Entry 0069: Stations of the Cross

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EP: Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time by Gang of Four

1980 EMI Z1, 7-inch

Favorite Track: Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time

 

Nick flipped the switch inside his mouth, then stepped into the Information. The train that ran from Burlington to Neptune was late again. He’d have a few hours to deep search the Information for the missing boy. Unfiltered bytes flickered like strobe-ghosts, toggling different synapses in his brain. He heard the last known telephone call between a boy and his father, a line which went awkwardly dead on the father’s side. Yearbook photos. The color yellow permeating sports awards, bathroom slippers, a plush doll that acted as an invisible friend, the color of his eyes. February 1, 2016. Last seen at 12:26 PM. He had purchased a weekend ticket to the Ninth Planet. Ticketmaster said he was morose. The day was deserted. A summer day when the weather should have been harsh. People were stupid enough to try and swim and found the water icy. Nick depressed the switch and came back to the train station. He checked his watch. Someone was watching him.

People believe in the Information. Most of its content is false, but people believe in it anyways. So now everything in the Information is true in its own way. Nick’s talent was his ability to trace origins. Find roots. Discern fact and fiction, knowing that they bleed together. In the Information, one can solve a case without even really solving it. It’s a matter of control. Data burial. Nick was paid the big bucks so he had to watch out in real life. Believe it or not, you cannot jump over bullets in Flesh Time.

Another man stood on the other side of the tracks. The wind whipped his trench coat around his pleaded pants and immaculately polished Oxfords. The snub-nosed .38 looked tiny in the meaty paws he called hands. The man’s face was bearish and owlish–a hybrid monster of teeth, hair, and protruding nose with flaring nostrils. The man was looking at the Information. Nick wondered if he was even the target or if the man just picked up a Murder Virus, the latest in sick Information jokes.

The train whistle was louder than the gunfire. Nick flipped the switch inside his mouth, picking up his search thread. He still had an hour or two to find a better lead. Or make up a definitive case solver.

He didn’t like watching the trains rolling over the dead bodies that littered the tracks.

No wonder the trains don’t run on time.

 

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