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Tales from the West-Side
Topic Started: Feb 9 2009, 08:52 PM (447 Views)
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[Originally posted in England, 2006]

Tales from the West-side

Winston 'Effort Man' Mistoffelees, Third Earl of the South Celery Street Hood, and Right-Honourable Minister of Bass, was sat behind his large mahogany desk in his ministerial office, deep in thought. He had a problem. One that appeared to have no obvious resolution. He peered over the side of his throne and gazed longingly down at the floor. There, beside the throne, lay several extra-large rolling papers and about half an ounce of the finest grade skunk that money can buy.
He stretched out again with his left hand, focusing all his willpower on that last inch, but it was no good. The gear remained tantalisingly out of reach. He straightened up again and frowned, eyes narrowing as he considered the cause of his unfortunate predicament: his right hand. It lay there on his desk, unmoving, as it had for the last six days. If asked, Winston would say this was because he had bruised it 'smacking his bitch up', but this was a lie. Actually he was just unable to lift the multitude of gold rings adorning his fingers. He had thought of calling in one of his aides to pick up the gear but unfortunately his phone was also out of reach, sitting there, taunting him from the other side of the desk.
It was now at least eight hours since Winston had last smoked anything and he was getting dangerously sober. All sorts of strange, long-forgotten thoughts were surfacing in his memory, and some of them were unnervingly coherent. Unfortunately, despite this increased mental capacity, he was unable to formulate any solution to his predicament. He did briefly toy with the idea of removing some of the rings from his right hand, but quickly dismissed such thoughts as nonsense. After several more minutes of futile stretching he gave up and went to sleep.

Three hours later Winston awoke with a plan. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out his silver-plated Colt.45. Taking careful aim, he shot through the left leg of his desk. The leg splintered and the desk fell slowly forward until it rested on the remaining stump of a leg. The phone slid slowly down the smooth inclined surface, over the edge, and into Winston's outstretched hand. Where it bounced off the gun he was still holding and clattered onto the floor.
Winston let out a long and detailed stream of profanity and fired several shots into the desk, narrowly missing his own knee. He would have slammed his fist on the desk too, had he been able to lift it. Instead he leaned over the side of his throne and fired the remaining bullets at his phone. In his rage he missed the phone completely, but did succeed in setting fire to the rolling papers. He screamed and desperately gulped in lungfuls of air as the skunk began to burn, but it was no good. In under a minute the gear was reduced to ash and he was not even mildly high.
Winston was about to let loose another salvo of profanity when he felt a tremor in his right hand. He looked round and gazed in horror as it slid down the slope of his desk and over the edge. "Argh!", he screamed, as his fist landed in his crotch. He doubled over in pain and groaned.

"Damn it homie! You should lock the door when you playin' with yo'self. I don't need to see that." Winston looked up in surprise. It was Cornelius 'Dr Cake' Buckingham, Minister for Dirty Ho's.
"Morning Cake", replied Winston, and wondered how long he'd been standing there.
"Morning my ass! We got big problems bro, and you gotta put 'em right."
"Bwanaaa... urr...", mumbled Winston.
"Ain't you noticed yet? Can't you feel it?". Cake seemed to be quite excited about something but Winston couldn't work out what it was.
"The bass, man!" continued Cake "There's no bass!".
Winston paused for a moment. There did seem to be a distinct lack of bass in the air today. He had felt something was amiss earlier in the day but had put this down to his unusually sober state of mind.
"Come on bro", demanded Cake "There's a cabinet meeting, they wanna know what you gonna do 'bout it."
"Eh... Why me?", Winston didn't like the sound of this. It could easily lead to doing some work if he wasn't careful.
"You the Minister of Bass fool!"
"Am I?"
"Hurry up man, they' waitin' fo' you."

Winston wondered how he was going to get from here to the council chamber without moving his right hand. He looked around the room then noticed his TV in the corner. It was on wheels.
"Hey Cake, push my TV over here."
"You ain't got time to watch TV man!"
"Ah, just do it man."
As Cake wheeled the TV over, Winston summoned all his strength and lifted his hand back on to the desk. He then slid it back up the smooth surface and on to the TV. Fortunately, he hadn't got round to upgrading to a flatscreen, so it was able to take the weight. The fact that he'd had the stand lowered and fitted with alloy wheels also helped. With his right hand now suitably mobile, Winston followed Cake to the council chamber.

As they approached the door it swung open and they were guided into the outer office by Albert 'Hidden Glasses' Luther.
"Morning Steve", said Winston, mis-recognising him. Albert frowned and handed them the meeting minutes which Winston immediately began rolling into a nice big spliff, before remembering he'd burnt all his weed earlier.
"Hey man, could you spare me some draw?", he asked Cake.
"Ahem", Albert cleared his throat. "They're waiting for you Winston. In the council chamber."

Winston shuffled into the council chamber, wondering if anyone would question why he had brought his TV with him.
"Hey man, why the TV?" demanded Leeroy 'Dense Fog' McLeod, Minister of Funk.
"Hey man, I don't wanna miss this show. You got a plug around here?" Winston found a plug and switched on the TV. Fortunately it was still showing pornography, so there was no further embarrassment. Winston put the remote into his pocket and turned to face the council.

Alongside Leeroy were Prime Minister Joe 'The King' King, and Benjamin 'Mr Tree' Austin, Minister for Fencing Dodgy Motors. Several other ministers were sat behind, none of them looked very happy.
King began the session, "Gentlemen, I have called this emergency session to discuss the state of the National Bass Service."
King turned to Winston, his voice controlled but clearly displeased. "Winston, the nation has been without bass for over twelve hours now. No doubt your investigation into this matter is well under way. We would be grateful if you could present your preliminary findings to the council."
"...", began Winston. He did not have any preliminary findings to report. In fact, the only time he could remember ever having anything that could be remotely described as 'preliminary findings' was once when he was searching his office for weed and discovered a small crop growing in his beard. He began rummaging in his beard but there didn't seem to be anything growing there now. All this commotion was making him hungry and he wondered if he could grow other things in his beard, like potatoes, for instance.
"You don't have a report for us, do you Winston?", King pressed.
"Leek and potato soup.", Winston declared sagely, then reconsidered. It was possible the others may find some flaws in that argument. He would have to try and pass the blame onto someone else instead.
"I told Mr Tree to go look at it..."
"I pity tha' fool tries to order me around!" shouted Mr Tree.
"I told him to go down to the Dub Plain and check it out." Winston persevered.
"I ain't gettin' in no plain fool!". Mr Tree was putting up a stout defence, and Winston could see the other ministers were getting more hostile.
"Enough of this nonsense." King stated flatly, "Winston, you will find out what has happened to the bass and you will work day and night until it is working again."
This was not Winston's idea of a good plan and he let his feelings be known. "You think I'm gonna do that? You must be even crazier than you look fool!"
"Do you know who I am?", demanded King, losing his cool.
"You must be Joe King!", said Winston, feeling very pleased with himself. He never got tired of that joke, no matter how many times he made it.
King was not amused. "No one is to sell Winston any weed until the bass is pumping again."
Winston began to cry and Cake led him out of the Council Chamber and back to his office.
"What am I gonna do man?"
"You'll just have to find out what's going down man. Don't worry, it's probably just a maintenance session taking a while."

As part of the 2001 Syncopation Act, bass under 100Hz had been nationalised. The purpose of the legislation was to provide high levels of sub-bass to all citizens, minimising the need for large individual sub-woofers that had to be carried around in 18-wheel trucks.
Citizens could now use smaller, 100-200Hz sub-woofers that could easily fit in the boot of a large four-wheel-drive, confident in the knowledge that their infrasonic needs would be provided by the National Bass.
An enormous 360kW installation was built in the wasteland between the East and West sides, and a public company, West-Side National Bass, was set up to run it. The area within a ten-mile radius around the National Bass is known as the Dub Plain, and it is completely impassable while the installation is operating. The capital city, One Time, and its suburbs, now stretch out along the edge of the Dub Plain, and the few buildings that existed within the plain have long since been shaken to dust. The Dub Plain separates the East and West sides completely and has effectively prevented a return to the wars of previous generations.
The National Bass plays a slow, steady, two-step pulse during the day, then switches to a faster 4/4 beat in the evening. All music is now based on these rhythms.

Winston trudged dejectedly out of the government buildings towards his car. He put his TV in the passenger seat and then climbed in. He started the engine and pulled away, but then immediately stopped again. The music in the car was loud enough, but without the National Bass it was tinny and lacking depth. Winston quickly realised that there was no way he could possibly drive a car in this condition.
He opened the door to get out, but as he did so a youth on a bicycle was passing by and nearly crashed into him. The youth swerved to avoid the door, lost his balance and fell off, smashing his knee into the curb. Winston got out of his car, grabbed the TV, and hurried over to the youth.
The youth was about sixteen and he was now sat on the curb examining his knee, which was bleeding slightly. He looked up as Winston approached, "Hey man, why the TV?"
"Oh, I've got a cold", replied Winston. "Can you walk?"
"Dunno man, it hurts."
Winston helped him up. The youth took one step and immediately sat down again, clutching his knee. It was clear there was no way the youth could walk anywhere so Winston decided it was safe to steal his bicycle.

Winston found it difficult to keep the bicycle going in a straight line with one hand while pushing the TV with the other. As he wobbled up the road Winston noticed several more cars sitting motionless in the road, their owners stood around listlessly, unsure of what to do. Winston tried to ride around them but lost his grip on the handlebars and nearly fell off. Fortunately his centre of gravity was in his right hand, still gripping the TV, so the bike merely made a lurching circle around the TV, before Winston regained his balance and stopped.
"Why the TV man?, asked one of the puzzled motorists.
"I've pulled a muscle." replied Winston. That gave him an idea, pulling the TV would be easier. He got off the bicycle, unravelled the power cord from the TV and tied it to the back of the saddle.
Winston was now making good progress across the city and the further he travelled, the more he began to notice the effects of the bass shortage. Cars stood abandoned all over the roads. Shops and offices had closed, while their bewildered employees and customers wandered the streets like zombies.

When Winston reached the National Bass Headquarters a small crowd had gathered outside the main entrance, but there didn't seem to be anyone around to answer their demands. Winston avoided them and cycled round to the engineering entrance at the back. The huge transformers in the substation behind the main building were humming away so it was clear they still had power. The reinforced power lines that stretched out across the Dub Plain appeared to be intact, at least as far as the horizon. Winston unlocked the door and made his way inside. The place seemed to be deserted as he made his way up to the main control room. It was empty. Usually there were three engineers in the control room. Most of the time they simply checked sound, power and temperature levels and made sure nothing untoward was occurring. Once a month they would shut down the power for two hours and travel out to the installation to conduct routine maintenance checks, but one of them would always remain in the control room.
Winston looked around the room and immediately noticed that the main power was shut off. There were no warning lights showing, so the installation was clearly working and responding to the control room.
Winston knew what to do. He slammed down the main power switch and it closed with a reassuring clunk. "All this trouble over one switch!", he thought to himself. "It's a good thing I'm around to sort out these problems. I wonder if there'll be some sort of reward for this...". He waited. Silence. Nothing happened.
"Oops...", said Winston, suddenly realising that the engineers were probably at the installation now, and switching it on would kill them. It didn't seem to working though. "Ah well... no harm done.", assumed Winston. He then noticed the information panel was displaying something: 'On-site cut-off activated'. This meant that the power had been shut off using the controls at the installation itself.
Suddenly the door opened and a young woman ran in. It was Maryanifer Cotswold, the receptionist who usually worked in the foyer. "Winston!!", she cried, "You've got to do something. They all went out into the Plain and haven't come back. We've tried ringing them but there's no answer. Oh I'm so worried something terrible's happened! You've got to help them Winston, I know you can do it!". She began to cry.
Winston was not at ease with such emotional outpourings so he gently lead her over to one of the storage cupboards and locked her in.

There was only one option now, Winston would have to go out to the installation and find out what was going on once and for all. As he left the headquarters building he noticed the crowd at the front entrance had mostly gone now. There was a church of St Yian on the other side of the road and it sounded like someone had got the old sub-woofer working again and this had drawn most of the crowd away. Winston crossed the road and entered the church, the bass was woolly and nothing like the tight, controlled force of the National Bass, but it was better than nothing. He approached the shrine and offered a prayer to St Yian. It was a long time since Winston had prayed, but he felt would need all the help he could get today.

St Yian, born Yian Korpe, lived in West-Side over fifty years ago, when the province was still a monarchy. The Queen, Helenebeth II, had outlawed all forms of electronic music and ordered a series of purges to stamp it out. Dj's were fed to the lions, clubs were torched, the Ministry of Sound was sacked and its dance floors salted. Its decks were removed and MCs were forced to repent their heresy and join male voice choirs. The entire back catalogue of music produced in the previous fifty years was erased. In town centres across the land CD burnings were organised.
Yian worked in the Classical Inquisition, a secret police force answerable only to the Queen and responsible for uncovering and eliminating underground sects producing electronic music.
The underground techno scene continued despite the persecution, and gradually gained power. Their resurgence centred around a club called Da Maxos, situated on the northern coast, which had escaped the purges. Now heavily fortified, it served as a haven for those fleeing the Inquisition.

Yian was ordered to raise an army in the capital Concerto, and march north to destroy the club. The army set off, but on the road to Da Maxos, Yian was struck down by a preponderance of bass.
A great voice proclaimed "TECHNO! TECHNO! TECHNO! TECHNO!".
Yian was paralysed with fear any could only respond "What?".
The voice continued, "Yian. Don't be a hoopstar. Everything is wrong. God is a Dj."
Yian heeded these words and repeated them to his troops. The army turned around, marched back to Concerto, and laid siege to the city. Queen Helenebeth soon surrendered and freedom of musical expression was restored. Yian was hailed as King, but he refused the position and instead formed a democratically elected council. He served as prime minister for the first term of four years, then resigned and left West-Side. He travelled south through Disposablepuppetland and eventually settled in Self-Emptying Dog where his son, Yian Korpe, formed Korpe Corp., now one of the largest companies in the region.

Winston finished his prayers but as he stood up to leave he noticed an elderly lady peering at him over the top of her glasses. "Why the TV?" she asked.
"Oh, it's for good luck.", replied Winston, and hurried out of the church before any further questions could be asked.
He got back on his bicycle and immediately set out across the Dub Plain. As he left One Time behind the path began to break up until he was simply following a dirt track. Fog began to close in and the ground was getting increasingly moist beneath his tyres as well. He was still two or three miles from the installation when he had to stop. The bike's tyres were clogged with mud and he was making no progress. He dismounted and looked around. The fog was now thick and he could not make out One Time or the installation.
"A bicycle is not a horse." he decided, and trudged onward on foot. Fortunately the TV's wider tyres were coping better with the mud so he could still continue.
After an hours walking Winston could still not see the installation. The path had completely disappeared under an inch of water and he could not be certain that he was even heading in the right direction any more. He was just beginning to panic when the wheels of his TV bumped over something.
Winston looked down and could see a shape lying in the mud. He bent down to look more closely then suddenly recoiled in horror. It was a body, lying face down in the mud. Winston hesitated for several minutes then finally plucked up the courage to turn the body over. It was a young man, probably in his twenties. Winston did not recognise him, he was not one of the engineers.
Now very worried, Winston set off again, but he had not walked far when he came across another body, this time a middle aged woman. He stopped and looked around, there were several more mounds just visible in the distance. He trudged from body to body examining them, but could not find the engineers.

After a while Winston began notice to the water was getting deeper, and each footstep was sinking further into the mud below. He did not remember there being this much water here last time he visited the installation, and although there had been some rain recently, it had only been light showers. Winston reached down and touched the water, it was cold and wet, just as he had expected.
It had been several hours since Winston had last drunk anything, and he wondered if this water would be safe to drink. He licked his finger experimentally... The water was salty. "This must be sea water", he exclaimed, "What's the sea doing here?"
Winston decided it would be unwise to go any further into this plain that was fast becoming a marsh. He turned around and headed back, retracing his route through the dead.
Winston stopped at one of the bodies, a man in his thirties, and searched his clothes. In the coat pocket was the man's wallet. There was no ID, but the wallet was stuffed with money, all East-Side currency. These people had tried to cross the Dub Plain from East-Side. Winston wondered why they would do that. They were not soldiers, and they didn't look like fugitives, just ordinary people, there were even a few children among them.
Just then Winston heard a faint splash. He jumped and span round but could see nothing. He cautiously moved in the direction of the splash. After a few paces he could just make out an shape in the distance. It was not big enough to be the installation, but as he got closer he realised it was the engineers truck. The windows were smashed and several of the tyres were burst. The driver's door had been torn off and more bodies lay in the mud around the truck. One of them had been partially run over. In the driver's seat was another figure and as he approached Winston recognised it as Janelalie Undfunk, the sound engineer.
Winston had assumed the other people had been killed by the bass, but Janelalie had not been. Her head had been split open by a heavy blow and a knife was protruding from her stomach. Winston felt sick but he had to carry on, the splash sounded again and he went round to the back of the truck. Diesel was dripping from the tank and falling into the muddy water.

He looked around and in the distance he finally saw the massive structure of the bass installation looming out of the fog. He hurried towards it. The access door was open and another body was lying halfway through the opening. It was another engineer, Winston thought his name was Freeman, but he wasn't sure. The guy had not worked there long.
As Winston stepped through the doorway a table leg came swinging round from behind the door and stuck his TV, cracking the plastic on the left-hand side. A man staggered across in front of Winston, his eyes rolling wildly and blood running from his nose. He attempted to take another swing with the table leg, but no longer had the strength and collapsed against the door frame.
Winston stepped back, nearly lost his balance under the weight of his rings, and staggered forward again, landing on his assailant and pinning him to the ground.
"You've killed us all...", wheezed the man.
"Hell you talkin' about?", asked Winston, but the man made no reply. Winston felt around his neck but could not find a pulse. The man's eyes were bloodshot and from the look of his mouth and clothes he had been coughing up blood for some time, a typical symptom of excessive bass exposure.

With great difficulty Winston stood up and retrieved his television. Now suitably mobile again he shuffled around the control room looking for a clue as to what had happened. The overhead lighting was still on, illuminating the stark functional interior of the room. Most of the lower floor was fenced off and beyond the fencing were the power amplifiers, huge grey metal boxes that reminded Winston of an electricity substation. There didn't seem to be any damage here, although there was another body over in the corner. Winston didn't recognise it. He looked up to examine the second level, where the input stage was housed. It was supported by a metal gantry and most of the controls, including the emergency cut-off switch, were located up there. Fortunately the service lift was still working, so Winston did not have to attempt to negotiate the ladder with his TV.
Another body was slumped on the metal floor, but it was not the missing engineer. Winston continued past and then stopped. He had been shown the controls before but he hadn't been paying much attention and couldn't remember what was what. He was, however, fairly certain that last time he'd been here the central console had not had a fire axe embedded in it.
Winston was about to attempt to remove the axe when a sudden movement caught his eye. He turned to his right and peered through the observation window into the speaker chamber. The 'speaker' was not actually a speaker in the normal sense. It was a giant one hundred foot fan with blades that could be oscillated to produce sound. The fan blades were still now and Winston could see someone hiding underneath them. It was Hawkin Nordlink, the final engineer.
"Hey Nordlink, over here man.", called Winston.
Nordlink spun round. "Winston! Very good to see you!"
"Get over here, we gotta get this thing working.", continued Winston, he was going to Nordlink's help if he was going to get this going again.
"Err... I'm going to stay here, and wait for my colleagues."
"Your colleagues are all dead man."
"Ah... In that case I'd better stay here.", "Err... there are a considerable number of East-Siders around and they seem determined to kill me."
"They're dead. Everybody's dead Nord."
"Umm... I have decided that I am going to stay here."
Winston had known Nordlink for a long time and he had never seen the man this scared. He would have to handle this gently.
"Get yo ass over here before I kick it over here fool!"
"My!", exclaimed Nordlink. He looked a little taken aback, but the surprise seemed to jolt some life back into him and he climbed out from under the fan blades and made his way to the control room. Winston met him at the bottom of the lift.
"Why on earth have you brought a television with you?"
"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with working TVs... and those who fix bass installations. You dig?", explained Winston.
Nordlink stared at him, "You have no idea what is going on, do you?"
"Not a clue man." admitted Winston. "Where the hell did all these East-Siders come from?"
"East-Side I expect. You see, the constant vibration from the National Bass has caused the bedrock in this area to fragment and collapse, lowering the Dub Plain and the East-side basin by over a metre in the last year. The whole area flooded in last week's storms, and the survivors had no option but to try and cross the Dub Plain. Most were killed by the bass, but a few made it here and shut down the installation."
"How do you know all this?" asked Winston.
"The chap with the table leg explained it all at great length, in-between his attempts to bludgeon me to death. It's obvious when you think about it."
"Yeah obvious." agreed Winston, dubiously. "Can we start it up again now?"
"No, don't you understand? We're sinking the entire country. If we carry on producing bass at this level then One Time will be underwater within twenty years."
"Ah we got plenty of time to fix that then. If we don't get the bass pumping again the whole place is gonna collapse tomorrow."
Nordlink paused and gazed at the floor, considering his options, "Well... I hope you know what you're doing." he eventually replied, "Starting the installation should be straight-forward enough. We just need to bypass the damaged console."
He walked over to a storage cupboard and began pulling out lengths of cable. "These should do it", he said passing the cables to Winston. "If you can climb up and start the rotors, then we can get under way."
"Hold on a minute", said Winston, "If we start the rotors won't the bass kill us?"
"There's no need to worry, the rotors will just be spinning freely, no sound is produced until we supply an input."
Winston went back up to the second level and found the rotor switch on the far side of the main console, it didn't seem to be damaged. He flicked the switch and looked through the observation window. Slowly the giant blades began to turn. Winston panicked for a moment as he heard a low hum, but then realised it was just the sound of the motor and not the main bass thump. The low hum gradually turned into a high-pitched whine as the blades turned faster and faster, now just a blur of motion.

Winston plugged the cables into the console and threw the ends down to Nordlink.
"Oh dear.", said Nordlink, looking worried. "Someone has turned on the power back at headquarters! Who would do such a thing? We could have been killed!"
"Errr... dunno." said Winston sheepishly, "Damn fool!"
"Now there's no way to fix this now. If we connect these cables we're dead."
"We have to man, it's our only hope.", implored Winston. He attempted to elaborate on this point by raising his arms to the heavens, but as soon as he let go of the TV he overbalanced and collapsed to the floor.
"That's it!", exclaimed Nordlink, "Your TV has a video player. We can plug the cables into that. It should pass through the signal no problem."
Winston starred.
"You're not following me, are you?", Norlink realised.
"Huh?", confirmed Winston.
"What does your video do when the tape finishes?"
"Err... switches off?"
"Right, and then it passes through the TV signal, except we will just be playing sound. So we play the end of this tape, just the few minutes of silence you always get at the end.", said Nordlink, ejecting the tape and examining the label. "Ah yes, 'Hardcore Lesbian Vampire Slaves - vol.22', I recognise it. One of yours?"
"Yeah man, that's my favourite!"
"Really? I always preferred volume 28. Tentacles have always fascinated me."
Nordlink forwarded the tape to the end then played the last few minutes, timing it on his watch. "Well, it seems we have fourteen minutes to reach minimum safe distance."
"Will it work?", Winston wondered out loud.
"This is all within theoretical limits...", Nordlink assured him, and began rolling out the remaining cables. "Ah... there's a slight problem. These connectors have been damaged and the cables won't stay in."
Nordlink was looking at the large connectors in the lower section that fed the power amplifiers. "We just need something to hold them in place..." He looked around, frowning, then stopped as his eyes settled on Winston. "A few of those rings should do the trick!"
"Ah man, you want my bling now too? Man, this is the worst day of my life." grumbled Winston, but he handed over four heavy gold rings. Norlink slipped them over the ends of the cables then hammered them into place using the table leg. Winston winced with every blow. "What a senseless waste!" he muttered bitterly.

Nordlink set up the tape and picked up the last cable to complete the connection. "Ready?"
"No." replied Winston.
"Right then. Let's go!" Nordlink plugged in the cable and the two of them headed for the door. Winston took out the remote control and pressed play. Fourteen minutes of silence began to count down.
They raced over to the engineers truck, jumped in, and turned the ignition. The starter motor spun, the engine started, spluttered, then stopped. Nordlink tried it again, but this time it didn't even start.
They got out and looked round the truck. There was a strong smell of diesel, it looked like all the fuel had leaked out.
"Crumbs chief!", Nordlink turned to Winston, "What do we do now?"
Winston, unused to physical activity, broke into what can best be described as a lumbering jog. Nordlink, although slimmer, faired little better, slipping and sliding in the wet mud. Slowly they made their way through the plain, away from the bass installation.
It was now early evening and although One Time was still beyond the horizon, they could clearly see the lights of the city in the darkening sky. Winston glanced at his solid gold watch and noted that the time was now 7:34. He frowned and shook his head. Winston hadn't checked the time when they left so this knowledge was of no use to him whatsoever.
Nordlink had checked the time as they left, but as he attempted to access the stopwatch feature on his watch, he took his eyes off the ground ahead, lost his footing, and fell headlong into the mud.
"Damn it man! Come on!" shouted Winston, then noticed Nordlink's ankle. He had caught it under a rock and now it was twisted at an unnatural angle.
"We ain't got time to wait!" Winston dragged Nordlink to his feat, ignoring his cries of pain, and put his arm over his shoulder. Together they hobbled onwards, but the going was slow.
Eventually the ground began to become firmer but with Nordlink now reduced to half-steps it was impossible to run. They trudged on, expecting the first bass thump to hit them any second.
Winston had been looking at the ground, carefully placing his footsteps, but something suddenly caught his eye and made him look up. There was a flashing light just above the horizon.
"Hey man, we're nearly there!" Winston recognised that light. It was the spinning laser at the top of the Ministry of Sound's spire. The tallest building in One Time.
"How long we got?" asked Winston.
Nordlink was just reading the '00:00' on his watch when the bass hit them. Winston felt the ground shake beneath his feat, then turn through ninety degrees and hit him full in the face as he lost his balance and fell forward. His stomach felt as if someone had installed a tumble dryer in it. He retched and yesterdays dinner came pouring out, but no blood. Winston still had time, but he knew he had to get moving. He forced himself to his feat and staggered over to Nordlink, but as he tried to lift him the technician pushed him away.
"You've got to leave me... I can't make it... You have to tell the others about what's happening here... The land is sinking... You have to warn them..."
Winston starred in horror
"Go!" shouted Nordlink.
Winston turned and ran. His chest felt like it was stuck in a vice and he could hardly breathe, but he staggered on. The ground shook with every beat, causing his balance to go haywire and his vision to blur, but Winston could cope with this. Years of permanent inebriation had given him an uncanny ability to stagger onwards in the right general direction despite a complete malfunction of all his senses.
Soon he could see other buildings on the horizon, and then, not far ahead, the path that he had set out on. He was coughing quite violently now, but there was no blood coming up. Winston put it down to the usual amounts of fresh air he was being forced to gulp down. He began to feel more confident. He could make it.

The lights of the city were now stretching out as far as Winston could see in either direction. He was just approaching the first of the derelict buildings abandoned on the edge of the plain. The bass was still uncomfortably powerful, but it was no longer dangerous, Winston was safe. As he stared ahead, two of the lights seemed to be moving towards him. Suddenly he realised it was a car. The driver slowed to a halt but Winston could no longer control his tired legs and his momentum carried him onwards until he collapsed across the bonnet of the car.
"Hey man! I knew you could do it bro." It was Cake, beaming from ear to ear. "We are back in business dude."
He pulled Winston off the bonnet and hugged him.
"Ah man..." was all Winston could reply.
Cake put him in the car and drove back to the government buildings.
"Hey, I gotta tell you somthin' real important." remembered Winston as the car rolled along the wide streets of the capital.
"Wait till we get back man, you can tell everyone. We nearly there."
As they got out of the car Cake reached into his pocket.
"Here you go buddy" he said, handing Winston an enormous spliff, "you've earned that one!"

Joe King, and the other ministers were waiting at the doors of the government offices. "Good work Winston! You've saved the city from certain doom. We shall have to erect a statue in your honour."
Winston thought this was an excellent idea. Exactly the sort of thing the city needs. He lit up the spliff and took a deep, long drag. "Ahhhh... that's better."

"Now Cake tells us you've something to say..." continued King.
"Mmmm....?" murmured Winston contentedly.
"Something important?"
"Erm... well..." Winston paused. Deep in what was left of his memory, synapses fired but were instantly quenched by an overwhelming haze of smoky lethargy. "Nah... I forgot."
"Something affecting all of us you said?" King pressed.
"Yeah man. I love you guys!" announced Winston, and fell asleep.
[align=center]This is what DPL is about - Also known as The Justified Ancients of West-Side - Furthermore known as the Jam
Cartographer of Canada
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Is this your idea of what the world would be like if run by guys in yellow Dada tracksuits? :rolleyes:
"I never said i was the first person..yesh. I admit Pez was the first one to throw a goat" - Fin
Leader of the Canadian Fat Whale Party from 21/5/08 - 29/8/09 and from 1/8/09 when his 48 hour brain fuzz cleared up. :D
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Yes. It was inspired by a visit to Slough.
[align=center]This is what DPL is about - Also known as The Justified Ancients of West-Side - Furthermore known as the Jam
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I like it a lot, but you need to include in it an explanation for how these guys came to be in power.

Free techno/hardcore CDs for all = large chav vote mobilised = chavs voted into power.

Perhaps? :D
"I never said i was the first person..yesh. I admit Pez was the first one to throw a goat" - Fin
Leader of the Canadian Fat Whale Party from 21/5/08 - 29/8/09 and from 1/8/09 when his 48 hour brain fuzz cleared up. :D
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