tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 23

No Future Ch. 23


The Good of the Country

Emily was kneeling in front of the screen and staring intently at the high definition images which were her only escape from drab and dirty real life. The television was by far the most valuable of her mother's possessions. She touched the replay symbol on the touchpad which displayed an exact miniature copy of the image that was blazoned on a much larger scale on the screen.

Like any five year old, she'd much rather be watching cartoons, but the television was still stuck on a website that was screening an amateur film clip of the Lib Con Massacre. This film was showing the culmination of the siege on the Liberal Conservative Party headquarters by an angry, starving mob that was offloading its murderous frustrations just as it had done a day or so before at the Fox News England television studios. Specifically, what Emily was viewing in full graphic high-definition splendour was the wholesale massacre of a group of politicians and their supporters.

Emily had seen the film of the punching, stabbing and lynching so many times now that it no longer shocked her. There was a lot of blood. The cries for mercy and the screams of pain and agony were very frightening. The person who'd been filming the violence was very much on the side of the hate-filled rioters and narrated a commentary on the events as they happened with obvious relish.

"And now it's the turn of fucking Eric fucking Esterhazy," he yelled. "Die you fucking cunt! Just fucking die! Harr! Harr! His fucking nose is smashed. Kill the cunt!"

Emily wasn't too sure what half the words meant but they were still words she'd heard many times before. Cunt. Shit. Pee-pee. Shut the fuck up. And every word or expression was usually prefixed by 'fucking' for emphasis.

"Fuck sake, Emily," shouted her mummy, Olive, who was holding a joint in her hand and wearing nothing but a pair of slippers. "What's this shit you're watching?"

"It's only what I was fucking watching a moment ago," said Emily's Daddy for today who Emily hadn't really got to know very well yet. She knew that her new Daddy wasn't her proper Daddy because unlike Emily and Olive whose skins were pale with a slightly bluish tinge, this Daddy had very dark skin. And Emily could see all of his skin including his stiff and twitching penis.

"And what the fuck is that?" asked Olive. "It's not what you'd call approp... appropri... right for a little girl."

"It's just those riots yesterday, innit?" said Ed. "Watching the cunts getting a kicking. Look at that fucker. All his fucking teeth everywhere..."

Ed was referring to a scene where an elderly man was being kicked again and again in the mouth. Despite the high digital resolution, the image was wobbling about all over the place.

"Emily should be watching fucking cartoons," said Olive as she grabbed the touchpad out of her daughter's hands. "She shouldn't be watching this shit. What the fuck! Where's the fucking kiddie stuff?"

Ed laughed as the picture switched to some hardcore porn movie that showed explicit film of a woman's face being ejaculated on. "What kind of fucking kiddie stuff do you want?"

"Not fucking pervy stuff, you dirty-minded cunt," she said. "Here we are. Cartoons. Fucking kiddie cartoons. Not fucking sick shit."

Olive returned the touchpad remote control to her daughter. "Now you just watch this shit while me and Daddy have a cuddle on the mattress. No fucking peeking, right."

"Yes, mummy," said Emily who'd often peeked, of course, and didn't much like what she saw at all. It was just the same as the porn stuff on the television screen but not as easy to see what was going on.

"Shouldn't the kid be at fucking school or something?" wondered Ed while he stroked his penis in readiness for the action to come.

"School? Yeah, I guess so," said Olive as she lay down on the mattress which was the only furniture on the room's bare floor-boards other than the battered sofa and the kitchen chairs. They were all gathered in the living room because it was the only room in Olive's apartment other than the shower/toilet and the tiny kitchenette. "When I find a school I don't have to fight through fucking Afghanistan to get to, I'll fucking take her there."

"It ain't as bad as all that," said Ed.

"Yes it fucking is," said Olive. "It's a fucking war zone out there. Like your fucking Palestine or your fucking Pakistan. It's all fucking guns, knives and drug dealers and shit."

"You do a bit of dealing as well, you know..."

"A girl's got to fucking survive, don't she? But it ain't good, you know. There mightn't be fucking radiation or mushroom clouds or shit like that, but it ain't nice out there. I don't want my girl to get fucked by a perv or knifed by a gangster. And anyway what fucking good is school anyway? There ain't no fucking jobs no more."

Emily didn't really understand very much of what Mummy was saying. And she hated it when Mummy and her new Daddy cuddled on the mattress. It was so noisy and it looked weird. On the other hand, it was better when they did it during the day, rather than at night when Emily was trying to sleep on the sofa with the coiled spring that had poked its way through the plastic cover and chafed against her calves. On those occasions, her Mummy's vocal lovemaking kept her awake and Emily got ever so tired. What she liked best was when her Mummy was staying out of the flat somewhere else, usually still within the bounds of the sprawling Housing Estate that covered almost the whole extent of Hackney Marshes. Then Emily was able to doze on the mattress accompanied only by cartoons burbling on in the background.

In fact, cartoons were about the only entertainment Emily had to enjoy when she was at home by herself. Emily preferred it when Mummy was out during the day and was thoughtful enough to dump her daughter on one of the neighbours. Then she was able to play with children from the other flats. Emily soon discovered that other people's flats were usually no better than her mother's. Sometimes there was a separate bedroom so that there was no risk of anyone else's Mummy and Daddy cuddling while the children played or, more often, stared at the flat thin screens that dominated most households. These were powered by the same kind of heavy battery that Mummy had to buy every now and then from the supermarket just over a kilometre away. That was an intimidating place that Emily enjoyed visiting where plate glass windows protected the cashiers from the all too frequent gun raids.

Other children's Mummies and Daddies were generally much the same as Emily's. The Mummies would sit round the flat all day and usually the Daddies did much the same. This was especially so in winter when it was cold and the batteries ran down so quickly while burning up all their power on the little bar heaters that hardly kept anyone warm anyway.

Some homes had computer games which were fun to play although many were also very violent. Sometimes they were almost as bad as the film of the Lib Con Massacre, even if it was a lot easier to see what was going on.

A few children also went to school, although Olive was mostly right about the attendant risk. It was often quite dangerous just to walk along the open streets and some of the older children had scary stories to tell of the violent fights they'd witnessed. As a result, most children went to school in groups of five or more just for safety. And from what Emily had heard, even school didn't sound like it was especially safe or secure even though it was surrounded by thick metal gates and the windows were all barred.

Emily dreaded it when visitors called when she was at home alone with Mummy. The worst was the Rent Collector. He was a big man that Olive called the Fat Cunt when he wasn't there, but Mr. Obasanjo when he was visiting. He was indeed overweight and his skin was even darker than Ed's, but he was always polite to Emily. In fact, Emily sometimes wondered whether he wasn't a little too nice to her. Olive also dreaded his visits. She told her daughter that the Fat Cunt always carried a gun and a big metal stick and if Mummy didn't pay the rent he'd use one of them if he didn't use the other. Although the flats no longer officially belonged to anyone now that Hackney Borough Council had surrendered administrative control, it was men like Mr. Obasanjo who ensured that they would never be exactly free for residents.

Olive wasn't let off when she didn't have the money to pay the week's rent. Not only would she have to pay the difference the following week with interest, but she'd have to suck Mr. Obasanjo's fat stubby penis to be granted even that much dispensation.

"This time swallow the shit," Mr. Obasanjo said when he spurted out his sperm into Olive's mouth. "You know I don't like it when it drips on your fucking tits."

"Yes, Mr. Ozzabanjo," said Olive as she wiped her lips and with a pained expression let the pale goo slip down her throat.

Mr. Obasanjo slapped Olive across her face that left her with a bruise that would swell up on her pale cheek in the hours after his departure. "Don't ever fucking call me that, bitch! Obasanjo. That's my name. Daniel Obasanjo."

"I didn't mean nothing."

"Well don't say nothing, then," he said. "Just have the readies next time. All of them. Otherwise you'll have to sleep in a cardboard box under the Eastway with those other homeless cunts."

Olive's other visitors were generally less hostile than the Rent Collector, but there were still often arguments. These were mostly about drugs and money which, Emily got to realise, were usually closely associated with each other. Olive's only other source of income was from the Unemployment Workshop which she attended on a fairly irregular basis. The work was demeaning and it didn't pay well, but it supplied Olive with food tokens and a small amount of cash which could be spent on rent, drugs and batteries.

Some days were worse than others. A good day was one when Emily got enough sleep, when she got to play with her friends while Mummy was out somewhere, and when she didn't go hungry. Bad days were when there wasn't any food, when the water supply was cut off, when it was cold and there wasn't enough money to buy a battery to keep the electric heater running or to power the television.

And it was especially bad when her Mummy and the current new Daddy were arguing and shouting at each other.

This was always very frightening, especially since there was no other room for Emily to hide while Olive and the man sharing her mattress were throwing things at each other. These were the times when 'fucking' was a word used more often than any other and usually more than twice in each sentence.

"I want to go to school, Mummy," Emily said to Olive one morning after an argument which had culminated in the latest new Daddy slamming the door behind him as he left.

Her mother lay on the bed with a bruise over her face and caked blood just beneath her nose. "What, darling?" she said, feeling sorry for herself as she usually did after an altercation of this nature.

"I want to go to school, Mummy."

"It's fucking dangerous. You know what it's like out there. I don't want a girl of mine to get fucked up by some cunt."

"Mo goes to school. So does Fatty and Jack. And so does Cookie."

"Who're those cunts?"

"They're friends of mine. We play at Aunt Suzy's place when you leave me there."

"Oh, Suzy's kids. I didn't know they went to school."

"They go in some kind of convoy," said Emily.

"Convoy. What's that?"

"It's when lots of kids go together. Mo said I could go with them to school."

"What school?"

"Just school."

"I guess it's fucking Gainsborough First School. The one that got flooded last time," said Olive. She contemplated the idea for a moment. "You get free school dinners there, don't you? And they keep you warm and shit when it's cold, don't they?"

"I think so," said Emily who'd not previously been aware of the fringe benefits of schooling. She just wanted to be away from the flat and all the quarrelling. And she also wanted to spend more time with her friends.

"Yeah, if you can go with Suzy's kids then go. Just don't fucking wake me up before you leave."

"Can I go tomorrow?"

"Course you fucking can. You don't have to wear school uniform or anything, do you? Just don't go in the nude."

Clothes were a genuine problem, of course. All Emily's clothes were the wrong size and most of them were threadbare and full of holes. And usually they were also rather dirty. Olive's visits to the launderette were kept to the bare minimum. But Emily looked at her mother who as always was more or less wearing nothing at all. Emily didn't want to look like that.

"I'll tell Mo to wait for me tomorrow," said Emily.

"Yeah. Whatever," said Olive.

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