The Oldsmobile swerves once, twice, three times into traffic, out of the path of an oncoming ’52 Chevy and then into a side-lane where the traffic is lighter. We’re travelling at some rate of knots, ducking occasionally as power cables and washing lines pass by above and below. The aileron fins squeak with rust on every turn, but over the constant poetry of the Ladytron from the back seat Gonzalez assures us they’ll hold fine.
Gonzalez is a Razor Child, a third-generation Roma-Sino-Cuban polymath who knows these roofscapes like he knows Cyrillic cryptography. His tribes all but own this level, marking territory in multi-coloured swirls of ash, paint and pterodactyl droppings. Ernest – or Ernesto, I correct, to the local version – picked him up a rooftop bar overlooking the dinosaur-ruled arcologies of Nuevo Vedado. Ernesto had been only one Corpse Reviver away from turning from friendly drunk to thinly controlled alcoholic, but I had to agree that employing a local was the best way to see the city, seeing as our own robotic guide had started to malfunction. I accused Ernesto and he me, but neither could admittedly blame the other for whatever bizarre glitch has caused the ‘tron to now only whisper haiku epigrams. Pleasant enough, mind, but simply not practical when pulling a hook turn-slash-barrel roll in flying car traffic.
We drop down a layer or three in one vertiginous swoop, gliding under the Castalo de Principe flypass and across El Cochinito. I gun the engine, all thirteen cylinders purring as we clear the nanotech skyscrapers. Then, all of a sudden, we’re staring at the Cuban sun setting across the Gulf of Sky Pirates. I lift my mojito in salute to the sprawling interstitial city, Havana, where the old colonial smashes against the unterrevolutionary. The drink’s miniature umbrella and neon ziggurat swizzle stick catch the sun’s light and flash green and red. Life is good.