by Madeleine D’Arcy
It’s not as if I love Rufeena anyway. Talk of love is so 21st century. People rarely shag-mate for longer than six months, these days. After a break-up, most of us go straight to our SuperThinkPads and find a replacement within minutes. Even Rufeena admitted that until she met me the longest time she ever sexed with anyone was two months. We’d made it to five months and I thought things were ultra-fine between us, but only an hour ago she dumped me.
‘I’m sorry Iggy. I don’t want to shag-mate with you any more,’ she said, looking straight at me out of the screen, so close I felt as if I could touch her.
I felt shook. I was expecting our usual Friday night encounter. I’d planned a few decent mood enhancers and a session in Rumble’s Virtual Rave.
‘I like you but it’s not enough,’ she added.
I almost said, ‘It’s enough for me, I’m not fussed,’ but I didn’t. Even Tek-Lit professors have their pride.
‘Actually, I bonus-like you,’ she said then. ‘But you don’t want to explore the Outer World and I need more from life. I want someone who will go outside with me but when I talked it up you just said no.’
Well, Rufeena was right. Like most people, I rarely go outside. What’s the point? I can see WikiLife any time. There’s no need to explore the Outer World. Everyone knows it can be dodgy out there.
Still, I hadn’t expected Rufeena to dump me so soon. I looked at her frabjous face, and she looked woeful sad – but all I could say was ‘I’m sorry’.
‘Me too,’ she said, and blanked herself from my screen.
As I click my health snack into the Micro, I still feel topsel-turvel. Rufeena and I got on so fine. She even found Tek-Lit interesting and claimed the 21st century wasn’t half as backward as most people seem to believe.
The Micro dings and I eject my healthsnack. The label says ‘AlphaMaleProteinPak’ and it’s on my Approved Intake List but, frankly, it just doesn’t appeal. I take it out and throw it in the Kompactor.
I find another package called ‘Full Traditional Breakfast (United Kingdom)’. ‘Swimple,’ I say, out loud. I’m glad I keep a few junk packets around for times like these.
As I wait for the Micro to ding once more, I can’t stop thinking about Rufeena. I like her so much I actually left my crashpad last week to meet her in real life. To disrobe and rehab myself in preparation for the life outside the old crashpad is always a palaver. I hardly ever wear anything at home except my Relaxers, but I made a big effort for the live date with Rufeena – not a velcro in sight.
The quick heli-ride to the hostelry was scary and the thought of spending a night in a LuxePad so close to the Outer World was terrifying. I was also ultra-nervous about meeting Rufeena in a non-virtual situation for the first time. I took a while to recover, but I must admit it was amazing. Rufeena is amazing… If only… Oh, I feel emotions now. Stop – I have to put her out of my head.
- The ‘Full Traditional Breakfast (United Kingdom)’ is ready and I am glad of the distraction.
- the blogger who wanted to be popular;
While I eat, I wonder why all I managed to say to Rufeena was ‘Sorry’. Surely I could have thought of something better. After all I am a Tek-Lit professor.
Why, oh why couldn’t I have just said swimple to her?
Swimple’s a good word. It derives from the word ‘Cool’ which was used from 1960 to 2000 to indicate consent. On the first primitive mobile communication devices it has been discovered that the word ‘Cool’ often smart-texted into the word ‘Book’, and research has indicaged that young people, therefore, began to use the word ‘Book’ instead of ‘Cool’. For some reason not yet divined by scholars, the word ‘Book’ was replaced by the word ‘Kindle’ on or about 2020, but that word soon became obsolete and ‘Swimple’ replaced it. ‘Swimple’ is the word we still use today to signify agreement and/or approval.
Swimple… A part of me wishes I wasn’t such a dweeb and that I could have said swimple to Rufeena without a moment’s hesitation. She’s frabjous in so many ways. She’ll soon have a new shag-mate and forget all about me. Why oh why couldn’t I have said ‘Swimple, let’s go Out-Worlding – for the sheer halibut!’ Frankly, though, I don’t think I can possibly brave such unnecessary risks. Who knows what dangers lurk in the Outer World?
I decide to work so I can get Rufeena out of my mind. My work always unfrazzles me.
A few days ago, my mother sent me an ancient computer by SpeedDelivery.
‘You might be interested,’ she said, when she skyped me. ‘It belonged to my grandfather – your great-grandfather. Apparently he typed words into it when he was young.’
That in itself is grossly interesting. My own great-grandfather may have been a primitive 21st Century blogger! They didn’t even have Reduction Info way back then.
Yesterday, when I finally managed to decode the old files from way back and download them onto my SuperThinkPad, I felt triumphant.
Immediately, I missived the head of the Tek-Lit department to tell her I might have some interesting material for my monthly seminar on Primitive Blogspots. She’s not hugely keen on the historical aspects of Tek-Lit so I always have to let new ideas for my courses slump in her head for a while before I zeal them any further.
I had to desert my new project then, while I gave a lecture to my students by MultiScrype – yesterday was a heavy teach day. Afterwards I was squarely wasted.
Now though, I have time to read what I decoded and assess my ancestor’s blog. It may well be one of the earliest blogs I’ve had an opportunity to assess. As I always say in my lectures, the primitive 21st Century blogger can be divided into three categories:
- the blogger who wanted to sell something (which sometimes included the blogger her/himself); and
- the delusional blogger, i.e. one of our ancestors who actually believed that sane people would wish to know about the mundane aspects of her/his life which were usually profoundly boring (even for a professor like myself who studies 21st Century Tek-Lit with asperger-zeal.)
I can’t wait to find out which of these categories my ancestor will turn out to be, so I turn my screen to word-mode and begin to read…
The diary, as my great-grandfather calls it, recounts the story of a year in his life. It was the year 2030 and he was 21 years old, living in a place called London. (I think this must be in what we now know as Greater Europe.) He met a girl called Eleni and he wrote in his diary about her every day. Then she had to return to her home, which was in a place called Greece. (I think this must be somewhere in Lesser Europe).
It is only when she was gone that my great-grandfather realised how much he cared about her. He missed her so much that he traveled to Greece in search of her. All he knew was the name of the island she came from and that her family lived in the small harbour town.
He wrote about his journey. After some adventures much of which I did not understand, he reached a port and boarded a marine craft he called ‘the ferry’.
‘On deck,’ he wrote, ‘I looked out on a blue sea under a hotter sun than any I had known before. The back of my neck felt far too hot despite the thick layer of Sunsafe I’d rubbed on it that morning. I wondered whether this was indeed the correct ferry or if I should find her at all. The iodine scent on the sea breeze mingled with heavy fumes of engine oil and a meaty smell of moussaka from the canteen. My heart was filled with longing but also with hope.’
The ferry reached the island and he stepped onto land and began to walk around the harbour town.
‘The houses were low and painted white,’ he wrote. ‘In the dusty street a crowd of brown-skinned people mulled around market stalls. and behold, there was Eleni, holding a basket of vegetables – and I was so afraid and hardly knew what to say. She looked at me, amazed at first, but then so happy to see me that I was filled with utter joy.’
Eleni took him to her home, where they ate olives and drank wine in something called a courtyard, which was a garden of some kind. In this place she cooked him fish in something called a barbecue, and just before they sat down to eat she asked him to pluck a lemon from a lemon tree.
This is what he wrote:
‘The leaf still attached to the lemon was so green against the yellow zesty skin and so green against the blue Mediterranean sky and so green against the colour of my true love’s red robe that I, so green a young man, in this one instant found satori. I would never, I knew, forget the scent of that lemon’.
As I read, I am filled with emotions called longings. My ancestor’s writing is not like those antique blogs I’ve read. He describes this part of his life in slow and sweet words and it is clear that his words are not written to impress, or for any reason other than to remind himself of the joy he felt. I long to experience this sweetness.
But, Hell’s Universe, how did my ancestor cope with being outside his room for so long? How did he manage in the Outer World? And if he could do it, why, for the sheer halibut, can’t I?
I pace my crashpad in a frenzel.
Finally, I rush to my SuperThinkPad and press the ‘Truth’ button. The Reduction Info is, of course – as always – a mix of truth and lies, but I am not a Tek-Lit professor for nothing, and so I diss and I diss and I diss until I discover what I need to know.
Then, though I’m almost too afraid to do it, I Scrype Rufeena.
She looks as if she has been crying. I touch her beauteous face on the screen. I want to wipe away her tears. I put my finger to my mouth and touch it with my tongue. It tastes salty and – though I know this is probably the residue from my ‘Full Traditional Breakfast (United Kingdom)’ – it seems to me that I taste her tears.
‘Rufeena,’ I say, in a rush. ‘I know I’ve been a dweeb and I’ve no experience of the Outer World, but I’ve changed. I really have. I want to explore the Outer World with you.’
She just stares at me.
‘There’s a place called Greece. I’ve checked. It’s still there. I want to go there and pick a real lemon from a real lemon tree, especially for you…’
She lowers her gaze and says nothing.
I fear that all is lost.
But then she raises her head again and smiles – a frabjous smile.
‘Swimple,’ she says.