In a shadowy bunker deep within Google UK headquarters, Doctor Strangle hands his assistant, Zolt the flask containing the final version of the next Android smartphone. “Are you sure that you are sure which girl you will give this to?”
“Yes, Master – the blonde one coming in to shop every day. I work in coffee shop as instructed and also watching her three months. Very hard job. She always have coffee after school.” Zolt did his usual grim-faced, nodding-dog impersonation as he spoke.
“Good, good – just make sure there are no mistakes. There is a lot of money riding on the success of this phone. Watch her to make sure that she swallows at least a mouthful. That should be enough for the self-replicating nanobots to get into her system and make their way to her brain. Once they have installed, we will be able to monitor her brain state remotely via Wi-Fi.” With these stern words, Doctor Strangle watched his assistant leave the bunker to make his way to the coffee shop he had worked at for the last month.
Daisy and her two friends walked arm in arm from school to the coffee shop. They were dressed identically in dark brown blazers, white blouses and tartan skirts. They also wore dark tights – thicker now that it was winter – the headmaster was very clear that they should not incite the locals by baring their legs. (Should I make comment about the ultra-short gym-skirts they wear on Wednesdays or would that be too much?)
“Yes! I’ve finally arrived!” said Daisy with a big smile on her face as the Slavic looking coffee shop man handed her a take-away coffee before she could open her mouth. “See – they know my order!”
The coffee man smiled mysterious and waved away her money when she tried to pay. “This is free cup for loyalty to shop,” he said, smiling in return, showing teeth that would have shamed a hyena.
Daisy punched the air as they left the shop, took one tentative sip of the coffee and then grimaced. “Ugh – tastes awful!”
“My mom says that you should taste food three times before deciding whether you should season it,” said Sally, with her usual stuck-up voice.
“Your mom can go and suck my …”
“Michael!” said Daisy, whirling around to face the African almost-man who had fallen into step behind them, “you’re not to say those things in polite company!”
“Oh yeah, you’re right, Daisy Face,” he re-joined, “well how about this – as soon as I find some polite company, I’ll stop.”
Daisy tutted for two reasons – one was that she did not like this boy using her nickname and the other that he had been the bane of her life for too long. He seemed to love baiting her mercilessly for no apparent reason.
“Go away, Michael or I’ll bash you,” said the other one of Daisy’s friends in attendance – the very masculine and bemuscled Bridget, “you will not bother my friend. I know that you fancy her, and you are acting out, but you will find more suitable ways to do it. Now scat.”
Daisy looked at her Germanic friend with a thoughtful expression on her face and thought about what she had said. She did not want to be fancied by anyone thank you very much. Her abuse at the hands of her heavily bearded father had put paid to any thoughts in that direction for the time being. She took a longer sip at the coffee and then another one to show she was willing. Ugh, this is just not working for me, Sally – sorry. Do you want it?”
“No thanks, Daisy – give it to Michael, he’ll take anything you’re willing to give him,” she said with a teasing voice.
“Bleaurgh, no – I don’t want your germs,” said Michael with a shout, and peeled away to cross the road.
They were very soon walking through the city centre and lots of people were milling around them, doing a spot of early Christmas shopping no doubt
“Coffee? Anyone?” said Daisy hopefully, to no-one in particular.
“I’ll have it,” said a cracked voice from somewhere off to her left.
Daisy turned and saw no-one in the empty doorway, then looked again more closely to see a beggar sitting cross legged on the ground surrounded by a litter of greasy looking bags that matched his clothes and hair beautifully. “I’ll have the coffee if it’s going spare, like” he repeated, staring at her kindly from amidst his very hairy face.
Daisy shrank back, appalled at the dirty, greasy, hairiness of him. “Here,” she said to Bridget, by far the bravest of the three, “give him this.” And she handed her the cup.
“Thanking you kindly, Ma’am,” said the beggar as he took the cup. “Can you spare a few coins to help the homeless?” he said, trying his luck, and then, seeing the look of horror on Daisy’s face said “you have a blessed day, thank you again for the drink.”
Daisy watched, aghast, as the greasy man took the cap off the cup and tossed the hot contents down his throat without so much as a grimace.
Daisy was cold, bitterly cold when she woke up the next morning. She had had a very strange night. Flashes of the brightest blue searing the lids of her closed eyes and an almighty headache that kept her tossing and tuning all night without relief.
Then she wakes up, realises she is in the body of a tramp and does the usual things that a person does when that kind of thing happens. (perhaps I could use this: “The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.“)
This to be continued.
Harry (the tramp) wakes up as a girl. He is more accepting. More on this later.
This to be fleshed out.
Deep in a shadowy bunker, Doctor Strangle and his assistant Zolt monitor the effects of the experiment. They have the power to end the experiment, but do they?
This to be fleshed out.