There is a comfort to be found knowing there are others like you in amongst the crowds.
When you're a toy Colobus monkey, zapped into life by some bizarre quantum realignment of the universe compensating for Humanities' lack of moral judgement, you'd think you'd be rather restricted in what you can do when interacting with everyone. But Jay Diamond is no ordinary toy Colobus monkey bought into being by a quirk of nature. And Jay Diamond has adapted extremely well.
He discovered he is a fast learner and now not only knows ways to escape the omnipresent and vigilant monitoring installed in the Smartphone he is obliged to use when dealing with the outside world, but also does a pretty good job of evading The State's other means of snooping. Because Jay Diamond is skilled at swerving his way around the obstacles in the on-line world like any good rogue should be.
Everybody regards him as an internet sensation, a mischievous imp sometimes incorporating aspects of other visual media (and portraits of himself) in his expressionist landscape art. What they don't know is that he has seventy-five other on-line personalities and yet Jay Diamond, artist extraordinaire, the one they applaud, is actually the real him, the toy come to life, who uses his real face on-line and in his art, but whose picture is regarded as an avatar.
In a world where everyone has become a facsimile of themselves in varying degrees and lose themselves in unrealistic fantasies, Jay found it too easy to become a number of other versions of himself. In this internet age of total social involvement when everyone can find everything about anybody else if they try hard enough, Jay Diamond is protected by his myriad creations and limited only by his imagination. And he has plenty of that.
Plus a neat line in software encryption.
Of the numerous personalities he has created, Jay uses a couple of dozen of them to run blogs, dedicated to rather niche activities, (some sexual), and who are constantly in arguments with one another. The rants and flame wars draw in the on-line voyeurs and thus revenue from the advertisements he is obliged to support. He's found his blogs dismissing certain celebrities, particularly those without any actual discernable talent, produce the most vitriolic responses from fans and like-minded wannabes. He frequently uses their quotes in his art.
Jay has joined various political forums around the world and pitches the level of his arguments from troll to astute observation – which attract their own troll replies – and pretends to be male, female, left-wing, ring-wing, gay, straight, bi-sexual, dissident, subversive, pacifist, soldier, politician or politician's lover/wilf/dominatrix. He finds it great fun. But somewhere, in all this chaos of fanciful personality there will always be a link, or a reference, back to his home site. All to draw in the crowds. The paying crowds.
Basically, Jay is an exhibitionist and has no problems with his ego. And he is certain that there are a large number of people out there also doing the same as him and believing the same about themselves. They too have to spend their time at one step removed from society. They think that they, too, could be great and well-known, if only they had the luck to be recognised. Or produced an original idea. Because who wants to deal with reality? Who wants to go outside into the real, actual world, when an on-line evaluation of your activities and thoughts are being collated to help sell trivia and everyone basically knows what you're thinking?
Have you heard the one about the toy monkey who goes into a pub?
It used to be the start of a rather rude joke, but now nobody even blinks twice when Jay Diamond barrels in. They even buy him drinks to go with the packets of peanuts they think it a laugh to buy.
When the world has become a virtual distortion of reality, drunken people don't get too fazed by a cuddly, half-metre tall, rotund ball of fur, who cracks jokes and swings from the lights whenever he's asked to give his artistic assessment of the world today.
They think he's a virtual reality bug, a software glitch in someone's game that has spilled over into their own. Besides, who wouldn't want to buy a celebrity a drink? Just to say they have is enough for most.
But the biggest laugh is that he's not the only one. Because Jay Diamond has friends. Other toys come to life.
You just have to know where to find them. Look around you. You may just catch one of your own toys blinking, before freezing into immobility.
They're just waiting. Waiting to become part of the crowd.
And in other news:
I've passed the 20 000 words barrier for my next work (which will include Jay, himself) and will be hopefully concluding this section of the novel soon.
Total Recorded Cycled miles this year: 2908
Max recorded speed (hill assisted): 38.8 mph