Investigation Number: 167

Entry 7.

Peta shows me into the office of Monanzo's charity division, a large space the size of about six strata twenty cubes. I didn’t expect the corporation to be so invested in this. She walks over to a large table. At one end is a row of china and glass fragments, laid out like museum exhibits. Peta noticing, sweeps them into her hand, 'just rubbish. Estelle had them in her pocket one day and we're not supposed to do that, bring things back up.'

   ‘And you’re keeping them for her?’

   ‘When she comes back she’ll kick up a fuss if her stuff’s been touched.’

   ‘You sound confident that she’ll come back.’

   ‘Oh I’m not lucky enough to be rid of Estelle for good, I’m sure. No she’ll back to ruin my career further and I’m not going to give her any ammunition. Are you recording this? Silly question. Do you report to Jet Wong directly?’

   The rest of the table is covered with scattered paper leaflets. Peta hurriedly tries to bundle them up into one pile.

   ‘I love the smell of paper’ I say, ‘reminds me of my childhood.’ I pick a sheet up and inhale, ‘Is the smell the paper or the ink?’ I ask.

   Peta doesn’t answer, she reaches for the leaflet in my hand. I turn it over. It has two images one of a broken boarded up window, the other image is a cube in Fort Sefton. A caption reads: Your choice. Give your life a boost! Step on the corporate ladder and escape the streets.

   ‘What are these for I ask?’

   ‘Estelle and I were going to distribute them down in Aigburth. To give people a chance to move before the construction work recommences. It’s what we do. We promote life in the Corporate Strata and see what can be done to help people get onto that first rung of the ladder. We set up at some of their amenity centres and help people to apply.'

   ‘Do you still meet with resistance? Do people there protest?’

   ‘Sometimes. But not in any organized way. The main protests happen closer to the Strata. It’s us, you and I officer, that the protesters want to target.’

   ‘Are they all the same?’ I ask pulling another from the pile.

   ‘Yes,’ says Peta

   ‘Except this one,’ I unfurl it. It is the same leaflet but someone has written on this one in red ink: Keep you feet on solid ground and put an end to the corporate take over.

   ‘Estelle?’ I ask Peta.

   She nods, her eyes fixed on her feet. Without looking up she mutters, ‘She could have got us all into trouble. Terrible trouble, if Jet Wong found out we’d all have been kicked out. It was very dangerous and reckless. I spotted it just as we were about to pack them into the containers to take down to Aigburth. By chance I dropped a pile and there they were. She still tried to put them in the crate I had to wrestle them off her and then of course I had to postpone the visit so that I could go through them all to be sure there were none of these defaced ones in there. I thought I'd found them all.’

   ‘Did you tell anyone about this?’ I ask.

   ‘No, not this time.’ She says.

   ‘So there have been other incidents?’

   ‘Oh yes, a few months ago, her first trip down to Aigburth with the team, she started wandering around asking questions and showing people pictures, asking them if they knew where this house was or that street sign and generally stirring everyone up. It was very confusing, giving out a completely conflicted message to the one we were supposed to be promoting. And of course that was my fault. I have a mark on my record now, after all my years of work. I was moving up the board.’

   ‘Did she ever talk about Justin?’

   ‘No. There’s no time here for chat. We stick to the task in hand.’

   ‘When was the last time you saw Estelle?’ I ask.

   ‘That day, Monday 15th July. She stormed out when I was removing all of her leaflets from the piles. Of course I’ve been waiting ever since for some repercussion. It really was a no win situation. I’m sure she will have told tales to Jet Wong about me but if I’d let the leaflets go I would’ve been held responsible.’

   I give Peta back the leaflet and she scrunches up into a ball, her hand a tight fist.

 

 

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Read memories from other writers marked with an * add your own writing about life in Liverpool in 2115 by selecting images without.

Liverpool Corporate Strata

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Off the Grid / at ground level

The many faces of Estelle Fischer

 

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Technology / Dysfunctional Technology

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Memory and  Memory loss

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Shortages and unrest

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Trees and green spaces

Epidemics

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 User: Jules Stewart

 D.O.B 05:09:2060

 Occupation: Pattern Surveillance Officer

 Resides: Liverpool Corporate Strata 19

 Verification rating: 89%

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