Neuromancer

William Gibson. Neuromancer. Londres : HarperCollins, (1984) 1995 , p. 9-11.

The Sky above the port was the color of television tuned to a dead channel.

‘It’s not like I’m using,’ Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. ‘It’s like my body’s developed this massive drug efficiency.’ It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese.

Ratz was tending bar, his prosthetic arm jerking monotonously as he filled a tray of glasses with draft Kirin. He saw case and smiled his teeth a webwork of East European steel and brown decay. Case found a pace at the bar, between the unlikely tan on one of the Lonny Zones’whore and the crisp naval uniform of a tall African whose cheekbones were ridged with precise rows of tribal scars. ‘Wage was in here early, with two joeboys,’ Ratz said, shoving a draft across the bar with his good hand. ‘Maybe some business with you, Case?’

Case shrugged. The Girl to his right giggled and nudged him.

The bartender’s smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it. The antique arm whined as he reached for another mug. It was a Russian military prosthesis, a seven-function force-feedback manipulator, cased in grubby pink plastic. ‘You re too much the artiste, Herr Case.’ Ratz grunted; the sound served Him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. ‘You are the artiste of the slightly funny deal.’

‘Sure,’ Case said, and sipped his beer. ‘Somebody’s gotta be funny around here. Sure the fuck isn’t you.’

The whore’s giggle went up an octave.

‘Isn’t you either, sister. So you vanish, okay? Zone, he’s a close personal friend of mine.’

She looked Case in the eye and made the softest possible spitting sound, her lips barely moving. But she left.

‘Jesus,’ Case said, ‘what kinda creep joint you running here? Man can’t have a drink.’

‘Ha,’ Ratz said, swabbing the scarred wood with a rag, ‘Zone shows a percentage. You I let work here for entertainment value.’

As Case was picking up a his beer, one of those strange instant of silences descended, as though a hundred unrelated conversations ha simultaneously arrives at the same pause. Then the whore giggle rang out, tinged with a certain hysteria.

Ratz grunted. ‘An angle passed.’

‘The Chinese,’ bellowed a drunken Australian, ‘Chinese bloody invented nerve-splicing. Give me the mainland for a nerve job any day. Fix you right, mate…’

‘Now that,’ Case said to his glass, all his bitterness suddenly rising in him like bile, ‘that is so much bullshit.’

 

The Japanese had already forgotten more neurosurgery than the Chinese had ever known. The black clinics of Chiba were the cutting edge, whole bodies of technique supplanted monthly, and still they couldn’t repair the damage he’d suffered in that Memphis hotel.

A year and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he’d taken and the corners he’d cut in Night City, and still he’d see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across the colorless void… The Sprawl was a long strange way home over the Pacific now, and he was no console man, no cyberspace cowboy, just another hustler, trying to make it through. But the dreams came on in the Japanese night like livewire voodoo, and he’d cry for it, cry in his sleep, and wake alone in the dark, curled in his capsule in some coffin hotel, his hands clawed into the bedslab, temperfoam bunched between his fingers, trying to reach the console that wasn’t there.

  

 

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