Skip navigation.
Write - Share - Read - Respond


Gus Savoie's picture

I take a great deal of Listerine with my morning shave. Screw off the top, measure a capful into it and drop it in the hatch. Then begin lathering up, strategically swishing the stinging alcohol around while applying the crème. Transfer liquid from inner-cheek to inner-cheek, over tongue and gums whilst drawing the razor over a stubbled visage. The initial sparkle of the cleaning mouthwash fades quickly into a searing, chemical burn that continues to build and infect all pockets and corners of my mouth during the shaving process. Race to finish, rinse and towel my face and then clean the razor and brush and return them to their places. The blistering torture is threatening to crawl into my throat. Spit in agonized torture, nearly puking with adrenaline-pushed, fear response.

Fast shave, energy boost and fresh breath. The worst thing that will happen to me all day. Much more pleasant than eating a toad.

This is my ritual.

Breakfast occurs on my way to the door. I prefer to leave the house in the morning. I have nowhere I have to be, and so I have made it my habit to exit the house for exactly one hour before returning to begin work. On Thursdays, such as it is today, I drink a pre-mixed tetrapak of chocolate instant-breakfast. The tetrapak is empty before I walk through the door. This is ritual, this is efficient and important. The recycle box is next on my left as I exit, just inside the garage. Open palm, tetrapak in the box. Thank you gravity.

Car is locked. For no reason other than I like to operate the remote entry fob. I also like the word fob. It has no reason for being other than to describe this tiny lump of plastic, lovingly designed by ergonomic functionary robots in a discovery lab in Sweden. Upon unlocking the car door I walk to the rear hatch and let my mind rest for a moment on the creation of my fob. A quick series of images is played back like a high-speed slideshow.

A shining silver and white robot, aesthetically a design compromise between modular function and Swiss post-modernity, approaches a similar robot clad in a floor length, black tunic. They are facing each other in a brightly lit, white geodesic room in which is it hard to see any detail other than the tunic-clad robot is standing on a slightly raised section of the gleaming white floor. His black cloth is emblazoned with a fierce, red letter h, he is holding a small silver bowl in his grips. Next frame. The first robot in close-up, his mouth is open and his chin is up. His head is a space-helmet with a face, round yet with sharp, simplified features. His eyes are concave, onyx teardrops. The nose is suggested with a rectangular expression of vacuum-moulded plastics. His mouth is a hinged skull’s lower jaw, tooth cavities empty and planed to a smooth, silver surface. Next frame. The shining silvery bowl is tipped up, raining a motion-blurred profusion of black Lego 8-nub blocks into the hungry, open skull-mouth of the awaiting robot. Next frame. Looking over the shoulder of the just fed robot. His head is looking straight ahead now, his mouth closed. The silver bowl is upturned, on the floor almost out of frame near the curve of the domed wall. The red symbol on the residing robot’s tunic has changed, transfigured to a outline contour of the key-fob. In the image it is pulsating to a sickeningly vibrant fuchsia. He knows what to do now. Next image. The robot is near the curve of the domed wall. The silvery bowl is upright again and the robot is over it, pneumatic knees bent and his segmented back hunched into a standing squat. A look of serene concentration is on his unmalleable face. Final frame. Close-up of silvery bowl. The contents: one black key-fob. Its tiny rubber buttons virginal and untouched. The inverse palm of its form reflected ad infinitum within the indras web of the shiny vessel.

I drop my leather satchel into the hatch of the vehicle and close the lid. Five steps to the driver’s door. Two fluid moves to the leather pilots seat. Wrist turns, console blinks to life. Orange and red light penetrates to my retinas in the dim of the cabin. The motor purrs in near silence and the vibration massages my coccyx. Taint enjoys German automobile engineering. Indeed it does.

Parked outside the gates of Thane park. The night’s fog is retreating across the manicured lawns. Moist and slowly rousing somnambulists are treading like frozen zombies toward the Starbucks across Avenue Road.

Occasionally one is struck by a delivery van, driven by booze inflicted teenage girls, rushing to return their mother’s work vehicle to the garage before she notices it missing. Nobody takes any notice, being half-asleep as it is and disoriented from waking up in the park. The body disappeared.

Rumour has it the guy was alright. Rumour has it the guy had a death-wish. Rumour has it the guy won the lottery.

No, I’m the guy and I broke my leg. The bitch shoved me into the back of the van, drove to Canterbury Street, left me with her dope-peddling, idiot boyfriend. He fed me breakfast burritos and a massive pot brownie. We got totally trashed and watched Ren and Stimpy cartoons for like six hours. Man, that shit is fucking twisted! Anyway, I was going to call in sick but by this time I was so fucked up, I was afraid if I got my boss on the phone I’d start randomly jabbering and turnips being aligned with Venus and how the age of bacterius was finally about to crack the egg-shapes of dawn or some shit. So I just fucking laid low. Have you ever eaten Cheese-doodles? I never did before that day. I know! Trevor (that’s the idiot boyfriend) totally could not fucking believe it. He was totally amazed. Anyway, when he found that out, he just HAD to get me to try some. So he bummed a bit of cash off me and popped downstairs to grab some. Yeah, he lives above a convenience store, how fucking awesome is that? So he comes back with some beers and this bag of cheese-doodles. I’ve seen them in the store an shit, I’m not some kind of alien from the planet Xenon or something – yeah I know what they fucking are, but I just never bothered to try them before. You know what – they are fucking poison! First off, they are the colour of a nuclear disaster. Second the flavour they use tastes like it was scraped from Satan’s fucking bunions. Third – what the fuck is that shit in the middle, corn-foam? That is wrong on so many levels. So we drank the beers, smoked some reefer and played Mario-Party 19 until Trevor’s girlfriend came back to check on me. Dude, he’s so close to dumping her ass. She’s a total dope-hound, plus she takes advantage of his generous nature. Take dumping me on him for instance! I mean, sure – it all turned out alright cuz we just chilled and had a nice wake-n-bakin’ kind of day but what if I had been some kind of asshole? Man that would have been a totally drag. That is just not cool – she needs to learn how to take care of her own shit, y’know? Well at least she puts out. So Sadie shows up (yup, you guessed it, that’s her name) and she –

Oh shit, there he is. Mr. Mundane. The space-donkey. The dial-tone man. Mr. Leisurepants. This guy never gets old.

I duck down and pretend to inspect the carpet. Of course, there is no carpet in this vehicle. The factory installed flooring has been removed and replaced with poly-ceramic roofing particulate. It smells like various vinyls and polysorbate compounds but it repels bodily fluids and room-temperature mercury like nobody’s business.

I don’t think he saw me. He is blind after all, but not entirely blind. Actually he is only colour-blind. And even then – the only colour he cannot see is somewhere in between “Incan cocoa” and “guacamole sunrise”. Still – I think I’m safe, for now.

MikePearce's picture

Loved it, not sure why

Loved it, not sure why though...