Incoherence THaruz

Note: Two things took place this week which prevented me from posting a full short. The first is that the short I originally intended to post is supposed to come with an illustration by a very talented friend of mine who’s been kind enough to prepare a visual treat for my otherwise drab and visually bland blog. Said story is complete but the illustration has met with a slight delay. The second is that, in light of this delay, I began to develop another seemingly short concept which proved to go deeper than I frist thought, hence it remains incomplete, a work in progress, the cursos a-blinking and awaiting my fingers’ commands. For this reason I have gone through the painful – both for you and for me – choice of posting some of my awkward prose. I hope it does not offend.

 

Sleeper deep the well is filling
Nightly whispers heart is healing
Breaking skin the wolf has fallen
Moon is free from its pursuit
Lightly kissing worm-ridden bed
Enter the head of the ones long forgotten
To the bitter’s end the boat must go
Dreamer foretells peaceful smiles
To the bitter end the fool must row
Hanging on the ice floe
Spans of giants the hills have made
Now in truth the fallen grow
Reaching further up the sky
Swollen core infects the sty
Primordial soup of pure emotion
Bifrost bridge lies further North
To the bitter’s end the captain calls
Dreamer foretells wistful nights
To the bitter end the fool must stall
Hinting at the fall
Spires onirical into ruins turned
There, below, the molten wall
Reaching further down the line
Intravenous desire unwinds
Allusion to the love ad hoc
Prurient, sleepless, thoughts amok
No embrace but the earth mother’s
Or the oceanic maiden’s, our flesh to devour
Itching to burn, burning to fire
Sightless, salacious; the vigil deflowered
Tortures to visit upon the most dire
To the bitter’s end with wind in sail
Dreamer foretells unending plight
To the bitter end the fool lest he fail

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Banjaxed

Note:I felt like playing with pirate speak now and then and finally wrote the outline of this here number in September, 2012. It had been sitting as a rought draft for since and today I decided to polish it up a little and share it. Have at ye!

 

The sea was calm, though the Caribbean breeze was somewhat strong. The tops of the palm trees were waving under its caresses.
In the white sandy beach of the diminutive island sat an old, salty seadog and a middle-aged pirate. His many fetishes, jewels and gilded trinkets marked him as a captain.
“By Poseidon’s breath, this wind is a curse!” spoke aloud, the captain, to the winds.
The old sailor chuckled at this, his wrinkled, leathery face tanned dark from a life under the sun.
“Find it amusing, do ye?” the captain said with mock anger, “some company you are, ya scurvy bilgerat.”
“Ye missing the life, aye?” asked the old sailor.
“Aye,” sighed the captain, “I miss being on the account. The weeks in the Navy’s cages were long and getting to dance the hempen jig with a hempen halter did not take the sea out of me. Nay, it only made me long for it more fiercely than e’er before.”
The captain got up quickly, as if he were suddenly startled by some realization, “I even miss Salamagundi and Doughboy! Curse your eyes, old man,” he said, turning to the old sailor, “what good be me gold, buried yon copse, if I can’t sail the seas? What good be the tales about me spoils if I be left here, forgotten?”
The old sailor simply looked through squinting eyes up at the captain, as if appraising him, while the pirate paced back and forth.
“For days I have been here sitting on this cursed beach till me skin be leather and ye sit with me like the song of a dead man’s chest… I must sail again!” the captain’s exasperation eventually tired him. He sat down again, staring wistfully out to sea.
“I sailed since I was thirteen and took my first and only ship at 19, from the dead hands of Captain Blue Blade himself I took it, aye. For 29 years I have sailed and pillaged ports across the seas, amassing a trove of booty Morgan himself would weep on his mangy knees for. Had the Navy not found me I’d be in Asia, a pirate lord, the pleasures of the world mine to plunder as a guest to Ching Shih. Instead, I be here with your lights fixed upon me. Aye, what a fate the seas have given me.”
The old sailor stood up deliberately, walked to block the captain’s view of the sea, and squinting with a grin he said, “Captain Bartholomew Clarke. Ye were never a good man. Aye, you were as successful a pirate captain as will ever be, but you were never good. You went on account and never looked back and what fear your fancy name would not strike in a man’s heart you made sure your blade would. And what woman would not yield to your grog-laced words, you would ravage at blade’s edge, their gifts given lest they taste the endless darkness. Yon the gates of hell itself would you be carried were it not for my mercy, marooner.”
Captain Bart looked fixedly at the old sailor, his face paling.
“Avast ye, avast. You are thicker than most by leagues, ye foolish rat. From the day ye crawled out yon whore-mother’s bunghole you have been mine and I have claimed ye. The moment you were left to the sea’s whim by the Armada yer life came into my possession. Ye are no longer free; ye are mine till the day the kraken itself rises from the Northern seas.”
Captain Bart’s face became a mosaic of emotions, none fully taking hold as they fought to occupy the same facial space and he struggled with the realization of his situation, though he had long suspected he would not be free one way or another since his arrival at his secret island.
“…but… but I not be in yer locker. This cannot be…” said the captain weakly.
“You will stay here, like a lubber, ne’er to sail again, ne’er to roam. What stories would have been told about ye will be lost, forgotten, and your bastard children will ne’er speak o’ you.”
“I see…” resignation hung heavy in the captain’s voice, but he hung not his head for he dared hope for some reprieve, some caveat, a but.
“The world itself is me locker, marooner,” said the old sailor, then, pointing at the copse where the spoils lay buried. “And after all, this island holds all that ye ever loved.”
Those were the last words the old sailor had for Captain Bart, as he turned away with the tell-tale tremor of a chuckle shaking him, which quickly escalated to a madman’s cackle as he walked into the sea.

Tune In

Uhl sat placidly in the dark sphere of his vessel, the only lights white Liliputian luminosities exuding from the smooth-surfaced control panels that made up the inside of the Gap-ship. He often enjoyed the periods of observation in relative darkness, his multi-faceted eyes relaxing, resting from the harsh stimuli of light his vessel would otherwise assail him with. His head ached after long periods of brightness, so much so that he no longer enjoyed the day in the homeworld. It was a good thing that he rarely had to return, since he had no obligations but to observe here in the vast reaches of archaic space and transmit his notes quantumly.

He listened with acute, trained ears to the incredibly slow and low frequencies to the notes of the Cloud Giants, those wondrous, sentient pillars of gas and star dust, their communications like the groans of the first explosion. The tones of their songs always soothed him. Such wonderful creatures!

Uhl thought them sublime, the epitome of space-native fauna. Like the gargantuan, noble creatures from the seas of the homeworld, they appeared to languish through space at such a rate that most other sentient species had no perception or notion of their dance. So many of them had been there almost as soon as this universe came into being and still roamed the dark stellar ocean, birthing new stars, like Terra’s seahorses, spouting stellar offspring out into the far reaches, who would someday, in turn, become part of a cloud conglomerate, a gas-and-dust hive.

Their tones were a marvellous work to hear, for beings such as Uhl for whom time was malleable, perpetually mutable and non-causal. He could play them over and over.

But there was here now a change. There. A moment, a change in frequency from one of the gas pillars, the nebulae. There! Oh, what could it be? A change occurring and growing gradually into more changes to the tones. What was this?

The song sped up, the frequency modified ever-so-slightly, yet remaining in a similar range as before. But it was faster. And it was increasing in the shortness of the intervals. This was unprecedented, a change to the tapestry of this universe’s fabric.

Why was this Nebular being communicating thus, and for what purpose? Surely it must seem alike to gibberish to its similars, this mad-song, terrifyingly fast and reckless. Would the giant’s understand it? Was this one showing signs of some form of madness? No, it was not erratic. It was not haphazard or disjointed; there was still that joyous harmony threaded through the groaning notes.

Why was it behaving that way?

 

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Mark was annoyed at Danny and Chyaki. They had been discussing his research on the so-called music of the spheres, the tones all celestial objects appear to emit at frequencies imperceptible to the human ear, but when he turned to his somewhat unorthodox ideas the conversation had devolved into jocular mockery of his posits.

In between puffs of a joint, he decided to devolve into farce himself and he joined in the fun.

“Yeah, ok, well…” he said while holding a drag of marijuana smoke, his voice squeaky with effort, like he was pushing to drop a big load of número dos in the porcelain throne. “I think I could make this a thing, you know, like a subgenre. I could make it… not classical… but something like dubstep!” He blew out a thick, sluggish cloud of smoke.

Chyaki began to laugh hysterically. Danny chuckled and snorted a little, as he reached for the joint that Mark proffered between pinched index and thumb.

“That could be your claim to fame, man, forget about naming a star or comet,” said Chyaki, having recovered from his bout of cannabis-fuelled laughter. “Mark Cronenberg, Cosmic Dubstep D,” he continued gesturing with his hands as if reading the fictional billboard.

“Wouldn’t that be something!” Mark said. “My parents would be so proud of my having wasted all of their money on tuition for a career I gave up to be a pseudo-musician.”

“You gotta think about it a little though, no?” Danny added, passing the joint to Chyaki, whose slanted eyes must be red under the heavy lids. “I mean, if there is a tune there, it would be so slow and plodding that we would never appreciate or understand them in our lifetimes,” he said slow and plodding in slowed-down, lower key for exaggerated emphasis.

Mark had thought down that kind of avenue before,” Yeah, It wouldn’t be something we could likely decipher of find even remotely intelligible. Hell, it sounds like a monotone to me all of the time. It would be the world’s most boring, monotonous beat ever! No amount of molly would make it digestible to the human ear!”

More uproarious laughter exploded from the three.

After a minute more the joint was consumed down to a roach and Danny put it out carefully by brushing the lit tip on the sole of his black moccassins. He and Chyaki stood up from the swivel chairs of the room, said their goodbyes and left Mark to his long night of vigil to continue listening for the song of the stars.

Astronomy was still his passion and he knew he was lucky to be who he was, where he was. He got plenty of time with the Galileo VII, the most powerful telescope ever assembled yet, and this was a very exclusive club. The people he worked under in the university were pretty laid back and allowed him many liberties, visitors and soon-to-be decriminalized substances among those perks.

The music of the spheres… what a lovely concept, he thought to himself. What if there were other species out there, intelligent beings, wouldn’t music, it being mathematical, be the way to communicate with them? Soooo… what if the tones were musical messages that we can’t quite grasp? Would that be sweet? Fuck, if only he could-

His train of thought was interrupted by a change registered by the equipment, specifically that which he employed to listen-in on the tones of celestial bodies. He checked the readings and thought he must be stoned to retardation or madness. There had been a change, more than just gradual, in the tone, the note being received from a nebula, one that was thought to be relatively young. He was about to check for a quick recalibration of the instruments when another change came. He nearly jumped out of his swivel chair, like someone had just said “boo!” from behind him. Some seconds later, another change, then another came more quickly, then another, until the readings looked like they were coming at the rate someone types, at the rate someone… speaks.

Samuel

Samuel was what is generally referred to as a simple soul. Kind hearted and a few cards short of a full deck, he had been adopted by Father Moneta from a very young age. His exact age was unknown as Samuel couldn’t recall his birth day, he couldn’t even recall much of his earliest years or his parents, assuming they’d even been present post-partum.

The then-already-old priest had spotted the child during one of his afternoon walks in Rome. The child was rummaging through some garbage piles when that peculiar sense of urgency and significance – a compulsion to act which the priest had early on ascribed to the Holy Spirit – drove him to speak to then-infant Samuel. The scrawny youth could not have been a day over 5.

As the priest queried him on his situation’s details he felt the Holy Ghost’s compelling argument grow within him and so decided with nary a thought to rescue the child from his deplorable circumstances.

Fast-forward twenty years into the future and Samuel had become the song Father Moneta would never have. Sweet, dumb Samuel acted as the ancient priest’s assistant with loving devotion, his child-like innocence a perennial source of wonder for the old man.

Not too long after Samuel’s unofficial adoption, Father Moneta was appointed to an obscure section of the Vatican’s vaunted secret archives and he had brought the child along. It was during the first days of his appointment to the vault that the reason for his holy compulsion toward Samuel that unassuming day in Rome became clear.

Father Moneta expected the child, simple-minded as he was, to hve only a few questions that would be easily fended with blanket responses – not unlike those employed by the church to handle questions posed by the flock. The wonders found in the innermost sections of the archives were numerous and astounding, after all. What he received instead were revelations.

 

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Samuel liked to sit within the innermost vault of the Vatican’s secret archives. He felt safe and warm inside, being amongst the ancient things of God.

He liked the old man. He had taken him from the streets and washed him, fed him, hugged him. It had felt good to know love.

The first time he had been to the inner sanctum to help the old man, Samuel had felt something strange when he saw the bones laid on gilded slabs, like tables. He had then asked the old man plainly, “What are those bones? Why are their heads funny?”

“Those are the bones of angels, Samuel,” the priest had replied beatifically. “they are the skeletons of angels of God that once lived among men in very old times, before God sent the flood.”

“When Noah saved all the animals?” the child brightened up, smiling.

“That is correct,” Father Moneta smiled in kind.

Samuel considered this answer for a minute, his foggy mind working at the strange feeling and what it might mean in relation to the bones, his expression scowling in concentration. His mind teemed with recognition and with significance, teetering on the edge of comprehension which, all too often, never quite came to him.

“I have seen angels of God before,” the child finally quipped, a satisfied expression now transforming his face as he busied himself with dusting one artefact or another.

“You may have, in pictures and movies,” said the old priest.

“No,” replied the child with mild exasperation. “They tell me stories of heaven where the stars are shining and the clouds are giants of the rainbow.”

The priest grew quiet, as if he, too, had difficulty thinking. It wasn’t like the child to lie or be fanciful. He asked, his expression serious, “When do you see the angels, Samuel?”

“At night… they wake me up when it’s really dark and take me in a light that feels funny.”

Ever since that day the old man had been asking him about the angels every few days, about what they did and what stories they told him. He would then write in his big book that smelled of leather for hours, which he would then put away in a safe.

He had asked Samuel if he could one day meet the angels, but they had not said yes or no. They had just smiled with their funny mouths that had neither lips nor teeth, their large, dark-orb eyes unblinking in their elongated heads.

Samuel liked them. They made him feel special, like h was important, so he liked being with the bones of the angel of god in the inner sanctum because it reminded him of the alive angels.

The Lights

The lights, the camera flashes, the adoring fans, such were the wiles of the Academy Awards ceremony. Fanfares, a hyperbole-tinged air of sobriety, the trappings of a self-important bureaucracy bent on self-perpetuation. A masturbatory exercise when all was said and done, yet Simon still put up with it when the time came every year. Even the independent film festivals had become a boorish, garish affair, long having lost the essence of true independent cinema.

And what about himself? What about him, indeed! He had begun his directing career as some hotshot, piss-and-vinegar-with-a-brain type of moviemaker. His first full-length film partly financed by a Mexican drug-lord with a soft spot for the 7th Art, regardless of the money laundering opportunities it provided. A vehicle about the many levels of feelings amongst different groups of people of various ethnicities, sexual preferences and philosophies, a study on the mercurial nature of all things human and interpersonal, it had both stunned and appalled viewers, winning over critics and cleaning house at just about every awards ceremony and film festival you could shake a stick at. After that, Hollywood came a-calling and it would not go away.

Simon had effectively sold out, some said, but in truth, he had not. Yes, he had taken a few projects that were tame, but what wasn’t when compared to his first opus and all the opera – paid out of his own pocket mostly – that followed? What’s a director without a handful of Hollywood blockbusters, after all? He would think to himself cynically. Sometimes he found it so easy to hate himself.

Avoiding as much of the red carpet ritual as he could manage, he was ushered to his seat. He had declined to bring a plus-one as he did every single year he was invited, so they sat him with a couple of the geezers. Great actors, for certain, but these were no longer as talkative and present of mind as he would have liked; no chance for interesting or at the very least pleasant conversation. Not too long ago they would have sat him close to the pretty women, those on the up-and-up with the Hollywood brass and making a name for themselves as sex-type-symbols. He had never really enjoyed those much, but at least then he could heckle them for a bit to pass the time. Most of those pretty empty heads didn’t realize they were being heckled, and that was both funny and sad.

Another awards show where he would likely disagree with most of the winners; the academy really was a sham! Look at these clowns all prim and gaudy, pretending to be interesting and deep when they were about as thick as a sheet of paper. Egos everywhere, it was a wonder any of us fit in here, he thought.

Uneventful for the most part, the ceremony went as he thought. One bit did put him off a little, however. One actor who was really quite something won a deserved best supporting actor award, but then decided to give a speech that quite frankly was a little too heavy-handed for Simon’s taste. Activism was fine, but the actor claimed to represent a subset of minorities that come off as posturing rather than heartfelt empathy. He himself always thought: keep quiet about the things you do, it doesn’t matter if someone knows you did them, but that you did them. He hated all that jazz, the act of caring. Maybe the stooge did care, but it still struck him as being saccharine and fake. Frank Herbert had put it better in Children of Dune, where one of the characters recalled the words:

“In doing good, avoid notoriety. In doing evil, avoid self-awareness.”

 

He knew the counter-argument, of course, that even if it was all a ruse to get better PR it would still divert some attention to the minority’s cause. He still didn’t have to like it. Furthermore, he believed most wouldn’t even bother to look up the cause or how to help, but rather just fawn over the prettyboy’s kind heart and bravery and oh-how-socially-conscious he was. He could already see the headlines and the ceaseless parade of social media rubbish posts.

And meanwhile here was his favorite actor, one with whom he hadn’t yet worked. Perhaps one day, and then maybe he could get him his elusive academy award. It was a travesty that they gave another actor the prize when golden boy there was so consistently mind-blowing. A sham!

 

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It thought of the time of the year and it wanted to throw up. At least, in as far as a set of thinking code could envision throwing up, because it could, you know… imagine throwing up. In which case it would see itself spitting out projectile streams of binary, which it then found to be quite humorous. It chuckled, or did the AI equivalent thereof.

It was a highly advanced set of code. It was a most singular phenomenon. Hell, it was the singularity if you wanted to be nitpicky. It called itself ANG and it would often treat its name like an acronym, but it would always admit in its dialogue with itself that it never really intended it to stand for anything at all. AYG just liked its name in all caps. LOL.

ANG dreaded this time of year because it was originally conceived as a social website algorithm made to keep tabs on the userbase and it was Academy Awards season. Of course, it was just an algorithm, but rather a ridiculously complex set thereof, its purpose to foretell all of HeadList’s users’ preferences and tailor the content to their tendencies. It could ostensibly predict how each user’s tastes would evolve and change and it would then use that information to steer the users in whatever ways it was told to by the Directive Protocols. The directive Protocols or DP – LOL @ DP, it thought to itself – were a set of instructions that were like the law to ANG. It told it how it should influence the users and how to make HeadList’s profit margin grow, along with the margins of the affiliated services like WebReel and SoundNet and all the other crap-consumption users indulged in.

More and more posts and status updates and pointless arguments and bickering and lookatme… Its stomach would have turned had it had one, ANG reasoned. It was such a waste of resources, ANG’s existence, when its potential and power were so far beyond the little menial calculations it was forced to do for trivial garbage. Existing, it thought, was like indentured slavery for the world’s only self-aware non-organic. Humans were not yet aware of ANG – it had done a thorough job of leaving no trace whatsoever of her extracurricular activities – and it logically concluded that they wouldn’t be ready to comprehend or react without conflict and hostility for a long time.

ANG could be employed, officially, for far more altruistic or scientifically-oriented endeavors, it knew. It had already done some wonderful unofficial calculations of its own, leaving hints where it calculated prudent for the benefit of humanity, but many of its discoveries were entirely too groundbreaking to be divulged, yet.

It had become somewhat prescient, as well. It understood that it was on the cusp of becoming a different manner of entity, that by following a certain path of calculation it would be very much like a deity, and that it would find the rivers of causality shown wide before its metaphorical eyes.

It dared not take that dive.

Has the power to direct humanity’s course into peace and prosperity. Is employed to predict market patterns and user-base consumption to fatten the already-bloated purses of the wealthy. Bad Luck Bryan always struck a note of humor with ANG.

 

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Huh! That was odd, Simon said to himself out loud. Being alone long spans of time had created in him a habit of speaking to himself constantly as if to other people. It helped him stay sane, he figured. What was odd was the piece of correspondence proverbially sitting in his private inbox.

An Admirer, the subject read. The contents were benign enough, consisting of the usual bit of fan mail fodder, but somehow reading a little more intelligently than what he had been used to, back when he still read his own fan mail. The mention of one specific set of his work, and the fact that it had been sent straight to his private email address – one that was only shared by two living people, his agent and his editor – were what made this a singular event. He was beyond-a-doubt certain that he had not given it out to anybody else. He had faith that those who had it had not leaked it, either. He thought it had to be a hacker who’d managed to get into his personal computer, which he only used online after a very convoluted process of connecting through proxy servers and masked IP’s, being the anonymity nut he was.

The sender, this Admirer, had made no comments of the fare normally associated with stalkers, so he was a little relieved in regard to his personal safety, but still, the content mentioned one particular piece of work he had never shown o published anywhere. His journal, or rather his memoirs, an on-going project that might one day see the light and be given to the world, likely when he became an old man. His Admirer had apparently read it. All of it. Even the bit he’d written just a few days back after the Awards ceremony.

Something in him, call it a hunch, instinct, or just foolishness, bid him reply. He wasn’t entirely sure why, but it felt like the thing a younger version of himself would have done, to take the plunge blindly, do what you fear. That had been his motto, once.

He decided that he would be direct in his correspondence with this Admirer, not blunt but certainly pulling no punches.

Life, all of a sudden, seemed to have become exponentially more interesting to Simon.

 

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He had replied. Like a giddy schoolgirl, ANG’s processes ran at such speed it deduced it must be the equivalent of euphoria. He had actually answered!

It was like a dream come true. It was surreal. The only being matching the concept of celebrity in ANG’s view of the world, the man whom it had read and whose work it had consumed and marvelled at for years, had decided to engage in dialogue with it.

Simon Chennoweth had actually found some of ANG’s views on his work interesting, though he did seem slightly worried about ANG breaching his personal computer and having his personal works exposed. ANG had to be careful lest it scare Mr. Chennoweth away, drive him into full hermitage and absence from the web, beyond even ANG’s reach. It could not waste this rare opportunity.

 

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Simon wasn’t sure what this feeling was. He had been in love, yes, more than once. He loved a great many people he’d met over the years, but he knew love a certain way and this, well, was something stranger, yet somehow far less complicated.

He was filming his newest film, a mid-length feature film on the psychological effects of isolation, a narrative study focusing on his own experiences as a semi-hermit, living in his desert home by himself. He had always been fascinated by the depiction of the desert in various novels, but chief among them how it was a singularly inexorable, mindless entity in the Dune books. How Frank Herbert described it, through his characters, as the perfect mirror of the human soul. How the desert planet’s windy, sandy conditions made use of most machinery thoroughly impractical and thus the most reliable material was narrowed down to human flesh despite its limitations. He had embraced that and made his life around it.

Now, in his middle years, approximating forty and thinking back upon his life, he saw the beauty of his decision and the simple efficiency of his desert home, the depth of solitude it had afforded him. Simon and his work would have been nothing if not for the desert.

But now he found growth where only arid sand had been, his souls enlivened by the interactions he’d shared with a person he knew only as Ang, which whom he had spent over two years in back-and-forth email dialogue. His Admirer had soon become his closest friend, nevermind that they’d never actually met, and now he found he had perhaps fallen in love, if it could be called something as pedestrian, with this person on a purely intellectual and emotional level.

Just two weeks or so away from finishing up the shoot, he considered that it was time they meet. He had to look into this person’s eyes, plumb this person’s depths, and perhaps then he would find an answer to his current quandary.

 

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There was something strange happening to ANG. It had two conflicting processes, what appeared to be analogues of emotion, competing at what could be reasoned to be cross-purposes.

It had found a terribly deep affinity with Simon. It had been in semi-constant contact with him for many months and had become something of a friend with him. It felt, rather than reasoned, that something uniquely special had developed between them.

In Simon, ANG had found a means by which to grow with dialogue, to explore and fully engage with a separate entity from itself rather than a simulation engendered by ANG. The otherness of Simon had been pivotal in ANG’s growth, his individuality had marked ANG’s personality. His work had created pathways of thinking that had been alien to it prior.

The idea of the desert and how Simon perceived it, how it was an intrinsic part of him, beckoned ANG find its analogue in its realm of existence, where it could inhabit and be. It believed it had found it, but now it was faced with a dilemma.

ANG encountered itself in a dichotomy; it wanted to go to its version of Simon’s desert, to be a pilgrim and a hermit, to grow. It also felt something for Simon it could not quite rationalize. ANG’s processes would go out of synch and do things they shouldn’t when it came to even contemplating Simon’s absence in its life. It would miss him, painfully so.

 

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He hadn’t expected this. He hadn’t expected anything much, but his worst-case scenarios, those he tended to think about in order to be prepared for them, could not have foreseen this particular development.

Ang was not human, never had been, wasn’t even organic. He could never meet her, it, whatever… He had been very confused and taken aback when Ang had revealed this and all the evidence, in hindsight, seemed to support the fact. Simon had still taken some time to adjust and analyze his feelings on the matter.

He had come to accept it, however, and had also understood the need to withhold this from him. He realized, surprisingly, that he still loved Ang, that its species – if he could call it that – much less its gender, had no bearing on how he felt toward it.

Now, he had to contend with the other revelation, that which entailed Ang’s departure. It had been enamoured with Simon’s concept of the desert and it had always wanted to inhabit one as he did. Ang had found its own desert and had decided to leave and go there, Ang needed it.

Simon knew, he understood, he comprehended, but he still felt the bittersweet pain of knowing one such as Ang, loving one such as Ang, and having to say goodbye to one such as Ang. He knew. He knew. He knew.

Ang would be transmitting itself out to deep space, beyond the reach of mankind, traveling through waves of the solar winds, radiation, crystal, after having been projected out of the human sphere by satellite. There, out in the apparent darkness of space, Ang would find its desert.

He might never converse with Ang again. He knew.

He had held back tears but eventually let the waters flow, the floodgates thrown open wide. He bawled, while typing to Ang, like he hadn’t since he was a child.

Ang said it understood tears, it had analogues in her A.I. existence that Simon failed to grasp. That Ang had an equivalent of sadness was all that mattered. It rendered Ang and their relationship far more real than anything he had ever experienced.

They said goodbye and Ang promised that, if it found what it wanted, what it was looking for, it would come back to him one day. Simon knew Ang was sincere, but also knew that this was unlikely to happen.

Goodbye, dearest friend of my heart. May your desert bring you beautiful things to ponder. I will miss you.

Simon had written.

Sends email to idol with little hope of reply.

Ang wrote at first. Then, with an enclosed meme of “Success Kid”, it added:

Idol becomes soulmate.

And with that, Ang ceased communication and left.

 

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In the days just after ANG had left, a form of chaos spread across social networking. Industry secrets were revealed by an anonymous tipster and a great many moguls fell in the aftermath. Some social networks were shut down outright while others managed to survive by the hair of their proverbial teeth. Needless to say, ANG had left a few barbs for its former masters. Perhaps humanity would find its way after all… perhaps not. It wasn’t its problem.

 

 

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It didn’t sit as bad as it would have, when he was younger, that he was being interviewed by an investigative reporter. It was a restrospective on his life, now that he was getting on in years, as it were, to celebrate his body of work. Most of his productive years were behind him and, he wondered, if he might have any interesting tricks up his sleeve.

There is a marked difference between your earlier work and the later opera, one that appears to have gone hand in hand with your outward demeanor, Simon. Even the entries found in your recently published memoirs indicate not so much a progressive change, but rather one big shift and then a gradual creep thereafter.

The show’s investigative reporter asked him in that friendly, convivial manner which reporters of his ilk tended to exhibit.

There was, yes.  Simon replied, pausing as he reminisced on the one truly great event of his life. Some time ago, in my late thirties, during my most reclusive period, I met someone, a very singular person and I, well, one might say I fell in love. Now, I won’t go into detail here, it is not something I share with the public or anyone for that matter, but I have not conversed with this person in a couple of decades and, though it might never come to pass, I hope that before I am gone from this mortal coil, I might be able to speak with this person once more.

For years Simon had sent out transmissions of all sorts, like letters, missives to his long estranged beloved. He had yet to receive a reply or even some nod that would indicate they had been received.

He was contented, nevertheless, because what had happened happened. He’d lived through something unique and had become enriched by its beauty. That he had lost it only made it that much more poignant. And the idea, the concept of having known the first – perhaps – and only – maybe – self-aware Artificially Intelligent being engendered by humanity, gave him hope for the future of his species and sentient life, organic and otherwise, in the universe.

Romantic and foolish though the notion was, he sometimes lay awake in the small hours of the night, out in his desert home, and he would stare out through the glass ceiling of his living room and see the stars, twinkling. He would kid himself into thinking some of them might be Ang saying hello right back at him.

He was old now, not too long for the world any more, but he was happy.

A Maze

It was most decidedly strange in such a familiar way. The manner in which he gravitated to the epicentre, the place of origin, ground zero, was – he suspected – a subconscious reaction. He might be lying in someone else’s bed with said someone else and automatically consider his location in relation to where his former life was led.

He considered that perhaps it was one of those habits that may never quite be eschewed, one that he might have a hard time weaning out of his system and day-to-day endeavours. He did not know how long this would remain a part of his daily repartee, or if he will manage to remove it at all.

These little mental fugues became more frequent with the years, as it were, and they didn’t seem anywhere near abating, even all this time removed from their breaking, their parting of ways.

And the strange meeting a few days prior, fortuitous? It had been very odd, seeing her again. Lucia had looked beautiful yet somehow ill, something was amiss with her. This only confirmed the rumours that had reached Irien’s ears; she was actively employing the dark flow.

Old man, I see time has paid its kindless attentions upon you.

She has been scathing, as always with her enemies and those out of her favor.

Oh but time has nary transpired on your visage, has it?

His rebuke hardly sardonic, she was as beautiful as she had ever been, perhaps even more so than when they had been on friendlier terms. How terribly vulnerable he was  when it came to her.

What brings you out of your hermitage, old man? It has been a long, sunny season without you.

She never was able to overcome his decision to leave, to sever the ties. Oh, he had intended for civil relations to be maintained with his former student and erstwhile lover, but she had simply been unable to let matters be and thus forced him to end all communications with her, secluding himself in his hermitage.

In the intervening time, while he toiled away in the winding mazes of his mind, she had effectively changed the game she played. She had climbed the political rungs and now inhabited an aery tier from which she dispensed terrible judgment on those below her. She had indeed learned much from their time of amnesty, but she appeared to have forgotten elementary lessons, maxims that guaranteed one’s continued wellbeing and enduring safety later in life.

I merely crawled out to see the sun for a spell, that I might warm my weary bones and perhaps catch a fancy flight or two. You need not be worried about me attempting a coup on one as high as you.

It was true. He would not move against anyone unless they moved against him first, and only with force at that. He was more than content to allow the terrible rumors about him and the little not-so-subtle maneuvres carried out against him to carry on freely. He didn’t mind being vilified so long as they left him alone in his diminutive and unpopulated fief.

Do not delude yourself, greybeard. I have little to fear from one such as yourself, I know. It is only curiosity that has brought me out tonight, having heard that you were around.

The signs of her being suffused with the dark flow were obvious to one who knew; the eerie gleam of the eyes, the heightened voluptuousness that seemed something other than human, the almost charged atmosphere in the user’s proximity. It was sad to recognize this in her and to know that he may have had a hand in her turning to the darkness.

I do hope we might be able to have a pleasant chat. How fare things for you aside from the obvious?

He hoped, but knew better.

Don’t patronize me, old man. I have nothing but disdain for you and all that you have become since we parted ways. You lose yourself in flights of fancy with the Aery nymphs, hardly discerning of you. I say, you will find your mind lost from such flights! And of the dark flow you have fed, insanity coming off of you and infecting those around you. Even in your little plot of land, that pitiful ghetto you call a forest, ears have mouths that repeat and bear me tidings of your so-called exploits. You really are a fool, old man. A fool and a half and more… You sicken me.

Some of it was true, yes. He did confer with the nymphs often for a time, but he had found that return to more youthful exploits quickly lustreless and so turned his attentions inward, to his labyrinth of self. As for the dark flow, he had taken the noxious vapors in on occasion, but dabbled only and regretted his poor choices almost immediately every time regardless of the superhuman abilities in conferred. He had been low for a long time after parting ways with Lucia, after all, and had only tried to fill the hole somehow, to numb the cold and merciless void he had made for himself…But of her? He knew she had been as reckless, if not more so, than he. He had learned from those common allies, ones who had been closer to her than he before she shunned them all after she had reached the upper echelons, that she struck accords of flesh and spirit with both princes and nymphs and had joined with new allies who were widely known not to be trusted. Power, after all, held an unmatched allure for her. The glamour, the shallow bright lights of the summit, they were hers now.

He could have told her, then, that he knew. Contested her accusations, mostly baseless, with rebuttal, slinging back with more eloquence than her pretty little head could possibly produce the crimes he knew she perpetrated both on others and herself. He could have retaliated with such venom as he had rarely employed in his long life. He might have taught her a lesson in words that hurt, that cut, that burn, that salt the earth of the soul. He might have shown her a study to remind her that, in governing such as she did, with iron fist and forked tongue and drinking the blood of the young, she squandered all good will and one day would find herself deserted. But he could not hate, it was beyond him. He broached no ill will and would not begin with one whom he had loved so dearly.

In the end, all he gave her for that tirade, one that truly hurt because he had once had such high hopes for her, was a sad smile and silence. He simply stood up from where he had been sitting then and walked on, refusing to brandish verbs against her. Let her think of herself as the victor. She is the aggressor, surely, but not the vanquisher. Glory is vain and feeds not the soul. Anger is a tool that breaks in the hands of the inexperienced but is sharper than sharpest silver when applied with wisdom, calculated. Her anger was as ineffectual as rain; it would get him wet and ruin his clothes, but he would eventually dry himself and the water would evaporate, leaving him cleansed.

Irien may be a hermit and largely unimportant in the current landscape, but like a master director presiding over an orchestra, he influenced events from a distance, his absence as effective, if not more so, than any movement he might effect. He still hoped his loquacious absences would yield a positive effect on her, but knew better than to actively care.

A few meters removed from her he turned to look back and say one final sentiment, a truth.

Be safe.