Funk Patrol

The child has a computer! The child has a computer! The child has a COMPUTER! Hunza’s instinct was to run but that would draw too much attention. Instead she walked towards the child and sat down nearby. Maybe it wasn’t a real one, she thought, it could be a toy – but even toy computers were forbidden in the Black Zone. They were allowed in the Brown Zone, and of course real computers resided only in the White Zone. Hunza could walk away, pretend she’d never seen it, but it was too late. A camera was sure to have seen her. She had no choice.

She said, “What are you doing, child?”

The child was young – three or four – and not aware of his actions. That was good. It wasn’t his fault. It was faulty parents. No, not faulty – that was a Brown Zone term – more stupid. Yes, stupid parents. Oh My God! It was Brain Training! It was Brain Training! It was BRAIN TRAINING! Hunza couldn’t believe this was happening. She had found a child with the highest form of contraband! She snatched the child’s computer, and he burst into tears. When he’d stopped crying, she said, “Where did you get this?” and he burst into tears again. This wasn’t getting her anywhere, so she said, “Where do you live?” The child pointed towards a crazy mosaic tree house, 200 metres away. “Come on, let’s go.”

“You are this child’s parents?” Hunza said to the couple within.

“Yes we are,” they said, not seeming concerned. “What’s the problem Officer?”

“I must report a very serious offence to you. Here is the charge sheet. Your child had a computer.”

“He had a ‘puter?” said the mother.

“Yes, a ‘puter.” said Hunza.

“You are a puta!” shouted the mother. “A big fat puta!”

“A Cosi Fan Tutte!” shouted the father, his voice transforming into singing. A Cosi Fan Tutte! You are a big fat COSI FAN TUTTE!”

Hunza sang too, “Shut up or I’ll shoot ya! I will, I’ll shoot ya! Honest to God, I’LL SHOOT YA!”

The father grabbed a mandolin and began plucking its strings. The mother ran to another room, and returned banging bongos. The child was bemused at first, and then realized what was happening, and blew into a plastic trumpet, creating broken birdsong and a baby camel’s groan. Neighbours heard the commotion and ran to join in. A tall white man rapped about his “cracky homey hood”. An East Indian woman performed barely-perceptible, moving-nonmoving, Tai Chi moves, while her midget partner practised kendo. A black bodybuilder chanted the Kabbalistic names of God. A Chinese girl made yoga-bridges, almost becoming a hoop. A man in a wheelchair told racist jokes which everybody laughed at, while a woman on a drip and oxygen support mimed filthy porn. Hunza ripped up the charge sheet and threw it in the air, and as it fluttered down like snowflakes, began breakdancing. Everybody made a human pyramid, with the man in the wheelchair at the top, and the woman on drip and oxygen pretending to pleasure him. The pyramid soon collapsed with uproarious laughter.

What a fabulous community I live in, thought Hunza, so wonderfully eccentric, filled with every kind of art imaginable and the highest proportion of Crazies in the Valley. She was doing a good job, she felt, as a Senior Officer of the Funk Patrol.

She encouraged Crazies to join in with the Funk, but most stood on the sidelines. Every now and then a Wacky Wallflower would summon courage and share their inspiration with others – this was a big step in their returning to the fold. There was also a parallel movement of disillusioned Funksters drifting away to the sidelines, to remain there till their inspiration returned. Crazies were the most highly valued members of the Black Zone, and this crossing back and forth was precious. It enhanced their in/sanity.

“Funk Patroller!” shouted a man known to her, who had good form. “Have you considered changing your title to ‘Funk Petrol-er’? That’s what they called gas in Europe –

you know, petrol – before it ran out. Isn’t that your job really – to add fuel to the fire? To make it roar? I’ve been thinking about that a lot. The metaphor of fire. It’s an element that doesn’t exist of itself. It’s more a transformative state. A way of being free. If you…”

Hunza had to think quickly. This man was a poet, but was now becoming a philosopher. In the Black Zone, that was a truly crazy thing to do. Truly crazy! TRULY CRAZY! If he was thought to be logical, White Zone computers would see him as a threat. The cameras that watched them around-the-clock – as entertainment feed for the liquid brains in huge, cooled metal buildings – would pick up on it quickly. They would instruct slithering robots from the Brown Zone to come and deal with the matter. The robots would caution the local Funk Patroller and remove the Logical Aberration. Humans were retained for fun, not for thinking. The computers were much better at that.

Hunza snatched a bamboo pole from the midget kendo practitioner and bashed the philosopher on the head with it. He fell, clutching his temples, and shook on the floor, frothing and laughing. Cameras whirred nearby. Hunza wondered, “Did I deal that with that comically, not logically? I really hope so.”

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