Eight days...

steve de vos

He was tired of living in the loft apartment in Clerkenwell with its sunny yellow walls and the blue ceiling, The constant battle with the city dust, the white kitchen and stainless steel sink and worktops. Which chance and a little help from his ex-girlfiend Leideke had helped him to invest in a few years before. So now here he was lying on the chrome framed bed staring at the ceiling wishing for what ? white ? red ? green ? something else at any rate, looking at the walls he wished they were different - he could almost discern the brilliant white which lay behind the yellow, wondering if he should strip away the colour and return to a monochrome world. Perhaps some more chrome and steel ? In this way the minutes and hours passed, drowning out the remains of the day, without the slightest trace of desire having appeared in his mind.

But suddenly as he looked out of the window in the late twilight and saw Hale Bopp passing by and seeing this apparition in the clear April Sky made him decide to go out and buy some technology to brighten the place up a bit. Perhaps a computer or maybe a new CD player and with that cheerful thought he went to sleep and that was the end of the first day.

On the second day he went out and after some hesitating and a long internal debate selected a Cray Sand Blaster model equipped with a neural net processing system, it came with a 21" monitor and a selection of operating systems along with various useful utilities, the systems mirrored outer casing was shaped like a sheep's heart and had a foldable querty keyboard, the halogen strip lighting he installed threw odd bright reflections onto the walls.

Strange new desires overcame him and he installed a new NAD CD-player, a digital TV, more cable systems and some new kitchen appliances. When all these wonderful devices were turned on together the loft hummed like a warm night in the tropics . This was the third day.

On the fourth day he read the computer press and then in the late morning went out and searched the showrooms for some system upgrades and other new types of technology. In front of a beautiful MPP box which was running some artificial life software called Creatures through its evolutionary process, his eyes met with a young woman whose fingers were flying across the keyboard, the sight of her shaven head made his throat go dry and his heart to begin to pound. She appeared to desire the technology as much as he did .

Later as they lay together on the bed, which had invisibly followed them on their sexual journeying, they decided to turn the loft into a haven, a dreaming of technology in which it would be the centrepiece as it already was in their everyday life.

Well - a theory is enunciated and then it is released into the world - so they bought a huge quantity of networking equipment, storage devices, solar power devices...... and then they stacked the material against one of the walls and taking the machines already standing isolated in the loft connected them together along with the core of other devices that they had bought that day. That evening whilst the machines hummed in a delightful chorus they slept together, naked in the bed after having eaten couscous and mergez sausages in a Moroccan bar situated on the Rue de Pommes in the 4th arrondissement (Hotel-de-Ville) , which was just around the corner. That was the fifth day.

On day six - they were surprised to find that the computers and other machines had spread themselves throughout the loft, there was something natural and jungle like about the way the cables and peripherals were now hanging all around the loft. A mass of network cables, 10plusT, optical fibre, shielded thick wire ethernet and speaker cables prevented them from moving about the loft easily. By mid-morning they realised that they would have to negotiate a path through the jungle of cables using screwdrivers and wire cutters. They found this extremely poetic and were pleased with the constant 37 degrees of dry heat which was maintained by the air conditioning units that had appeared out of knowhere. The heat caused them to leave their clothing in a pile by the bed. The machinery and the cables that were attached to the walls almost totally obscuring the yellow walls. Strange mutant insects part cockroach and part microchip with iridescent solar panels scurried around the cabling endeavouring to hide themselves from view. New games and fractel graphic programs arrived from the internet to display themselves on monitors to tempt our explorers who were more passionate than before.

The next day was dream. Strange programs appeared on the proliferating monitors. They even saw a small snakelike robot which appeared out of knowhere and slid around the kitchen whilst keeping an eye on them as they watched entranced before it dissapeared into the undergrowth. They spent a long time caressing and stroking one another and re-discovering and enjoying forgotten instincts and sensations. This was the seventh day.

The next morning there was some ferocious knocking on the door. They hurridly dressed and forced a path through the cabling to open it. There was an old guy with unfashionable long hair who told them that the property was condemmed and that they were being evicted immediately. They protested and he told them they were uising too much electricity and besides the neighbours were complaining at the interference with the TV pictures. Anyway if they didn't leave immediately they would suffer a terrible penalty. So they did.

And so they were evicted from Paradise Street for attempting to create it again. Shortly after this he got a job as a Project Manager and she gave up programming and became a waitress instead.

As for the the loft it imploded when they turned the power off and dissapeared without a trace, either that or knowone could gain access through the mass of humming machinary.

 

Underground
Introduction to the Hypertext Novel

Steve de Vos - London August 1997