danger if he could find an open field. Rodney sprinted toward another brick wall, struggling against the harsh wind. He had to escape now.
Rodney ran across empty, garbage-spotted streets. Eventually, he came across a fence. The fence was in front of a strange wall with a metal door. A sign above it read “EXIT to Parking 1A”.
He jumped over the fence and heard a loud crackle. Balls of electricity shocked the wall, slightly burning the industrial paint. Rodney struggled to pull the heavy door open. He needed to go to Parking Lot 1A. Whatever the hell it was, it wasn’t here.
Never shying away from a challenge, Number 2 needed to do something he could hang over his friends’ heads. He’d be cool if he could brag. He’d be cool if he showed them. Taking on a high Number in melee combat was his wet dream. He wasn’t no snowflake. His colors didn’t run and he certainly wouldn’t let a fool try that on him. The Number Ones programmed him that way. He didn’t know that there were no snowflakes, there were no colors, but there were fools. Fools who needed other fools to buy into their foolishness.
Number 2 leapt from his non-lethal rejuvenating tower, manufactured and distributed by Amazon for the low price of his neurological impulses. He was ready, but he wasn’t. As usual. He sprinted, but he crawled. As Rodney struggled to get the door open, another Number 2 approached.
Seeing his colleague and rival, Number 2 did what he did best, he tried to be Number One. “No!” He screamed, leaping after Rodney. Hoping to catch him first. A Zap knocked him against the wall.
Rodney jumped. “Shit.” He looked at Number 2. Rodney didn’t care what happened before. He had to get the fuck out. Didn’t matter how. He simply had to go. Rodney finally yanked the door open. Real sunlight hit his skin. It was weird, but it was something he never felt. It was real.
Rodney had an epiphany. He didn’t quite understand what he learned, but he he knew what he felt. He felt shame. Rodney put a shoe between the rusted, heavy metal doors. He looked at Number 2 again and sighed. “Fuck,” he said to himself. Rodney pulled Number 2 away from another shock gun blast. He tossed him over his shoulder and stepped into the outside world. The metal doors of Earth shut behind them.
This is their story.
Keep reading Beau Noir Media to find out how my characters are connected, why they’re connected and why you should care.
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