This is my entry to the fifth instalment of Dazzle Me. The picture referred to in the story is this one.
Nothing. What’s this about?
Just a few questions.
You said that, but that doesn’t tell me much.
Doesn’t it? You seem a little tense. Why is that?
I’m not tense. This is my happy face.
So you wouldn’t say there’s anything bothering you?
Hey, lots of things bother me, but that doesn’t mean I’m tense.
What sort of things?
What do you mean, “what sort of things”?
What sort of things bother you?
What kind of a question is that?
“Indulge me”? What the fu-
This would probably go a lot faster if you just answer –
This would probably go a lot faster if you would tell me what this is about.
Alright. I’m doing an evaluation. Of sorts.
Yes. Of sorts. I can’t go into detail, because that might affect the results of the evaluation.
Good. Now you were saying there were things that bother you. What sort of things?
You don’t seem to taking any notes.
I have a good memory. Please answer the question.
Fine, whatever. What sort of things…? Hmmm. Okay, I’m not fond of this time of year.
Well, for starters, the sun is at an awkward angle in the morning. It’s just above the horizon, so it blinds me when on my way to work.
And nothing. It’s annoying.
You said, “for starters”, what else?
Ah, you know.
I don’t think I do. Could you be more specific?
Things. Stuff. What difference does it make? Is it important?
It might be.
Look – never mind. Let me ask you something else. Do you know who this is?
Er – looks like the Clown Prince of Camp to me.
Yes alright, but do you recognise the person in the photo?
What does “Punchstock” mean?
It doesn’t matter. Do you recognise this face?
It must mean something.
It does, but I don’t want to get into that right now.
Look, just tell me if you recognise this person or not.
No, I don’t.
Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure? Doesn’t even look vaguely familiar?
Hey relax, man. Deep loving breaths.
Would you please answer the question? Do you know who this is?
No, I don’t think so. The face is vaguely familiar, but I can’t place it.
This was taken by a security camera on the corner of Adderley and Wale Street. Any bells ringing, now?
Parade, hail of bullets, chaos, blood, gore? Seventeen dead? No? Still nothing?
What the fuck are you on about?
Don’t worry about it, let me ask you something else –
Hey, hang on – a moment ago you were popping an artery and now you’re all “Oh, don’t worry about it”. What is wrong with you?
Let’s just say I have an investment in the outcome of this conversation and leave it at that, shall we?
No, let’s not.
Look, I told you –
Yeah, you did. Now, how about you just get the fuck out of my office? Sorry to be rude, but I do have work to finish.
Look, it’s complicated.
Alright, what’s the last thing you remember before today?
What’s that got to do with anything?
Everything! Think – what’s the last thing you remember?
Uh – I seem to have gone blank. Give me a moment.
What did you have for supper last night?
I – I – don’t know.
Where did you grow up? What’s your mother’s name?
Damn! Pause programme. Save. Close. Open journal. Record. Latest patch unsuccessful. Simulation is both uncooperative and mildly belligerent. He – ah – it is still unable to access the pre-death memories of the original. Even more disturbing, it does not even recognise itself now. This could just be a glitch, but that seems unlikely at this stage. I am beginning to suspect deliberate sabotage. It looks like the fundamentalists may have got to someone on the team. Pause journal. Save. Close.
Fucking religious nuts. The guardians of the rainbow don’t like those who get in the way of the sun.