Random bit of writing I found… No idea what it is or why it is..

A bank of television screens, all showing separate images from CCTV cameras.

Sitting in front of these is Jai, eating a bowl of cornflakes.

In the centre screen there is a middle aged woman shouting.  She can not be heard. She is a mess.  She carries lots of crammed plastic bags.

Jai zooms in on her.  The woman fills the entire bank of screens.  She continues to shout and gesture.  Jai watches.


Eoin enters.  He has two mugs of tea.  He places them on the console. He sits.  He watches the woman.


Jai:  How many nights now?

Eoin:  She was here before you were.

Jai:  Longer than ten weeks then?

Eoin:  Not every night mind.  Some nights, she’s on the South Bank going through the bins.

Jai:  Bins?  What for?

Eoin:  Books mainly.

Jai:  Books?

Eoin:  Aye.

They watch the woman.  She continues to shout and gesture and flail.


Jai:  What do you think she’s saying?

Eoin:  I turned on the sound once/

Jai:  And?

Eoin: Nonsense.  Mainly.  The odd bit of profanation.  Against man.  Against the State.  Against God.  It was


Eoin:  Hard.

Jai:  And that’s why you keep the sound off?

Eoin:  Partly, aye.

Jai eats her cereal.  Eoin drinks his tea.

Jai: Have you ever reported her?

Eoin:  What would be the point?

Jai:  Well, they said/

Eoin:  They say a lot of things but some of them you can let slip by, if you know what I mean.  You do know what I mean don’t you?

Jai:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I think so.


Jai:  Who do you think she is then?

Eoin:  I don’t know.  I tried to look it up once but it’s too damn hard these days.  Maybe she’s one of the academics.  One of the ones who said we were rushing it all.  Or a racist or a fascist or a supremacist.  Maybe she was judged too radical, too right or too left or too


Eoin:  Something.  Or maybe she was just mad.

Jai:  The academic thing would explain the books.

Eoin:  Aye, aye, that they would.

Jai:  It’s hard to believe, innit.  It’s hard to believe that if you were offered a world with no bad stuff you would turn it down. Where everyone is equal and there’s no hatred.  My mum says New London is much better than being down there.  She said she no longer worries about going out at night or about being told she can’t do this job or that job or whatever.  It’s no longer Pakistanis and Asians running corner shops or Pilipino nurses being taken advantage of.  It’s all levelled off.  London but better my mum says.

Eoin:  Yer mam remembers well but she doesn’t remember all.  It wasn’t the greatest.  I was a security guard in the old place/

Jai:  You’re a security guard now.

Eoin:  But because I want to be.  Not because I’m Irish.  If I’d have said that I wanted to train as a molecular biologist the State would have supported it.

Jai:  Yeah, I spose.

Eoin:  Take yerself for example.  You can do anything you want.  You are only here until you decide what your calling is.

Jai:  Yeah.

Eoin:  You are the lucky ones.  It’s all on a plate for the takin.

Jai:  Yeah.


Jai:  Eoin.  I was thinking.  What happens if we all want to be politicians or doctors.

Eoin:  Well/

Jai:  Who is going to do the cleaning and be the dustbin men and take care of the sewers?

Eoin:  You’d be surprised/

Jai:  Because no one really wants to do that job.  Not really/

Eoin:  Jai, I wouldn’t worry your head about it.

Jai:  But who?

Eoin:  I don’t know.  Someone like yourself perhaps.  Who doesn’t know what they want yet.

Jai:  Maybe.


Jai:  Shouldn’t you do something about her?

Eoin:  Like what?

Jai:  Well.  Like.


Eoin:  We don’t do that here.

Jai:  They said it’s part of the job.

Eoin:  We don’t do that here.


Jai:  She’s going to dye anyway.  Of cold, of starvation, of illness, maybe of radiation.  They say it’s toxic down there now. The Thames carried stuff from dying factories and flooded London.  Anyway, she’s one of the degenerates, the disregarded.  She’s got no future.  It’s just like putting down a sick dog/

Eoin:  Shut up/

Jai:  She has it coming.  She is the reason, one of the reasons that we had to build a new London/

Eoin:  Shut up/

Jai:  Why people got lost, disappeared.  Like my dad.  She wouldn’t think twice about hurting on of us.  I bet she watched as they/

Eoin:  Shut up.  Will you listen to yourself.  She’s a human being.  Your making stuff up, in your head.

Jai:  It’s not.  I know.  My mum told me.  They pulled him out onto the street.  They beat him cos they said he’d done stuff. To children.  He hadn’t.  He wouldn’t.  They beat him so bad his stomach burst.  He died on the way to hospital.  My mum told me.

Eoin:  And that’s all in the past.  All done. All gone. They are left down there to rot.  The same people who pulled my darling out onto the street, shaved her, tarred and feathered her.  But that’s all in the past.  Done.  Gone.  And if we take the past out on them then we may as well all go back down there.

Jai sobs.


Jai stand – reaches for a button – Eoin moves to stop her – Too late.  The woman on the screen receives some sort of shot in her neck.  Eoin knocks a cup of tea over.  The screens and the console fuse.

Eoin:  Now look what you bloody done.

Eoin goes round the back of the console.  Fixes the fuse.  The screens and console spring back into life.  Eoin moves the camera.  It finds the woman on the ground, twitching and convulsing.  They watch.  Finally she is still.

Eoin zooms out and resets all the screens back to separate images.

Eoin:  No hope then.  I’m going to make another cuppa.

Eoin exits.  Jai picks up her cereal.  She resumes eating it.

Fade out.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. It probably encodes the dilemma of change. The names are cyphers: Jai is loosely Yes, Eoin is loosely No. Jai repeatedly opens up questions, responds in the affirmative, doesn’t try to pin down meaning. Eoin is resistant to the questions in the first instance, and thereafter continues to impose reductive meanings on the facts. The change in question is the transition from an Old to New London, one that seems to have wrought more damage than benefit; though both Yes and No stress the need to have enacted at least some kind of change. As with transitions, there is fracture; the visual correlative of this is the fragmentation of old woman figure into several screens in the new technology/surveillance. Ultimately the old is crushed under the new, but even so the certainties of A causes B are severed as well – with the fusing of the screens, we can only assume that the shot in the neck caused the convulsions without the surety that this was trivial and what in fact caused the convulsions occurred during the unmonitored period of time. We know nothing, in the end, and there is no going back. Yes, No.. it doesn’t matter. Jesus I really gotta get a job.


    1. raraboumptier says:

      Ha ha ha. That is absolutely what I was thinking when I wrote it. *cough*


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