Excerpts

What I mainly do is write scripts to be made into stuff. Scripts are hard to format for WordPress (or I haven’t found a good way of formatting them yet) On this page I’ll be publishing aborted, random or interesting stuff I have written or am writing. Why? Apparently Hoxton Fin Head Bloke tells me that *Content* is everything. So, here’s some content.

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2 responses to “Excerpts

  1. This is the first chapter from a near-future, sex and politics and terrorism book I’m working on. The books is called “PF” – which stands for something very rude.

    CHAPTER ONE
    Piggyhacking
    .

    Feet slapping through puddles. The screen splattered with drops of rain. There were sparkles of grit in the rain. They turned black when they hit the blue pixels; looked like crystal frogspawn.
    He slapped and splashed to a halt in the rain as he noticed the chalk mark on the glistening black bricks. Good place for a link. The voices and the shouting were long gone, as were the following footsteps that crunched on the broken glass from the windows shattered in the explosion. If he strained he could pick out sirens cutting through the background traffic hum. He leant back against the bricks, breath clouding from hot lungs, wiping the open screen with the cuff of his too thin jacket, trying to see the Bluetooth do its stuff and link into the online access that was bleeding through the ether from the building’s radio transmitters.
    Linked.
    ‘Yes!’
    He tapped at the glowing keys on the pad, adept with the predictive text and one-handed operation. The custom job on the Kb and on the software had cost a lot. A week’s wages. However, the speed at which he could one-hand the Kb while the cradled the lappie in the crook of his arm more than made up for the expense.
    ‘Why not use a palm top for this kinda thing?’ Gless had asked half way through the job. He’d smiled and asked how many palmtops let you burn DVD Rom on the fly and allowed you the opportunity to see full screen pornography downloads without the need to squint? Gless had nodded sagely and got on with the customising.
    The Link went down.
    There was a fucking smartwall on the system, which hunted piggyhackers and had shut him out.
    He wiped the screen again and then looked anxiously back up the alleyway. Pools of yellow light from the overhead windows, illuminated a patchwork of puddles all the way back to the road where cars crisscrossed; their red tail lights and white headlights duelling blunt aches into the balls of his eyes. He looked the other way. The alley ended some fifty metres up ahead on a road that was a lot less busy than the one he had left. His knowledge of this part of the city was scant at best and non-existent as a median quotient of his geographical prowess. Onwards and upwards.
    He shrugged himself off the wall and continued jogging in the direction of the much quieter road.
    The battery life indicator on the lappie was flashing on the low end of unfashionable. He clicked the battery pack out and slid in a new one hooked from the webbing slung below his chest. The lappie fast booted and again began searching the Bluetooth shell for an access point.
    Scanning the walls for the markers had become second nature to him more than a decade ago since the strange curved *x*’s had started to appear around good nodes for wireless access. Put there by the first freeriders and piggyhackers to realise that there was a bountiful fallout of connectivity around offices that were geared for free roaming laptop use inside. Apparently, the symbols were copied from the signs Confederate soldiers would mark on the outskirts of towns they passed through; telling those who came after them if the townsfolk were sympathetic to the cause and would be happy to help out with the odd plate of food. Now they were symbols of free web access through leaky wireless radio links in a techofreako office or portals for something just a little more sinister than a free place to jack in and surf the InSuHiWa for today’s latest cool neologism.
    If anything, the rain was getting worse. Fat droplets spattered in his eyes causing him to blink like he was being disturbed by a message from an inner voice. He wished he still had his cap; he could still feel the imprint of the tight band around his forehead beneath his plastered down hair. But the cap had gone. Hooked over the camera patrolling the node at the social security office where he had been borrowing live national insurance numbers for…well…Para-legal purposes. And then the building had…erm…blown itself up. Not me guv honest – but who would have believed him due to his close proximity and his IP Address stuck in the cookie jar? Exits had to be made. Caps had to be left.
    Just before he reached the road, the lappie started to chug through its metal casing, he felt the vibes from the hard-drive kicking into life and pulled back into the shadows and flipped up the screen.
    Linking.
    He scanned the walls around him. No markers. Friendly or otherwise. He looked higher, blinking through the rain as it fell into them. The sky was the colour of an old bruise; as the lowering clouds were lit by the electric neon of the city centre.
    Ping!
    Linking. Wait.
    Something was wrong. He scored the lines of text scrolling through the open Rove Window as the software in the lappie analysed the firewall and handshook with whatever systems it was connecting too. The frequency buzzer’s dappled-hummingbird-wing icon fizzed on the GUI. There was a ton of activity and not all of it made sense.
    Some systems were designed to launch warfare virus’ back into the machines of piggyhackers. He’d lost more than his fair share of lappies in that way. Normally with the heat on like it was now and probably half the police force in the city looking for him in connection to their enquiries he would not have bothered trying to log on. But he had to connect back to the social security mainframe through the back door he had identified and make sure that all traces of his…er…presence had been removed before the Police CompCrime division got their greasy eyes on the data frozen at the time of the explosion.
    That was another weird thing.
    The explosion.
    Not that explosions were so commonplace in his life that the frequency of them was prosaic enough for him to be able to quantify differences and spot weirdness. No. It’s just that this explosion had seemed weird. There had been a quality to the flash that seemed to be in the wrong spectrum of colour. There had been a pre rumble and an electronic hum, which had made him look up from the screen and wonder what was happening.
    The weird thing was there was *time* to wonder what was happening before the explosion had ripped off the roof of the building; throwing him sideways through the torrential downpour of glass and vaporised concrete. Hugging the lappie close to his chest as he thudded into the pavement he suddenly realised he need to be away from this place as fast as his anxiety would carry him.
    Linking.
    The chuntering of the harddrive continues – whizzing like a food mixer, shaking the whole machine. This was not normal. He couldn’t find anything in the data streams filling up the screen but there was definite activity. His lappie was being accessed.
    He flicked at the off switch.
    Suddenly the weird explosion was a memory as ordinary as remembering what he had for dinner last night.
    The lappie screen stayed on.
    Perhaps his finger had slipped on the wet plastic. He held the lappie up to examine the switch. It clicked back and forth satisfyingly. There was a down-spiralling whirr from the inner fan for a split second and then it kicked in again. The machine was turning its self back on. He looked back to the screen. Still nothing out of the ordinary there.
    Today was turning out to be a weird one. Yes indeed.
    Tapping at the Kb, he closed the open windows and opened a system screen, which gave him some hard drive usage info. It was a big number. His hard drive was being accessed by a big fat line and it was sucking information out of his lappie like a five-dollar whore down on a movie star.
    He clicked open the battery case.
    The battery slid out into his hand.
    ‘Ow!’ He shouted. ‘Ow! Fucking Ow! Fucking Fucking Fucking OWWWWWWWWW!!!!’
    The red-hot battery clattered into a sizable puddle at his feet and lay there sausage-sizzling, sending wraiths of steam up into the air. He looked into the battery compartment where the contacts glowed cherry red in the inner gloom of the lappie. He could smell burning plastic and the cut of ozone across his nostrils.
    The fan whirred to a halt and the screen on the lappie went dark. He was standing now in the rain with a dead ‘puter and a ruined battery sizzling at his feet. The dark around him suddenly felt chill and cold, the rain insinuating itself down the back of his neck and past his collar became a more insistent problem. He became aware of his breathing then. It was jagged and rough, asthmatic and the pounding of his heart was a thick vibration in his chest.
    The buildings backing onto the alleyway lowered over him and he felt very very small. He couldn’t even begin to explain what had just happened. Not even, make a guess at what techofreako bit of kit and attendant software and been able to attack his machine so effectively and in some ways even try to defend itself against his interference. He looked up at the dark windows all around. Not a light behind any of them, no shadowed faces pulling back behind curtains, no breath marks on glass where watchers had been just moments before. He was alone.
    ‘But why do I feel like I’m being watched?’
    He clicked shut the lappie as he stooped to pick up the now cold battery, sliding it deftly back into the webbing. Taking one last look around the alleyway, he jogged towards the street ahead, keeping his head down.
    Coming out of the alleyway felt like release. A car swooshed by sending up an arc of spray which splashed against his shins. But he didn’t care. He didn’t care about the laughter from the open windows of the car as it passed. The shrill flutter of giggles from two females and the low gravel of two males enjoying their kerbside joke.
    He didn’t care.
    He was just glad to be out on the street away from the claustrophobic alley.
    He looked back at the street sign, marking the name of the alleyway. The sign was old, eroded, and pitted with rust. The black bricks behind it glistened with slime and rain and a hundred or more years of city dirt.
    The alley was called Porcine Walk.
    He shuddered and struck out for home.

  2. This is the start of C0D3-8R3AK3R – A YA\SF Adventure story about Autism and Punching.

    PR0L0GU3

    “Three nine seven twenty-seven”
    One six five thirty, twelve eleven thirteen ninety-four. Jim nine four fifteen pushed fifty XVIII. Twenty rain hundred.
    “Lacy!”
    Minus alpha four, crunched into the wall, eight one-thirteen-forty-thousand. Gamma five two sixty-one, Jim held out his hand. Thirteen took his fingers.
    “I’m…numbers…sorry.” Jim, twenty-three’d.
    Lacy, winded, tears in her eyes looked up at three-quarters and six.
    Jim supported Lacy as she came away from the wall and nineteen four hundred.
    She held him
    Jim felt it all slipping towards numbers again. The rain hammered nine

    0n3

    Lacy Flower was everything her name wasn’t.
    She’d punched four people already this week and it was only Wednesday. Which was the exactly kind of average she’d like to maintain thank you very much. Today was her birthday, and if they weren’t careful she’d double that score before the day was out. She sat boiling on her bed, while the social worker, whose name she couldn’t be bothered to remember, droned on and on. She droned about how wrong it was for Lace to express herself through violence, how this wasn’t what they expected from her, and a load of other stuff that probably would have made sense if she wasn’t staring out of the window.
    “Look at me Lacy.”
    “Lace.”
    “Sorry –“ sigh – “ Lace. Look this isn’t really how you want things to carry on do you?”
    “That scumbag touches my backside again and it’ll be more than his nose I break.”
    “Everyone has the right not to be abused Lace…but if we’re going to help you get a handle on your anger…”
    It was Lace’s turn to sigh. Rain spat at the window and across the fields, low clouds obscured the rooftops where the city began. It was a gloomy, depressing afternoon in February. Always was on her Birthday. If Lace ran the world, Valentine’s day and by association her birthday would be in the middle of summer.
    On a beach.
    The social worker touched Lace’s arm. Lace knew that it was calculated appropriate touch designed specifically to form a bond, to put Lace at ease and make her feel safe. Lace picked up the glass of water on the bedside cabinet and poured it over the social worker’s head. “Don’t touch me. Ever.”
    The social worker just sat there guppy-mouthed, twinkly drops of water dripping from her trendy hair-cut. (They always sent the trendy looking ones to speak to Lace when she’d behaved badly – they obviously thought trendy social workers would have more chance of, finger quotes, connecting.)
    Lace lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling, focussing on one spot, zoning out the social worker – waiting for her to give up and leave. Lace was good at that, passive resistance they called it. It threw the staff at the Unit when they were expecting Lace to be shouting and screaming. Keep them on their toes. That’s the way to survive. Never let anyone guess your next move.
    Eventually the social worker gave up and left Lace’s room. The rain was getting harder against the window and it was the noise of that that brought Lace drifting slowly back from focussing on that spot on the ceiling – a dark mark that could have been a squashed bug the end of an uncovered piece of graffiti.
    The room spoke only of the kids who’d stayed there before Lace. Apart from her clothes, there was nothing. No ornaments, no pictures of family, no toys, no games. Lace was the clothes she wore and that was it.
    All the room it ever got was a new coat of paint between occupants – the Unit hierarchy didn’t like the term inmates – “The Unit is not a Prison Lace.” They would be forever telling her. “Then why can’t I leave?” she would be forever replying. That always stumped them, because although Lace had committed no crime (well no crimes that she’d actually been caught committing it had to be said) she was as much a prisoner as any girl in youth detention or woman in Holloway Prison.
    Lace sat up, swinging her legs off the bed and looking down at her pink painted toenails. The varnish was chipped and old, her stubby toes with their too wide nails and hairy backs weren’t exactly a credit to her – but then neither was the rest of her. She knew it all wasn’t a credit to her because that’s what the staff told her.
    Lace sighed.
    This was no mood in which to be spending her birthday.
    “Better wear red.”
    Lace pulled off her top and scrambled around in the pool of clothes on the floor looking for the T-shirt she had in mind. Pulling it up like a fisherman yanking a prize fish from the river with a triumphant yell, the blood red t-shirt was soon pulled over her head and chunky shoulders. Lace stood up and turned to see her reflection in the unbreakable plastic mirror glued to the wall over the washbasin.
    Jet black hair twisted into a dozen chef’s hat bunches and held by a crazy collection of scrunchies, cherry-bauble grips and a couple of plain elastic bands, topped a broad, flat, button nosed face with a high forehead. She pointed her chin arrogantly, which had the dual effect of making her look cool and stretching out her double chin.
    “Not quite size zero yet.” She snorted at her reflection. “The snickers’ diet just isn’t working for you Lace. Fallback position then. Crisps and Minstrels.”
    She pulled down the blood red Tee over the bulge of belly balanced on her belt and reached into the pocket of her combats to retrieve a half eaten pack of Skittles. She pulled out a red one first time. “Score!” She chewed open mouthed, enjoying the sweetness spreading in her mouth and the tingle on her tongue.
    Lace slipped on her trainers without bothering with the Velcro straps – Lace wasn’t allowed laces. That always made her smile. “If Laces aren’t allowed at the Unit, why am I here then?”
    That question would always stump them too.
    If Lace ruled the world, she thought that places like The Unit would only ever employ social workers with a sense of humour.
    Lace scored another red skittle, and as the rain flung itself at the window in a renewed effort to get inside she left her room and went out to enjoy her birthday.

    *
    Its full title was The Passionfield Centre for Young People with Developmental Challenges. But everyone called it The Unit. Even the staff. To get a free ticket to the shapeless concrete and redbrick box built on the scrag-end of Essex countryside where it started to mutate into the scummy outskirts of London, you had to be bad. Well bad.
    You’d have to have wrecked your foster parent’s home, then tried to burn down the care home they transferred you to afterwards. You’d have to had escaped several times from a secure children’s home by a variety of means and you’d have to have had the local authority disown you and for them to pay for you to be placed in the privately run Unit. Well, not everyone there, but that was Lace’s story at least. She walked slowly along the corridor from the accommodation zone towards the twee-ly named common room and laughably named “tuck shop” – like it was something out of bloody Harry bloody Potter and the social workers were under the control Head of Social Care Dumble-bloody-dore. They even called the inmates pupils to give the Unit the authenticity of an educational establishment. Not that much learning went on there, unless you meant learning how to break into houses, or steal expensive cars for joy riding.
    Lace called them social workers not because they were, finger quotes, social workers but because she used social worker as a term of abuse for anyone who stuck their nose into her life without permission. Lace didn’t have a lot of time for social workers, real or otherwise. When they’d taken you away from your mum at the age of two and made you grow up in a variety of increasingly secure environments, it wasn’t really a surprise, well not to Lace anyway.
    The corridor had a few pupils walking between the common room and the accommodation area. They all avoided Lace’s gaze. It’s wasn’t even as if she went out of her way to be scary, and she certainly didn’t consider herself to be a bully. All Lace wanted was to make it very clear that anyone who messed with her would get messed up return. She’d found that it was the only way to get by in the various homes and secure placements she’d had in her fourteen…no fifteen years. Yeah, fifteen. Three more years now. Just three, Yesterday it was still four. Today it was one year less that she’d have to stay in places like this. If that wasn’t something to celebrate on her birthday then she didn’t know what was.
    The common room was unusually quiet. Lace put that down to her fast and savage display of violence two hours before. The new kid Ray something had thought it’d be funny to a) have a go at Lace for being fat, b) wonder if she’d ever get a boyfriend looking like a whale and c) touch her backside suggestively so she knew what the touch of a real man felt like for the first time.
    Ray had collapsed like a sack of potatoes at the sudden, stabbing punch, almost leaving his baseball cap floating in the air like a cartoon as he vacated it so quickly. The social workers in the room had been on them in seconds before Ray Something had a chance to get up and retaliate. Blood gushed from his nose all over his trackkie and over his Nikes. The social workers knew they didn’t have to restrain Lace at all, that she’d calmly walk back to her room to be counselled. They’d been through the routine many times before, usually when a new pupil made it their business to get up close and personal with Lace.
    Two girls with bleached-blonde council house face-lifts sat at a corner table looked away and whispered as Lace approached the TV viewing area. The TV was bolted to the wall, and in a Perspex fronted box to stop the kids getting at it when they got angry or bored or just wanted to change the channel. Social workers kept the zapper for it in the goldfish bowl like office that overlooked the common room. In a softly furnished area, Robbie the Rocker, rocked. Spent all day doing it did Robbie, just sat gripping his knees and rocking backwards and forwards. He didn’t stop for breakfast lunch or tea. The social workers had worked out that as long as they put a sandwich on his knee at the critical moment as he rocked back then his hand would come up and grab it. He’d eat like that, every mealtime. Lace had never seen him drink, not once. Maybe Robbie the Rocker drank in his room at night. Maybe he didn’t need to drink at all and he drew moisture osmotically out of the air.
    Lace snorted. She always liked the word osmosis, ever since a home-tutor had used it to describe the process though which Lace learned stuff. She couldn’t be doing with books and rubbish, she just soaked things up. She liked the thought of knowledge, like clever farts, seeping gassily through her skin as she made her way through life. And osmotically made a really cool roller-coaster movement through her head as she turned it over in her thoughts. So it was just the ignorant face-lift twins and Rockin’ Robbie. Not much of a crew to be going partying with tonight.
    “Lace?”
    Trendy-social-worker was coming out of the goldfish bowl. She had an envelope and a small iced cake with an unlit candle sticking out of the top.
    “Happy Birthday Lace.” Trendy smiled.
    Lace took the envelope. It was birthday card sized and birthday card shaped. “Is that from me mum?”
    Trendy shook her head. “Just from us here at the Unit. They’ve all signed it. Even Robbie.”
    Lace handed the card straight back. “No thanks.”
    “Cake?”
    Lace patted her tummy. “Better not, don’t want to lose by figure, eh?”
    Trendy didn’t know where to go with that.
    Lace smiled to herself. Trendy stumped twice in ten minutes. That was the best present she was getting today.
    Happy Birthday Lace.

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