Distant Machines

Simon John Cox

Copyright © 2012 Simon John Cox

Smashwords Edition

Perks Of The Job

On the way to the hotel we see a man. He is perched on a street corner in the rain, black hair slick on sodden forehead, talking to himself and painting erratic patterns in the air with his hands. Passers-by ignore him, flitting past as though he were contagious, hunched like spiders under their sleek black umbrellas. Wei says he looks crazy. We drive past him and continue into the hotel car park.

The marble of the lobby is chilly, and when the doors swish shut behind us the rain’s warm hiss becomes as distant as a dream. Two receptionists greet us neatly from behind an imposing marble desk across which petrified lightning crackles. Age has faded one of the women, who resorts to make-up to solidify herself, whilst the other has wide, cloud-sad eyes. She looks about the same age as my daughter.

Inspectors Wei and Hsu,” I say to the younger one as I activate my identification card. The blue holographic image of my face hangs for a moment in the air between us.

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