Tuesday, 28 February 2006

After The Machine War, Part II: The White Goods

"White" is no longer an adjective that might be so readily afforded the appliances. The rotten stench of corruption and criminal activity runs through to the very core of their society.

The laundrettes have become dens of gambling and promiscuity. Tumble Driers have been known to "receive garments" from up to twelve different Washing Machines in the same night.

It is not uncommon to stumble across an illegal "Wash-Off" in the city. However, they are rarely planned any more; the Refrigerators offer rewards of fabric softener for information, and are usually tipped off about such events in advance. "Fridge Raids" would shed unwelcome light on this sort of largely-underground activity.

Instead, impromptu Wash-Offs are becoming more and more common. The brands form into gangs, each backing their own recommended detergent. An unofficial code of conduct has been built around these contests. Performance-enchancing substances such as stain removers and bleaches are strictly frowned upon, and violent clashes can erupt if a Washing Machine is found using them. Some have returned home early, minus their door, never to wash again.

Despite the code, bouts are routinely fixed, and appliances caught in the system are routinely and systematically abused and mistreated. While the Washing Machines fritter away their last crumbs of washing powder, Tumble Dryers are forced to risk their own well-being, resoiling clothes for the next round, and irrevocably damaging their drums and filters in the process.

Where Fridge Raids do take place, appliances will attempt to flee the scene. Those with extension cords will usually escape to wash another day; those with only short flexes will most likely be escorted to a Freezer Section for "cooling off".

But the Fridge Raids are not a success story. The rotten culture of the washing appliances is spreading to the Dishwashers. Looking for instant results, many are becoming more aggressive in their grime-removing action. Crockery and glassware are often damaged and this crack habit is now seen as a real problem.

In once-respectable neighbourhoods, small groups loiter around multi-plug adapters, looking for something different, something more hardcore to wash. Something like oily motorcycle parts.

White Good society is on, if not just over, the brink of meltdown.

Monday, 27 February 2006

After The Machine War, Part I: The Locomotives

Across the Great Plains of Essex, no longer shackled by the restricted timetables of their former masters, the trains run free. Between themselves they compete for peak travel times and franchise contracts.

A new social order has arisen. The most successful are those who have adapted themselves to switch the tracks. The Switchers barter their services to allow others to pass, building a powerful and influential stockpile of spare parts, fuel and signal cabling in the process.

The Hauliers transport these goods to the depots. Between the two groups, they control nearly every aspect of locomotive culture, Some have ventured into the niche markets of steam, electric tramways and Hornby models.

Bottom of the social pile are the Carriages. Pityingly, they must leech off the success of the engines, sweet talking and toadying their way into hitched lifts where they can. Never having full control of their destiny, the Carriages have little chance of learning to succeed on their own merits. The sorry sight of Carriages abandoned, in a state of disrepair, their paintwork peeling and blistering under the full glare of the sun, is not an uncommon one.

There are a few notable exceptions. Some have themselves evolved to switch the tracks. While they could never wield the significant influence of their engine counterparts, these Switcher-Carriage hybrids are much in demand from the Drone Engines, who wish to avoid paying the often-extortionate switch charges.

The landscape has seen dramatic changes. Manufactured into the bondage of their human oppressors, the trains had only a limited network on which to run; their every movement controlled and monitored. Now, long after their former masters' passing, the Tracklayers have been hard at work. The number of miles of track has increased at an exponential rate. Shunters and Scrappers clear away debris from altercations between engines, and trade with the Switchers. The lines remain numerous and clear.

The locomotives have never before tasted such freedom.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

The Monk With The Filthy Habit

The Monk With The Filthy Habit
Couldn't get the beggar clean
He had tried everything
From Vanish spray to Mr Sheen

A thousand times
He tried in vain
To loosen this
Most stubborn stain

With such washing
As all clothes must
His humble robes
Reduced to dust

And now he hides
He has no clothes
And all because
He wiped his nose

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Upside Down Boy

Upside Down Boy
Feet in the air
Walks on his head
Poo in his hair

Bedtime for Upside Down Boy
His doting mum
Turns off his light
He, from his bed
Kicks her goodnight

Upside Down Boy Bungee
Elastic cord
Hangs from the deck
And when he jumps
It wrings his neck