Pull The Other One

     So, there I was, quietly minding me own, when there’s a noise outside the door. It takes me by surprise. I open the door and there’s what looks like an old woman crumpled up on my doorstep. When I tells her to clear off ‘cos I don’t know whether she up to date on her vax or not, she starts bawling. Then I had to let her in, because she started making so much racket that someone was going to notice, which would mean I would loose rating. I’m thinking, if this old woman gives me an infection I can graphene the shit out of it, no problem. If she costs me rating, it’ll take me months to to rebuild, and I thought, I’ll be fucked if I’m working extra time for some old bint. 
    So I gets her in by half dragging and half carrying her. She looks out of place. I’m not used to excess items in my living area. She smelt terrible. I didn’t know human beings could smell like that. She looked proper fucked ‘en all. Definitely never used medi.
     Anyways, I pulls her through the door cos of her howling. I tell her to be quiet but she’s not listening. Just crying and crying. I give her some water from my hand cos I don’t want her to touch my bottle. She sucks it up through her toothless mouth. Her whiskers brushing against my hand makes me feel sick. Touching people is not something I do. Ever. She looks up at me, expecting something. I don’t know what. When she’s stopped drinking she crawls away from me, to the corner of the room, curls up and falls asleep. She looks and smells like garbage. I think I should put her in a sack and throw her out, but the thought of the noise stops me.
     I spend the night working, like every night and, in the morning the woman wakes up. I switch to room mode and see that she’s looking at me. She asks me for food by putting her fingers to her mouth. I reach over and put a few snacks on the floor in front of her. I turn away as she eats. Putting music on to hide the noise of her sucking gums. I switch back to work mode to tidy up before signing out. I twist my chair round to look at the her, hoping she wants to leave.
       Perking up a bit, she starts talking. ‘Listen’, she says, in perfect English, like she’s spoken it her whole life. ‘I need to tell you something. A story’. I sigh and mutter under my breath. ‘It’s important’, she says. I ask her who it’s important to. ‘Please’, she says, ‘let me just tell you’. Then she asks if I can record it so I can share it. I said not fucking likely, my ratings gonna to be smashed in already just with her being here, let alone me sharing a fucking story. I tell her she’s in the wrong place. She says she can’t go anywhere else, so I’ll have to do. That makes me feel really good. At least we are both unhappy about the situation. Anyway, she insists and I want her gone, quick as, so I agree. I’ll record her story and tell it to someone else if she agrees to go away. It better not be a long story neither. I want to go to sleep.
     She sits up with her back against the corner. I notice she is leaving a mark on the wall. This annoys me. I tell her to lean forward. She says she can’t. It hurts. I sigh and sit back down. I tell her I’m not interested in stories. She says that’s not her problem. I switch on record mode and tell her to get on with it.
     She begins her story. I keep telling her to hurry up, but she just ignores me. Droning on about the past like it means something. At one point I even fuck off for a bit and leave it recording. When I got back she’s still going on. I’m not going to tell you the whole story. It’s boring and to be honest, I can’t be bothered.
     I was brought up to believe that if you say you’re gonna do something, you fucking do it. So here’s the story as told to me, by the smelly, un-vaxed, un-med, toothless, whiskery, probably unchipped, soon to be forgotten, woman, who came knocking at the door.
     Sixty years ago, there was a parliament in what used to be London. This parliament pretended to look after the people but it’s real function was to protect those in charge. (Don’t ask me, I’m only telling you).  In that parliament, this woman worked for a department who’s job it was to recognise and neutralise threats. It was her job to sweet talk anybody who found themselves with enough wealth to influence society, that the best thing they could do was go to space and start again.
     Anyway, turns out she weren’t very good at her job, ‘cos one of those minted types lied to her and did the dirty on parliament. Without telling no one, once they had control of manufacturing and the media. They bought the power stations and invested in housing. Bought up the farms and the super markets, took control of food. Took over the banks and wrote off everybody’s debt. Then they started giving people money for nuffin’,  which meant people stopped doing jobs they din’ wanna to do.  It din’ take long for the monarchy to come over to their side and, with them the military. They made deals with other countries over the money that could be made if they all got on. Parliament became less and less significant, and finally didn’t mean nuffin’. London became a ghost town because nobody needed to skivvy and the posh lot either joined in or, like the old woman, had to crawl off and do the best they could for ‘emselves, living on the scraps. Her and her mates ended up in an underground tunnel where she lived until the other other day, when she knew she was going to die and needed to tell someone what had happened.
     I told her I shouldn’t think anyone cared, at which point she got up and left. I hope nobody saw her leave. It wouldn’t do to have someone gabbing on about me having someone round when I’m in work mode. Science fiction flicks are full of stories of people’s lives being turned upside down by strangers knocking on their door. Thankfully, I’m not one of them. Silly old cow.                 



 Ben Greenland


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