The Man in the Suet Cage – Part 2

The Man in the Suet Cage – Part 2

Posted on March 11, 2013

A sound drifted into his consciousness. A droning sound with an intermittent clickity-clack. He recognized the sound even though it had been a long time. He roused, lifting his head with an unfamiliar mechanical ease. Looking across he saw others sitting on the train facing him. They were clad in various attire. Some wore casual clothes, others wore business suits. Some were listening to music and others were reading books. Others were staring blankly into oblivion. They were just normal people. All of a sudden the fact that he was not in his familiar padded chair but sitting on a packed train hit him hard. His heart fluttered and skipped a beat. He looked down again at his body. He was thin. It was then that he knew things were different. The train drew to a halt and something within urged him to get off at the station. With nothing but thought and pure intent, his body rose on strong legs. The legs carried him through the door of the train and onto the platform. Walking gingerly at first, then confidentially he caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the departing train. His heart skipped a beat at the sight. He turned and made a start for the nearest rest room.

Fluorescent lights hummed steadily as he stood before the mirror. He began to remove his loose fitting slacks and shirt. There was nothing unusual about them. It was what he was wearing underneath that concerned him. Removing his clothes revealed what seemed to be a wet suit made of a silicon type substance. It covered him from foot to ear. Upon this ‘skin’ layer sat a plethora of wires and servos all anodized a dull grey. Rubbery looking tendons flexed and gave while a dark black fluid pulsed through hydraulic tubing. As he moved his arm up and down he could see them retracting and engaging with different levels of intensity. Strong contoured shafts of metal hugged his physique providing support to the interweave of tubing and wiring. Each support was made of a metal that seemed so light that he could have sworn he was wearing nothing at all. They rotated and swiveled a midst their wire and cable entourage with perfect precision. Larger supports gave way to smaller ones which branched into even smaller ones further down his limbs ending at his fingers and toes. As if one and the same, his metal and silicon suit moved in perfect tandem with his thoughts. It was as if he were whole again. Something blinked into the top left hand corner of his vision. He swatted at it, thinking it were a bug of some sort. It blinked again. He swatted again. The third time it blinked he did not swat. He waited. It blinked again. He rubbed his face fervently with a rubber and metal clad glove to no avail. It was not on his face or in front of it. Slowly, It dawned on him that it only existed in his vision as if it were actually in his eye. The blinking cursor remained. It looked familiar. It reminded him of a computer screen. The cursor indicating that it was ready for some form of instruction. He turned his head and heard the soft mechanical whir of the servos on his neck. Turning the rest of his body, he took in the empowering sound the rest of the suit made as it performed its perfect dance of metal and wire upon the silicon stage. As he pulled on his slacks and shirt he noticed something. The cursor was no longer visible.

He emerged from the rest room and stood on the now crowded train platform. Waiting passengers were reading and listening to music just as before. His legs felt good underneath him as he strode towards the exit, navigating deftly between people. He felt his arms swinging confidently at his sides. As he approached the exit barrier he could see the sunlight penetrating down the stairwell from the world above. He watched as people moved through the barrier. They scanned what could only be a pass card on a metal plate, and the barrier moved aside. They then hurriedly made for the stairs. With a pang of excitement he moved towards the barrier to join the shuffling queue on its upward escape to the daylight above. Just as it was his turn to approach the barrier he realized he had no pass card. Panic ensued and a hot flush crept up his neck. Then, from out of no where a station worker appeared dressed in a smart looking black uniform complete with matching hat. He had kind eyes and gave a tight-lipped smile as he swiped a card across the metal plate. The barrier opened and he gestured forward. “Come through, sir.” He said. Cautiously, the man in the metal and silicon suit moved through the barrier. “Thanks.” He murmured to the station worker as he was passing him. “Not a problem, sir. Don’t you know being a Neuro Switch client you travel for free?” “Neuro Switch?” He thought, a little confused. Electing not to answer the station worker, the man in the metal and silicon suit broke into a jog and then a run, bounding toward the stairs at first and then up them. As he scaled each step he could feel the strength in his body and the sunlight on his face. It all seemed so familiar and right, as if it were from a distant memory newly discovered. He kept climbing and climbing willing his legs to go faster and faster. Then all of a sudden the blinding sunlight vanished in a violent eruption and he was back in his padded chair. Encased again in his shrinking suet cage. The hour was early and he could hear the rubbish collection truck doing its rounds on the street outside. He listened for a moment then relaxed his mind. As his eyes began to close and he prepared to drift back into to the world of dreams, the last thing he thought of was his suit. Not his prison but his suit of metal and silicon. The suit that made anything possible. “Neuro Switch.” He thought. And sleep took him once more. 

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