Metrocide

Raindrops careened from the sky, smashed into the awning outside Black Annex, and those that didn’t then slide off it on their own were instead shook off by the loud bass roaring out of the club.

Rax stood, inspecting his own hair in the custom-built mirrors that stood on the wall outside the club. He tilted his head this way and that, admiring the way the new Spritz hair wax made his hair shimmer different colours in the rain.

A woman wearing bespoke leather clothes exactly a half-size too small for her approached, exaggerating the swing of her hips.

“Oh, hey, man,” he said to her, huffing on his e-Cigarette.

“How’s it going?” Tyff replied, pulling out her regular tobacco-filled kind.

“Oh, you know. Same old. My boss tried to fuck me yesterday.”

“Did you let him?”

“I’m not into buff guys, really?” Rax said, like he wasn’t sure whether it was a question or a statement. “Buff women are fine though.”

“Too bad, he’s tres fuckable for a guy,” Tyff said, lighting up her cigarette with a gold lighter stylised like it’s a little antique blow torch.

The flame was a special job, designed to burn down instead of up and auto-matching its flame to the hue of whatever she was wearing.

This time, it chose a nice deep purple, bordering on mauve.

“You know, you should really, like, try these new eCigs, Tyff. These ones? They change flavor as you smoke them.”

“Yeah, but they’re not the real thing, and umm… I’m, like, a fan of being authentic,” she said, straightening part of her top where it was bunching up and failing to correctly show off the work the auto-surgeon had done last week to make her stomach wash-board flat.

“Your loss, dudette,” Rax shrugged, just before his jaw disconnected from the rest of his head in a spray of blood.

A look of surprise appeared on his eyes as he the eCig, tip glowing a stylish orange, fell from its position a few inches from where his lips had once been and into a puddle on the ground.

It was about then that Tyff noticed the figure in the slate-coloured trench coat running by the wall of the club, probably in a hurry to avoid whatever had just damaged Rax’s designer face, and ended his life.

“WARNING,” a police drone droned. “A violent citizen is nearby.”

A second shot, of the same variety as the kind which had taken down Rax, wizzed by Tyff’s head, forcing her to drop her authentic cigarette and duck closer to the ground.

The drone slid along the street, a dozen other club patrons out there to be seen smoking near Black Annex’s stylish logo scattering as it passed by, continuing to shoot its blaster at the figure.

One shot knocked out the first ‘a’ in the club’s famous logo. One blew open a bystander’s ribcage. Yet another ripped an arm off an underage clubber, the limb and its associated viscera skidding to a halt in front of Tyff.

Finally, two more cop drones and three dead or dismembered club denizens later, and Tyff opened her eyes.

The ground was red from all the human detritus, and her cigarette lighter had been wedged in the ‘on’ position, helpfully selecting a matching tone of deep scarlet to fit in.

Tyff stood up, stepping over Rax, removing some jaw fragments from her cleavage and flicking them aside.

“I fucking hate Saturdays,” she sighed, walking off home.


I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and discussing my complete inability to write short stories. This is, when I began to think about it, quite untrue. I’ve written quite a few, even recently, I just tend to rarely come up with ideas for them. The format I came up with for my sci-fi history stories felt almost like a cheat. They’re technically short stories, but not conventional ones as they’re in an article form – a format I’m more comfortable with thanks to a few years of working as a media critic.

But as I was denying I’d written short stories, I remembered this piece. It was written for the (rarely read) PDF manual for my second video game, Metrocide, a cyberpunk action shooter. It wasn’t given much of a title at the time, so going back to it, I’m just calling it Metrocide.

When I mentioned it to the friend I said I wasn’t sure what I thought of the story but… for a short piece that’s basically black comedy with a morbid punchline, I kinda like it? Makes me want to delve back a bit more into cyberpunk. Not so much the dead serious variety, but something a bit more morbid and comedic, like this.

Haunted

I am walking through a parking lot, toward the supermarket in my suburb. I pass numerous people, but one of them is different. He’s someone I know – someone I knew for 15 years. We’re heading toward each other, and I have this brief moment of surprise at seeing him – his is a face I hadn’t seen in the better part of a decade. We used to have sleepovers as a kid. We dated the same girl once. (Not at the same time, and, uh… it caused tension. To put it mildly.)

He walks toward me, and in a second he obviously realises I am looking at him. Not too directly, but I am clearly looking in his direction. He stares at my face. He eyes me, looking me up and down. For a moment, I think he’s recognises me, then I realise he’s just staring at my tits.

So I guess he hadn’t changed much.

In the past I’ve described some of my life now as being a bit like someone gave me the wrong memories. I remember being [deadname]. I remember how people reacted to him – strangers, friends. It’s totally different to how I am treated now. It’s a bit sci-fi, really. But I think I’ve found another way to describe this strange experience:

I feel like I am haunting my past life.

I remember it. I lived it. I know all those same people, but it’s like they don’t see me. Or if they do, they see someone totally different. Being perved at by someone I used to have sleepovers with isn’t a specifically trans experience, I know, but it’s not the first time this has happened.

It’s strange enough, seeing places and people once-familiar to me, that I increasingly fantasise about moving city. This place feels strange to me now. I avoid suburbs I used to frequent. I feel weird seeing places I used to know. I run into people, like this tit-staring pervy ex-friend, who make me feel like either I’m being haunted, or I’m haunting them.

I think of the underrated and touching show I used to love, Dead Like Me.

Georgia Lass is an 18 year old girl who dies, and is brought back as a reaper. She walks around the world, performing tasks, but people see her as someone else. So she sometimes runs into her family – and they do not recognise her.

It’s yet another instance of the feeling that, post-transition, conventional dramas or novels are less relatable to me now than fantasy or science-fiction. My life is often more surreal than real.

Am I Adulting Yet?

When I left home, I moved into a sharehouse. From there, in with a partner who I would spend the bulk of my ’20s with. After that, when I began transitioning, I moved back into a sharehouse. What I’m getting at is this: I have always lived with other people. You can… probably guess where this is going.

I’d been planning to try living on my own this year. For the first time in a decade, I have a stable full-time job. Not the best paying in the world (it’s game dev, after all) but one where, frustrating bugs aside, I enjoy the company I work with and the company I work for.

So I’d been saving up. Figured out the suburb I wanted to move to. Thing is, it wasn’t supposed to happen until June or July.

Sometimes, the best things happen to us when our hands are forced. I had to borrow money. I had to scramble a bit, but suddenly knowing I had merely two weeks to find somewhere to live… I managed it. I found a 90% perfect apartment in the suburb I wanted, my application was accepted (in fact, my application for my backup apartments were accepted to – unlike every other time I’ve been apartment-hunting in my life) and just 9 days from first finding out I had to leave… I am living here, in this apartment, alone for the first time in my life.

I’d say I was about 80% excited and 20% scared. I’m quite an extrovert, and I need human contact to recharge my batteries, so to speak. So living without housemates outright terrified. But I am moving to within walking distance of about 6-7 very close friends, so that softened the blow a bit. Plus, I figured, who knows when I will get the chance again? I am dating right now, but the people I’m seeing… it’s quite casual. There’s no domestic partner on the horizon for me right now, so it seemed like the best time to give it a go. Who knows – maybe I’d love it?

It’s weird suddenly realising that I am alone here. No housemate to run social events by. No partner to check in with before buying new appliances, crockery or throw rugs. It feels… amazing. Not that I wouldn’t love to share my life with someone again, but right now, this feels like everything I needed.

I spent the last four years living with friends, who in a way acted as a buffer. I had little contact with real estate agents or the like, so I could quietly transition and get used to my new life.

Well, I’m used to it now, and things are… easier. I realised that before I transitioned, dysphoria’s attendant social anxiety, for me, meant that I would do anything to avoid interacting with strangers. Neighbours, shopkeepers, even delivery drivers scared me.

Not any more. I smile at my neighbours. I voluntarily go to a normal checkout at the supermarket rather than seeking out the self-checkout lane.

Is this… adulting? I hate the term, but life doesn’t scare me now. I can do all the household things, I can deal with my real estate agent, make smalltalk with the kid working the til at the local supermarket.

I don’t think I realised how much dysphoria-related anxiety had affected my life until recently. But now, it feels like I can be, with little care or fear. They’re just other humans.

So here I am, in The Sims buy mode, making my house and preparing to play single-player for a while.

The Nostalgia Offset

I had a bad day yesterday. Emotionally, I mean. New Years is always a rough time for me. It’s the anniversary of beginning my transition, amongst other things, so for me the usual new-year ennui gets magnified into, sometimes, full-blown despair. Yesterday was that. When I get like that, I can tell myself a thousand times that things aren’t that bad (and they aren’t) but I still need to find a balm until it passes.

That balm is usually nostalgia. So I engaged in numerous forms of it last night. Now, I’m… Generation Modem. On the cusp of Gen X and Millennial, and yet not quite either. So for me, my nostalgia salve was these: An old-style video game I love. A ’90s low-budget film about feelings. A playlist of ’90s music. Listening to a pile of ’90s .mod, .s3m, .xm and other tracker files.

As I bathed in these and began to feel a little bit better. Then as I watched “Singles”, Cameron Crowe’s sophomore and one of many little ’90s films about Feelings I hadn’t seen before, and “Slacker”, a film I know I love… I had a funny realisation.

Image result for slacker movie vhs
Slacker
Continue…

Four Years

Exactly four years ago (probably close to the minute – I was incredibly fastidious about taking my pills on time early on), I began feminising hormone therapy.

I still remember being terrified – I planned to start on the 1st of January, but after utterly failing to sleep on the night of the 30th, I decided ‘fuck it’, and began early.

Continue…

Nice Girl, Pretty Girl

I walk through the supermarket entrance, making a bee-line for the carrying baskets. As I pass an old man walking up to the information counter, I notice him dropping a twenty dollar note. The cashier notices too, and pauses briefly, obviously conflicted about leaving her booth or returning the money to the man.

I reach down, grab the note, smile at the cashier and quickly approach the man. “Excuse me,” I say. “I think you dropped this.”

Continue…

Blogging, Redux

Hi there! Yes, it’s me, I’m back. After server crashes, life changes, and vanishing into the ether (seriously, I used the tele-ether device sold by ACME Professional Supervillain Industrial LLC – I can’t recommend it enough)… I decided to try blogging again.

I didn’t loose the data from my previous blogs, but configuring them again turned out to be a nightmare. (Pro-tip, folks: if you used to be a linux sysad and think you can handle your own linux box with Ghost installed as your blogging platform, you’ve obviously forgotten how boring and frustrating it is.)

So I will be re-posting some of my transition blog posts, with notes now they’re nearly half a decade old. (Gosh, time flies when you’re uncomfortable getting used to casual sexism and homophobia.)

I will also be posting… whatever I want. I want to blog more. Now I’ve all but stopped using social media apart from the odd insta or twitter blast, I want to try and do this long form. I guess I’ll figure out the details later, but I paid for a year’s web hosting up front so… let’s see what happens?

As for a general life update…

I’ve gotten a bit into electronics, 3d printing, flight simming, and just general makery.

An example of some of the fun I’ve been having outside of business hours:

OpenForge dungeon tiles with magnet connectors
Simpit panels
Arduino Nano-based gaming console
Simpit-in-progress

Once I’m done with the simpit, I plan to get into 8-bit computers, too. Like, building one. I’ve already bought a few MOS 6502 (and Z80 in case I decide on that instead), plus a bunch of useful timer chips, sound chips, interface chips, etc. That’ll be much tougher, but I am apparently always in need of a new hobby.

I’m going to try to update here fairly regularly, if I can, but honestly, we’ll have to see just how I feel. It’s odd getting used to a full time office job again after nearly a decade of working from my garage, so to speak.