Monkeyplasm and the Nintendo Duck
Professor Frank Gobi, a single father and former Intuitive Detective, follows a digital trail across the ocean from Portland, Oregon to Tokyo, Japan in a desperate attempt to save his son left in a coma after a game crash event that killed thousands of adults. No one knows why the children lived, or how to retrieve them.
He travels despite the travel restrictions due to what the news has dubbed “New Tokyo Flu.” Not much is known about this affliction, as the entire place seems to exist completely unreachable by any instrumentation from 7:00pm until 7:00AM every day. The populace wakes up in a collective amnesia, goes about their business, and it is not polite to mention it.
It is to this strangely dangerous place that Frank has traveled, his unique background having prepared him for this very adventure in ways he cannot possibly understand.
He is following Mamo, and a greasy, pimply hacker youth, to the shop where he can do some work on a picture Frank has brought with him.
As they walk, the sky resembles an ocean with dark frothy waves of glowing pixels breaking against the buildings. They hear a loud honk and look up. A solitary Nintendo duck flaps its wings and travels across the pixel sky.
Several loud thunderclaps flash the whole world white and the Nintendo duck falls.
Mamo yells angrily “Duck hunt freaks! Someone ought to report them to the SPCH. “The SPCH?” Gobi asks. “The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Holoids. Those Nintendo Ducks are almost extinct. “Mamo walks ahead, calling back over his shoulder.
They pass a Smart Ramen machine and a shop selling genetically engineered pets. In the window the PuppyBirds are asleep in their crates, wings folded and paws twitching as they dream.
They cross an alleyway lined with stuffed body bags. “Defective body parts?” Frank gestures towards them.
Matter of factly, “No these guys just didn’t make it through, is all. It’s not much farther, why are you in such a hurry, anyway? I bet you don’t want to be caught in Chiba after curfew, right? You wanna be safe at home when the Change comes? Whatever gets you through the night, man?” Mamo rolls his eyes.
They come to a narrow passage.
Mamo flashes his visited eyes at red lenses blinking in a low doorway recessed into the wall. A steep narrow stairwell appears and they proceed up it.
“It’s just up here. Just one thing, man, I’ve got a roommate here. We share the Loft and she’s got her main squeeze with her. We don’t wanna disturb them, okay?" Frank assures him “I’ve just come to do a little business. In and out, no problem.
They come to the top of the stairs and open the door to Mamo’s Loft, a tall concrete structure with canvas walls and terraced live/work sections on 3 levels.
They enter a cubicle that has a low table piled with technical equipment. Fiber-optics snake across the floors and the walls in every direction.
Mamo sits at the table after Gobi hands him the picture. He lifts his visor off. His eye sockets are almost empty, covered in a thin membrane. He digs his fingers underneath the membrane and pulls it out.
Gobi is startled and Mamo notices, apologizing.
“Sorry about that. My electric lenses exploded a few years ago. They were outdated 'tek. I had to rebuild my optics.”
He laughs, “Technically, I’m as blind as a bat! But don’t worry. I always know what I’m looking at.”
He fiddles with the mess of wires and equipment in front of him on the table, sitting cross legged. He loads the picture into a deck to scan it. It appears in a 3D image in front of him. He pulls and stretches the image out, changing its colors, flipping his fingers in and out of the image like a pot of paint. He talks to himself as he works.
“Hmm. Let's see!” Let’s see.” It’s got nice dingbat morphology. Notice the lisp greens and yellows? Need a nice phonic blue right here. Okay. Let’s remove this thing, what’s that? Oh that’s the privacy tag. It’s an I’ll show you mine if you show me yours kinda thing. All right you guys, just a moment. Hold on. It’s coming. “
He taps at the laser keyboard built into his clothing so that wherever he moves he can always tap on air or any object. He is tapping the keys pasted on his chest and legs at a fast pace, every so often tapping his own skull to activate different programs. He leans in close and pokes the image, leaving ripples like water that expand it to clarity.
“Just as I thought, folks. This is a decoy program, ha-ha. Clever clever, naughty, naughty. Okay now we’re getting to the real stuff! Okay, we’re inside the buttonhole right now.” Frank stands by, enthralled watching this young wizard work.
“Inside the buttonhole, man. Of the dude who took the picture.” See this fuzzy stuff? Its lint. That other stuff is threads on his suit. See? Enhance!” He points gleefully to the magnified threads in the image and faces of people begin to appear. A few luminous globes become crystalline in the frame. Frank leans in close and points to them, “What are these?”
Mamo peers in, pulls the image even wider, and turns his head. “Looks like a string of white lights... Close enough to reflect into the lens. Could be jewelry, pearls, maybe? Sorry I can’t make it out. Hey... whoa, do I know that dude?”
He pulls the image forward to zoom in on Kazuo Harada’s face.
“I do know him. That’s the Satori dude. Hey... I see it, this is Ama's place. SHIT! He was right here in Chiba-Town! "
Frank asks him, beginning to see clearly for the first time. You said you could get sound?”
Mamo snaps. “Hey. Don’t rush me. That’s Kazuo Harada, man. This is going to cost you extra."
Frank states plainly, “Just do it.”
Mamo shakes his head, “It’s your yen, man. Let’s try this."
He moves his fingers rapidly like a composer and the SOUND volume comes up rapidly. A strong man’s voice echoes through the concrete space,
“Sato why are you looking so glum?"
(Frank whispers) “That’s Kazuo Harada!" Sato, in a deeply hypnotic tone “Sensei, you cannot alter the nature of this virus. Not even you.
Another man’s voices, thin and scratchy,
“Nonsense, Sato-kun. We know it exists, now we’re working on an antidote, all in good time” A strong clear female voice rings out clearly, startling Frank and causing his hairs to stand on end, chills begin to creep up his spine. She states, bluntly “There is a man who will be coming from America. He will know what to do.”
Frank realizes that voice is Kimiko Ono, a spear in his heart from a past he thought he had lost. Suddenly an alarm goes off in the Loft. They jump up. Frank yells “What’s that?”
Mamo moves quickly to collect important equipment and as he’s moving the image moves with him. He taps his chin and brings up a picture of the front of his building. There are 4 Yakuza standing outside, pressing the buzzer repeatedly.
“Those guys do not look friendly! Shit man!”
They stare at image as Crew Cut Yakuza fiddles with a small device. The front door explodes and the Yakuza start the long run up the stairs. Frank pulls out his NewYen card and hands it to Mamo, who snaps “Is that gonna pay for a new door?”
Frank nearly throws him another chip,
“Thank you. May I have the image back? And is there another way out?"
Mamo points, “Through Marie's place upstairs, but I don’t think you want to disturb her... “
The Yakuza make it up the stairs and bang at the door.
Mamo screams “Go!” Frank darts through the passage into Marie’s boudoir. Its dark, Indian Tribal fusion music plays. Oil lamps flicker across the bodies of the 2 women, heavily pierced, wired and tattooed, entwined together on a raised platform. Fiber optic tendrils weave around the couple and at times through them.
A 3D tableau of images spins above them of gods and goddesses, nymphs and serpents and winged beasts fornicating.
Images of Belly Dancers from all nations spin and twist in a frantic orgasmic frenzy around the lovers.
Frank stumbles and trips over a cable and the circuits begin to blow sparks as he runs across the room. Smoke flares and popping sounds crack in the dark as electrified wires jump around the floor. Suddenly attracted by the power surge around Gobi's foot, several of the images begin to move away from the center, flying free from the air around the couple, disconnected from the dream they were living.
The women on the bed begin to buck frantically, enraptured. One of the fornicating winged monkeys chatters loudly as it flies through the air and attaches itself to Frank’s ear, who screams “Get off me!!” He tries to shake the brown and pink cartoon monkey and run at the same time and finds his way out the door to a sky bridge. His trusted friend Yaz looks up from below and calls out. “Frank! Where have you been, I tried to find you at Ama’s! Tomo is nearby!”
“Hurry!!” Frank yells as he crosses the Skybridge.
The ground erupts into flying concrete as Crew Cut Yakuza bursts through the door and shoots his laser shuriken at Frank on the bridge and misses, striking the building.
The Monkeyplasm grips Frank's shoulder, obviously using him as a new power source. It appears to be fragmenting, its code degrading the farther it gets away from the boudoir. Crew Cut Yakuza closes in, reaching for Frank.
Frank spins, grabs the cartoon monkey by its hairy ankles. With a burst of energy he hurls it at Crew Cut. Monkeyplasm screeches and grabs Crew Cut's face, gouging his eyes deeply. Crew Cut screams and spins around in pain. In agony, he screams and jumps off the sky-bridge, heavily hitting the ground. The Monkeyplasm hovers above his body for a moment and races back up to Frank. The look on its face it pathetic, confused, horrified.
Frank stops, suddenly at peace with his options, “I know what I have to do. Yaz, wait.”
He closes his eyes for a moment and places his hands on his chest. His arms bulge and he appears to be having an inner struggle. He pushes his arms outward forcefully and the image of Ryutaro Kobayashi stretches out from his chest. He hovers in front of Frank, peering at him but not seeing clearly. In a faint, fading voice he says “Sato is that you? Is it time yet? Has the world been changed and is my new body prepared? Who shall I be?”
Ryutaro focuses on Frank.
“Who are you?”
“Excuse me, are you Ryutaro Kobayashi? “
“I’m afraid you are going to have to be transferred now.”
“To my new body?”
“Yes. Please prepare yourself.”
“Shall I be a man or a woman?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“This is a final Karmic decision? “
“Yes. Good luck in your new existence!”
The Monkeyplasm scampers across the sky-bridge, fading and screaming in its death throes.
Frank gently takes Ryutaro’s image and sends it floating towards the Monkeyplasm. The image and the holoid melt together.
Monkeyplasm looks at Frank with a sudden peace in its eyes and scampers off, sliding back into the building through a vent after one look back, a sudden clarity in its eyes. Frank bows deeply,
“Kobayashi-San, Sayonara. Please bring him enlightenment.”
Frank runs across to an outside staircase at the end of the sky-bridge to the ground floor. He and Yaz meet up and emerge into a clearing surrounded by burning barrels and squatters shacks made of decaying CPU cases and outdated electronic equipment. It appears to be a small community. There are dirty naked tattooed children of every color playing with German shepherd puppies.
The adults appear to be wearing sausage shaped containers slung over their backs. Every so often, one squeezes the contents of the container into a barrel and the flames grow higher momentarily. Yaz gestures towards the people. “Gaijin Burakumin. Foreign untouchables. They earn a meager living handling excess power surges for the surrounding communities.”
Frank, dismayed and horrified, “My god, these people are human radiation shields! This place is a toxic dump!”
Yaz, matter of factly, “It may seem brutal to you, but these people are glad to serve their adopted country. They are second or third generation energy packers.”
One of the Burakumin smiles at them. He wears a simple cotton jacket and has no teeth. He is ageless and roasting a small rodent over his barrel. Frank waves back.
“Energy packers? You mean they’ve been hired to absorb the Karmic energy spills from users who OD on the system? “
“Unfortunately, there is an electromagnetic field hat is disturbed when alternate realities are released into the atmosphere. Someone must assume the virtual karma; it is a new law of Thermo-cybernetics that Japanese scientists have discovered. We never imagined such things were possible! “
“How come we haven’t heard about this in the WEST?”
“Your technology hasn’t reached our stage of development yet. Our best scientists are trying to find solutions to offer to the world.”
“In the meantime, you’re using these human sponges to absorb these software toxicities?”
“We don’t know yet how toxic the psyche is to the environment. It’s still a brand new field.”
Another Burakumin walks by them and smiles lovingly, vibrant, peaceful, and beautiful despite his grimy surroundings. He raised his hands in a Namaste gesture and bows at Frank and Yaz, softly “Namaste. Konbonwa.” They return the gesture and walk several blocks to where Tomo is parked near Ama’s. They can see Tomo and the streets look clear.
A few blocks ahead of them begin a series of tall buildings with a kinetic display to rival the stars. A life size inflatable Godzilla advertisement stomps on a six pack of beer. Atop the department store next to Godzilla giant neon Nissan Cup O Noodles with massive chopsticks dipping in and out.
Yaz, “Well, it looks clear but we’ll just have to risk it. “
He whistles a tune and Tomo roars to life, swivels its headlights and turns around to come towards them. They climb aboard and suddenly the cross beams of a ‘Cuda bear down on them. Ahead a black helicopter appears, flying low and heading right for them.
As they race underneath it to escape the ‘Cuda, the helicopter drops a net that lifts Frank, Yaz, and Tomo off the ground. The helicopter ascends several stories, weighted down by the load. Frank can see a deaths head logo on the side of the chopper.
“Who the hell is after us??”
Yaz, “They are called DEATH EXPRESS. It’s a Yakuza shipping company that guarantees overnight delivery of human packages anywhere in the world or the customer gets a free hit. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble if they hired Death Express.” He bows deeply to Frank and states mournfully, “I’m sorry, Frank-San. I have failed you.”
“Forget about it. Where are they taking us?”
They ascend ever higher above the brightly lit neon-scape of giant kinetic billboards.
Frank pulls the San Andreas 8.0 vial out of his pocket, given to him by crusty smuggler he sat next to on the plane. He hands it to Yaz who snaps the head off the vial and slips it into a small flute, then blows it towards the helicopter.
The helicopter shudders and begins to lose altitude. It spins around and tilts crazily towards Godzilla. The tail slams into the scaffolding that holds Godzilla up and deflates its head. The HELICOPTER is now tangled with Godzilla’s head and weaves crazily, throwing Frank, Yaz, and Tomo around violently in the net hanging below it.
The weighted down and out of control helicopter flies directly into the CHOPSTICKS of the Nissan Cup O Noodles display, shearing the net in half and dropping the contents into the cup.
Tomo roars and crashes through the bottom of the cup and teeters on the edge of the department store before revving and crashing through the roof skylight and into the store. Yaz laughs like a madman and yells back at Frank, “Hold on Frank-San, we are going for a ride again!”
They roll down the stairs and blast out a pair of swinging doors out onto a retail shopping floor filled with shoppers who dive out of the way to avoid them.
They plow through the woman’s department and charge through a forest of racks and down a 12 story escalator with several dresses and lingerie attached to Tomo. Frank has a pretty blue designer dress attached to his arm. As he pulls it off, the intelligent fabric speaks in a sultry voice
“Thank you for putting me on! You look lovely tonight.”
“Frank-San, are you okay back there?”
Frank tosses the dress out of the sidecar, “Nothing in my size, I’m afraid!”
To be continued.
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