Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hayleigh and the Meritocracy

Well, let's get [rhexisFEATURE] properly up and running, shall we? We already have the letters written by ~x~ and myself.

Please find here my latest short story, Hayleigh and the Meritocracy, as alluded to by Mr. Wintergreen.

Have some excerpts...

...born in beige. Beige, the colour(lessness) of equality. Institutional, impersonal, universal. Product of two small factors: ineptitude is expected, but not necessarily implied...

...hello, Hayleigh. Aren’t you small and perfect. Logic dictates that the brightest be able to make use of you before you can be ruined. Some of them (not very many) like that. What’s that, Hayleigh? You don’t know, but it feels interesting. In a very short while, it would make you cry. Now, it is just a release for the A men who like this. It is for the best. You will not remember, and the A men will be sated and sane to decide their decrees.

Good luck, Hayleigh. Not that luck has anything to do with it...

...Sophie was born without luck. She has never passed a Social Advancement test in her short, dank, hairy life. She entered her comprehensive nursery, like all children, as an undetermined assumed C. But when the nice B men came and walked her across the coarse but comfortable carpet, coloured darkly to preclude complaint, to take her first Determination, she smiled sweetly and failed miserably. Her life then became progressively unbrighter. She did not particularly notice; although, she always felt there was something missing...

...seesawing back and forth on her compacted, fog-coloured mattress, Hayleigh smiles blankly into the tip of a syringe snapped off in her artery, dripping purple blood and verdant methadone.

White walls? Padding? It feels so soft when the needle has been broken off, it looks so white, it—(unconsciousness. back to black and cold.)...

...“Do you LIKE pepper, THING?”...

Now go.



At 10:03 am, Blogger kedazzle said...

Bloody YES.
You, sir, are a fine writer.
I didn't like the ending.
I didn't care.
I am now suitably jealous and shall have to write something even more so.

At 10:09 am, Blogger kedazzle said...

Have you read the 'Wind Singer' trilogy, by the way? It's based on a very similar idea, the taking apart of an absolutist meritocratic society where social privilege is based wholly on standardised testing from a young age.

At 11:41 am, Blogger Garth Wintergreen said...

My comment from my earlier article still stands - remarkable. Kedazzle, which bit of the ending did you not like and why? I personally liked it a lot - suitably moving, reflective of 1984, challenging, etc.

At 12:48 pm, Blogger Withiel said...

Also subverting the clearly reactionary framing of the results of an anarchist uprising, which is Good.

At 4:54 pm, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

Thank you for your praise, everyone. It is very much appreciated.

Jealous are we? Heavens only know what sort of physiological response that could lead to...

No, I have not read Wind Singer. Who is the author?

Please, I'll get an ego.


At 10:01 pm, Blogger kedazzle said...

I am going to write and write and attempt to produce something I'm happy with, is what bloody physiological response. I've got the idea down. It's going to be a bastardasation of Propertius 1-3 (the one about coming home drunk)about addiction destroying the brilliant. sort of a twisted love-story, too. Now I just need to go to it and stop mimsying about.

If that falls through, of course, I suppose I'll just have to fuck you senseless. That'll show you.

Oh, and it's William Nicholson, by the way. Marketed as kids' literature. Don't believe a word of it.

Here is a specially selected extract for your diversion, for your delectation.

Out of the College of Examines, in a flurry of white robes, poured the high officials of the city to see what was intruding on their afternoon.

‘I HA-A-ATE SCHOO-OO-OOL!’ cried Kestrel’s amplified voice. ‘I HA-A-ATE RA-A-ATINGS!’

The examiners heard this in shock.

‘She’s having a fit,’ they said. ‘She’s lost her wits.’

‘Get her down! Send for the marshals!’

‘I won’t strive ha-a-arder!’ cried Kestrel. ‘I won’t rea-ea-each hi-i-igher! I won’t make tomorr-orr-ow better than today-ay-ay!’

More and more people were gathering now, drawn by the noise. A long crocodile of children from Maroon District, who had been on a visit to the Hall of Achievement, appeared between the double row of columns to listen to Kestrel’s voice.

‘I don’t love my Emperor-or-or!’ Kestrel was now crying. ‘There’s no glor-or-ory in Aramanth-anth-anth!’

The children gasped. Their teacher was too shocked to speak. A band of grey-coated marshals came running down the steps, their batons in their hands.

‘Get her down!’ cried the scarlet-robed official.

The marshals formed a ring round the wind singer, and their captain called up to Kestrel:

‘You’re surrounded! You can’t get away!’

‘I don’t want to get away,’ Kestrel replied; and putting her head back into the leather scoop, she called out, ‘PONGO-O-O TO EXAM-AM-AMS!’

The Maroon children started to titter.

‘Oh, the evil child!’ exclaimed their teacher, and herded her class back to the Hall of Achievement. ‘Come along, children. Don’t listen to her. She’s a wild thing.’

‘Come down!’ roared the captain of the marshals. ‘Come down or you’ll be sorry!’

‘I’m sorry now,’ Kestrel called back. ‘I’m sorry for me, and I’m sorry for you, and I’m sorry for this whole sorry city!’

She put her head into the scoop and called out over the wide arena:


At 9:17 am, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...


That's startlingly subversive for "kids' " lit.

Pongo to exams, indeed!


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