by Paul du Preez
Last week: Rapper, du-rag had been making eyes at Leandré, Darren’s sister. While most of the crowd were virtual, those three, along with Leandré’s friends and Pastor Arendse were there for real. Pastor was talking with a banana…
Darren watched Pastor Arendse wrap it up with the giant banana – grooving reflexively with the beat while going through the ‘bless you/good to connect/you too/soon’ pantomime.
“ALL RIGHT PEOPLE! ARE WE HAVING A GOOD TIME?” Back on the room’s audio feed, Arendse’s voice boomed as he swept a penetrating glance across the room.
And, focusing on du-rag, began chanting in his deep voice, “Marcus, Marcus…”
Darren – philosophical Darren – felt a stab of jealousy. And revulsion. This guy? Seriously? And noted, with satisfaction, how du-rag (Yeah, his name’s Marcus, OK. Who zapping cares?) – how du-rag stumbled over some ambitious and suck-ulent rhyme (‘your booty like Venus is exciting my heinous…) obviously distracted by Arendse cheering him on. Darren could only see the back of du-rag’s head, but – he reckoned – the rapper probably had a shit-eating grin smeared all over his face.
A patch of darkness bloomed in Darren’s mind, deepening, becoming tunnel-like, and in it a thread of brilliant light flickered.
“Hey Pastor, I can feel the love!”
“Hallelujah! Marcus,” shouted Arendse. “I hear a hit single coming.” Then, including everyone with a generous arm-wave, “People, don’t forget you heard it first on Life-Night at The Compass.”
Du-rag tittered modestly.
And, prancing back from the mic, conjured his virtual drum pad. “Check this out!” Sparkling tablet shapes in spectrum colours arced around his front, pulsing to the beat. Du-rag tapped out a two-handed paradiddle on neighbouring tabs – hi and lo bongo-synth – and their colours, blue and magenta, exploded up his arms, brilliant against the midnight black of his spandex body-suite, and collided on his chest, flaring and morphing in visual echoes of the rhythm.
“Amazing!” boomed Arendse. “Drums control your v-dress. Who coded that? I want him.”
“It’s a her. Someone I know,” laughed du-rag, starting to push out tripping cross-rhythms.
His v-dress blazed, incandescent, spiking the angles of his body with shimmering rainbow haloes.
Virtual dress… The next big and bigger thing in fashion as faster processors and plentiful data overlaid virtual enhancements on real fabric garments in augmented reality.
And du-rag wore plain black – a blank canvass that gave the firework display of virtual light its maximum effect.
Darren’s concession to v-dress was a plain, dark-grey T-shirt. A built-in skin conductance sensor nesting between his shoulder blades (ancient tech) measured his stress and translated it into a virtual aura – at this point it was still a relatively sunny yellow.
But as he thought about du-rag’s pushback: ‘it’s a her, someone I know’, he began to wonder why – if du-rag already knew a ‘her’ who liked him enough to code him some software (truly awesome – he had to admit) – then why was du-rag eyeing up Leandré in such a…lecherous way. Not that Leandré couldn’t take care of herself, just…
A patch of darkness bloomed in Darren’s mind, deepening, becoming tunnel-like, and in it a thread of brilliant light flickered: the stress sensor in his T-shirt escalated his virtual aura to an uneasy green.
…Just, du-rag was so zapping irritating. And he had messed up Darren’s solo; bulled right into his space…
The light was now an electric worm, writhing, bright as an arc-welder’s bead. Darren’s aura flared blue.
Zap this! thinks Darren. A vintage Fender Stratocaster has way more status than a virtual drum pad, even in 2035. And he’s had enough of watching du-rag prance around like a randy Jack Russell. And even though he’s not going to plant his axe in du-rag’s brain, he’s going to show the little runt how someone with real talent can play real music on a real vintage guitar.
He drops the clutch on his multi-effects, gears up the overdrive, cranks the volume, and steps up to the mic – in front of tiny-in-tights.
Right in the middle of du-rag’s solo, never mind the crowd that’s cheering for the spandex spasm.
Or what Leandré, or Pastor Arendse, or anyone else might think.
Marcus (Du-rag) You Heard it First on Life-Night by Paul du Preez
Angel Wings by Sergei Tomakov on Pixabay https://pixabay.com/illustrations/angel-wings-fairy-isolated-4870050/
Intro Music (on Podcast)
Excerpt from Black, White and Blue by Paul du Preez
Disclaimer, Copyright and Permissions
Syblings the Syrial is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are the product of Paul du Preez’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights are reserved, including without limitation, the right to reproduce Syblings the Syrial and the original art or music associated with it, or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Paul du Preez. Copyrighted 2020 by Paul du Preez.
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