Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Everything here is so drab: my claustrophobic accommodation, the sluggish work transports, the dull lighting of the work arena, this entire city. I just long for colour.

I crept down the fire escape of the accommodation compound into the still silent air. It was well after sunset and the curfew. Little light penetrated this part of the city and everything was dull brownish monochrome. Even in daylight it wasn't much brighter. I'm not giving you my name. That would be dangerous, far to risky, I don't know you. I could be detained for just thinking about this crime.

My eyes adjusted to the familiar darkness. The biggest risk was right outside the accommodation compound. I ran through the large open arena reserved for work transports. Once in the surrounding shrubbery I breathed a sigh of relief. Slowly I hedged passed the derelict hangers and warehouses. Only occasionally flitting across an abandoned road. It was a long route and not particularly scenic, determined by not getting caught. And it was all so monotonously drab.
That was close. I dived into some nearby undergrowth, all thorns and brambles, beside some waste ground. Almost at the last second I had spotted an android patrol. I quaked as the totally black angular vehicle crept passed and, somehow, swallowed my fear. Only then noticing the pain in my leg, it was bleeding.
These patrols are most feared after curfew. Get caught and anything could happen. Rumours were legion and facts hard to discern. All I knew was they were manned by the black androids and controlled by some mercenary supervisors. I lay among the dank, wet and brambles. Only some time after the patrol had disappeared was it safe to resume my journey. I rubbed my leg, it hurt.

Previously I had spotted this advertising billboard on the side of a disused office block. It was prominent enough to be seen when the shuttles transported us menial workers towards the city. But during the night, in the ally beside, there was enough shadow the remain hidden. Perfect.

It was a quiet night with not too many patrols. I was able to finish my work quickly. The only sound was my aerosol can spitting dayglo yellow paint onto the billboard. No one else dare venture out in such darkness.

“Just enough,” I thought as the spray can spluttered its last. I stepped back to admire my work: two psychedelic yellow fingers gesticulating wildly at authority. In the background an obscene caricature of the supervisors resplendent in malicious lime green. I was especially pleased with the nights work. One of my best.

“Vandal.” A metallic voice behind me stepped out of the shadows.

I spun round and looked at the black android patrol lurking there.

“You're arresting me?”

“To much paperwork,” said the android. “Now bugger off.”

Dropping my spray can I slid into the night. That was unprecedented. Creeping through the back allies, in the opposite direction to home, I found a small, almost dry, alcove in which to hide. It was far to risky to return directly to accommodation compound. As the claustrophobic night hemmed me in I began to shiver. Previously I had been so intent on my work I had not noticed the cold. I had to shiver there for more than an hour. When all appeared safe I could just not help myself. I crept back through the shadows close enough to gaze upon my defiant masterpiece.

Peering round a dark corner, some distance away, I saw the black android, still there, facing the billboard. Odd, distinctly odd. Somehow it must have expressed its – what could it be? – feelings of how those malevolent supervisors ground it down.

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