(from Narcotic Transmissions 2002)
it was not without difficulty that i travelled back from folkstone to the big city. train services had been crippled by a top heavy management structure and repeated de- and re-nationalizations by several london patriarchs. above and beyond this were the barely suppressed rivalries between counties and parishes across the south east. the slow moving eleven twenty-eight to charing cross (a station on stilts fighting a constant losing battle against the rising flood waters) was stopped at regularintervals by armed bands and militia who would pull dissidents of other factions off the train and carry them away into the badlands where they would vanish without trace.
at ashford a mother was shot in front of her five year old son. single bullet from an artilleryman’s parrabellum in the back oft he head…
and the train pulled away.
in the city things were no better than they had ever been. i took an armoured cab from the riverside taxi rank in soho (thegeography had been altered irretrevably by the movement of the waters) and made stratford before night fall.
my rooms in a converted office tower near one of the snaking heads of the river lea felt small and distant. the clip-framed artprints i had put on the wall when i moved in only a couple of months ago looked naive and shabby. the washing up piled upin front of the kitchen window rattled precariously every time an express roared through the station at stratford-low-level.
i connected my notebook pc to the modem cable: pornographic junkmail, miracle cures and instant cash schemes hadcaused my isp to send two warning messages. i had caught the rising kipple in time – i wiped the messages and fired up mypersonal webspider: green alphanumerics scrolled across the screen and the connection clicked and rasped at itself.
the flourescent tube in the kitchen had blown before i’d left, the result of a run in with madame cava, so i washed up a mug inthe dark and filled the kettle. there were a few dogadan rose-hip teabags in the cupboard. i poured on the boiling water andwent back to the notebook in the lounge.
if i’d known then what i knew now, i’d have know that elliot peacocke had been living in stratford back in the black days ofthe vigilantes. he’d been the vicar of st john’s, when it was still standing. it seemed that after the death of a close friend andseveral threats upon his own person by the plaistow stilt-walkers he’d quit the city to make a new life for himself on the southessex coast. certain data from monetary exchanges on the grailings a few months back suggested that he had moved tosouthend-on-sea.
why would a man with the key to kilburn-inreal hide away on the estuary?
there was nothing further the webspider could tell me so i closed down the connection. the only way to find out would be totravel to southend. the old silverlinks line still ran from leyton midland. leyton was an uncertain quantity these days so i putmy snub-nosed ascii-izer on to charge for the night and tried to sleep.