I met up again with my good friend Steve this afternoon, which was nice. Steve’s dead. That isn’t actually the obstacle it sounds like because I am too. Dead, that is. We’re both dead. We’re both deceased – me quite recently and Steve for the best part of ten years now. Everyone’s dead here – this is the Happy Hereafter so what would you expect?


Don’t get the wrong idea. Its not heaven I’m talking of here, more of an ‘up-market storage facility for the departed’. It’s what you might call a top-end niche marketing-concept for people who have died or are expecting to die shortly and can afford to pay the serious amount of money needed to upload their personality-constructs in what the promotional literature calls a ‘top-of-the-range, no-expenses-spared, no-corners-cut, luxury  customized virtual environment’. If I recall the blurb correctly.


Fifty years ago folks with an eye to immortality were freezing their heads in the hope that someone, sometime, would go to the trouble of reanimating them and – I suppose – sticking them back on newly cloned bodies. What a scam! That was clearly never going to happen. These days, ever since quantum computing finally became practicable, anyone who can afford it can book some space in what when it comes right down to it is little more than a glorified Disneyland for the Deceased. That’s a scam too, although they do deliver at least a part of what they say they will. Everything’s a scam really – you just have to hope you don’t get ripped off too bad. I was going to say ‘everything in life’s a scam’ but I caught myself in time! Everything in death’s a scam too these days.


Talk about bad taste – this place really stinks! I can’t bear anything about it. You don’t actually get to meet Mickey or Minnie Mouse walking down the high street but it’s not far off. The whole thing like a bad quality CGS if you ask me – no attention to detail at all. Bad colours. Lots of generic stuff, lots of duplication. Steve, who knows a thing or two about virtual environments, having been a consultant software developer in the gaming industry, reckons that we’re all being shafted for sure. He is convinced that they’re cutting back on the resolution, slowly – so we don’t notice it. Why they’d do that I don’t know – with the type of fees they charge they can afford the best virtual designers in the business. Maybe they’re selling off plots in the Hereafter to too many people. There’s certainly a lot of folks hanging around here these days. Some seriously strange ones too. Some real freaks, I’m telling you. Weirdos. Bizarros. Fruit cases. Nut jobs. Whackos. They’re all here, with their uncles and aunts and nephews in tow…


I’ve kind of got my own theory though. I’m not saying anything to Steve because he’s unstable enough as it is. My theory is that they’re not degrading the environment, they’re degrading us. They’re downgrading the functionality of the personality constructs so they don’t take up so much space in the Q-cores. They’re simplifying the PCs. Probably thinking that we’ll never notice – after all, how’s a dumbed-down personality construct ever going to manage to figure out that its been assigned less random access memory than usual? How the fuck can it tell? Obviously it can’t tell. It’s kind of like getting frunk. I mean drunk. Drunk people never know how stupid they are – being as stupid and as obnoxious as fuck just isn’t something that bothers the alcoholically-challenged overmuch really now is it?


So here we all are in Deadville with nothing else to do but come up with paranoid theories about what the living are doing to us in order to screw us. Someone somewhere’s messing with the reality supply and there’s nothing we can do about it. We don’t have any way of proving anything. The living screw the living all the time, we all know that. They do it on a regular basis so why wouldn’t they screw the dead? It stands to reason that they would. Never give a sucker an even break, right? The point being that we’re all suckers here. We’ve been reconfigured to be gullible. It helps to be gullible when you’ve been consigned to a virtual environment – makes life easier, you could say. Or rather it makes virtual life easier. It doesn’t do to be spotting redundancies, duplications and continuity errors the whole time, like my friend Steve does. That was his job when he was alive and he’s still at it now, although it’s not helping him now. Some things you don’t want to know.


If your happiness depends on you being able to believe the lies that the people you’ve paid to lie to you tell you then it helps to be a tad on the naïve side, wouldn’t you say? It pays to be incapable of knowing when you’re being lied to. That’s kind of what it all hangs on. Not that I should be using the ‘H’ word – there’s none of us happy here, not really. None of us like to use that word. How do you simulate happiness, for God’s sake? Probably no one ever thought this thing out properly – the psychologists they consulted when they were developing the Happy Hereafter took their fees to be sure but what the fuck do they really know? The mental health of dead people isn’t exactly a well-charted scientific field. What are our needs? Are there new and previously unknown mental illnesses that personality constructs may prove to be prone to? Maybe this place is a breeding ground for hitherto unknown mental illnesses. It certainly feels that way.


Or maybe it’s just good old-fashioned paranoia, as I intimated earlier. Part of me rather suspects that it might be. We’re all intelligent dead people here and paranoia’s nothing but intelligence when it comes down to it. We’ve set up this situation where we’re totally dependent upon a bunch of corporate shysters. Gangsters and villains and con-artists to a man. I ought to know for God’s sake – I was one of them. There isn’t an honest bone in my body! Or rather there wasn’t. I was a businessman for God’s sake. So can you blame me for not feeling too trusting about all of this? I don’t trust the living. I never trusted them when I was alive and I trust them a hell of lot less now. I’m at a distinct disadvantage now, after all. I’m disadvantaged by being dead…






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