THE YEAR WAS 2008, AND THE WORLD WAS IN THE THROES OF another 70s revival. Nobody knew exactly when, much less why, it all began. The first Bäbel Thorgarten heard of it was watching The Chucky Poong Show one night when some moviestar dropped the word “cat". Two weeks later, surfing the Pepsi Cola Virtual Amazon, she bumped into a cruiseload of Parisians dressed in velour. Another two weeks after that, on business to Baltimore, she saw her first Afro in more than five years.

From that point on, the trickle became a flood. Kitsch furniture and lame vests sprang up everywhere. Airline hostesses started wearing platform shoes.

Bäbel resisted the temptation at first, because she worked in the hospitality industry and had to look conventional. Besides, she wanted to make sure it was a viable fad before she committed herself. After a bit of all-over-the-placeness the revival settled on the late 70s, 1979 to be precise. Punk enjoyed a brief renaissance but was considered a little bit too infantile for earnest 21st Century youth. Disco on the other hand was aesthetic enough and became the theme of the whole revival. Video Killed the Radio Star soared up the charts for the fourth time in 30 years.

The song was getting a good workout at the karaoke bar when Bäbel had her date with Iishi-san. They were eating genetically engineered sushi with genetically engineered chopsticks. Behind thick windows San Francisco Bay was hued deep red with a genetically engineered sunset.

<<Man, that’s beautiful>> Iishi said. He was a hair engineer.

<<I hate too>> Bäbel munching her fish <<think what all that stuff does to the ecology. They say it’s clean, but still.>>

<<You sound like a greenie>> Iishi said. She blushed... environmentalism had been dead for nearly 20 years!

Sometime later she felt a shoeless foot muzzle slowly its way up her leg. Iishi said: <<You’re looking good tonight. You smell good, too. Real fresh. You’re turning me on.>>

<<I am good>> she said sweetly, playing the old Drew Barrymore card.

Suddenly Iishi stood up and clicked for a mike and the stage lights rolled all over his physique. The song was called Tiger Baby.

Tiger baby
You are driving me crazy
Tiger baby
Why are you so lazy...

He’s the only baby in this room she thought. That is, he's the hunter! And smiling to myself, she did some finger clicking of her own... and that was how Iishi the Barber’s downfall began.

The ladies room door opened, and out of the sterile expanse beyond vaulted this odd Japanese chick with spiky red hair. She somersaulted clear across the room, dispersing patrons with a withering scream, freezing every chopstick in the fucking place. 15 rotations and she landed next to Iishi in his spotlight, ripping the microphone from his hands as part of her dismount.

<<Hey>> Iishi said <<who the hell are you?>>

<<I want you>> swirling her hands into a karate gesture <<to leave her>> foot flying towards his face <<alone.<< Her foot stopped an inch from the bridge of his nose. <<If you want to pull those slimy moves, turn gay and leave us out of it.>>

<<Why, you little bitch>> Iishi said. He cupped his hands to slap her one she’d remember but she just poked out her tongue and somer-bolted out of his swing. She bounded across the room like some acrobatic kangaroo, sprung out the window into the too-red Californian night.

Iishi stood for a long time in the spotlight, his loss of face almost palpable. He finally pulled up his chair, sat down and said as if nothing had happened: <<Now, where were we?>>

CASSIUS CROON and other characters copyright Rob Sullivan 1996-2000.