The Cacophony of Ignorance: A Short Story

‘Don’t you think it’s exceptional?’ Pete was sat at an almost full coffee bar when he asked this question. And when I say asked, I mean he more like yelled it for the whole of the coffee house to hear, and it was certainly loud enough to prevent the young man on his right from hearing what his business associate was saying on the other end of the phone.

No one answered Pete, so he yelled it again. This time with an even bigger grin on his face, in his attempt at creating a friendly exterior, despite his loud tone. ‘I SAID, DON’T YOU THINK IT’S EXCEPTIONAL?’

The customers probably thought he was high, or drunk from the night before. And again, no one answered. Maybe it was because he didn’t have the cleanest shirt on, and his hair was kind of muffled from when he removed his beanie hat just before he entered the building. Maybe he wasn’t being bold enough, people these days tended to be so engrossed in their mobile phones, they’d rather walk into a lampost than look up. Or maybe his volume was simply no match for the endless whirs created by the coffee machine, the blending of crushed ice, the constant line of voices ordering an array of different types of coffee, most from rushing commuters. Pete’s question was perhaps not a strong contender for the cacophony of his coffee-infused surroundings.

When he was almost out of hope of receiving a response, a girl, who appeared to be no more than ten years old, approached Pete. She asked if she could try on his beanie hat, and Pete obliged. She then opened her mustard coloured drawstring bag, and pulled out a collection of items; an mp3 player and earphones, a pair of earmuffs and a pair of woolen mittens. Pete perplexedly stared at the girl, baffled as to why she had come across to him. She put the earphones in, pressed play and ensured the mp3 player was at a sufficient volume.Next she put on her ear muffs and woolen mittens, and then began to look at Pete expectantly. ‘Hi, can I help you?’ Pete was obtaining a much more soft and quieter tone of voice now. Did she hear him? Pete remembered she had her earphones in, so probably not. He began to look around awkwardly, where where her parents anyway? Then suddenly she stepped on a bar stool as to match Pete in height, being less than five foot tall herself, and placed her hands over her ears. They were now staring right at each other.

Frozen in a state of confusion, Pete didn’t say anything nor did he attempt to move. The girl then said,’I want to hear your question, kind sir.’ So Pete once again said it, although half-heartedly as she surely couldn’t hear him anyway under her music, his beanie hat and her earmuffs.

‘Do you want to know what I think is exceptional? That even though I have music playing in my ears at what is probably an unhealthy amount of decibels, and ear muffs on, that I still heard exactly what you just said? No one in here was listening to you, nor were they going to acknowledge you either because these people are not in this moment, they’re ahead. They’re too busy worrying about getting to work on time, worrying about taking an ‘Instagram worthy’ photo of their coffee, worrying about what they’re going to cook their kids for tea. Thinking ahead,don’t you see kind sir? It’s always ahead’

And in that moment the girl vanished.

Pete walked out of the coffee house and hoped that his pursuit of finding communication would be fulfilled elsewhere.

 

 

This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt: Exceptional 

 

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams: Initial Thoughts

After seeing numerous advertisements for the first episode titled “The Hood Maker”, and seeing that Richard Madden who you may well know as Robb Stark from Game of Thrones was playing the male lead in it, I decided to give it a go.

I recognised Philip K. Dick as the author of The Man in the High Castle (a book I still haven’t got round to reading) and from seeing his name lurking around in the Science Fiction section at Waterstones, so I was interested to see what Electric Dreams would be like.

To summarise, Electric Dreams is a 10 part anthology series, based on short stories written by Philip K. Dick, with each episode focusing on a different story. The first episode which aired last night at 9PM on Channel 4, was based on the story titled “The Hood Maker”, which was originally published in an American fantasy and science fiction magazine in June 1955, which looked like this;

The first episode starred Richard Madden as Agent Ross and Holliday Grainger as Honor. The original story was adapted by Matthew Graham (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes) for Channel 4’s televised version, and so does as expected appear to differ from the original. Anyway, the plot basically takes on an ‘us vs them’ concept, which I admit is quite commonly found in the sci-fi genre. The narrative follows Agent Ross in the fight against the hood maker, who first appears when a man is seen wearing the hood in a protest against an Anti- Immunity Bill. The significant thing about wearing the hood is that it prevents the characters with telepathy (also known as Teeps) from reading their minds, while wearing it. Honor, one of the Teeps, is utilised by the state and becomes Ross’s sidekick in figuring out what the Hood Makers are plotting. But with this, we also learn that the Teeps are conspiring and relationships are tested between Ross and Honor when a unexpected twist is revealed.

The Hood Maker definitely reminded me of Humans, which also aired on Channel 4, with the whole humans versus ‘the others’ concept. But that didn’t hinder my enjoyment, and i’m definitely looking forward to next week’s episode “The Impossible Planet”.

I would also like to read the original of The Hood Maker, so I can look further into how it differs from the TV version, (one that I know of being that the original hoods were actually more like metallic headbands) and to see if the endings are different.

Anyway, thank you for reading! Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams so far!

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