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Astral Travels to Planet Meeja

short stories, media, satire, escaping, social engineering

Honda Prelude's Astral Travels

To Planet Meeja

Honda Prelude, arguably the foremost philosopher of the Hollyist Path and definitely the most prolific, stared at the blank sheet in her typewriter and her eyebrows rose, seemingly of their own volition. She clambered to her feet, rubbed her thighs to restore the circulation, and then walked to her cave to check the calendar blutacked to the wall.

There were indeed already two red crosses on the year's calendar and now she was adding a third.

'Three times in one year,' she muttered.

'Three times in one year!' she complained.

'Three times in one year I've lost the muse and stopped writing. I'm sure this must be a record. Maybe it's middle age - the penopause?' and so saying, she conceded that her philosophising would have to take a break. This was such an infrequent experience for Honda that it led to a certain amount of bewilderment as she wondered what to do next. She was always on top of her domestic duties, of which a Hollyist hermit/philosopher has very few (washing one bowl and cooking vessel; maintaining a stock of firewood) so there was no easy escape from the bewilderment. It was far too early in the evening to retire for the day so she picked up her hand-woven yak-hair rug, which was rolled into a tidy bundle to fit snugly under her arm, headed down the meandering path towards her meditation hut, lit the lamp of perfumed oil and prepared for Astral Travel.

She knew this was what she'd end up doing but didn't really want to because it was always disappointing.

'That's no way to start! Positive thinking is better. I shall have a jolly rewarding trip to distant galaxies, meet lots of novel aliens and return with a broadened mind,' she affirmed. And almost believed it.

Honda wrapped her ponytail around her for added warmth, placed a notebook and pen by her side in case the philosophical muse kicked in during the trip and closed her eyes.


The astrally-projected woven yak-hair carpet scythed aerodynamically through the clouds, Honda's famously long ponytail trailing behind her, and she focussed her second sight and groaned.

'Planet Meeja,' she complained, and was tempted to curse.

Honda set the carpet on autopilot and cogitated herself towards the multi-storey flats of Leggoland wherein the captives, warm-blooded creatures that were controlled by the Meeja dictatorship, were compelled to watch little boxes in the corner of the room for 16 hours per day. Incredibly, some of the captives chose to watch their boxes for even more hours than this.

Honda returned her astral carpet to manual control and melted through the window of a 17th storey flat and came to rest behind a 2 seater settee where the occupants, one male and one fe, were totting up their viewing quota for the day. The program that had them engrossed was called 'Bargain of the Century' which struck Honda as something of a misnomer since it was shown once a week, twice during the Meeja mid-winter holiday.

The presenter - male, middle aged, grinning inanely - pointed to the huge pile of goods on the platform and invited people to phone in and try to answer questions about previous shows. The longer it took contestants to get the correct answer, the cheaper the prize became. But another contestant might answer first ...

The presenter's assistant - female, young, grinning inanely - also pointed to the huge pile of goods in the centre of the raised platform in the centre of the studio. Maybe some viewers have poor eyesight, Honda speculated. The couple on the seat in front of Honda thought they knew the answers, but if they waited a few more seconds before phoning in maybe they'd get the lot even cheaper?

'It never goes this early,' the male said.

'Just our luck if it did,' the female countered, one hand on a mobile phone, the other on a credit card.

They sounded a little hostile towards each other and Honda wondered if the box was responsible for this, or were they antagonistic by nature?

The experience was not interesting or rewarding for Honda - their flat smelled of many unsavoury things; burning dust from the electric heaterette, stale cooked food smells from the kitchenette, damp clothes drying in front of the dryerette and the other paraphernalia of their shared lifette.

Mercifully, the game show ended and was followed after the adverts by The News. The news presenters were very careful what they said, and this further reinforced Honda's view from previous visits that there was an uneasy truce between the Corporations that had effectively elected the semi-conscious stooge, George Bushwhacker, to the presidency and Roopert Muirdock, the sole disseminator of the planet's thought processes.

Either uneasy-trucee had the power to wreck the other's presidency or media empire, respectively (by outlawing news monopoly or telling the truth), but declined to make the first move, their own nests being very well feathered by the prevailing status quo.

Honda imagined the carpet back out through the window and after peering into a few other high rise boxes she turned around, headed for the ocean past the enormous Statue of Hypocrisy, and returned to her home.

She opened her eyes. Real eyes, that is; first sight rather than second, and felt pleased to be back amongst the familiar homely smells and warmth of the meditation hut. The yak-hair blanket crinkled beneath her as she wriggled, provoking renewed circulation in her legs.

Many things puzzled Honda - the Meeja viewers' enthusiasm to win (amongst other things) a cut-price particularly large box, when they already had three, (ownership of one being required by Meeja law) since they didn't seem capable of watching three at once, let alone four.

'Bargain of the Century,' she murmured. In Honda's view, the real bargain was their annual 'Children in Need,' festival, wherein the super-rich Meeja dictators publicly (very publicly) donated less than 0.01% of their profits to the young, whilst plotting to enslave them from their teens to their fifties (at the very least), and thereby felt distanced from 100% of their guilt.

Having reimbibed the smells and colours of her home, Honda suddenly felt an urge to put on the radio. An urge she had learned to trust.

Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' began at exactly the beginning and Honda knew without the shadow of a cliche that she was reconnected to the Source / God(ess) / collective unconscious / creative muse / animus (delete according to taste) but still hadn't a clue what to call it, or even what it really was.

'Bargain of the Century?!' she warbled. 'It could even be the Bargain of Eternity.'

She pondered for a few seconds, then her eyebrows levitated, again apparently of their own accord.

'Even if it does happen every year!' she added.

Honda pondered some more and found herself humming a jolly tune. She started to smile

'This sounds like paradoxical logic,' she mused, and lunged for a pencil as she felt the philosophical muse return.

Copyright Peter Fairbrother

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