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Friday, August 24, 2007

Tales of the Cypherpunk 5


The lights of downtown were perfect. Streetlights showed the way without revealing the cracked sidewalks and bits of garbage. Stoplights changed like a row of dominos stretching off into the distance. The shadowy alleys were affectations. The sky was grey, blurred, the color that those blind from birth see. No one looked at it.

Shilo and Betty stepped from the dormant business district into the orange and red club scene. And pink and green and blue and white. Neon signs flickered next to five meter tall LCD billboards. Holograms beckoned from doorways and vanished at right angles. The young, the beautiful, and the bourgeoisie thronged the streets, the balconies, and the brilliant pearl white plaza at the center of Newman's Cross. Water arced like a string of diamonds, fifteen meters high or more, lighting the night, drowning out the stars, and falling back into a colossal white fountainhead. Younger people frolicked in the water below. They pushed each other into the waterfalls and grabbed unsuspecting ankles. The rush of water and shouts dominated the fountain, but the streets that led away from it called back with the suggestion of music and an occasional string of fireworks.

"Let's get some fried alligator, Shy!"

"I can't believe you like gator."

So, with Betty hugging his bicep - a bicep that was unused to so much noise and movement - Shilo was pulled toward Ruffians' Row.

Ruffian's Row was the oldest and most storied of the downtown strips. Stories only - it had never really been more than a trap for tourists, students, and couples' anniversaries. It was happily named 9th Street for many years, until the Edwin-Miller Corporation revitalized downtown. Focus group testing suggested that complacent middle class shoppers would spend more money if 9th Street acquired a hint of danger and blue collar roots. Ruffians' Row was now the designer lifestyle for those who were too down-to-earth for designer lifestyles.

Betty led him past a family buying their kids calories from a pushcart. They passed a pool hall with brand new shatter resistant antique green glass. The blue theater was sprinkled with as many glowing Xes as a tic tac toe board. Ha.

"What's so funny?" So he told her. Betty rolled her (sparkling blue) eyes. "Wakannai who would go to that place. They don't even have any fetish films."

"Budreaux's looks kinda full. Nnn, better make an electronic reservation."

They sat on a wrought iron (plastic) bench and Shilo entered the net.


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