Some would say that monstrous metropolises such as New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc. exemplify the pinnacle of civilization; with their mountainous skylines penetrating the firmament to the highest point of human achievement, serving, at the very limits of their construction, as the literal guideline for the adjudication of advancement while supplying the exemplar of a superlative apex towards which all others must aspire and be gauged by. These loci of political, economic and cultural power within the globalized social complex possess a nearly godly influence; bending social and cultural trends to their will as artistic hubs; their political cadres dictate the allotment of world power and wealth, deciding the fates and fortunes of millions, and the magnitude of their economies enrich the life blood of civilization-money- always with biased preferment, forcing all lesser contenders to bow to their authority or be bankrupted out of existence, a greater coercive implement then war itself.
Many a vein of humanity detours to the gravity of these epicentres, but, as I am now learning, while some flow between the peaks and valleys of civilization, everything in the end flows through the corporation. Behind the empty theorem underpinning the philosophy of governance, the Phariseeism debilitating all religion and the insubstantial materialism of technological growth, is the true crux of human impetus-consumption- manifest in the corporations that drive the engines of our civilization. I had once falsely believed that it was some magnanimous spirit that carried the winds of civilization across the globe like a white light of enlightenment passing over a world of darkness and barbarism until I saw the masses glutting themselves at the trough of commercialism and I was saved. The Great leader saved us all from ourselves by showing us how to embrace what we really are; it is his name I praise and his lessons that corrected me. He taught me that all social structures are mere apparatuses for the service of the collective and the collective will is the corporation. All former political and economic regimes of the twentieth and early twenty-first century were the corrupting, bastardizing offspring of misguided libertarians destabilizing society with their naïve concepts of individuality. I have since learnt that the greatest good is the rapacious capitalist machinery of the corporation. It is in MacDonald’s that we trust. God save Starbucks. Vivre le Second Cup. We pledge allegiance to the United States of Walmart, I salute its flag and in its growing army do I proudly serve, so get on board or prepare to get steam rolled because this is where civilization ends or begins, whichever you prefer, not at the tip of some skyscraper, but in the parking lot of Walmart, when it is as wide as the world over.
To tell you how this story begins I must start from a time before I was saved. I can’t say exactly when it happened, all I know is that when it happened, it happened fast and there was very little time to mount a resistance. We never really stood a chance, it new us too well, our ways, our weaknesses. There was very little that the military could do because when it came time to counterstrike they realized that they had contracted Supersave for their munitions manufacturing and by then it was too late. When the Bureau of Small businesses launched an insurgency, they went to Supersave to buy supplies; let’s just say they didn’t make it. The nuclear option was ruled out because by that time Supersave had a monopoly on uranium, not to mention that it and various fast food chains were deemed indispensable in the aftermath of Armageddon. By June, NORAD was online in aisle four; it no longer served the preservation of the social organism, it served the corporation and its human companionship was a mere incidental necessity.
The first wave came as a psychological campaign of relentless propaganda so insidious that very few recognized its infectiousness. There was an ethos of discontentment within the populous of suburbia towards the growing entity of the corporation; you could hear the whispers everywhere- “everything is starting to look the same” they would say, guerrilla fighters burgeoning from an underground resistance sprouted in smoky alcoves of Starbucks cafes. I remember when things really changed, I started out for work one morning having shaved with my new Gillette 8 razor, the one with eighteen razors that can clear your face in a single swipe- only $48 for a one, great deal; I had Folgers in my cup, Primo stuff, not the shitty stuff, only the best. My Beemer was glinting in the sunlight, just got it, fucking mint; way better than Andy’s Mercedes 350 next door, the thing is two years old, pathetic. I waved but it’s a wave of pity, poor bastard, can’t even afford to send his kids to private school, they’ll all be bankers I guess, sad existence.
The ride in was beautiful, leather seats cushioning my posterior, V8, IPhone compatibility, rockin’ the new Nickleback album. A jingle came over the podcast for some supersave grocery store talking about new low prices, I hated the beat but it stuck; that catchy cadence infiltrating my brain. Main street was a parking lot; there was a going-out-of-business sale for another failed small enterprise that had the mob in a feeding frenzy. There were bodies strewn everywhere; trampled to death by the ravenous throngs as they ravaged bargain bins. I saw a mother use her daughter as a human shield as she dived into the churning mixture for the last of some trendy Barbie, “My baby my baby!” she screamed and then threw her little bundle to the sharks. Men tore out each other’s throats for the signing rights on a 50’ flat screen on consignment, what a mess, blood everywhere. What loser’s I thought, stuck on the consumer treadmill; if I ever get that bad I’ll shoot myself, now, where’s my IPhone20, it’s got that new app that jerks you off- it’s about time I thought. How sad a sight to see the old town, once a bastion of local color, reduced to the haunt of that ubiquitous green flag of Starbucks. What ever happened to the mom and pop shops I thought, oh well, while I’m here I might as well stop. The line was thirty miles long and the wretched dregs caught in its tow were last souls wasting away as they endlessly awaited satiation of their insatiable wants and needs. Those at the heart of the queue had been there for days, their clothes rent to ribbons as they dementedly hummed a chorus of their forlorn order: “grande latte, three cream, three cream, three cream, three cream, oh god, three cream, please god it’s coming soon.”
As I proceeded down the way, the silhouettes of those entrapped figures deteriorated to visions of holocaust survivors; skeletal ghouls pleading vainly for a frappe at my window. One man, looking like a mummified goblin, collapsed in dehydration with the dying words ‘mocha latte’ on is breath. The skeletons descended upon his corpse in cannibalism as I sped away.
“The best way to save is the supersave” I found myself muttering mindlessly as I continued on.
What the hell was that I thought, where did that come from? What’s happening to me? I tried to load a cute puppy vid on youtube through my IPhone but the dam advert for levis kept clogging my load speed. A bus cut me off. I honked.
“I’m trying to watch puppies here you asshole” I blared.
I need to do something with my hair I thought, dye it or maybe try rogain; wait, what was that? I’m not losing my hair, then I realized that this notion was not my own; somehow it had been subliminally implanted in my unconscious by the bus bulletin in front of me, I felt I had to escape the assimilating genius of the supersave I was nearing.
“Coupon for Arby’s sir?” pandered some filthy street urchin at my window.
“Get away from me!” I screamed and floored my six cylinder V8 engine to its high-performance maximum.
Got to love those krauts I quipped, they can sure build a fine piece of machinery. A Traffic jam ahead. Full stop. Total gridlock. The supersave ahead churned the masses into hysteria. So many deals, so many savings had turned brother against brother in absolute anarchy. The walls were no longer enough to check the onslaught and soon the windows exploded as a river of predating humanity unleashed itself on hapless merchandise, annihilating it and themselves in the struggle for its supremacy. You could see the landscape changing around the black hole of the supersave, nothing that passed its event horizon could escape the pull of its magnetism. Sociological movement became less erratic and unpredictable, the path of least resistance homologizing behavior and funnelling it towards the assimilating edifice of this super organism catalyst. The civic geography was morphing, bending to the gravitational field of the supersave; like sapling shoots withering in the shadow of a giant sequoia, all commerce in the radius of this giant wholesaler was straining in the insalubrious soil at its base. I watched the confluence of rabid consumers within the supersave gorging themselves like sedated cattle while fornicating openly in a full blown orgy of indulgence with abject disgust. For those unfortunate trapped within, the prodding by such desirable produce instigated their instinctual centres for consumption to the point of such obesity that they could never escape its doors. Like animals bereft of self-control, turned loose on an ample carcass, they stuffed themselves till their stomachs burst.
I could never be like them I pondered; mindless hordes fondling blindly for a teat to suckle. As I slowly passed the supersave I witnessed a group of dissidents picketing the new bully on the block. A greasy haired hipster accosted my passenger window ranting,
“Don’t let them take over, man. Dude, seriously this is real, its greedy corporations like the supersave that destroy communities”
“That’s how our economy works dipshit, go to Russia if you don’t like it” I returned automatically, surprised that in the heat of the moment I had sided with the thing I had just professed to disdain. Was I changing?
The hippie squealed “Pig! Pig, just another Pig!” as I pulled ahead.
I was now directly beneath the supersave entrance. My car started losing power, engine light on; the radio tuned itself to the 24 hour supersave commercial frequency independent of any external manipulation. The jingle ‘the best way to save is at the supersave’ inundated the airwaves, boring into my mind, dizzying me with its hypnotic rhythm. My free will was suddenly superseded by my mischievous left hand that went clutching at the door handle; I managed to fight it back, the urge; the impulse to join the swirling masses in a battle royal of lassiez-faire consumption.
“No!” I howled “ I am not one of them”!
I floored the pedal and screeched out through a gap in the traffic. The dizziness failed to flee me and my nose began to spontaneously bleed as a vortex of images ricochet through my cranium: starbucks, supersave, Arby’s, Rogaine- Consciousness fading.
I awoke many hours later, how long? I’m still not sure; two maybe three hours. I was slumped over in the passenger seat. In my grog I felt a sticky substance irritating my scalp. What was that goo I stressed? Then I saw the package on the floor matt, it startled me so much to see that I was instantly awoken, it was Rogaine! I had Arby’s sweet and sour sauce all over my new Levis. Christ, I thought, they got to me; well, I won’t let it happen again.
It was a lucky break that I happened to wind down my binge in the parkade of my workplace because I was well and truly late. It was a small insurance firm, the only one in town; small enough that it still possessed that homey feel of localized trade, the kind that resembles the tribal camaraderie of neighbour helping neighbour, far removed from the dehumanizing scale of incorporation. Inside its well light, glassy corridors, those neat little cubicles that so conveniently shelved the systems human components echoed vacant. With the exception of a few faded miscreants skulking over the florescent glow of their computers screens while pumping themselves full of endless reels of pornography.
“Hey Ted, where is everyone?” I enquired of one these forgotten perverts just he climaxed onto his keyboard.
The moan overwhelmed my query and I tossed a hand up in defeat. There’s no work going on here I thought and rightly so, how could any work duty compete with an omnipresent media source for perpetual gratification. I left for home.
In my neighbour’s driveway sat a glistening BMW x4. Bastard, I raged, mine was only the x3. Clearly he was emulating my lead. Within my stately manor I found my wife in the kitchen clipping coupons for the supersave. She was a magnificent piece of chattel, my prized possession above all. A pedigree filly of the Nordic type with shimmering blond hair, firm butt and naturally perky breasts; tall and slim, she could take you from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds; another homage to fine German selectivity.
“Hey sweetie, I thought maybe tomorrow we could go to the supersave, its cheap day” she asked.
“What did you say?” I loomed over her, taking her arm I saw the pile of coupons smeared in blood from her fingertips, abraded from hours of clipping “who got to you?” I yelled.
“What are you talking about honey? Your hurting me” she pleaded innocently but I knew she was a mendacious whore, I knew it when I married her.
I yanked her by the arm and swung her around, slamming her into the wall; the deep thud knocked the wind from her lungs and she gasped for breath as I grabbed her by the throat.
“Who got to you?!” I repeated.
“No one, I swear, please, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she pleaded like the slippery slut that she was.
“If they can get to me they can get to you” I let her slink to the floor where she puled “I don’t know what I did, what did I do?”
She knew, she knew, I suspected as I dashed over to the window. No sign of the advance yet but it will come, of that I am sure. The paranoia was clouding my judgement or maybe it was the supersave jingle that still rattled around in my skull.
“Do you have any idea what’s going on out there? They’re taking over, I never thought it would happen but it’s happening now, today!” I coughed beleaguered “look at this”, I said, dragging my distraught wife across the kitchen floor to the television in our spacious and well-appointed den. It was a 50’ LCD, high-def, full trimmings- shut up- I tried to shake the contagious consumer jargon from my lexicon but it was well entrenched.
“What’s wrong?” my wife sympathized nervously as she watched me twitch under the strain of this corruptive influence.
“Get a hold of yourself” I had to slap her to get her under control “just watch” I said, as I flipped the television on to the ominous feature of white fuzz.
The only channel still in operation was the emergency broadcast channel which exhibited a still frame of the supersave motto: the best way to save is with the supersave.
“You see, it’s everywhere!” I moaned just as the sickening realization of my sons vulnerable innocence left undefended in the next room settled into the pit of my stomach.
“Timmy, Timmy, where’s little Timmy?” I exploded, my wife clambering after me, “he’s in the bedroom, god, what’s your problem Jim?”
His listless blue eyes gave it away first, I had lost him. I ripped the Wii system from the wall; my best efforts thwarted by the pre-eminence of that devil box. Grasping his little mop-top I tried to throttle away the demon that racked his body, drool spilling from his slack-jawed mouth. Too little, too late, the demon now possessed him.
“Timmy, talk to me, come back to me, oh god” I bewailed, shrinking to the floor.
His communicative capacities had devolved to a series of primitive waving motions. My wife appeared above me, encouraging me to calm my dismay with slumber. Why I trusted her now after everything I don’t know, but I submitted to rest.