I am the very best of America

I am the very best of America, I tell myself as I slip the clutch into sixth gear. I am the very best of America, the car grinds it in, gears up, goes forward pulling me and the whole small shuddering grinding babe lurches forward. We go.

I am the very best of America, six speed top speed on a highway that leads forward, always ahead.

My phone will ring here in a minute, two buzzes and then a cutout, to let me know that Miguel got the drop. First deposit, second coming tomorrow. One hundred iPones from the Cabriolet campaign. They were worth more than Miguel forwarded me — he knew, I knew it. He knew he was the best I could do though. Fucking bastard. Fucking matchmaking sites being fucking hackable. Fucking women on the internet and their fucking ability to just make me fucking talk like a lunatic. They didn’t have to do anything just show up and say hello and I’d spill my secrets. Bond villian, just ready to talk when I feel like I’ve got it in the bag. Give me an empty textbox and the sort of maybe promise of even a slightly personalized deepfake experience and I’ll tell you everything you want to know.

I am the very best of America. Home is where they’ll find me tomorrow but I don’t know that yet. Home is where I’m headed now, six-speeds into Getting There right now. I feel good, fuck, I feel fucking great. I could feel better, Miguel knows that. Is he going to push his luck tomorrow? Probably not. We both win by pushing forward with this measling negocio we’re working.

iPones used to be worth a lot. The problem is that they’re anticipated now. Smart campaigns use double-encryption protocols, text parsers that apply your own quantum-safe latticework, guaranteed for ten thousand years, Applied Crypto to the messages that you send, or at least the ones they don’t want anyone to see. The newer iPones use screen replication and holographic projections to mirror out what’s read up. The older ones, the ones Miguel got, didn’t have any of these new bells and sneak whistles. Data only, no shots.

Neither of us were expect anything tasteful will be found in the drops. They’ll be dry, but we’re both panning for gold anyway.

My operation was see-through, you could see through it. Transparent what’s going on. It’s expected these days that the juice would get out. The Cabriolets needed their juice to leak, to Become Tea to get Sipped by the rest of America, the rest of us. No juicy insider details typically meant the People didn’t trust you, which typically meant you Didn’t get Elected. So they juiced it. They juiced us. Manufactured Juice.

Need is a funny thing. You come to depend on a Thing Happening. At first the market for it is small. There’s only so much expertise in Poning and the e-girls haven’t arrived on the scene quite yet to get the experts chatting, spilling the how tos. It’s a production now, there’s money in the shes; they got organized and pooled their spillage potential. They’re all e-girls, they’re all in the chats anyway. Who else are you gonna talk to? That’s all there is. That’s all. Eventually the forums get fat with juicy chats and then the market saturates, the tradesmen multiply and the margins run themselves out. There’ll always be a market, the juice must flow, but the sweetness has run out of it.

Juice man, I am. I am the very best of America. I run my car hot and hellfire burning down the long asphalt road. I ship juice for a living. I collect Pones from the fruits. I sell Pones downstream to the influence scene, where the juice is cut and pasted and the good bits get mixed and poured into the memetic juice-fueled fire and the next popular wave of hits that I’ll listen to on my radio driving down hot asphalt in three months time gets forged into being from the very juice I’ve delivered, that I’ve made happen.

I am the very best of America, I juice the system.

Fuck Miguel though, for real.