The Strange Love Of A Girl And Her Hippo:
Snapshots Of The City
by Simon Field

It was past midnight, and I'd run out of ammunition.

There's a special sort of empty feeling reserved for moments like this. When you're naked as the day you were born, standing on a rooftop, stroking the steaming barrel of your brand new .80 calibre Colt Neighbour-Silencer 400 series assault rifle that's just this moment clicked on empty.

Military technology for the home consumer- Buy it today! Because they might have theirs already.

I love paranoia. And I love the meaty thud of recoil. And I love blowing huge bastard chunks out of the nearby city blocks.

If I shoot it enough, maybe I can kill the bastard.

Because I hate every stinking steaming square inch of this place. So I shot it some more. And now I don't have any ammunition left. But I do have half a hard-on, which is cause for celebration

And apart from the trail of bloody bodies in my wake, it's like I've hardly been here. Nothing changes. Nothing ever damn well changes. I can talk all I want, but nobody listens.


This afternoon at about half past one, I watched a young girl douse herself in lighter fluid. She stood for a moment, on the sidewalk in front of the cafe I'd been busy trying not to execute the dumb-ass waiter in, then set fire to herself. How difficult is it to get one bloody order right anyways? She had pretty hair. In bunches. And as she burnt, just before she started to scream, she shouted something. Nobody could make it out.

I recorded it. Later I played it back and extrapolated enough data to know what she said.

They say death by fire isn't all that unpleasant, because after a moment or two the flames have burnt away the skin along with all of the pain receptors. Of course, they also say necrophilia isn't half as squishy as you might think. So personally I reckon we all know where 'they' can go, and what 'they' can do when they get there.

'For love!' She had yelled. So I smiled, and took some more drugs.

It's all about informed consent. There's not much denied to us now, with all of our gene-fixing, trait-enhancing, nanotech-served slaved indulgences. Nothing is taboo. It didn't even cause much of a stir, this sight, of the girl going up in flames. Sure, the assistant upchucked into her lizard-eye noodles. But mostly we all just watched. Like it wasn't real. Like it didn't touch us. Well, except for that poor dumb bastard who tried to light his Fat-Boy cigar off her. And now he's a poor dumb bastard without any eyebrows.

Damn, that was funny.

Love. That's a word I don't hear everyday. So I looked it up in the online dictionary, and it came back with 212 different types of fucking. Some of which I'd never even heard of before.

Dead end. But the girls face had looked familiar, and it didn't take long for a newsfeed search to turn up her identity. 'Creme' Carmel Chambers, a 23 year old actress and performer on Sex-Puppets.

A thousand stills of her perky breasts flounced across my vision.

The free market economy. We have finally measured, controlled and priced the human soul. Everything is a commodity. It makes a strange kind of sense to have little girls screwing giant blue and pink fuzzy hippos on prime time. It's called freedom. Behold what we do with it.

Are we not glorious?

When you're the cities most famous journalist it doesn't take long to tempt people into talking to you. It's the light in their eyes. Deal with the devil. Can they be part of the story? Please Spider, please! They suckle at my teat, and it's a wretched thing. But essential. We are all slaves to the story. Me, and Carmel, and the assistant. Even the fucking Hippo. But in ways I hadn't yet figured out.

Turned out there was a secret, but the telling of it would cost. Hard currency. So I called Royce. Time to remind the crapweasal that an editors sole function is to keep the blank checks rolling out the door to the people that do real work.

'Spider! Where's my fucking column!'

He was pleased to see me, I could tell.

'I need money.' The way I said it, perfectly reasonable. 'And if you don't give me it you loathsome heap of stinking refuse, I will personally come down there, attach a table to your scrotum with this staple-gun, and then throw said piece of furniture out of the god-damn window.'

'I'm in the middle of a fucking editorial meeting!'

He screams at me, as if this is supposed to impress me. And jesus, it's like Charles Manson presiding over the Nuremberg Trails. Throw in some hookers dressed in kinky Nazi outfits and we're probably getting closer to the truth on this one. Editorial meeting. I bet.

'Then the quicker you wire over the funds, the quicker you can get back to your group masturbatory session.'

'This had better be good Spider.'

'Trust me. It involves nudity. You'll love it.'

The cash rolled into my account. Those numbers ticking over gave me shivers. I suppressed the urge to bug-out and head for the New-Vegas Gambling Pleasurama, and instead headed off to meet my contact. A greasy assistant director of the show the late Ms Chambers featured on.

He made it quite clear of the time he was taking out of his essential work. Some foul accumulation of 'best-of' clips of Carmels most athletic performances intercut with footage of her death, due to show as part of a memorial show this evening. Celebrating her work and her life. I waved the credits under his nose, and he soon started talking.

Or at least he did when I pointed out how much time I was taking out of my own essential projects to be here, and how very displeased I would be if some jokey-ass timewaster in a bad fitting suit decided to fuck with me. Although I might just have said - 'Talk to me now you louse-ridden bastard', and pointed a gun at his head.

I'm a little blurry on the details.

The managing director of the station had grown concerned over a number of high profile departures from the show. So she hatched on a plan to make the performers grow more attached to the various robotic and gene-gineered creatures that made up the more outlandish characters on Sex-Puppets.

It was written into their contracts, and soon all of the actors and actresses were taking massive doses of psychiatric medications and undergoing extensive mood alteration surgery. The whole thing transformed into one grand and horrible experiment with incredibly dangerous drugs.

A thing of beauty.

And so Creme Carmel fell hopelessly in love with Titus, the big loveable purple Hippo with the 12 inch cock. The critics said it brought a whole new level of passion to their onscreen performances. Creme said she'd never been happier. The Hippo said something that sounded vaguely like 'gronk!'.

This was all starting to get far too twisted, even for me.

Everything went well until a left-field lurch in the storyline that called for Titus to have group-sex with everybody except Carmel. At which point the fundamental flaws in the whole architecture of the scheme became desperately, fatally apparent. Human weakness.


This is a cruel and unusual world we have created. The development of technology has outpaced our brains capacity to keep up with its repercussions. Yet we are faced with two choices - sprint along desperately with the mad steamroller of a ride, better quicker faster more, or become its rotting roadkill.

The desperate fallacy we laboured under for centuries, that technology would free us, is finally crashing down. But instead of pulling away from the central illusion, we embrace it. We open our legs and let it fuck us harder and harder. Until finally we find that our freedom has locked us into the same old descending spiral. No doubt we will all get what is coming to us.

I expect most of us will probably enjoy it too, in some perverse kinda way.

The worst thing about all this was that it wasn't even A Story. A true story lights a fire in the journalistic testicles. Grapefruit sized. It burns.

But this.

This was just some dumb shit that happened today.

The Colt Neighbour-Silencer 400 clatters as it hits the balcony below, burying itself amidst the discarded food wrappings and week-old pornography.

I wonder if there's anything good on the television.


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