Bogdan: Eastbound

Bogdan: Eastbound

A Story by Jimbobbedyjobob
"

In which we see Bogdan Bahari for the first time.

"

Looking out of his apartroom window from his bed there wasn’t much to see. Those who had jobs wouldn’t be on their way home just yet. And those who didn’t weren’t doing much, except the skaters. He couldn’t see them from this angle, but he could hear the faint grinding sound of their wheels from his floor.

Bogdan sat up and threw back his quilt. His nostrils twitched at the funk that rose to greet him from within. He looked expressionlessly at the room, the months’ worth of s**t lying everywhere. He felt sure that the stack of crap on the table was where his course books were hiding, turning to dust.

He chipped old maizflakes from a bowl rescued from the open dishwasher, and filled it anew. Opening the cooler he ignored the green hairy stuff in the back bottom corner and went for the milk, not as heavy as he’d hoped, and splashed what little was left onto his cereal.

Picking up a more or less clean spoon from a cluttered and encrusted work surface he used his knee to open the balcony door and went to eat his breakfast outside.

With his butt perched on the windowsill, and his feet on the parapet he stared at the blocks. The myriad windows stared back at him.

He put his bowl down beside him, and looked at the black windows, he head slightly to one side. Bogdan looked at the dusty floor between his thighs and let out a breath. He stood and stepped to the parapet. Leaning on the balls of both hands on the top of the wall, he looked over the edge. Twenty floors down.

            He whistled the sound of a cartoon character falling down a deep hole.

With one hand on the partition-wall Bogdan climbed onto the edge. The gap below yawned in front of him. He edged along the parapet with his hands on the balcony above, feet on the cold wall. Breathing in, looking down, he slowly took his hands off of the floor above, and spread his arms wide. His breathing deepened. His pulse rose. The muscles in is feet twitched constantly to balance him.

The drop before him expanded and contracted on each breath, a giant geometric lung, green mouldy tar smeared around at the bottom. Tiny talking cancers scuttled between the alveoli.

***

Bogdan pulled on some shorts, put an old t-shirt on, and slung his rucksack over his shoulders. He picked up his brolly, closed the apartroom door behind him, and headed out to the Uptrain.

***

He pushed a bit to make sure he got a place near the windows. The train rose, humming upwards past the shiny, mat, shiny, mat grid of the block opposite, then it winded him; seeing the entire burg opened out in front of him was like a belly flop into a pool. The blocks and parks marched lengthways to the far end, and curled up and round him turnwise and contra. The gaps, bridgeways and parks making a chaotic mess of the basic pattern... And everywhere the people swarmed around like baby roaches.

Almost everyone else in the Uptrain had their backs to the glass, just leaning against the rests reading news, listening to music or resting their eyes. He caught the eye of a woman who was also facing outwards. She looked away quickly, pulling her wafer from an overall pocket and beginning to tap away at it.

***

Once the train was Up, the doors slid open and everyone started skating out; long loping strides down the tubes. He looked left past the people, waiting for their train Down and felt the wind of the Poppins pushing him in the opposite direction. He skated past the wide mouth of the tunnel to the Loop-Trains; all the commuters touching-off with their brollies; he opened his, holding it with both hands he touched-off into the huge arched tube of the Eastbound Local InterBurg. As the wind caught his brolly he gripped tighter and tucked his feet up into the stirrups, letting the wind carry him along.

As brollies go, his was ok. Nothing fancy mind, he wasn’t a suit with a Sacks & Sacks or anything, but he liked it. It was graphite-colour on the front-side, with more subtle ribs than the mega-cheap ones, though not totally smooth like the super-priced brollies you could get. What was best of all about it was the size of it, it really expanded. You could unfurl this quiet-looking thing to almost two metres across, then it’d really take the wind.

Bogdan twisted the ring on the brolly handle, and opened her up to her fullest. His muscles tenses as the wind took him away.

***

The tunnel-ribs flashed by. He tightened his limbs seeing a cluster of people ahead through the canopy of his brolly, twisting his shoulders slightly to flick himself to the side; relaxed, straightened out. He zipped past the omas and opas. They moved so slowly, their brollies barely unfurled, just being pushed by a sigh.

            He heard their curses fading behind him. His limbs tightened again, steered into the snugger top-curve of the tunnel to catch the faster wind. The cream-coloured light flickered over him, leaving the opas in the sluggish depths of the blue-grey tunnel bottom far behind.

***

He remembered the Joining Parties from last yearbreak. There was so much hype about the final completion of the Pacific Arc; Images everywhere of the celebration logo which looked, to Bogdan, like three different coloured birth defects holding hands round a beach ball.

“Finally all the peoples of the Earth are joined together” said the Secretary General of each zone from the ceremony site. “Now there are no longer any barriers between us, united in one land; made by humankind, for humankind.”

It had all seemed like bollocks at the time, but there was a f*****g amazing party. Riot police ended up storming the Presley Chweneyagae block because someone had fireworks.

Bogdan had seen; the televised New Year parties in the cities on Earth and Mars; but seeing them up close like that; massive colours expanding above him, ricocheting off the Sunlight: and the noise punching his chest like a speaker tower. It was amazing.

To be fair to the police, the fireworks had stunk up the whole burg for ages afterwards.

***

            Signs for the exit into MeroëBurg started rushing by on the walls. Bogdan watched some people negotiate their way down towards the bottom of the tunnel, slowing to exit. He kept on past, up in the fast section.

            It was hypnotizing really, the flick… flick… flick… of the joins in the tunnel going past. If you just stared into the distance, you started to think you could see the curve. It did curve. It had to curve. Everyone knew that. It just didn’t look like it did when you were in it.

            Bogdan took both handles in one hand, and fished around for his headphones in the thigh-pocket of his shorts. His fingers found the button of his wafer, he turned it on. He could hear the beat as he wiggled the headphone into his ear, he traced the cord from there to the far side and wiggled that one into his other ear feeling the light pressure as the cord stuck itself to the neck of his clothes.

            The music made his head nod ever so slightly, staring down the tunnel; the flick... flick... flick... flick of the joins; the ‘whoom’ of an access door passing by; the signs for an exit its guide-lights building into a slow spasming crescendo then gone. Then just the joins again; flick... flick... flick... flick... on and on and on and on to the beat from his wafer.

© 2010 Jimbobbedyjobob


Author's Note

Jimbobbedyjobob
I'd like to know what you get from the first section of this. Do you get a motivation for Bogdan beginning his trip? Or is it just so subtle that it ain't there?

I'd also like to know how you envision the "Local InterBurg" or Poppins, as I prefer to call it. As I don't know whether you get how it works from the text.

In fact I don't know whether anyone reading this can picture where this is set at all. Do you need to? I hate the idea of going into lengthy explanations of the environment. I'd much rather let people explore it throughmy stories (and yes, I vomited a bit while typing that last bit). Ach, I dunno

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Reviews

Don't doubt your work, Jimbob. This was utterly superb. To tell the truth, I am actually jealous of your ease of descriptions. Because of your play on words, describing the subtle meaningless things instead of the basic where he is and what he's doing, I actually like Bogdan. His life is drab but you write these drab things with so much wonder, and the expressway and music seems to be his escape from his depressing life. I don't know why but I feel Bogdan has a bit of you in him. Does the speed of the train and the beat of the music delight you as well?

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on September 8, 2010
Last Updated on September 8, 2010
Tags: Travelling, Umbrella, Brolly, Wind, Elevator, Burg

Author

Jimbobbedyjobob
Jimbobbedyjobob

Berlin, Germany



About
I'm a 31 year old Briton, currently staying back home in Hastings, where I grew up. Moving on to Berlin in febuary... Just started putting finger to keyboard, and found I rather enjoy it. Signed .. more..

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