A Journey to the Heart of the Millenium Dream
Chapter 9 - Body to Body
"The Body" is the most mediagenic of the exhibits in The Dome. A reclining (slumped) androdgynous figure. If it could be arsed to stand up it would be taller than the Statue of Liberty, and twice as ugly. It seems somehow unwholesome, hundreds of tourists clambering around inside a body - even this giant unsexed fibreglass one.
The entire structure is covbered with what looks like ceramic tiles. A nautical chap once explained his theory on this to me;
It was night, in January, somewhere on the Solent - the grubby patch of water which seperates Southampton and the Isle of Wight, presumably for their own good. We were cold, too bombed out to navigate and as the night progressed and we regressed my compainions beard made him appear more and more like a pirate. I had to keep redbeard talking lest is slit my throught, take my wallet, watch and Psion, and do bad shit to me gizards.
"...so the government had to outsource most of the project to offworld contacts."
"Aliens built the Dome?" at four A.M. in a small boat this didn't seem that unlikly.
"Not all of it. Letting them build The Body was a big cock-up, heads rolled in Whitehall. They've never seen a human up close, you see - they won't come to Earth, or can't, I don't know which. Their atmosphere reduces a human to a sticky puddle in less than a second. You see?"
"uh-hu" keep him talking and I might live to see morning...
"So these aliens, dunno what they're called, had to work from some diagrams and fleshed it out from what they saw on TV. Guess it was lucky that we encrypt the adult channels. Anyway, under the circumstances they did a great job, but they still had to land the fucker on Earth."
"So what they did is to plate the damn thing in ceramic tiles. Head shielding like the shuttle. The dropped it from orbit into The Dome, before the roof was finished and later..."
Crazy talk. All of it. Still, I was nervous.
"I won't do it. I'm not going in!" I protest.
"Fine," says my consultant, "I'll go in by myself."
And he enters via on orafice that my body had last time I looked.
I return my attention to playing chicken with a teenager riding a motorised floor cleaner. Our eyes lock. The deadly rotating brushes get closer. I can see the whites of his spots, smell the solvents. Time slows, almost stops.
A heartbeat before I get the shoeshine of my life, he cracks. He veers to one side, almost crushing an old dear buying candyfloss for a prized grandson.
School parties surround me. Cub scouts are closing in. It was a mistake for to split up. I'd watched enough Scooby Doo to know this.
"Wait for me!" I mutter and scamper after my consultant.
I find him just inside. He insists on photographing me beside a giant bellybutton pierced with a ring the size of a dustbin lid.
Now I am inside it seems an almost erotic concept. Riding an escalator up some kind of organic passage. Violating this body along with half a dozen japenese businessmen in expensive suites.
I said almost. As with most things which initially seem erotic the faults soon manifest. The jumped up arts prick who designed the interior, tragically missed the path destiny had planned at Burger King, or possibly the intersteller equivalent, anyway, this jerk decided nothing says inside of the human body like a bunch of tinny speakers making squelching and farting noises.
We are neither inspired or educated. We feel cheated. The only possible aim of this place we can think of is to gross out school girls. If this was the plan it works.
I notice that the place smells really strongly. Of fibreglass. Flashback to just how much it hurts to fall off of a dinosaur. A long story, which can be summarised thusly: One me. One fibreglass stegasaur. One pint of tequila. One peer group (actually only two-thirds of the peer group at that point but you get the idea). One "PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB ON THE DINOSAURS" sign. If only they hadn't had the sign...
What the fuck is going on? Where am I? Calm for a moment, take stock. What's happening? Repeated bright flashes. I hear someone ranting about the foolishness of offending the ghost of Tommy Cooper.
Oh shit, it's me. I'm waving my arms wildly and shouting while the jap businessmen take the once in a lifetime chance to photograph a genuine British loon to show to the guys back in Osaka.
So where exactly, the fuck, am I? And what caused this (latest) mental collapse?
Holy shit, Batman! I've discovered the very cathedral of freak-out. A place that must have been designed to cause psychotic episodes. Possibly by manipulating aliens - you never know. We're inside a human skull, fibreglass again. Around the fire wall, under the eyes, are theatre boxes. On the boxes are animatronic brains! Human brains! All laughing! Worse still is the thing making them laugh - a single brain. A brain wearing a fez. A brain in a hat ripped off Morocco Mole telling Tommy Cooper Gags. Badly.
My consultant desparately manhandles me out of the skull, and all the way out of The Body.
"Nothing to see here! I'm a doctor. This man is ill!"
But the staff are paying no attention. That room must send dozens of people over the edge every single day. Perhaps the governments offworld "allies" are using this to identify humans with the weakest minds. Clearly I'm now marked as prime abduction material - ah well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
"You" says my consultant. "You need a drink"
"and fast!" I agree.
He helps me to a poor excuse for a bar. In an attempt to seem "family oriented" the only drinks it sells are eighteen different flavours of tartfuel.
Trying to ignore the lurid pink colour I down half the bottle. What is this shit? "A BLEND OF PREMIUM VODKA WITH MYSTERIOUS FRUITS". I assume this means industrial by-product ethanol and fruit cordial to mask the taste. I feel a little calmer and decide to chance it. I finish the bottle.
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