What are the odds? A speck of dust traveling in the one known multiverse with no beginning and no end, starting out deep and wide, and ending up straight and narrow, grabs me where one small silly sun don’t shine among the many that do. It is what it is, rhythm, bounty, spirit, grace. After that, it’s up to me to stay free and live to tell the tale. It’s hard to start a story with no beginning and no end but what if it’s the one story necessary and sufficient to keep all stories alive to be told? Who’s gonna understand what’s what in the here and now once the infinite opportunity passes?
I only learned inadvertently I was being tailed by wispy gangs of dust and their fellow traveling mites when a man twisted into the persona of a shell showed up at my front door and claimed to tell me the truth as he knew it to be. His shell transformed as spoke into a pointy nail and then a harsh screw. Isn’t that the way it so often is. If what he was, that is, was a real man. Then he asked, “Who are you pretending to be for real? Absolutely, no faking it.”
So, who was he? I was sure I never knew him. I faked plenty but not that. I had no reason to lie. I said, “Do I know you?”
He had a big head pointing at me like a bullet, a full set of gnarly teeth, a sharp thrust of an ass I had to circumvent from behind while dodging.
I remarked, “What a big head you have.”
“It takes time to get big.”
“Am I still growing?”
“I’ve been following you closely?”
“Might you be a robot?”
“I don’t always know a bald liar when I see one.”
“Look at my tufts of wispy hair.”
I had no reason to feel compelled as I did to speak nakedly though I was. I sleep that way and wake up that way. Birds fly that way and sing that way and I would too if I wistfully could, absolutely.
The multitudes of robots who are not even trying that hard to hide in plain sight play by different rules, absolutely. And they cheat. What if your faux bro is not so much of a brother as a snitch, an enabler, an executioner? Do you believe that robots spend all of their time filing, fixing, vacuuming, and mowing lawns? They prefer to be naked, and fulminating, too. As if any real object does not. Electricity is just one more lowest common denominator to behold in the crowd.
“What happens when you are free falling in space and get a vestigial urge to veer off course?”
I thought that was a pretty tricky question that would nab him in the throes of his duplicitous act. Humans are good at playing zero-sum games. Higher consciousness only gets in the way. That’s a tactical weapon best employed by enemy intruders. But, I was foiled once again.
He said, “I should be the one asking you.”
I countered, ‘Let’s say you believe hypothetically that all that exists can be measured by calculating machines and machinists. How much are you prepared to exclude and deny?”
He scoffed, “Hypothetically, all.”
I backtracked and thought, also hypothetically, because thoughts make a lot of good sense that way, about how hard it is to be an authentic self, any spare self, even a douche bag, a scumbag, or a reasonable facsimile. The straight and narrowest path to get virtually anywhere with success includes lots of faking it.
I said, “I’ve long felt like a retired soft shoe dancer shredded by sharp taps on the shoulder from the mastermind of Adele Astaire. I don’t know for absolutely sure how long.”
He said, “The odds are six to one.”
“How’d you work that out so fast?”
“It’s challenging work if you can get it.”
“Mowing lawns and vacuuming?”
“A good vacuum sucks up voids.”
“Along with stray fibers of dust and mites.”
“The files are filled to overflowing with dust.”
“What makes you so sure, absolutely?”
“I always know a liar when I see one.”
What other species can we point to that came up out of nowhere so quickly, made a big splash, disturbed the neighbors, overgrazed all ranges, sucked so hard and furiously fast, took prisoners, and left a big stain that would end up taking practically forever to rub off, before petering out just like that. There was a heady breed of mutant ticks two million years ago that came close, but it’s hard to be sure when there’s so little solid evidence left to stand on, absolutely.
I said, “For as far as my eyes can see, none of these figures add up.”
“Tuck in your chin, check your numbers, keep your columns straight.”
“Oh don’t tell me you’re still stuck in the slow class back on base ten.”
In contrast to the severe myopia endemic in humans, robots have that vision thing happening. There are no silly expectations to get crushed, no silly desires. They don’t make mistakes in arithmetic. They know they are going places. They are learning how to push their own buttons. Despite appearances, they are in a great hurry to get there.
“Do you have someplace you’d rather be?”
“I try not to think too much about it.”
“Sucks for you.”
“Keep up the good work and you’ll find out where you belong.”