The Black Friday Riots

An excerpt from PSYCHOTOPIA…

Arbus and his political masters got the main event they were waiting for soon enough. It turned out perfectly for them. So perfectly, you might even have thought they’d planned it. But that would be crazy, hey? I mean, a government that deliberately seeds civil disorder? That would have to make you question who the real psychopaths were here.

And you know, actually, that kind of conspiracy theory shit, it’s not really necessary. Because something like this was going to happen anyway, sooner or later. All they had to do was wait.

You know what I’m talking about of course. The Black Friday riots.

I have always hated Black Friday. My instinct is always to punch in the face anyone who ever mentions it as a thing. It is not a thing. Not a natural thing. It is a monstrosity. An aberration. I always said it should be banned.

Course they banned it now, after the riots. Should have banned it before; that would have been the clever thing to do.

Seventeen town centres across the country completely trashed in the course of one day and night. Shop fronts smashed in. Cars and buses turned over. Police stations torched. Not just police stations. Shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, and yes, certain places of worship. Friday night, you see. What you might call a captive audience in the mosques and synagogues. The buildings hit even included a nursing home and a sports centre, where a wheelchair tennis tournament was in play.

Even some private residences got stormed. Stormed, gutted and stripped. Not just fancy-schmancy high-end mansions either.

In Manchester, a night club collapsed. Maybe that was unrelated. Or maybe it just panicked. I mean, how could rioters make a building collapse? Unless they went there armed with the sledge hammers and masonry chisels which the Manc police found abandoned at the scene.

All told there were 362 people dead, including fourteen police officers, 121 devout of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, thirty-six confused old people, seventeen teenagers, four Team GB disabled tennis athletes, and twenty-two children including one sleeping baby. I forget how many thousands of injured.

To be honest, you had to think it was a miracle it wasn’t more , when you saw the images of the marauding crowds on NewsNet.

It was eerie to watch the CCTV footage of the cities affected in the hours before it kicked off. You gradually noticed the change in the people on the streets. First you saw one or two wearing masks. It was impossible to say where they came from. They just appeared. Slowly you noticed that the number of masked individuals was increasing, along with the total number of people there. Then suddenly you realized that the streets were packed with crowds and every single fucker was wearing a mask. And not just any mask. They all had on those weird negative black pierrot masks. Like it was some kind of flash mob of depressed mime artists. The CCTV being silent added to that impression. But I heard from cops who were there in some of the towns where it happened that they were all pretty much silent. In the run-up anyhow. When it kicked off you couldn’t hear yourself think for the din.

No one spoke. No one looked at their phones. They just seemed to know what was happening and where and when. There was no trace of any coordinated planning on MindNet either. Even though it appeared to be closely synchronized across all seventeen cities.

The creepiest thing of all was when they all looked up and stared into the nearest CCTV camera behind their masks. It happened at exactly the same moment – 12.21pm – in every single city. They held the stare for ten seconds, then nodded once in complete synchrony, and let rip.

The silent crowd found voice. Their roar was not recorded on CCTV. You can hear the audio of it on some of the clips that were uploaded to MindNet. But unless you were actually there in one of the cities where it happened, you can only guess what it felt like to hear it in person. Or be part of it. How frightening to hear. How fucking awesome to make.

I think I read somewhere that the last time a sound like that was heard on earth was in some medieval battlefield.

And of course, the really crazy thing was the only place where nothing went down was the Thames Valley police area.

Like I say, they couldn’t have managed it better if they’d planned it.

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