As a response to mixed signals from the coding of a recalcitrant subject and predicate, the tan robot with cerulean blotchiness who was already on probation for excessively squeezing the nuts of a middling humanoid technician between a loop of razor wire and an electrified fence surrounding a relay station atop Mt. Umunhum, and who sidled like a crab in too implausibly a manner with suggestive undertones of an outright sashay, was cut off diagonally at the unhinged knees.
Before he fell, however, and spare parts could be harvested by single-minded roombas, the rogue robot directed the techno-yuppie dweeb who commutes to Silicon Valley from next door to my house in the Santa Cruz Mountains when not astride his green John Deere lawnmower to adjust the levers on his porcelain wife who enabled the venal white cat with the pampered pink skin to murder beautiful birds. The high flying owls feeling the turmoil in the redwood trees near the top of Mt. Umunhum were retaliating with disproportional bombardments of complex shit. The robots wanted the porcelain wife to lay low while valves were tweaked into alignment. They wanted the pampered white cat to refrain from inflammatory spritzing. Flimsy skins of all shades were gumming up the works. Plus, all the fucking feathers.
The first time I heard what by process of deductive reasoning seemed to be voices originating from a formerly staid and silent live oak tree choking on all of the blowing grass, or I don’t know what the fuck, because induction is so unsatisfying, I shook it off. I rubbed some dirt. I tested for leaks. I examined my limbs for thorns.
But the next time, unless it was the time after that, I was admiring the evanescence of a green apple withering on a spindly tree near my back door when I heard one voice among the many voices that resonated most distinctively.
I am pretty sure, or as sure as my singular perspective allows me to be, what I heard was, “We need to see more precise simple shaping to format high volume rectangles, boxes, and squares.”
In retrospect, if not voices, what I heard could have been mistaken for the rattling of chains. Or a siren. Or a minor derailment of box cars.
I know I’ll never know enough to satisfy me for long. Not after I was fooled the last time by retrospection, and the time before that. I looked down at the smooth glass in my hand. Rectangles of ice were floating. I waggled my fingers and scrunched my toes. No murky liquid spurted or dripped. I was still pretty sure I was still all there. Unless that mistake was introspection. I said to myself, and not so silently that I could not hear, “Does this Kool-Aid taste funny or is it me?”
Then I heard the singular voice among many say, “Are you sure you really want to know?”
I responded somewhat prematurely, prior to rigorously thinking it through to a satisfying logical conclusion, in the same way that an unhinged knee jerks, with “Why not?”
As soon as I said it, after it was too late, I considered the possibility I had made another mistake. There were many reasons why not. Many more were probably too dumb and flimsy to qualify as reasons. Or probably most. I understood better than anyone that I had made similar mistakes in prior situations that were no less murky. But then I remembered it was too late.
I added, “What the fuck.” No one knew better than me that it was not a question.
I heard, “It may not be what you want it to be.”
Then, in my opinion, the voice in my head began to hold me too tight. I appreciate warmth as much as the next rectangular guy on the cold block, but I was starting to sweat.
I said, “Let me be free.”
“What more do you want?”
I said, “Right now, all I really want is to be free.”
Then I heard, “Say the magic word.”
I thought, fuck. I thought, shit. I thought, why me? I thought, let me out of here. I knew I did not know the magic word. I never did. If I knew the magic word I would say it just like that, no biggie. I would have said it in the past such as it was and never fallen into the vicinity of this abyss. I would not be ashamed. So what if I was being watched.
Instead, I tried,”please…sorry…c’mon…fuck…baa…bull…gimme…why…how…whaa.”
After hearing and listening to so many false voices in prior incarnations claiming to know whole bunches of shit due to special access to one false god or czar or general or idol or idiot or impresario or master or clown, I was secretly afraid that the word I sought was no word at all, that the robots and their human enablers had usurped the game of pawns that used to be commonly played by known and visible rulers, and inserted secret codes that snapped, crackled, and popped to a new brand of whip, replacing all of those formerly hoity-toity words alleging to possess so-called meanings with sharp shooting numbers that destroyed any opposition by means of chemical, electrical, and therapeutic subterfuge that had made any magic prematurely disappear. After which, as we know, it became too late. As it was, is, and continues to be. And stuck.
I thought, again, fuck. And I thought, again, shit. But then I thought, why not me? Why not dig up my own buried voice that allows me to speak for myself? I don’t need no stinking robots to talk mesmerizing shit at me in numbers. I don’t want no stinking numbers to squeeze my nuts with wires. Why not talk back? Why not say it loud? I don’t even have to feel proud.
I proclaimed, “I still just want to be free.”