Friday, 18 July 2014

Running With Blades - Excerpts from "The Blade Runner: A Raymond Chandler Novel" Part 1

Disclaimer: These are excerpts from the forthcoming novel written by Raymond Chandler's ghost based on Ridley Scott's Blade Runner: The Final Cut, itself an adaption of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

Any likeness to characters from the movie owned by Warner Bros. is completely intentional and totally done on purpose for the purposes of parody.

The Blade Runner

by Raymond Chandler's ghost (edited by Chandler Bing)

Chapter One: The White Dragon Noodle Bar

The downpour masked the noise of the city, drowning out the cries of street vendors and the hustle of busy people scurrying to whatever important engagements demanded their attention. The neon light from their umbrellas bleed into the signs behind and in front of me, a hazy fog of fluorescence shining in the grey rain. A blimp floated overhead beaming searchlights down as it advertises the new life that awaited me in the Off-World colonies.

I was wearing my brown overcoat, blue shirt and dark brown red tie. I was scruffy-looking, often confused for a nerf herder, but clean shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. The newspaper in my hands was barely worth the paper that it was printed on for all the distraction it provided. The neon dragon on top of the noodle bar flickered its tongue on and off as though it saw something tantalizing but wasn't going to go get it.

It didn't seem to be really trying.

Finally, the little man in the noodle bar beckoned me to come forward as a stool opened up. Fittingly, the newspaper worked better as an umbrella held above my head as I dashed through the rain toward the newly vacated seat. Shaking off the wet, I point at the spicy beef, "Give me four," I asked, gesturing the number with my fingers. The man replied with something indistinguishable in Japanese but held up two fingers and gave a nod of his head in response.

"No, four... two, two," I implored realising that my attempt was to be in vain as he emphatically nodded his head again while holding up two fingers. With resignation I paid him for two but hastily added, "With noodles," as the coins left my fingers and I lowered myself into the stool. I grabbed some chopsticks, brushing them against each other like a butcher sharpening a knife, as he placed the bowl in front of me.

The noodles glooped down my throat like eels slithering, jousting for space in a narrow cave...

And then I realised two mooks were standing behind me.

Chapter 3: Bryant

The main hall was cavernous, more like a train station than a police building. A huge arch marked the entrance once one got past the doors, leading past a kiosk that had been re-purposed as a general information booth. Gaff escorted me to Bryant's office, although I knew the way. Blue light from the city filtered through the tall barred windows giving the whole place an eerie and cold atmosphere, while two rows of brown synthetic leather waiting chairs sliced the room like a bored housewife cuts vegetables, irregularly and with little purpose.

As I walked past them, I thought to myself, "Seriously, what the actual hell?"

Harry Bryant was not a man to inspire loyalty. Dislike maybe, perhaps a vague sense of pitied annoyance like a fly that doesn't realise that it keeps flying into the glass of a window and keeps concussing itself, but loyalty no. Captain of the Rep-Detect department but no closer to commanding respect than he was to regaining his hair which seemed to have walked out on him. A short pudgy man with a beat cop's moustache and watery eyes, his face lacked colour and didn't look healthy. As I opened the door of his office, it swung unceremoniously with some force and bashed a cabinet with a computer monitor on top. I had little respect for the man to whom the door belonged and in any case, I used too much vigour and let the door get away from me, though my tough guy act veiled the mistake.

"Hi Dick," Bryant said with the smug confidence of a weasel safe in its hole.
"Bryant," I replied with severe distaste... artificial weasel meat was quite stringy.

After a short staring contest where we gazed without longing into each other's eyes, he asked me to take a seat. Sensing my reluctance, he thought to implore me with his usual charm, "Don't be an asshole, I've got four skinjobs walking the streets."

Skinjob, that was Bryant's term for Replicants. In history books, he's the kind of cop that used to call black men niggers. Namely a dickhead. And no, that's not a term for a private investigator.

Chapter 7: Rachel And Tyrell

I sat down, with Rachel directly opposite me, the Voight-Kampf device between us, dividing us much like the table separated us, in that there was something physically in the space between her and I that conveniently symbolized the emotional distance between us. Fitting, since I was administering a test to determine whether or not she is a replicant by judging her emotional response. "Do you mind if I smoke?" she asked as though unused to asking permission from someone but prepared to suffer the indignity of being denied her request. "It won't effect the test," I answered dismissively as I set up my equipment. She reached for a cigarette in a slow, deliberate movement, like a robot performing a task... It came to my attention I might not need to perform the test in the long run but my equipment was already set up. She drew on her cigarette as though filling up the tank, each drag another shot of fuel prolonging collapse.

Perhaps this model runs on smoke.

"You're reading a magazine, you come across a full page nude photo of a girl..."
"Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, Mr Deckard?" Rachel interrupted with marked annoyance.
"No, we have a separate test for that," I replied. "If you like you can take that one afterwards, it involves simulated pillow fights and strap-ons."

Chapter 10: Holden's Interview

I drove into the tunnel, a moment's respite from the rain which still fell down as though trying to wash everything away but only succeeded in providing a steady pit-a-pat rhythm to the bustle of the city. While driving, I was playing the recording of Holden's ill-fated interview with the replicant known as Leon. Holden off loaded questions in that calm, yet condescending voice of his, although in this case it seemed the recipient was deserving of the scorn Holden had in his voice the way most people had ice in their brandy. The Nexus model was supposed to be of equal intelligence to the genetic engineers that created them, but Leon put question to that claim. Could he BE any more slow?

Could you Leon?

He seemed confused as to when the test had started, or indeed what comprised a question, his dull face as remote as a face could be, seemingly cofronted each thought as a challenge that caused him some concern. Evidently he had some mother issues since when asked to describe in single words, only the good things about his mother, his response was to blow Holden away like trash caught in the wind.

Chapter 13: Miss Salome

I buried myself into a corner backstage, holding a newspaper as shield in front of me. Miss Salome would be appearing soon, retreating to her changing room after her snake act. I needed to prepare an act of my own in order to gain her confidence, yet how was a problem. I decided to assume the alias of someone from the American Federation of Variety Artists, a seemingly plausible identity for someone in her colourful line of work. I also put on a grating nasally voice that sounded like a whiny chalkboard.

Worked like a charm.


Expect Part 2 of these excerpts soon.

Read the full book upon release sometime in 2019. Pre-orders available now.


References:

Blade Runner Wikipedia page

Off-World Blade Runner wiki

Raymond Chandler Wikipedia page

Authors and Creators: Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep Wikipedia page

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