chapter 7: amsterdam

In Amsterdam we gathered at the American Book Center, a group of mostly women of color, and one awesome man. The stories were incredible. I was only able to gather a few. Here they are.

our world:

our issues: the myth of tolerance (around freedom of sex and sexuality), and borders & immigration

character: she’s black. maya. she is confused, maybe an identity crisis about if she is or isn’t a cyborg. she is between 25-35, she is sexually fluid and not confused about it. she has a strong image, strong mouth/verbal. she is one of few blacks around.

setting: amsterdam in the future. extreme control/sanitization, 1984-like. technologically advanced (too much so!). white as a gone, extinct. there are many many levels of races, shades. people transport in eco-pods, green friendly. teleportation is possible but limited, controlled, and registers where you travel.

assumptions: there is a myth of equality, but still ghettoization based on spiritual powers.   powers are seen as a disability, counter technological. manipulating bodies is good.

conflict: happens on a metaphysical plane, beyond physical. a new group is coming with different spirituality, they are born teleporters. they can teleport into someone and back out. intimate border crossing as a sexual pleasure.

 

By: Simone Zeefuik

Maya slowly slides from her lover’s mind into her still tingling body and directs her attention

back to the computer. 32. She touches the grey numbers on the screen and tries to

understand what this means. For years there were 18. When a little one arrived its parents

relocated the oldest elder to a home in one of the cities without skies. In Amsterdam, the

quotum remained: never more than 18. Maya didn’t look after their tongues melted around

their sounds but before she and Yar locked fingerprints she checked the screen again. It was

a quick glance. One distracted by Yar’s time taming smile but she was sure. 18.

She looks back at the body that only agreed to her exit because it remembered the

lusciousness of her entrance. If it wasn’t for the rapidly changing number Maya would sit

back and loop their moment of pulling away so she could watch how she regathered herself

inside the only lover that has ever seen this screen. 39. Unfortunately there was no time for

longing limbs and playful vanities. They’re here. She logs into the camera’s inside the Holy

Houses and looks at outside. Dawn. She tells Yar to wake up and open the windows. They

wait, unsure of how long they will have to. Their time is now expressed in unregistered pods

instead of minutes. 42. For the first time since the final decision about the 18 quotum the

city isn’t woken by calls for prayer. If this isn’t the silence before the storm, it is at least the

steady drip that’s predicting the flood. Yar ‘s fingers meet hers on the screen. The warm

voice, normally reserved for slow pronounciations of her name and other confirmations of

pleasure, is now the bearer of bad news. “54.”

 

from Marly Pierre-Louis

I moved, first slowly, then as always all was a blur. And then I was inside. Before I could say anything, she shook violently and I was pushed back into myself.

She’s sharp. I watched her. Disoriented, confused.

I was sorry but I would try again. She had to know. Her time was limited.

For too long her kind had waged war with their chips, devices and networks. Pushing the rest of us, the ones who couldn’t keep up, farther and father out until we could exist only on the fringes. For generations we lived off he land and although it was difficult at first. Eventually our people grew strong and prosperous. We created our own communities free of technology but, soon, rich in something else entirely.

It started with Mazwi. At first, his parents couldn’t quite understand it. How he was both at one place and the other at the same time. For a while after he discovered his powers, he played tricks on the other children and the elders. But Mazwi soon matured, as did his abilities.

Mazwi was only the first. Soon after our community produced many such children. Able to will themselves from one place to another instantly. Some of them, the disciplined ones who worked hard to hone their powers were even able to occupy bodies. An erotic albeit dangerous power if used inappropriately.

It was the one I had to use now to warn Maya. It was the only way to communicate with her undetected. It was invasive and her mind was vigilant. No matter. I would keep trying. She and to be warned. Our people were returning.

from adrienne maree brown

maya shook her head, and shook it again.

as she looked at the cobblestone of singal street along the canal, she felt a presence behind her eyes, a pressure, a fullness, and an annoyance, as if she had sniffed a tiny buzzing fly into her perception. her pod swerved with her attention and she righted herself. the feeling in her head didn’t go away. she couldn’t concentrate.

‘fuck.’ she thought. she had been getting these stupid headaches lately and she didn’t have time for it. tomorrow she was receiving her upgrade, and they only came every ten years, and she needed to focus on what she wanted to get rid of and what she wanted to add.

she was absolutely done with these knees, her hamstrings were shoddy, her feet. she wondered about switching out for a completely new lower body, but she wanted to keep her trisexual genital unit. she wondered if they could do that.

suddenly she couldn’t see at all.

‘auto, auto, auto!’ she cried out, instinctually, as her vision went from red to black. her pod went to auto pilot, sliding out of the flow of traffic and dropping into the canal. she felt the pod drop, drop and then come slowly to a stop. she couldn’t see, and the disturbance in her head was getting worse.

‘what kind of fucked up migraine…’ she started to say, and then felt different words coming out, ‘hello maya’.

her voice had just spoken to her.

‘what…’
‘hello maya my name is rydell. i love amsterdam!’
as her mouth formed itself around these foreign words, maya felt herself get nauseous, dizzy, her face hurting as it moved against her effort to silence her voice.
‘i am just learning how to visit people like you.’
people like me? maya thought.
‘yes,’ her voice answered. under the control of this rydell, her voice sounded boxed together, formal. ‘you don’t know how to visit. so you don’t know how to open. i have to pry you open like a clam! ha.’

maya felt her hands shaking. she clutched her head and shook back and forth, trying to free herself from this grip. get out! she thought. get out of me!

‘ok, ok! no need to be rude about it. i thought perhaps you would be interested in adding me for a day, like you added your new fingers.’

maya blushed. her fingers had been enhanced to vibrate when inside a partner. it wasn’t a visible modification. she felt the violation of this rydell person.

‘sorry. i will act like i don’t know. hope to see you around sometime!’

then the pressure was gone, the presence. maya took a deep breath and started crying, gathering herself together in her pod, all alone.

maya looked out over the room. every shade of brown, red, copper, and gold faces looked back at her. her friends eva and delia sat there. the city council sat, light skinned and dark robed, in a row against the far wall. a cadre of notetakers, reporters and photographers were closest to the stand where maya now stood.

and they all, every single one of them, looked frightened to hear what she had to say.

she was the third person to give testimony today. it had taken months for her to admit to anyone that rydell kept coming into her mind, unbidden. she had told eva first, mostly because rydell had taken her when she was on her way to brunch with eva. next she had told delia, who was hiding a capacity to read the past and future of the world in anyone’s eyes. delia had looked into maya’s eyes and her skin had flushed.

‘what do you see,’ maya’d asked.
‘there’s something coming. coming to take the country.’ delia had answered.

many other people in amsterdam were visited in those months. everyone thought they alone were going mad. it was the pod control that put it together. the rate of emergency auto pod control instances had risen unexplainably. they did a sweep of citizens and started hearing a pattern in the stories.

maya didn’t want to say anything to these people.

rydell’s visits were enough of a violation of her privacy. but the city showed her as the third person in the rash of emergency auto pilot instances that had happened in the last four months, and as such she was required to speak. she used the language the previous two speakers had used.

‘my mind was first raped on july 12, 2045.’

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