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May 17, 2012 / Daniel

The Alley

[930 words, rated R]

Time is meaningless in the alley.

At first it means something, usually regret and paranoia, but less and less, then more and more. I’ve been here for ages today, staring at my arm.

I’ve had that thing in there for weeks now, and I know what it does, and I want it gone. I’ve had enough, and it just repeats and doesn’t change, and I need something new.

And it itches.

They say the itch is the nanogins, but that’s all lies. DaNAtech lies. DaNAtech miracles. DaNAtech secrets. They all lie; miracles and secrets and everyone has them and everyone’s a liar.

But whatever. It itches and it’s gotta go.

So I have to get the nerve to do the change.

I’ve done it before a dozen times or more. It’s easy once you’re down to it, but I hate starting. I hate the getting started. So i dont start, and sit here for hours not starting, and itching that damn itch.

But you know the real thrill is the new one. It’s like a treasure hunt, it could be a fortune, or it could be a waste. I’ll probably end up with less than what I have and the same amount of pain and the same amount of heal but whatever. That’s still better than sitting here not starting, itching.

So. Get to it.

Unwrap the cloth. It’s wound around my arm a couple dozen times and it’s stained with blood from the other times but off it comes. Round and round and round it comes off and opens up my real arm beneath, the scar, the pressure lines.

The skin is puffy and moist since it’s been covered, but it’s better that way, itches less.

Round and round and I have a pile.

I had a knife and that made it easier but I dunno where I left it. I thought it was in the alley but then I’m in alleys alot. This alley had a busted out window so I got a blade of glass, that’ll work. Wrap my cloth around my hand so I dont fuck up my hand doing it.

Pushing the edge in hurts alot, but it’s like falling in a lake, you only fall so far before the floating starts and then you wait, and if you’re lucky you’re still breathing at the end.

The trick isn’t the pain, the trick is missing the main pipes. No idea how I learned; it’s not like you can mess it up and learn from the mistake, it’s just something you cannot do, ever, or you drain all out.

But I do it and the cut is done and the glass falls.

Then it’s easy, the finger goes into the gash wet and warm, and you feel around for the bit that feels different. Wiggle it out like a bad tooth until you can get the edge of it in a grip and wiggle it loose and pull it free bit by bit.

You get the vertigo as the drain goes but it’s mild so I know I’m in the right place and the noise stops.

The noise stops.

And the blessed silence tells me that the circuits have disconnected and my body is letting go of the circuit board and it’s mine, or not mine anymore, and it’s pulling free like a scab.

And then it’s out. And I hold it up. Old chunk of computer. Out of me.

I think the squirrels are God.

It’s they only way they know. How else could they know. It’s so the same every time. Once they’re out of you, the boards, that’s when the squirrel comes.

And there he is, like I called him to task, and as if that’s what he’s built for.

And the squirrel takes the bloody circuit board out of my hand and scampers away and I listen.

I listen to the silence.


I’m not itching.

I miss the itching.

The squirrel comes back. God comes back.
Or a different squirrel, or a different God, I’m not sure.

But it’s a different circuit board, that I know, and it’s mine.

He drops it and scurries away again. How do they know. How do they do that.

It’s a DaNAtech miracle.

I push the shiny edge of a miracle into my arm.

What will it be when the circuits hit the stream. What will I get from it. Will I remember who I am this time.


The connections make.

I feel the new math.
I feel the new itch.
I know this one’s mine.

I shove it on in. Pick up the new board. What’s on it. I never could read them. They’re so the mystery. Full of secrets. Full of lies. Like every one of us.

Round and round the cloth goes off my hand. Gotta get the arm wrapped before the black. Round and round off the hand, round and round onto the arm.

That’s the life. That’s the circle. On and off, round and round.

It’s the Paste, they say, that does the healing so fast. It’s full of bugs that do it. Or miracles. Secrets. Lies.

Makes you heal fast, the Paste. But it goes bad, you have to get more and more all the time and I ran out a couple months ago.

It’s still good for now, the itch says so. It heals the flesh around the circuits and makes them talk, shares the secrets, the lies.

I’m whole again.

The bleeding stops. Just need to clean up.


I’ll be alright again. In the alley.

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