Dry Feet by Serge Caracas

Walter clambered up the hill, full of food and echoes of unresolved conversation. He thought to himself ‘Is this it?’ as he reached his spacious apartment and tapped in the key-code to open his door. A recent megascare a few blocks away had occurred and he knew he’d need to turn the lights out by midnight and keep all his Guardcamz at full scan.

A dog scampered up to him, nuzzling up at his chin as if to say ‘Cheer up, it might never happen mate.’ He looked into the dog’s eyes and thought ‘It might though’.

This everyman is a western prototype born in the early eighties. His monorail card needs a top up and his Retina account is well overdue.

A organisation called Retina had taken over the country’s banking, social welfare and food-manufacturing sector. You don’t crock with these guys.

Walter can’t work out where he is in life or what he wants.

After he’d made coffee and jumped onto the settee, signing in to channel 33, the interactive Intercore based divinty and chance gaming channel, he stared at the cards with symbols on them as they span around in the centre of the screen. Praying wouldn’t change him anymore but in his heart he knew that his spirit wasn’t gone.

He played his favourite record a few times and thought about dancing, then told himself to sleep.

The next day was bleak outside, the city was unafraid. Sirens and engines woke Walter and the VisiBox rang. It was his employer calling. He paused for a few seconds before accepting the call by raising one eyebrow.

“Is that Walter Pendering? Section 48?” the salacious but monotonic voice asked.

“Yes.” He said. “We want you to take the rest of today off, just report back when you’d like to continue, ok ? “, he agreed.

He slouched back into a gaze to the ceiling, wondering whether he would ever make his dreams come true. Are dreams coming true just the stuff of fairy tales.

Its’ hard to tell. Outside it’s cold and stormy. But he felt like walking.

Leaving the apartment he slowly paced the streets, passing neon 7-11s and pawn shops on the way. I’m a selfish ass hole he thought, kicking some rubbish down the street.

Nobody really knew him that well, and in that he found a security which he knew was kind of false. Perhaps he’d tried too hard with the wrong people or set unreasonably high and unobtainable goals, which people sort of resented him for. He came across as loving no one but himself.

An armoured cavalcade drove by with 6 bikes and a limo. It slowed and the rear window lowered a little, then sped up again. The smell of burned metal filled the intersection as he crossed the road.

Taking out a notebook from his back pocket, he made a bullet point list of new objectives he would need to achieve in order to meet his goals.

Most men this guys age are unfit. He takes any excuse to live up to that. But each month makes a new promise to turn it around. Essentially, all people in this story need to create, when they don’t, they get pretty hacked off about it.

Tonko seem him and shouts: “Hey Walter, what you doin’ out here, thought you didn’t like the smell? “

They sit together, people-watching silently. “It’s not enough for me anymore Tonko” He explains to his friend that working at ___________ is starting to make him depressed. Or maybe he’s just too used to the middle lane. His friend goes through it all with him. Maybe it’s not work but I deeper search for something in himself that has not yet come.

He’d taken part in the the Hastings, a bi-millenial competition for sector leader.

It made him feel empowered that he’d taken part. Though it is frowned upon not to.

The world is split into sectors, they don’t have names. 42 years ago the larger waring factions finally made peace and created the Earth Union.

He looked into the horizon at the untouched hills. They looked so majestic, unconcerned about developmen of humanity. He missed the simpler times and how his family used to live.

Walter used to be a bartender and play the bass in a band. ‘G’ played electronic abstract music from a byegone era. Classically formed by three old school friends. They toured a few towns, dingey little Saturday bar venues.

They split up when the drummer graduated from university and became a tree surgeon.