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Paintwork

by Tim Maughan

Copyright 2011 Tim Maughan

Smashwords Edition


Dedicated to Chris Maughan, for ensuring the house was always full of computers and science fiction.

Paintwork


3Cube’s feet hurt. His limited edition Eugene SureShot Nikes are two sizes two small for him, in order to try and fool the gait-tracking software. It is an old writer trick, one that 4Clover had taught him before he got sent down. Advice from a jailed writer. To be fair though it wasn’t the gait-trackers, face-clockers or even the UAVs that got 4Clover in the end. The word on the timelines had said it was a Serbian zombie-swarm hired by an irate art critic that had tracked him down and smeared his co-ordinates all across the Crime and ASB wikis. Right in the middle of a bombing too. Caught red-handed; stencil in one hand, beetle juice in the other.

3Cube doesn't recall 4Clover ever saying anything about the shoes splitting. Stretched too far by his ill-fitting feet, he knows the Nikes are split, because he can feel the Bristol drizzle soaking up into his socks. He can hear the drizzle too, taptaptaptaptap on the hood of his Adidas stormsuit. The Adidas isn’t too small at least, in fact it’s over-sized and saggy in the decades-old writers' style, the one-piece’s crotch hanging somewhere between thighs and knees. 3Cube likes the Adidas; it's relatively new, unworn. The thermostat still works, for a start; the vents still opening just in time to stop him from getting too clammy. Plus he likes the classic three-stripe pattern that runs down the arms and legs. It feels like a badge of writers' honour, that stretches back decades. Tradition, even. It feels like a uniform.

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