21st Century Documentary
Category: XNXP Morph-shifter (small scale)
Home Planet: Perseus Meteors
Spirit Level: Masked
Existential: Revolving (MO: Detached)
DNA: Not determined
It is the eighth year and the ninth month of the new millennium, the thirteenth since the Ice Age.
In the seventeenth century it took Samuel Pepys to say the the public house is the heart of ole England. Three hundred years later, the very heart of England is being ripped apart by the Corporation Horseman. Pubs are being rationalised, commercialized and turned into absurd charactures of the real thing. But the eccentricity of the British character still lives on from the last millennium, located in a forgotten watering hole at the end of the twitten, like a ship riding on the ocean of progress. Already the Black Riders are hovering.
The story/documentary is set in the above location.
Although in normal circumstances, the plot would be finalised from the end to the start, this story is an ongoing event, so the finish is not known. The text will contain morph-shifting gaps, so the reader has to follow the dialogue and then take in the landscape both at the same time.
It is traditional in the English pub that strangers are welcome. The sign over the bar says that the captain is always right, so when the guest has outstayed his welcome, he is asked to leave and is expected to do so. However, it is really the customers that run the pub (unlike the Corporation taverns) and they will leave of their own accord if the ambience and refreshments are not of the desired quality. And there are still remnants of archaic licensing laws and restrictions on allowed substances. Tobacco and pharmaceuticals are barred by law. The approved substance is called alcohol and served in various forms: beer, cider, wines, spirits (distilled liquor) etc. In the old days the landlord could be put in the stocks for serving poor ale.
"Are you gay?"
"Are you gay?"
My contenance indicated perplexity.
"I'm not miserable, if that is what you mean."
The other was already beginning to get irritable. I imagined he would turn into a camel in an instant.
"Aha!" a sign of comprehension.
"Are you from Brighton?"
He nodded. At this instant, in this metro-cultural society, the visitor needs to know that the language and meanings of words are not universally accepted. What is meant in the city may have a totally different meaning in a small town or a country pub. Such misunderstandings can be a cause of friction.
"Do you mean, am I a poofter?" I asked politely.
It was then his turn to be offended. Certain words are not politically correct according to the modes of the time. By this time the murmurs of conversation at the bar had ceased and heads began to turn. I picked up my pint and took a long swig. It is at times like this, a cigarette (fag) can break off any tension. Perhaps, I needed some processing time as thoughts wandered through my head.
"Can I whisper the answer in your partner's ear?" I replied.
There was man in a grass skirt riding on another horse, a poison dwarf, an army of Petit Gods old enough to be my Dad, two pretty girls walking hand in hand, and the Priest flogging the girl on a bicycle. The Greeks had something to say just how proud you can be walking around the streets and holding up the traffic. The promoter lives in a big house, and leads the parade down to the pond in his horse drawn chariot. The Watch is on duty. The chariot is on the wrong side of the bridge by Honeyman's Hole with Gaylord Falcon. Nobody ever won a revolution with a fancy dress party. When the wind is blowing from the east, you can smell the gas factory.
"Actually, I am feeling rather melancholic today," I explained.
She shied away. I expect she thought I was an alcoholic.
I opened up my wallet and she moved closer.
All sorts of transactions are undertaken in public houses. In a good pub, is where you find the recommended plumber, electrician and jobbing builder. Or somebody to print the wedding invitations and fix the computer.
I mean you get all sorts, the petrolheads talking about their cars, the criminal bears playing hide and seek with the cops, the electric horsemen drinking out of the skulls of their latest victims, the catwoman let out of the bag. Jingleballicks offered to pay for a round of drinks, but it was after time had been called. The Watch were quelling the disturbance in the apartment block called Beirut.