Writing in short bites

The Eyes of Ouroboros

<> on April 23, 2013 in New York City.

The screens told so many stories. So many CCTV cameras accessing so many scenes in one moment:

-A man in a white robe walking down a hospital corridor.

-An intersection in Ayala Avenue, so many vehicles moving at quick stop-motion speeds.

-A pawn shop in Quiapo, its counters seemingly unmanned.

-A pretty young woman withdrawing from an ATM in Quezon City.

His eyes scanned the multitude of screens, his fingers constantly clicking through each camera connected to the network throughout Metro Manila.

“Red Zone 24 is secure, nothing to see here,” he said in a bored tone. In the time he said that, he had cycled through 20 more scenes.

“Roger,” said a voice in his headphones. “Red Zone 24 is secure.”

He worked for Orestes Security Management, a local company financed by a number of multinational investments that wanted to know if a nationwide security net could be done right. And in a country where CCTVs could be easily put together from cheap Chinese parts to give people some form of security, where law and order had slowly deteriorated in the face of massive urbanization and over-population, and where private security firms had taken over in this capacity — it seemed to have worked.

Slowly but surely, the Philippines was being turned into a country of watcher — and watched. There was now even word of this in the streets: Kuya-zones or areas where the watching Big Brother — whether government or private — was plentiful.

But there was always an underside to any secure, ordered universe. He knew that. Any of his brothers and sisters on the Net — all unnamed, all unknowable — knew that.

In this company, he was just another agent, a number in their HR files. But on the Net, he had a name: Ouroboros. And the eyes of Kuya were also his eyes.

The eyes of Ouroboros.

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