Your 7:45pm Class has been Cancelled – Dale Brett

Elevator down from ten.
Get off at six.
Turn right at the end of the corridor.

Squeeze your eyes tight and try to remember. Vision behind the lids missing key components – filled in with what the mind can only logically assume would be there in the myriad gaps of consciousness. Small, distinct dots of differing colours coalesce into a pattern that forms a whole. Worthy of whatever was the original.

Open your eyes.
Keep walking on autopilot.


Past a large window overlooking the street below, a scent of perfume and running water, like that found in the lobby of a high-class hotel, wafts over me. Dim lights running parallel to a mauve strip of patterned carpet show me the way to my playground.

Escalator descends. The aroma remains. Inoffensive jazz plays softly from the speakers overhead. Nothing about the music remotely experimental. Nothing to jar the senses. Urging the ‘right’ people to stay. The people that can merely function as if they are the ‘right’ people – the purposeful clientele the labyrinth of consumption desires. A minotaur looms, manifesting in the form of a phantom, not visible but present in each of their souls as they loiter in the neutral space between identical retail zones. Somewhere here, the demarcation lies. Walking amongst them, the temporary owners of these segments of non-locales reside chittering with faux pleasure.

Past an upmarket hi-fi store, bored inveterate employees suck on lemonade flavoured candy. They patiently await the next drive-by to wind down the window of their frontal cortex and let them take a peek at their preferences. These well-dressed clerks consistently seek to deftly breach the targets’ lower pleasure regions. But this is not a used car lot, brute force and underhanded tactics are not necessary here. This is where the mindless affluent members of the twenty-first century graze. All nibbles taken more subtly.

Simply looking is enough to integrate the casual window shopper into the sphere of influence unfurled by the ghost in the machine at play here. The craggs of husks successfully incorporated into this space to avoid an unceremonious return to their ephemeral cubic living spaces at all costs. It’s better for both this way.

An open public space lit by the same soothing LED’s that illuminate the path above appear, low mahogany coffee tables and Queen Anne Wingback chairs set in specific positions painstakingly arranged by a mysterious curator. An ensemble of men and women of class scattered about, reading magazines, notarising diary entries, browsing smartphones. Consuming time until the next task is ‘assigned’. Then a reminder tone will chime, signalling calmly that it is time to move on to the next pre-determined responsibility.

I know how it feels.
I am one of these people.
It doesn’t feel bad if you know how to play it.