Whip It

Crack that whip
Give the past a slip
Step on a crack
Break your momma’s back

When a problem comes along
You must whip it
Before the cream sets out too long
You must whip it
When something’s goin’ wrong
You must whip it

Now whip it
Into shape
Shape it up
Get straight
Go forward
Move ahead
Try to detect it
It’s not too late
To whip it
Whip it good

When a good time turns around
You must whip it
You will never live it down
Unless you whip it
No one gets away
Until they whip it

I say whip it
Whip it good
I say whip it
Whip it good

By Devo, © 1985 Bema Music Co. Div.


(Download the entire story as a .PDF file here or continue reading . . .)


At Biotech Cybernetics we believe in the power of people to make a change. Help us to help you W.H.I.P it into shape. It’s not too late. There’s never a better time to move ahead. Touch two on your bioconsole now for more information . . .”

I press the power key on my arm pad and a small flat screen monitor in my living cube flashes off. Sighing, I flex my arm and grimace. My arm pad has started to ache again. The Biotech customer support line says it’s normal for all new upgrades. I explained to them that it’s never hurt before, but they give me the same automated response: new unit, some discomfort is to be expected.  I trace my finger down the edge of the scar tissue that has formed around the small panel. It looks angry and red, possibly even inflamed, but I have no credits left for pain tablets. There is nothing for it except to wait it out.

The transport pod will be here any minute. I grab my geothermal quad jacket hanging from a small peg before pressing another key on my arm pad that extinguishes the overhead light. Once at my hatch door, I press my thumb into the recognition keypad. The door opens and shuts without me having to do anything. I don’t even bother to wait for the lock to engage. It’s automatic like everything else in my life. It’s been this way since the end of the Purge.

I walk the one block of Sector TZ406 to the northwest perimeter of my zone. This is where the transportation pod will pick me up, as well as the others on my shift. The street is spotless, scrubbed clean of graffiti, trash, or anything else that would betray its human inhabitants. It is all concrete and glass and steel. Grey buildings, grey roads, grey skies. Our world is black and white and grey now. There is no organic matter anymore except for us humans. And of course, there is the army of androids, part of W.H.I.P. This is a by-product of the Purge, and I hardly recognize the difference anymore, which disturbs me.

A message displays on my arm panel:

Citizen 022485-XY2290: Biotech Cybernetics would like to wish you well on your 140th name day. Do your part for W.H.I.P.

For me, the irony of this statement doesn’t go unnoticed. Today is my birthday, but no one calls it that anymore – nor do we have names anymore either, only numbers. In fact, to use one’s old name in public is a criminal offense.

I scratch at the edge of my panel before I realize that it actually hurts to do so. Trying not to swear under my breath, I look past the menacing pair of droids posted at my stop and catch the eye of another citizen waiting on the transportation pod. Harold. How I know his name doesn’t matter, but like me, he’s older than he should be and time hasn’t been kind. He slouches, his flabby gut just barely hanging over his issued khaki trousers. His hair, too, like his eyes seem to have shrunk on his frame and he still wears glasses even though corrective lasik is something that is forced on most citizens these days. But Harold isn’t like everyone else. He works for Biotech Cybernetics. I do, too, but I’m on the janitorial floor unlike Harold, who’s a big fish – an engineer. He’s given a leniency that most are not, and it’s almost like he wears the glasses as a badge of honor, a historic artefact from another time. I nod my head at him. I like Harold.

Pages: 1 2 3 4