Future Shock: 2077


Fifth Estate # 409, Summer, 2021

The prisons? Open. The army? Disbanded. And much more, besides.

Capitalism’s debraining machines have ceased all their debraining. Capitalism’s debraining machines lay rusty kudzu covered dead gone utterly forgotten.

It’s a love sex & shamanism world now, baby, yeah it’s everywhere ya look. Here, now, in this strange and marvelous and most lackadaisical of places—we all wear masks. Cuz we’re tricksters, kiddo, cuz we’re Monkey cuz we’re Crow. The ol’ Br’er Rabbit, reincarnated. But these masks of futurekind, they aren’t like any old mask that you knew from the waybackwhen, no siree.

These masks, they show our true face. I’m talking ’bout the one hiding behind the skin, ya know the one behind those sedimentary layers of civilized socialized squawk. And we can talk to the animals now too, kiddo, hell, and some of us even are animals now.

Yes indeedy. But what of that thieving old raccoon, you ask, and what of that cantankerous, work shirking possum?

Well, it ain’t no secret there, it really ain’t, silly youngin’.

With open arms (and open trash cans), we summoned them both, we did. They heard The Call, and joined up in our little anarcho-menagerie. And we gave them a membership card without a second thought, all dues all expenses paid in full.

Because in this future commune-carnival of ours, both the furry and the scalely are and will always be quite welcome.

To all our critter friends, a standing order of “Y’all come back now” has been issued. And they do, oh boy, they sure do.

The Pentagon? Just a cocoon for dragonflies these days, and a tree-house for a few dozen purple hippos. Ah, and just what do we all do with all this newfound free time, you ask me? Well. These days, most people walk the abandoned, green-stained streets with at least one foot firmly planted in an oh so succulent Dreamland—and sometimes, with as many as two, or even three or even four feet!

On Saturdays, fields of blissed out comrades will often be found cavorting in the old palm tree garden, pulling five or seven grinning ripe oranges down and out from the mouth of a yawning caterpillar-ant hanging nearby.

And our Fridays are taken up primarily with amusing conversations and ever lively debates with our neighboring ghosts goblins and other such spectrals. Sex? Well, it’s hardly counts as “sex” anymore, or at least, not the sex that you neanderthals knew. We first run ourselves a nice hot bath, snort two-mind millipedes, and go into a real fine trance.

At some point, a funky sorta transmigration will occur. We become a spoon, or a copper kettle, or a sponge, or other such thing. Our “inanimate objective” achieved, we clean a dish, perhaps, or boil a soup, or carry sugar into some stranger’s waiting coffee. Once our object’s task has been completed, we drop out a furious climax into that unsuspecting universe, and “spiral out” in five dimensions. Bazonk!

And then? Somewhere out there in that weird and wacky world of ours, a baby humanoid will be suddenly dropped out from a seventeen-foot red Aztec orchid mamma, and will cry, and then be adopted by a passing colony of polite tarantula, and taught all the “proper ways.” Well! And there ya have it, my old friend, there ya have it. This is it—the world of the future. And it’s a real humdinger. Boy oh boy. Kropotkin’s golden carousal, made (finally!) flesh.

Steven Cline co-edits the journal Peculiar Mormyrid and participates in a local surrealist group in Atlanta, playing games, reciting dreams, and generally living the good surrlife. stevenclineart.com. Collage by Steven Cline.