Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Compulsory Consumer Choices Ceaseless Even Unto Death - Friday Flash

He hadn’t been shopping in a store like this for years. The last time must have been when he and his wife bought a king-sized double bed. As newly-weds they had ensured to try every mattress available, lying down and making out on each one. All in the name of test driving the springs. When his bride to be donned that Learner plate for her Hen night, she had already been thoroughly road tested. But their bed was one-sided now. He got lost in its voluminosity. The only place in this satellite system world where it was still possible to become lost. That is until they invented a GPS of the emotions. They probably already had, but presumably there wasn’t much call for it in this hurly-burly world. People were perpetually on the move and had no time to ascertain how others were disposed. 

She must have undertaken her own version of this shopping trip without him knowing. When it was still voluntary perhaps. She had opted for being dumped at sea and becoming fish food. A second mode of human transport sending her into the beyond after she had died in a multiple pile up on the motorway the size of a back alley. However the immersion in a flotation tank which he had just undertaken, had only made him throw up. He had never been terribly comfortable in water. And with this experience, he had certainly not fulfilled the brochure’s promise of losing all sense of his bodily boundaries and just gently flowing with the pacific swell. Nor had they introduced any fish to pluck at his flesh. But then the brochures never advertise that do they? 

So he wasn’t likely to be buried alongside his beloved. Even though a GPS could probably muster the location of her remains. These days humans were tagged like biological specimens in the wild. Now that they had no actual creatures left to tail after reclaiming their habitats for tarmac, leaving a mountain of tracking tags going spare. It wasn’t clear to him if the push for cars led to the upsurge in GPS devices, or the other way around. He was tagged of course, under the shoulder. But there would be no one interested in picking up his path now. 

The heft of this actually felt okay. None too weighty. He couldn’t sense the touch of the wood against any part of him. He hadn’t expected that. Maybe the wood was coated with some mild neural numbing agent. A bit of a cheat to encourage sales. Somehow he was possessed of the perception of a ton of earth on top of him, but he wasn’t experiencing it pressing down on him directly. The wood must be bearing the brunt. He could smell it though. Redolent in his nostrils, clammy, like potato skins. But he knew that he must have that inverted, tubers smell that way because they spend their whole growth in the earth. What did any of this matter anyway? He was only afforded his senses because this was a dry run.

Since he wouldn’t be able to feel the sides of the coffin’s wood when he was gone. Soil would possess no smell for his corpse to inhale. He wouldn’t be imagining he could feel the weight of anything by that point. And the contrivance of an ambient temperature, controlled by the store for the recumbent comfort of customers, would be irrelevant whether it was purchased for eternity, or not an add-on feature purchased for greater outlay. Besides, everyone knew this was a con trick. There were no cemeteries any longer. Devoured like the rest of the land beneath the ever hungry demand for roads. The human delusion of rushing around somehow forestalling the abrupt cessation brought by death. A coffin purchase could only entail a cremation, though he wondered how the authorities advised their authorised death service dealers to allow the customer to sample an incineration.

He reckoned that the ever more frequent motorway pile-ups, which had led the government to demand pre-planning with regards to body disposal, were also prompted by the car manufacturers. After all, the GPS devices should have been able to forestall most of the crashes shouldn’t they? But he couldn’t figure out how if the numbers of drivers were reduce by crash culls, how that could enable them to sell more vehicles. But what good did any of this speculation do him? He’d had the same car for a couple of decades now, so he was not a target customer dead or alive. He’d taken his wife’s wreck to a chop shop where they’d merged it with another chassis. Just so he could stay close to her. Inhale her dying breath every single day. 

Next on the menu was an air funeral. He had always liked buzzards and vultures at the zoo. Maybe there might be some spiritual communion to be had here. At least they wouldn’t try and hide the incontestable fact of your flesh being devoured by creatures with this one. He was shown into a gallery with a glass screen as a carcass of some poor animal was wheeled into the room beyond the glass. All he could see was his wife’s broken body there on the trolley. He was sick again. 


Simon K said...

One hopes that consumer choices end following one's own death. Or, perhaps, God is the great salesman in the sky ... which eternal option will you choose?

Cindy Vaskova said...

Death's quite a business, so it comes as natural for the consumer to have this many choices as the way he'd be taken care of after passing. Still death should be much simpler than this interactive world of macabre. Interesting piece, Marc.

Stephen said...

The idea of people needing a GPS of emotions because they're too busy to pick up the signs themselves is both funny and sad. Funny in that I can actually see someone inventing such a device and making money off of it. Sad in that we've become too busy that we actually lose our humanity.

There is so much in this piece to think about, Marc, I don't know quite where to begin. I like the idea of people choosing how they'll be disposed of, even if that means to be swimming with the fishes. That's one method I had never thought of. As Cindy noted, there is quite a business in death, which is why I want to be disposed of as cheaply as possible.

Steve Green said...

That's quite an idea Marc, being able to sample all those different ways of disposal before you actually need one.

Unknown said...

I've always needed an emotional GPS. I honestly don't understand them at all.