(Continues from Blame it on Casuitry)
My head buzzed as air currents pushed and prodded me through a tube. Floors of busy office drones flashed past. Each corporate clone jabbed at a holographic screen except me. I descended to the lowest level where air fought gravity to slow me down. Pushing up against my feet, it bent my jellied knees and I landed in a sprawl on a platform. The fluorescent lights blinded me as I crawled onto the parking deck. Rough concrete comforted and grounded me. Hanging on to a railing which half enclosed the lift, I chinned myself up to a stand.
I staggered into the silent vehicle graveyard, past metal and glass tombstones. Leaning on something hard, I rubbed my eyes until I saw the new and improved plas-glass bubble of a float-car. A metallic hand spun me around and caught me when my knees buckled.
“Sir, you are in no shape to drive. I checked your company bank balance and determined you can afford a private capsule. Please state the address you wish to reach and I will inform the company. If you would come with me now, I will escort you to the waiting area. Your automated capsule will arrive in ten minutes.”
My mechanized friend led me without delay to the end of a row of vehicles and down a short corridor. Someone had dressed this joker in a red jacket and a three piece suit but had left its head a shiny featureless ball. It glided about on thrusters set in a foot shaped base instead of walking. And when we came to another lift, it wrapped an arm around me, snugging my ragdoll body into its metal and ceramic one. Its foot thrusters lit off adding extra propulsion and we rose.
I looked down and stared at the green flames shooting out of the robot’s base. Since it flew, it required no legs or feet so its maker had fused them together. But its maker had sculpted the robot’s uni-leg so from side-on, it had the correct profile in those fancy duds. I recognized the suit maker by his initials and I knew the one my metallic friend sported went for upwards of a grand. All the fine fabric and tailoring were wasted on a digitized doorman.
We made a stunning picture rocketing through the plas-glass tube. Between the buzzing in my head and the green flare lifting and lighting us up, I felt like a firefly. A high-flying firefly–a glowing needle in the night’s starry dark eye–and I laughed as I sang poetic bits of nonsense. More lines of disjointed verse popped into my head as we ascended.
Our flight ended when a transparent door slid aside allowing us to egress onto a platform. I clung to my new friend as the wind buffeted me and tried to fling me off. Either the platform was shrinking or I was hallucinating the expanding view of the wavy ground below. We stood so high up the city’s buildings resembled porcupine quills.
Maybe the big boss had ordered me thrown off the highest parapet to rid itself of a potential lawsuit. If only they had, they would have saved two lives and maybe more. Instead, my mechanical friend maintained a firm grip on my arm. The wind could blow all it wanted; I was anchored. Little did I know the wind presaged a storm to come, one which would swallow me up within twenty-four hours. They should have let the wind have me. It would have been better than the hell I’m living.
To be continued…