I stagger to my feet, lean against the bench and peel off my costume. Cold, wet and feeling a little sorry for myself, I head off in search of a more civilised location. En route, I stop at the viewpoint on Jupiter. I search my pockets for a cigarette, find one broken in two, throw half away and light the other. I take a long drag and stare into the horizon. The lighthouses on Asse and Dilbeek blink at me in counterpoint. I used to come here as a child. I had to spend time with an elder as part of an intergenerational programme. It provided senior citizens with a sense of purpose and engagement in the community, and added dignity to their lives. In return, it gave the young a more positive attitude towards society and improved their academic performance. I therefore spent time with B12. B12 would take me to the viewpoint and tell me how his family had fled the Caledonian Isles, when the Sikhs had come down from the Highlands and annexed what was then still called Britannia. They somehow survived the crossing, only to be packed into a favela outside the Wall called Tervuren. Despite the squalid conditions, and the occasional pogrom by nomadic clansmen from the South, with much dedication and hard work, they had risen above their situation. He would always conclude by saying that the dog that can ride the bus to the dog park by himself should get a job as a dog walker. Even start thinking about vertical mobility in this dog eat dog world. His rant finished, we would go to the pub, where he’d let me play at the bingo machine, while he got drunk. I exhale and flick my cigarette away. A notification from G35, marked "very important", appears in the top right of my vision. It’s an invitation to meet him in a couple of hours. I accept, blink, bend over and vomit.
released May 2, 2017
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