“How may I assist you, Sir?” A white haired salesman wearing a dark suit and tie called out from behind the counter. There was a halo of blue light around his head.
Bazza, in a hoodie and low-slung baggy trousers, gazed past him, looking for the guys who’d served him last time, regular dudes in Whizz Electronics tee shirts who skateboarded to work.
“Alright,” he said, noticing the man’s tie begin to pulsate and change colour. “I wanna buy a new cell phone, mate, one I can use for Skyping.”
“I’m sorry, Sir. Cell phones haven’t been invented yet.”
“You’re a fecken riot, you are. I gotta get a new cell phone so I can Skype my girl, Sheila. She’s splitting to The Big Apple next week. Man, she’s a hot chick.” His hands traced her curves in the air.
“Unfortunately, Sir, Skype video calling has also not been invented yet,” said the man, shaking his head rapidly, sending out shafts of light that burst into pyrotechnic stars.
Bazza stared at him, stepped back, looked around and took off his shades.
“May I interest you in one of the new mantel radios,” the man went on. “Perhaps a record player, or a radiogram?”
“Up yours,” Bazza muttered, and stomped from the shop.
On the footpath, he took his old cell phone from his pocket, tapped out <Hey, Sheila, Whizz E has trnd into a fekn museem!> and pressed the send button.
A message flashed up: “Error 667: Text Service Unknown.”
Bazza’s eye-brows arched to the back of his head. A chill crept along his spine from his exposed butt crack to his scrawny neck.
He pressed the resend button over and over again, but the same message appeared each time.
He pocketed his useless phone, leaned back against a shop window, rubbed his eyes and looked around. Cars were passing by in slow motion and seemed larger than usual. The footpath was busy with pedestrians, all clutching shopping bags, and gliding by with big strides, as if on ice.
He stepped into the centre of the footpath, forcing a middle-aged lady to perform a flying sit spin in mid air, then land on the footpath spiraling on one leg.
“Hey, lady, is your cell phone working?”
The woman bared her teeth, arched her back and hissed like a cat.
Bazza shrieked and ran onto the road.
Tripping on his trouser cuffs, he struck his head on the wing mirror of a Studebaker taxi and fell to the ground.
He was inside a billowing, dark cloud, stretching like a broken wing towards infinity. Glowing blobs floated around him.
“They’re memories of bogans, all that remains,” whispered a voice.
Bazza spun around to face the white-haired man from Whizz Electronics.
“Everyone who dies leaves a memory,” said the man.
“Is this The Cloud?”
“Not the one you mean,” the man replied, raising an eyebrow. “Not The Cloud where data will be stored, documents, emails, text messages, photos, video, files and so on. That cloud hasn’t been invented yet.”
“Shit, you’re a funny guy.”
“This is the Cloud of Boganville where memories of dead Bogans reside,” the man continued. “But only until the last person who remembers them has died.”
A blob floating in front of Bazza’s face gave a faint cry, then dimmed slowly and vanished into a vapour that drifted towards the outer fringe of the cloud and disappeared from view.
“Deleted,” said the man. “Forever.”
“Don’t shit me, man. You can just undelete from Trash, didn’t ya know! And, hey, if some dude’s already emptied Trash, you just use your Data Recovery Programme.”
“I’m talking biological deletion.”
“Death. Like you have a bad trip, start seeing things, get delusional, step in front of a Studebaker and get your head knocked off. You stop living.”
“Dead? No more Bazza? Who’ll get Sheila? Let me outta here! I’ll be good! I’m too young to die!”
“Bad trip? Where you been?” asked Sheila, as Bazza burst in the door and stared around the sitting room of their downtown pad.
The familiar objects were there…the table piled with KFC cartons, overflowing ashtrays, armchairs with protruding springs, smoke-stained drapes.
Bazza slumped onto the sofa, rolled onto the floor, lay panting for several minutes, and then staggered to his feet, eyes spinning.
“Looks like you need another one,” grinned Sheila.
“Nuh,” moaned Bazza, rocking to and fro, his head in his hands. “I’m over that dopey shit.”