The Information Junkie
She gave me a local before inserting the needle of the drip.
Dark hair, proud breasts, slim legs, pert bum.
'Anything else, Mr Smith?'
There was but I shook my head.
'I'll bill you,' she said, and left.
I sniffed the air as she passed: talc, deodorant, musky scent.
I was reading the latest Martin Amis on disc so was able to turn the page by clicking my mouse. Martin soon had me laughing so I had to be careful not to dislodge my tubes.
They'd skilfully combined the solids and liquids conduits and because each was fitted with a non-return valve I could do one or the other, or both simultaneously, and at any time, without a worry. Long gone were the days when I'd had to ring for a bedpan or reach underneath for the bottle. I was now hardwired to all mains services.
The mobile nurse who'd given me the jab was becoming a regular. I'd thought about her a lot; she'd featured in my fantasies:
'Anything else, today, Mr Jones?'
'Yes, darling. Rip off your clothes, undress me and let's make this bed sing!!'
'Nothing at all I can do for you, then?' She left a silence. 'Sure?' She waited. 'OK. I'll bill you.'
I tried to return to Martin's fiction but the thought of food pulled me back. I shunted Amis into the sidings with one click and brought up today's menus with another. They'd arranged my screen, keyboard and mouse so that all movement was minimised: no RSI here!!! Oh, no. You could read War and Peace in one sitting in my bed without getting neck, eye or wrist strain.
The menu today was almost limitlessly varied. I'd scrolled five pages before I got bored so clicked to return to the pre-sets then entered the subroutine for Specialities of the Subcontinent.
It didn't seem that long since we'd been out as a crowd to get lagered-up then top the evening off with an Indian! At least one of us used to chuck it up again outside: the curry, the poppadoms, the lager; the beer, the crisps, the cider.
'Wouldn't it be easier,' suggested someone, 'to get pissed by proxy? Have someone else eat your curry, throw it up then file you a detailed report. You could stay at home with a video, a beer and a microwaved curry.'
We all laughed before somebody else spattered the pavement and pebbledashed a shop window.
My screen flickered for a moment: a voltage spike: they still hadn't smoothed the mains current, but the page quickly reconstructed itself.
What did I fancy today? Did I want a starter or would I go straight for the curry? Did I really want to punish myself, stuff myself stupid, or would I take it easy and think of my stomach? I was getting older, I was getting wiser, and I was beginning to learn from my mistakes. So, today, I'd soft pedal. Thus: no starter, then certainly a curry -- chicken for preference -- with probably pilau rice, but certainly two poppadoms.
'Would you like a beer, Mr Brown?'
'Chill me a bottle of Elephant's Tusk.'
And for afters? What had happened to those delightful desserts you once got covered with silver leaf and beaten gold? Used to enjoy those. Must memo Joginder on that one. So, possibly no pud tonight. Just a coffee: to aid digestion!
But I realised I wasn't sufficiently hungry yet so postponed the decision. I clicked out of dinner but, before returning to Amis, decided to grab the news so shot up to the Linotype icon. Just the usual political, economic and homicidal dross so off I clicked and back on to Martin.
Wow, can that boy write!
Now listen: I read for an hour, ordered my meal as I told you and thought about my Cyberchick, the mobile nurse.
We are clear, here, aren't we about who's doing the eating? I mean you don't think they send round a greasy bag on the back seat of a Ford Cortina. Do you? I mean you do understand, don't you, that I no longer eat...? That is, I ordered my meal from the States: Prox-E-Dyne Food Corp., USA., Inc. "We Cook...They Eat...You Enjoy."
I understood they'd subcontracted the reporting to freelancers in Bombay -- it's all done overnight so I had to order Tuesday to get a report back Wednesday.
Before I had gone fully out-of-body to eat I had tried the pre-digested stuff via my drip. My Cyberbabe hooked me up but it gave me wind: both ends. My tubes vibrated all night. Thank goodness for non-return valves.
I was a bit depressed after my current meal so decided to call up Cyberdoll feigning pain near one of my drip needles. But you couldn't put one over on her:
'It must be in your imagination,' she said tolerantly. 'Now, what can I really do for you?'
'Strip off, now,' I said. 'Slide in beside me and let's have a real experience.'
When her white starched uniform hit the floor I saw the black hairs sprouting from her pants. And when she dropped her nix -- wow! Blackbeard the Pirate! She unhooked her bra, letting the air to her jugs, and said,
'I'm going to give you such a sorting.'
I said, 'Can you really make the bed sing?'
'Pin back your ears, lover.'
So Cybergirl and I got it on. She had a tattoo; I had a tattoo: she showed me hers, I showed her mine; then we danced for a while. She shook, rattled and rolled; I rolled, rattled and shook. She gave me the Kawasaki, no kick-start required -- know what I mean, lads?; then showed me a few tricks from the medical textbook, finally pulling a couple of stunts not in any book.
She wriggled and giggled; I tickled and wiggled until we were both fizzling and sizzling, and joy wiped us off the face of the earth. Then we hiked it and biked it -- discovered we liked it; we tricked and we treated, stood up then were seated till we peaked then we troughed. Took a break for coffee and a piece of cake, and scrambled back with renewed resolve until an innocent bystander would have thought we were locked like dogs.
So we thrashed and mashed until we finally meshed -- who needs a manual? -- and all my tubes shot out with joy, and we soared above the bed in pleasure.
I was still panting but she'd already showered and was redressing:
'Will there be anything else today, Mr Smith?'
'No,' I whispered, barely able to speak.
'OK,' she said. 'I'll bill you.'
Stick with me, now; follow me closely: I decided to eat out that night, thought French would be appropriate. Started with Pâté de Campagne, then a Salad Niçoise, followed by Filets de Rouget Poêlés au Tian D'Aubergines et de Courgettes, Coulis de Tomates. Finished off with Pruneaux au Vin Rouge and Fromage Frais. You have to give notice so they can cool the wine properly:
'And to drink, Mr Jones?'
'Oh, chill me something young, French and impudent.'
You get your reports more promptly with EuroScran -- "You Scan It...We Scran It." -- because of the small time difference.
The wine was a dog. The report said you could have used it to disinfect your feet: guaranteed to shift all chiropodic yeasts, fungi, cultures and subcultures.
French wine? No thanks, mate: just chill me a Monkey's Bum. You've heard the jingle, haven't you?
Have fun...have fun...
Have fun with a Monkey's Bum.
Take time...take time...
Take time for a Monkey's Bum.
Go mad...go mad...
Go mad for a Monkey's Bum
Make mine...make mine...
Oh, make mine a Monkey's Bum.
Would you like a drink...? I'd love a Monkey's Bum.
Entertaining...? Go on: Give them a Monkey's Bum.
Tired...? Sink a Monkey's Bum.
When the chips are down...It must be a Monkey's Bum.
All alone...? Chill out with a Monkey's Bum.
Unlucky in love...? Kiss a Monkey's Bum.
Think you can handle a Monkey's Bum?
Are you man enough for a Monkey's Bum?
Honey...I shrunk the Monkey's Bum.
No: I made that last one up.
You must have guessed by now. You've guessed it, really, haven't you? No, go on, you have. Yeah, I was receiving treatment. Only they didn't call it treatment, they called it servicing. Huh? No, they looked after me very well, very concerned for my welfare. Nice people asking me lots of questions. Sensitive, you know? I wasn't producing enough serotonin, or something. Too much (oops! too many) data; too little detail. I think that's what the printout said. Because all input and output is monitored. Down to the colour and consistency of your faecal crop.
Too much E-mail; not enough Female?
I read the report which said they were now trickling Prozac and Viagra into me. The Cyberdoc also recommended I modify my reading matter, go without Martin for a while: had I considered the complete datacleanse?
'Try something lighter, Mr Brown,' he said. 'I prescribe Wodehouse,' and he downloaded a sample chapter. Free of charge!!!
Well, I tried it but soon missed the energy. Know what I mean? Thought I'd cheer myself up by proposing to Cybernurse but never pressed SEND. Probably just as well because she was already married -- big cluster on her left hand -- and, anyway, I needed to keep my fantasies alive. She fed them.
Now then, you're going to want a resolution, aren't you?Exposition...development...dénouement. OK. Try this:
All my lager mates paid me a visit one day. Said they'd missed me and could I please pull myself together, forget all this nonsense and get into some serious training for bevvying and vindalooing.
I was getting bored anyway so dialled up Cyberchick who unhooked me and configured a program which got me back into shape. Three months later I could sink a lager and discharge a madras like a good 'un. Oh, yes, and I finished the Martin Amis -- this time by interacting with the hard copy. But the best news of all is that the nurse from CyberMed had never married. The rings were a professional feint.
Mm? Yeah, you've guessed it: I'm wearing a ring now. I drink less, I eat fewer curries, because I've now got a real, living doll.
Is there a moral here? Probably. Anyhow, fellow E-mailers, always remember: all things in moderation. Especially moderation.
Love ya. See you around. Drop by for a lager or Josh whenever you like. Got to go now: time for my massage! Ciao.
P.S. Does anyone think I should copy this to Martin Amis? Is he on the Web?
P.P.S. Got to dash -- I can smell the oils.
P.P.P.S. She can cook, too!!!
About the author:
Born Dundee, Scotland 1949. Trained as an actor and worked in the theatre. Has also worked in retailing and financial services. Stories and articles have appeared (or are forthcoming) in SmokeLong Quarterly, Pindeldyboz, Eclectica, BuzzWords, Peninsular, Countryside Tales, Scribble. Lives and works in Brighton, England.