science fiction and speculative scenarios condensed onto a single page.
1. The Perceptive Shark
‘Upon arriving in the capital-F Future, we discover it, invariably, to be the lower-case now.’
As I reread those words by my favorite 21st-century writer, I’m reminded of the man’s towering foresight. William Gibson didn’t always hit soaring home runs. But when he did, it reverberated through the stadium of time. That sentence knocked it out of the park. I’m in the future and it’s boring as hell.
Next Wednesday will be my 256th birthday. I’m here by way of a seminal medicinal breakthrough, isolating the life-extending genome in a 509-year-old Greenland Shark named Cathy. This subsequently led to the sale of my Monaco mansion and undergoing exorbitantly priced neurosurgical gene-editing in the Philippines. What used to be the future is now my present. Now, I wish I could say I was blown away by mind-bending Future Shock. I’d love to have my elderly taint beaten giddy by the discovery of life on other planets and similar feats of purported amazement. I’m sad to say, however, that when you’ve experienced the full extent of the protracted run-up getting us from there to here all that stuff can never be anything but, well, thoroughly repetitive. I’m not saying that people from 200 years ago wouldn’t be impressed. They’d probably lose their tiny minds like dumb, thrill-seeking children in a glitzy theme park. I guess I’ve just seen too many reruns in the mediocre sitcom called living.
A recent occurrence did pique my interests for a measly second or two. The final chapter in the story known as ‘men and women.’ When the news images appeared in my frontal lobes encased in the severe, fluorescent-grey hues of my Mindwire subscription, I paid attention: ‘The centuries-long effort to eradicate the evil of Expansionist Testosterone-fuelled Depletion, commonly known as ETD, has come to an end through the planet-wide banning of syntherone and affiliated stimulants enhancing the masculine psycho-social mindset’, the news anchor parroted with uncontainable glee. Upon perceiving the news, the image of last week’s visit to my local illegal strip joint witnessing the undignified, yet arousing spectacle of scantily clad, bio-engineered males dancing for change under a pulsing red strobe light was prompted in my mind’s eye. It pushed me further into a realization: the Grand Neutering was now complete. Everyone pretends there are no genders anymore. My considerable amount of years on this planet has made me perceptive, however: the roles were now reversed. Men are now women. It was always about dominance. Power and subjugation are what drive the human apparatus. Personally, I thought the anchor’s use of the word ‘evil’ landed on the harsher side of things. I was once a man. Then again, men had their chance. Who knows what type of shit-infested morass we’d be blindly traversing with our pants down our ankles if they hadn’t been outlawed? With that said, an ETD-apocalypse might actually offer a little respite from the neverending reruns of existing.
That was the pathetic amount of attention I could manage before drifting back into my weathered boredom. Nothing really gets me anymore. There’s no escaping the dire circumstances; for the remainder of my days, I’m destined to live in the lower case now, like a world-weary Greenland Shark roaming the cold Arctic Ocean, perpetually moving and bored out of my mind.