The boy’s cheek had been slit open to take a car’s exhaust pipe. It had been fed through the side of his face and into his mouth, pulling it down to one side and laying on top of his tongue. It stuck out a good eight inches from his grey lips, leaking dark smoke. His eyes were dead. The boy sat naked in his wheelchair outside the bar, masturbating listlessly.
The ’70’s LCD counter on the town’s Welcome sign flickered and ticked over. Broken Wheel, pop 42. 41.
They all used to gown up when they went into the bar, but some months ago they’d had to choose between buying anti-bacterial scrub and bottled water, and water won.
Jamie was laying dead on the table. Doc Better was pouring himself the last of the whiskey, his other hand white-knuckling the bonesaw in case anyone complained. Annika was hunched over on a cracked leather stool, her tears making the blood on her white vinyl run. Her nails were convulsively scratching at her palm, where the chip was implanted.
Annika and Jamie wanted to be able to feel each other’s pulses. The chips radioed the data representation of their heartbeats, and stimulated the nerves they sat on to reproduce it.
Annika had felt Jamie’s heart stop. Right where he used to hold her hand.
(Written in under five minutes — and I’m sure it shows, but I wanted to get the idea down raw — back in March. (c) Warren Ellis 2005 all rights reserved blah blah the usual.)