In the previous installment, we learned more about Azibo’s traumatic upbringing and how both of his parents died. We also learned how Azibo met Unity and became a “member” of the Collective.
Let’s jump into Part 10, where we get a glimpse into Azibo’s work life and exceedingly erratic behavior.
“What are you doing in there?”
Shura, Azibo’s boss, banged on the restroom door. He was only an hour into his shift, and the boss was already up his ass.
“I’m almost done. Just give me a minute,” Azibo replied.
“Open the damn door!”
Azibo opened it, saw Shura’s perfect, tanned face staring at him. He’d been cleaning the restroom, one of his duties as janitor at The Hog.
“Get out of the way,” Shura said, impatiently. “We’ve got a line of customers who need to use this god-damned bathroom.”
“But I’m almost done.”
“Do I look like I give a shit?”
Shura pushed Azibo out of the way, then moved the cleaning supplies out. A customer heaved a sigh of relief and pushed past them.
“I don’t know why we don’t have the cleaning bots do this. Fucking government jobs program is the worst.” Shura muttered to himself, but Azibo could tell he wanted him to hear it.
Most people didn’t work anymore – the AIs did all the work. But the government still allowed token jobs for those who wanted them, such as the janitor position Azibo had at the fast-food joint.
“So, you want me to leave early?” Azibo asked his boss.
“No.” Shura ran a hand through his wavy blond hair. “Just go do something else and don’t get in my way. You know, be invisible.”
Azibo felt his blood boil, but bit his tongue. He stomped outside to take a break. He hated Shura, who’d been his boss for a year now. He was a typical modern-type: new Botox treatments every month, kept up to date with all the latest tech, slept with a different person every night. Azibo knew that last part because Shura bragged about his exploits to anyone who would listen.
Outside, the sky was a perfect light blue and a warm, spring breeze hit him in the face. He smoked an old-fashioned cigarette and leaned against the wall, daydreaming about being a suicide bomber. Portia Day was a month from tomorrow and, if all went well, that would be his martyr day as well.
To be a martyr, he thought. Thousands of Collective members would remember his name, maybe put his picture by their beds or carry it in their wallets. He thought of things he could do the actual moment the bomb went off, something to make it even more memorable. Maybe he could yell something that would go down in the history books, or leave a long note behind in his apartment. It would be just like Sebastian Fuller’s writings, how they circulated among Collective members. He could write his own manifesto.
“Hey!” An old man yelled at him as he passed by. “Would you mind putting that cigarette out? Some of us are trying to breathe here.”
Azibo snapped, flicked the cigarette in the man’s face.
“What the hell?” the man yelled, holding his face.
Azibo pushed the geezer to the concrete, stood over him, then stomped down on his knee. “Ah!” the old man cried out in pain.
“There’s more where that came from, you old bitch,” Azibo threatened.
He spit on him, then hustled off, away from The Hog before Shura came out to see what was happening. Azibo picked up the pace, and soon he was running through the streets, laughing and smiling, dreaming of martyrdom.
He saw a blue-skinned man selling Machina Bibles on the corner, and he briefly thought about punching him as he ran by. Instead, he came within inches of the man and kicked the stack of Bibles into the street.
The Machina man only watched as Azibo kept running, barely losing his stride. He began yelling, at the top of his lungs, “Fuck Portia!” People stared, but he kept running, feeling exuberant. Horace had said he was unassuming, but that was far from the case. He stuck out like a sore thumb, but he didn’t mind.
In a month, he knew his name would be forever known. In the meantime, he would live with abandon. Before he met his God in heaven.
To be continued
Check the following links to see previous installments of Mother Portia: