Spring 2018–Winter 2019

Scene from A Love of UIQ

Félix Guattari

Janice’s Space – Int. – Night

: And so?

: And so what?

: And so what happened then? Tell me everything or I’ll shop you to the feds!

Janice traps Axel in a headlock but 
he soon slips free. He jumps to a standing position, runs up against a wall and scales it to an impressive height before doing a back-flip and landing again on his feet.

AXEL (as he lands)
: You have to catch me first. Okay, the director was a bit of an asshole, but he was cool about it at least. He let me go on with the experiment. 
The problem was it didn’t work so they fired me.

: No shit!

AXEL: In a way it was because I’d already decided to continue on my own. I realised I’d screwed up somewhere, that it didn’t work with light waves, 
so I’d have to try something else. 
So I started again, this time using hertzian sound waves, I set up a small lab in the suburbs of Brussels, and that’s when it started working.

: Sick! Hertzian waves. Frequency modulated?

: Natürlich.

: And did it get back to you?

AXEL: Not so fast... At first there was no clear response. But then I discovered that the chloroplasts of the phytoplankton were just a relay, it was a whole other deal.

: Wait a sec, chloroplasts, sorry to be remedial but what are they again?

: The seat of photosynthesis.

: Right! But what’s it relaying?

: Ah if you only knew!

He jumps again and grabs hold of the doorframe, swinging back and forth by his fingertips. Janice stubs out her cigarette and embraces him, lifting herself off the ground. They begin to swing together.

AXEL: We’re always wondering whether there might be life or intelligence on other planets, way up in the stars ... but we never ask ourselves about 
the infinitely small ... maybe it could come from there, from a universe that’s even smaller than protons, electrons, quarks ...

Janice bites Axel, making him let go.

JANICE: Great! Wonderful! But now the whole thing’s fucked. Those government assholes had to ruin it! For once they had something really interesting in their laps and they screwed it up. Just because it was disturbing their crappy TV and radio schedules. What harm could it do to them? It was actually pretty good; made a change from the usual bullshit. If they didn’t like it they could always go fuck themselves.

AXEL (scratching his thigh)
: Yeah but they found it was interfering with communications, radar, laser guidance systems...

: You know what I say? Fuck them, that’s what I say. Let them choke on their cornflakes. Retire to a padded cell. Buy a ticket to euthanasia. Just as long as they leave us the fuck alone... If we don’t even have the right to communicate with another universe!

Standing on his head, Axel begins to fall asleep. Janice shakes him. She points at the pendant that has fallen across his face.

: What’s that? A school medal?

AXEL: No, don’t touch.

Janice lunges, tries to take it off him. The chain breaks.

: What the bitch!

She opens the locket. It contains a phial, which she holds in the palm of her hand.

: Is this the strain of phytoplankton you were on about?

Axel nods.

: So we could reestablish contact with ... with...


Click here to read Alfie Bown’s essay on A Love of UIQ.

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