Sal stared at her bracelet, horrified. Asit’s caller ID was blinking at her. Unwilling to swirl her wrist or touch any part of her communication interface, she walked to her brother’s room. Look! Crap! Hal goggled at the flashing ID – before Asit totalled himself interfacing while travelling on his uniwheel he had been Hal’s [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Recording App

A Christmas story somewhere in 2070!

Sal stared at her bracelet, horrified.

Asit’s caller ID was blinking at her.
Unwilling to swirl her wrist or touch any part of her communication interface, she walked to her brother’s room.
Crap! Hal goggled at the flashing ID – before Asit totalled himself interfacing while travelling on his uniwheel he had been Hal’s best bud.
Some s–t has intercepted…
No, Hal! It was placed in the capsule with his ashes. His parents were so angry with it.
Sal took a deep breath and swirled her hand. Smokey screen. Strains of zigzag – Asit’s favourite sound genre. No clear image.
Who are you? How did you get this interface?
I’m Angelo the recording app

How rude! He just stopped! And AngeLO? A three-syllable name these days? Time waster!
Angelo, what are you doing with that thing and um…what IS it?
I found it near the Yucky Tip… you know what we call the collection centre for things humans die holding and have no need of past the pearly gates? Well, I tried it on my foot and on my arm and round my neck but it fits best over my eyes.
Yes I know what the Yucky Tip is…what are you doing?
I heard some jerky sounds coming from it and then a sweet voice spoke…rather crossly, though. I was just telling it I am a recording apprentice when you interru…when you spoke to me. It seems to breach the great chasm somehow.
No good can come of this. Put it away. Well… keep it for a while but check it in when your part is done here.
Recording App? We have recording apps but since when did one speak first to you, Sal?
Hal wore his interface on a wide armband. He shook it awake and ran his fingers over it. Six friends responded and were filled in with the details.
Speak to it again.
Hellooooooo. I’m sorry I stopped speaking earlier.
You sound strange and far away. Where are you?
At Hea…ven’s Gaaaate
At A1’s Gate? Why? What’s happening there?
I’ve got to leeeeave now….my part is …
He’s having a party at the A1 gate. The message flashed around interfaces throughout the city.
Where at A1’s Gate?
Parking Lot? The A1 Highway is not so much in use now. Highway A29 just opened didn’t it? So the A1 parking lot has very few Patrol vehicles in it.
There hasn’t been a party in ages.
I have never been to a party.
He must have got the OK from the higher ups, I hope? If many of us meet won’t be an unlawful assembly?
Hal, you really want to be a global advocate don’t you? Unlawful Assembly indeed! If two non-family members meet and actually speak, it’s unlawful isn’t it? We are only supposed to interface?
I have NEVER been to a party.
Sal looked pityingly at her friend Tich’s image.
Let’s have this party for Tich! Let’s go to the A1 Gate…and see what happens?
What do we tell our Mum and Dad, Sal? You know they wanted to celebrate that retro festival Yule or something. They’ve been playing those non-cred songs for weeks now.
Is that today? We’ll try to get back in time to be with them.
How will we travel? Uni, or Tandem?
Tandem; it might be…jollier.
From all over the city young humans pulled on their roller skates, roller blades, wheeled out their unicycles or shared tandems. Only the very, very superlatively rich could run the vehicles which traversed Highways 1 – 29 yet the highways kept being built; the super ultra vehicles kept being brought in to the country. The older basic wage earners like Sal and Hal’s parents used motorised cycles. The younger wage earners and information gatherers, more conscious of the needs of their planet and their footprint used unicycles, monowheels and tandems. It was not actually necessary to go anywhere. Interfaces provided connectivity and information and could be worn on wrists, round necks, as visors, and even as rings – but these provided very small images and were only used by those with hyper-sensitive eyesight.
It was unsafe, to say the least, to interface while travelling on any type of vehicle – another reason to stay in and rarely go out. But some people – e.g. Asit, did it. Forensics deduced that he had raised his eyes to view his screen, then veered off the uni track onto the path of an SUV. The SUV emitted its warning blast. Asit looked up startled and, blinded by the rhinestones and crystals trimming the SUV, crashed directly into it.
Screens at Traffic Central blipped and bleated, sending a tired old traffic rules enforcer onto his ageing vehicle. He had hoped to get off early, his family still celebrated Yule…they were anachronisms really, at least the neighbours thought so. Well, he’d get to the site which looked like being the parking lot at the A1 Highway gate and soon send them skedaddling. He fingered his belt buttons. With one push of the button on the left he could disable multiple interfaces for up to 90 days without approval from any Superior. One day without an interface would be unbearable for anyone living in the 2070s. That’s why he was confident he could control these young people.
Angelo…what is happening?
I don’t know boss, I can’t turn it off although they can’t hear my voice now. They are gathering somewhere and there is a very angry older human approaching them on his motorised cycle. I know those because there are zillions of them in the Yucky Tip. Have I put them in trouble?
Are you sure you can’t speak to them? How about if you sing?
Not sure. But shall I try this high pitched noise that humans make when they place their lips just so and they expel their breath through the little gap and go eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Yes, try that but not that maniacal screech. It’s called whistling and it’s quite an art. Not everyone can do it. Whistle a song.
Sal, Hal and a host of others milled around the parking lot. Tich was there and Mick and Sam and Tilly. It didn’t seem much of a party to Tich. There was no recording app coordinating the event to be seen and no music or lights except for the headlamp of a traffic rules enforcer’s motorised cycle.
Sound so shrill and piercing every hair on every cell of skin stiffened to attention; the air crackled with a static charge one could have touched if one could only move
g c c __bc e e d
That’s right. That’s better. Go on. Angelo’s boss watched the scene unfold
g’g’g’__fe d e___
This sound poured through the interfaces pure and sweet. It was possible to let out the breath no one knew they had been holding
People drew closer together, with dawning wonder they gazed at their interfaces, sharing with one another, inviting others to share…
The policeman wiped his brow. He recognised the tune. His wife might be playing it on their century old piano even at this moment, waiting for him.
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory, to the newborn king…
he murmured as he turned, got on his vehicleww and prepared to zoom off home. He felt good that the young people were playing this song. Maybe they knew more songs like that.
At Sal and Hal’s their parents were just beginning to worry when their interfaces came alive
Look, it’s the children at some huge rally. Lighted displays in their hands, on their hands, round their head, round their neck…they’re now singing along to an almost forgotten tune
Peace on earth and mercy, mild;
God and sinners reconciled.
Was that all right, Boss? Do you think they got the message?
Angelo’s boss nodded, relieved that the rules enforcer had understood and that some connection had been made with the young people.
I think they did get the message. Ask some others to join you. Go! Tell them on the mountains…over the hills…and everywhere!!!
Tell them… what?
Tell them what you know: that Jesus lives.

Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.