What am I actually? He asked himself. He wished momentarily for his scramble suit. Then, he thought, I could go on being a vague blur and passers by, street people in general, would applaud . Lets here it for the vague blur, he thought , doing a short rerun. What a way to get recognition . How, for instance could they be sure it wasn’t some other vague blur ? It could be somebody other than Fred inside or another Fred, and they’d never know, not even when Fred and his mouth started talked.
They wouldn’t really know then. They’d never know. It could be Al pretending to be Fred, for example. It could anyone in there, it could even be empty .
Down at Orange county GHQ they could be piping a voice to a scramble suit, animating it from the sheriff’s office. Fred could in that case be anybody who happened to be at his desk that day and happened to pick up the script and the Mike, or a composite of all sorts of guys at their desks.
But I guess what I said at the end, he thought, finishes off that.
That wasn’t anybody back in the office. The guys back in the office want to talk to me that, as a matter of fact.
He didn’t look forward to that, so he continued to loiter and delay, going nowhere, going everywhere. In southern California it didn’t make any difference anyhow where you went there was always the same Mac Donald burger place over and over, like a circular strip that turned past you as you pretended to go somewhere . And when finally you got hungry and went to the Mac Donald burger place and bought a Mac Donald’s hamburger, it was the one they sold you lost time and the time before that and so forth, back to before you were born, and in addition bad people- liars- said it was made out of Turkey gizzards anyhow.
They had by now, according to their sign, sold the same original burger 50 billion times. He wondered if it was to the same person.
Life in an Anaheim California was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed. Nothing changed, it just spread out further and further in the form of neon ooze.
What there was always more of had been congealed into permanence long ago, as if. The automatic factory that cranked out these objects had jammed in the own position. How the land became plastic, he thought, it’ll be mandatory that the sea. became salt some day he thought, it will be mandatory that we all sell Mac Donald hamburger as well as bye it , we’ll sell it, back and forth to each other, forever from our living rooms. That way we won’t even have two go outside.
A Scanner Darkly.Philip K Dick
Gollancz; New edition edition (14 Oct 1999)