Written in a very emotional state, Cryogenia flooded from my head in the space of an hour one dark November night. The previous evening I’d watched a documentary on racism and it had filled me with such frustration with the world that I guess Cryogenia was the distorted result. Originally set at the end of the millennium, only dates, spelling and minor wording have been changed since the night I wrote it.
One day to go.
James Mason sat in the same cafe he had sat in what seemed like a hundred times before. It probably had been a hundred. This was nothing to do with the quality of the cafe. The place, imaginatively named “White with sugar” was, to understate it, a bit of a hole. But it was the only hole where he could meet his friends and talk about their chosen subject without having to worry about offending anyone.
To say they were friends was probably an overstatement too. Acquaintances was a much better word to use when you have something in common with people, but don?t really like them. And the only thing James had in common with his acquaintances was that they weren?t scumsucking blacks.
Actually, that made it two things, because they, just like James, hated black scumsuckers. Not that all black people were actually black scumsuckers. Only to James they were. All of them. Every last scumsucking one of them.
His acquaintances felt that way too. Every last scumsucking white one of them. It was just as easy to replace the word black with white. But James could say things about a white person without the same feeling, the same anger or the same intent.
When James met his acquaintances in the cafe they would plan their next attack on some unfortunate group of blacks at some unfortunate venue. It didn?t matter to James that most of the rest of the world had dropped their racist views and meant no harm to anyone, regardless if they were red, yellow, black or white. To James and the rest of the “Syndicate”, black people were the disease and they were the cure.
James? views were very strong, very deeply embedded in his psyche, and very apparent if you happened to be an innocently unaware black person who happened to chance upon James in one of his more violent moods. Which was what had happened the night before at a mini-market where James had bought some cigarettes. The black checkout girl had been tired, had endured a bad day and had failed to give enough courtesy to the scumsucking black hater she was serving. James smiled at the torrent of abuse that he?d hurtled at her. Every name had been pooled together with the appropriate black prefix and unleashed from his loud, frequently spitting mouth.
The girl, of course, went to pieces and began crying. Just in time for her father, the shop owner, to emerge from a back room in order to live for the seven seconds it took James to retrieve his flick knife and puncture the concerned mans? neck. As his terrified daughter had leaned forward to help her collapsing father, James cleanly pierced her eyeball and left her brain dead with the same knife.
Then James had paid for the cigarettes, since he was no thief, before checking for presence of security cameras. Upon finding none he had casually walked from the store and vanished into the night feeling immense satisfaction from his contribution to the “purging” of the Earth.
Okay, so none of the above had actually happened, except the bit about hurling some abuse at a checkout girl, but for James it had been a lovely fantasy all the same.
On the TV suspended in one corner of the cafe, James could make out some news report on the current hot political debate about euthanasia. The proposal granting permission to end the lives of those who were in pain or were suffering had not been made law, he could tell from the captions and graphics, although there seemed to be some outcry about coma victims being turned over to medical science after they?d spent some mandatory time in their comatose state. This was all bollocks, thought James. By tomorrow night there?d be plenty of bodies available for medical science.
James checked his watch. Where were the other black scumsucker haters he would usually meet in the cafe, he wondered? Strangely, at the same time, a group of his acquaintances appeared through the door and sat with him, brightening his afternoon immeasurably.
James sat in “White with Sugar” for the hundred and first time, contemplating the battle ahead. It was not every day that you could say, “Tomorrow is the year two thousand and twenty.” Hence the Syndicate had decided that they would be saying “Tomorrow is the year two thousand and twenty, and today we?re murdering some scumsucking blacks.”
The plan was virtually perfect. The venue, the weapons, the escape, and the purpose. It was only virtually perfect because they could never tell how the black people would react. A majority of the Syndicate were cowards, they were very aggressive and racist, but that did not make them brave. If the black people turned out to be muscle-bound, fearless killers with some pretty vicious weaponry, then the cowards would have to just run like hell. That was why there was an escape route. Not because of the police, hell, it was 31st of December 2019 – the police had better things to do. But because very few of the Syndicate would actually die for their cause. In a way there was some logic to this ? it would be pointless killing off all the blacks in the world if all the white?s died at the same time.
The final meeting had just been resolved and James had stayed to savour one more coffee, white of course, before heading home to prepare for the night ahead. This was going to be “Judgement Night”, the purging of the blacks would begin and, if the Syndicate got their way, the world would be free from the scumsucking heathens by 2050.
Lethargically James brought himself upright and turned awkwardly from the table. In forty-five seconds his life would change quite dramatically, but James didn?t know this and threw some loose change onto the table. In forty seconds it wouldn?t matter if he?d left a tip for the pretty waitress he would like to know better. James took ten of his remaining thirty-five seconds to walk to and out through the door of the cafe.
Once through the door James managed to look the wrong way and walked into the innocent young black man who had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. James had twenty seconds left to make a difference to the life he knew, but wasted five of them staring at the young man. Then James opened his mouth.
“Sorry. Excuse me.” He said.
“No problems, man.” The young black man said, carrying on his journey.
James smiled an evil smile, knowing that he would even the score for his politeness later that evening. He continued to stare at the young man and began crossing the street.
Had James not heard the screeching tyres of a car he may have been puzzled by the fact that his legs were suddenly smashed from underneath him as the sky and the ground swapped places. Even If he hadn?t heard the tyres screeching, he would have had a fair idea that a car had hit him the second he went through the windscreen. But he didn?t have long to dwell on it anyway, as he ran out of seconds and consciousness.
A short time later.
James felt some sort of jolt go through his body. Then another. Slowly opening his eyes he could make out the faces of doctors and nurses working frantically, calling out heart rates and blood pressures and lots of other stuff he didn?t understand.
Hell, at least he was alive. And when he was well enough he was going to get the scumsucker that had ran him over, whether he was black or not. All this thought was too much for James and he passed out once more.
Another jolt. What the hell was it with all this electrocution stuff?
Then a surge. A surge? This was new. This was agonising too.
His whole body was tight and trembling, as if the blood in his veins had ran cold and was just thawing out and running again. James struggled against the pain and managed to breathe in a shallow, agonising breath. He held it long enough for the pain to subside before exhaling even more painfully.
“He?s responding, start pumping in the fresh blood.” A voice said from somewhere in the room. This made no difference to James; he was in so much pain that a blood transfusion was hardly front-page news.
He heard a few more strange things. Then he lost consciousness.
Two hours later.
“Mr Mason?” A voice called through the fog. “Mr Mason?” The voice repeated.
James could make out more things now. He was in a hospital room with machines of various descriptions attached to him and performing all sorts of functions. This did not seem to be a hospital he recognised, and from injuries he had sustained from his many fights he knew quite a few of them.
“My name is Doctor Jackson, can you hear me?”
James tried to move his hand, but it seemed too heavy to lift. Gradually he opened his eyes. There were shapes and silhouettes, but no detail.
“Are you sure this was James Mason?” Doctor Jackson called to someone else in the room, who confirmed that was the case, according to the admission form.
“Ah, you?re awake.” Doctor Jackson announced.
“Where?” James managed to say hoarsely.
“Sir.” Doctor Jackson paused, “You?re in the revival facility at Cryogenia Research Laboratories. You were transferred here some time ago after a near fatal accident.”
“Yes, this is one side effect for the first week or so, but now you?re out of the danger area we can give you drugs to combat the pain.”
James lay silent for a few moments. “When?”
“Lets just take one step at a time sir, you should adjust to your new body first before…”
“You?re black.” James noticed, “Don?t lie to me, sucker.”
Doctor Jackson seemed taken aback by this and moved away from the bed. A heart rate monitor connected to James started to beep rapidly.
“Your body, well, your original body was severely damaged. After some time in a coma you were cryogenically frozen with liquid nitrogen, here at the institute you?ve been part if a total lobotomy and transplant process.”
“When?” James shouted hoarsely.
“You mean the date?” Doctor Jackson stammered, “It?s the 5th of February.”
“One month?” James croaked. Doctor Jackson didn?t understand. “Since the accident?” He added painfully, “Don?t mess with me.”
“Sir, please calm down.” The doctor said, glancing at the erratically pulsing heart monitor. “It?s the year twenty-forty-seven, you have received the body of a brain dead patient, where your healthy brain was transplanted in its place.”
The shock of this caused James to sit bolt upright, which also caused the doctor to jump back in fright.
“Its perfectly okay, Mr Mason, the body belonged to a man who died the same night you did. It works better that way… the freezing that is.”
Leaning towards him James felt his anger build inside. No scumsucking black bullshitted to him. The heart rate monitor gave an audible warning. Turning to face the mirrored wall of the room, James? new heart arrested and his face froze in a contorted, terrorised stare.
Slumping sideways in the bed James gazed at his own black reflection in the mirror. His scumsucking black reflection. The reflection of a scumsucking black killed on the night of December 31st, 2019. The reflection that now belonged to James.
The heart rate monitor let out a constant tone. James was dying again. He would die a few times more at the institute, too, until mid 2050, when the medical team would let him slip away, unable to understand why his heart would arrest every time they woke him from his nightmares. James would never be conscious long enough to wonder if the Syndicate had provided him with his new body. Judgement Night was the furthest thing from his mind.