This story features in this week’s Schlock Webzine, where I share a stable with some talented and unstable writers. A small tale (1000 words) of Tiny Tears from fossil fuels…
“A surprise in every egg. Yes, Kinder, there’s a selection of small plastic choke hazards in each toy, but the plastic egg which holds them can be a handy cunt plug. Keep this warm in there for me baby.”
“Mummy, who are you talking to? I need a wee.”
Ocean opened the bathroom door and a bolt of blonde hair dashed past her legs. “Who were you talking to?” Conscience asked again, enthroned on her Peppa Pig toilet seat.
“No-one,” Ocean replied, “Well, just myself.”
“But you’re not no-one mum.”
“Thanks. Now, come on, back to bed.”
“But you’re not no-one mum, so who were you talking to?”
“Honestly, Conscience, just myself. I do that a lot.”
“Will you read me a story, please?”
“We don’t have any, Conscience.”
“But we all do, in our heads. Tell me one of your stories of being Ocean, mummy.”
“Well, there was this one time. I was about your age. I had a dolly. Hated it. Your nanno and grampo wanted me to be a girl. Well, they both wanted me to be girly, but grampo had wanted a boy, so I had to be a really girly girl.
“It’s funny now I think about it, because he’d probably have liked the boy inside me more.
“And apparently you’re asleep. In any case, I think I made the perfect mix in the only one I kept. You’re you, and even so young, you have a personality which transcends gender. If I can be proud of one thing in my life, it’s you. So, whoever’s still listening, even if it’s in a dream I hope you won’t inherit…
“They lived in different times. In those days, the only costume you could wear to play yourself was a uniform, and I hated everything that stood for. I resented my school uniform, but I used the skirt I despised to score one over on the system. I lost my virginity at 12, then got my English teacher sacked when he broke up with me at 14.
“There could have been loads of kids before you, but any one of them might have meant I never met you. I only had you because I remembered who your dad was. You remind me a lot of him. He could be a cunt sometimes too.
“We were broke. Still was an artist and an eco-activist. We lived in communes in fields, usually just tents near protest sites, but sometimes on local traveller camps. I knew what it was all about but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was 15 then and the nearest I’ll ever get to true romance, that summer of love which made you. A brief history of anarchy, peace and freedom.
“So here were are, five years later kid. I wonder if you’ll want what’s inside this Kinder egg, or if I should throw it away like the rest. See you in the morning. Don’t dream of this.”
Dreams are made of plastic. Unpaid cards become CCJs, then bailiffs emerge from eggs. Everything in the flat is made from plastic. All that we eat, drink and wash with is bound by plastic.
The council don’t recycle all plastics, so I put what I’m unsure about in the general waste. If the council won’t take the rubbish, we can pay Bill to take it away in his van. One day, he might take me.
The plastic in me will probably be recycled into the non-conscious parts of robots for those entitled to them. Or as parts of a toy, so many child’s dolls. Either way, I’ll be enslaved in the plastic which gives lives to those implanted in the chips and to those around them. Eventually those body parts, inanimate but for the host brain, will need upgrading. Always disposable people, eventually the parts which don’t work will be returned to the food chain.
Food, drink, we’re all part-plastic. We are the polymer population. We dream of becoming one with technology, our minds inside plastic androids. In Japan they already have home robots to deal with loneliness and social isolation in an ageing population. I Can’t help think how that would benefit me. They’re already a species in their own right, made from the same cosmic matter as us, but theirs was an explosive evolution.
Christmas will be paid for with hidden plastic. Christmas will bring more plastic toys to unwrap. We are the consumer generations, products of the industrial and technological ages. Each generation contains more plastic than the last, every child a greater part of the plastic population conditioned by human greed. I don’t know if I can afford another baby doll. Mum always said she wasn’t sure if I could have a brother or sister.
We’re all made of the same stuff. Last night, another mother; tomorrow, another soldier.
“Ambulance, is the patient breathing?”
“It’s my mum?”
“My mum’s cut herself.”
“In the bathroom.”
“No, where on your mummy has she cut herself?”
“Her cunt. She’s cut a baby out of herself.”
“Is the baby breathing?”
“How would it? It’s made of plastic. Do you have a chip I can put in it to make it work?”
“Is mummy still there?”
“No, mummy’s gone. She’s left me my Christmas present. I’ve got a dolly I have to look after. Bye.”
© Steve Laker, 2019