For my girlfriend to hack…
Characters: Withheld for comedic purposes.
Setting: A dimension outside our own.
(The Dead Man lies between the two Judges. As he struggles, they observe and comment.)
Judge One: He might, actually.
Judge Two: I don’t think so.
JO: You’re always so quick to dismiss them.
(TDM struggles harder, almost coming around to consciousness and life.)
JO: See, he could totally do it.
JT: I’m calling it: we scrap this one.
(TDM struggles hard enough and breaks into being.)
JO: Ahhh! Ye of little faith.
TDM (terrified):What? Where am I? What… what are you?
JO (incredulous): No.
JT: Bet you wish we’d scrapped him now, huh?
JO: Wow, is he ever freaking out… maybe we still can scrap him?
TDM (completely terrified): What are you talking about?
JT: Um, I don’t think that we should talk about that in front of him, so, ah… Hey, there, sport.
JO: What do you remember?
JT: Man, come on. Hi, buddy, are you feeling a little calmer? Do you wanna talk?
TDM: Yes, I want to talk! Who the hell are you people? And where am I?
JO: What do you REMEMBER?
JT: …yeah, uh, actually that is a good place to start.
TDM: Remember? Losing my footing, up on the roof with the Christmas lights. And how loud the wind got. Just for two stories, you wouldn’t think… The moon between my feet. That’s it.
JO: Oh, what the fuck, he remembers more than just egg-times?
JT: You got a real spread? Really deck the house out for the holidays?
TDM: Yeah, I’m an electrical engineer and the girls… egg-times?
JO: NO! What girls? What do you remember? TDM: …everything. My wife, the girls, my huskies, Baxter and Roland, the…
JO: Augh! He remembers the whole thing. The machine is totally screwed up.
TDM: Yes! Everything! All of it including that… (he gestures towards the remains of his struggles) that thing. That horrible thing. I couldn’t tell if I was dying or waking-up or, or choking, or…. (suddenly mad and scared again) or who the hell you people are and where I am? What is going on?
JT: Yeah, sorry about that. Usually the egg-times aren’t scary for anyone because they don’t really know what’s going on.
JO: That’s right, if they come through it’s peaceful and shining like a newborn dove, until you went and fucked it up! What did you do to the machine?
JT: Hey, calm down, man, I don’t think he has any idea.
TDM: You’re damned right I don’t have any idea! Who are you, where am I, what is the machine, and do you have clothes, because I just realized I’m not really wearing any WHERE THE HELL AM I?
JT: Alright, everybody needs to cool their jets, and we’ll figure this out.
JO: …we should scrap him.
JT: Ixnay on the apcsray in front of you know who.
TDM: Talk to me!
JT: Alright, look man, you’re in kind of a transitional period, right now. You, uh, you came through the egg-times with real flying colors and now it’s off and away to something new, y’know? And that’s why you don’t need clothes.
JO: Or it should be, but you can’t go off remembering everything that happened already. You’re supposed to go out clean, and new. But you fucked it up!
TDM: Out to where? Where are we? If the last thing I had before that egg-thing was falling… this isn’t the hosp… (realization) Oh God. Oh, fuck. I’m dead. Am I dead?
JO: Ohhhhhhh, no. Here we go. This is your fault.
JT: Well, I mean, maybe if you had been more graceful, or planted some bushes around the house, or something…
TDM: Wauuuugggh! I’m dead. I’m DEAD! …but I did the egg-times. I get to go back. Is that how it works?
JT: Well, yeah, you came through, but it’s not really going back. See, if someone comes through then they’re supposed to not remember where they came from, and that way we can kinda scoot ‘em off into the next go-around without them having, y’know, …agendas.
TDM: What? The next go-around? Am I gonna be reincarnated?
JO: You’re not going anywhere; not remembering everything, like this. We’ve gotta fix that before anything. But yes, if you had come through clean, we’d have pushed you through into what’s next.
TDM: What’s next?
JT: Depends! That’s kinda our thing, over here. Y’know, we sorta help you figure out what you’d like to do. We’re like your guidance counselors. You come through with a general knowledge of the world and everything, just no real specifics about your personal history or society. So if you come through, you’ve got us here, and we’re like, ‘Hey, did you really wanna be, y’know, like, a spider-monkey, or anything, when you go back?’ Or a woman. Y’know, whatever you want.
TDM: Whoa. Wow. I, uh… I was actually kinda Mormon for a while there and I…
JT: No biggie. Every being from your planet that dies comes here and has a little chat with us about moving on.
JO: …if they egg alright.
TDM: Why do you keep saying that? ‘If they come through’, all that?
JT: You can botch it.
JO: Well, you get plopped out, and if you just decide to sleep through egg-times and stay an egg we figure you’ve made your choice, so you go on to something else.
JT: Well… to nothing. That’s, like, really actually dead. Scrapped.
TDM: WHAT?! Scrapped? That’s what you guys kept talking about doing to me! You just let people stay in the egg-times and then you delete them?! Oh, fuck, you really don’t know what to do here, do you guys?
JT: Hey, we can’t interfere! That’s not our deal. We’re the guidance counselors, remember? We don’t convince you to join the Navy in the first place, or whatever. That’s on you guys. You’ve gotta want to come out of the egg-times.
TDM: Wait… there’re things you can’t do? Aren’t you… God…s?
JO: Flattering, but no.
JT: We, uh, we’re kinda machines ourselves, actually. Auto-guidance counselbot.
TDM: What? Someone made you?
JO: Well, probably you guys, actually.
JT: We do serve you, and all.
TDM: But… how? And how can we have built you and not know about you?
JO: Because you changed. And you forgot.
JT: You sold out.
JO: Well, did you ever wonder why you don’t use much of your brain? We’ve been doing this a long time, now, and something definitely happened because when we first started doing this, watching you guys come out of the egg was, like…
JT: Watching a really smart giraffe being born. And they gave way better answers for why they wanted to go back.
JO: Yeah, now you guys just kinda writhe around like slugs and eventually tell us that you think turtles are cool.
JT: But it’s our job, so we make you a turtle. Turtles.
TDM: But you don’t remember being built? Or, what happened to us to make us not remember?
JO: You’d have to have programmed us to know those things. Evidently, whatever happened wasn’t something you anticipated. Honestly, I don’t think that we were made to be sentient. That just kinda happened. We aren’t really supposed to talk to each other, actually.
JT: Yeah, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m supposed to do this same thing but with that line of egg-dudes over there. One time, though, I wanted to tell something funny to Ron, here, and then I realized that I was having realizations, and it kinda went from there. So now we hang.
TDM: Wait, Ron?
JT: Yeah, we call each other Ron.
TDM: But… you really don’t know why or how you’re here.
JT: Man, they really are dumb, now.
JO: We know why we’re here. To cycle you guys back to Earth, but this time potentially as a beetle. Also, if you were a beetle, then you come to us and you have the option to be a person again. Or spider-monkeys, whatever. We’re a sieve, that’s all. And how we got here…
JT: We have theories.
JO: Can we not do this, Ron? This is what we talk about when you’re not here, and I am not interested in entertaining wild theories that ultimately prove useless, and unverifiable, when we could…
TDM: I wanna hear the theories.
JT: Okay, so the old-school true-humans, who we’ll call trumans, make us to allow them to choose what they will reincarnate as, and to exclusively serve Earth. Then, before we gain sentience, the trumans leave their population of retarded-people on Earth and take off for wherever, where they probably have their own versions of us. Trippy, huh?
JO: Or all the smart ones die for some reason. It’s all just theory and bullshit, really. We don’t know.
TDM: …wow. So what now? You don’t still wanna scrap me, do you?
JO: No, not really. I don’t even know if we can do that on someone that’s out of the egg, honestly. Never had to. Something occurs to me, though: there’ve gotta be two points at which the machine wipes your memory, right?
JO: Because you come in partially-wiped, but with a general knowledge of the world and can communicate to us what you want to do from here, but when you go out…
JT: You go out perfectly blank! ‘Cause you don’t remember us! Totally. This’ll be fine.
JO: Should we just try it?
JO: Alright, you wanna be a dolphin, or something?
TDM: Wait! What happens if you send me out and the machine really is broken? What if I go out remembering not just you guys, but everything before that, too?
JT: Ohhhhhhh, yeah. That’d be… wrong.
TDM: But will it be bad? I don’t wanna unmake space-time continuums, or something!
JT: The fabric, yeah. You don’t wanna parallax it.
JO: You don’t even know what you’re talking about! Look, no, it will not be in the typical order of things if you’re born remembering all this. But we don’t know if that’s bad, per se. Hell, maybe the machine isn’t broken at all! Maybe it’s supposed to be doing it this way, now. There’s no way to know. But we’re getting kind of a line building up and we really gotta get you outta here, so we’re just gonna give it a shot.
JT: Yeah, it was nice talkin’ to ya, man. Don’t go stalking your old wife and kids, or anything. They’ll be fine. They’ve got Betsy and Ralphie.
TDM: But if I go and I do remember everything, should I come back? So we could… fix it?
JO: What, like get yourself killed immediately? Twisted. Look, I don’t even know how we’d start to fix this, man. If that happens, I say just roll with it. Don’t be weird.
TDM: What if it doesn’t just happen for me? What if it really is broken and everyone comes through this way?
JT: Well, if the machine really is broken and you just always keep the knowledge of your past lives, thennnnnnn I guess that cars will get a lot more cool in just a short…
JO: If that happens then humanity as we know it becomes exponentially more powerful and technologically savvy within a period of a few short generations, potentially becoming capable of building Ron and myself, and of traveling to where we are without being routed here by death.
TDM: Yeah, where are we?
JO: Another dimension or something. Not important. A place you don’t know how to reach, but evidently that you could know how to reach.
TDM: Well I hope I do remember everything, because I want to figure out what there really is, out here.
JO: Unnecessary. There are the two of us. It will be nice to say hello once in a while, but I think it’d be best if we kept the system running like it does, regardless of your awareness of it.
TDM: But… what about the spirit of exploration? I feel like I’ve just had my mind shredded and reconstituted, and like knowing this has only started me down this endless path of wondering what’s out there! If we made you guys, then who made us?!
JT: Ahh, the spirit of adventure! Cuuute.
TDM: You guys aren’t curious?
JO: That’s not really par for the course, with machines. We may be sentient, but we’re mostly content to do this and make fun of you guys.
TDM: But… (pointing) you don’t even wonder what’s over there?
JO: That’s the egg-line that Ron is failing to tend.
TDM: Past that!
(both Rons look in the direction TDM indicated)
Both Rons: No.
TDM: Well I do! And if I go out with my memory I’m gonna start working towards a world where we can come here, and go over there! It’s our destiny, dammit!
JT: Alright, already! We get it. Way to rub it in, man. I know I’m not that ambitious, but still.
JO: Look, whatever will come of this can’t really be prevented. In that spirit, shut up. Alright, here, we go, see you later, compadre, enjoy being a, uhhh… dammit, what’d you wanna be?
TDM: Spider-monkey does sound pretty cool.
JT: Right? Glad you said that, ‘cause I guess that means we’ve got a little time before you start ‘working towards a world where people get to come here and’…
TDM: CRAP! I meant ‘person’! PERSON!
JO: NOPE. Too late! We get to make you a spider-monkey.
(The noise of the machine beginning the process rises to a din.)
TDM: Screw you Rons! I’ll be right back, and you better stand back, because I’m gonna come outta the egg-times monkey-kickin’ your fat… wait, would I come out as a monkey?
(The process of sending the dead man back to Earth as a spider-monkey is interrupted with a deafening crash and flash and whatever you please, and Cosmic Scorpion God bursts onstage roaring.)
Cosmic Scorpion God: Raaaaaaaawwwwwwwr, it’s me, Cosmic Scorpion God, the real God! I’m here to put a stop to this: the machine is definitely broken, and Indiana Jones over here is just a taste of things to come. These nosy jerks’re gonna come trampling through here with their ‘destiny’ and ‘ambition’ sooner than you know it, poking around, making all sorts of noise, and installing reincarnation rerouting devices, just like last time! I thought making you guys super-stupid and sending you back to Earth was lesson enough to not come around, and I even modified the Rons to send you back without memory for good measure! I mean, c’mon, I live right over there and I like to do my secret swanky Scorpion God stuff without fear of intrusion!
JT: It all makes sense! That perfectly explains why no physical evidence of humanity’s zenith exists on earth! It was the microbes.
TDM: But what will happen to us?
JT: Not the Cosmic Sting!
CSG: No, nothing like that. I’m just gonna erase all memory the three of you have of these events and repair the machine. I guess you’ve gotta lubricate it, or something. In any case, if you don’t like it you can just Deus Ex my bu… uh, you can kiss my Deus… Ex MachinASS!
(It falls quite flat.)
CSG: You can screw off, is what you can do. You built a system to take care of yourselves so now I have all day to myself and I am NOT giving up hobby-time! STAY IN COLLEGE, BECAUSE YOU AREN’T MOVING BACK HOME!
All except CSG: What?!
(CSG produces the memory device)
CSG: Men In Black, bitches!
(He sets off the device and jumps offstage before our trio comes to.)
JO: Oh. Uhhhhhh.
JO: No, uh, nothing. Ummm. So, what do you wanna be moving forward, buckaroo? A kangaroo? I bet you do!
TDM: …uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. What do you call ‘em… a scorpion.
JT: The sting! Rad.
By me, Jake.
And lo, my presence, once foretold in the hushed and reverential whispers that crept with arachnid stealth through the velvet-wrapped and candlelit halls of those societies secretly seeking harbingers, blooms suddenly before you like the outstretched and grasping tentacles of a squid.
I’m totes up in these here tumblr-guts.
And, frankly, I think it’s gay. Tumblr is surprisingly hard to use. For micro-blogging, your time investment in figuring this shit out sure is pretty macro, yo. At least Tumblr seems to be gaga over free speech, so they’re no doubt down with me warbling sobs into the vast e-darkness about how counter-intuitive their shit is.
Oh well. I like being entertained and having an outlet for the fragmentary fiction (fucking tit-devil is that ever a wicked phrase I just hit on and now will overuse) that my brain seems so fond of uncontrollably churning out, so heeeeeere I shall remain.
I think this’d be a good place to start exposing a lot of the weird little half-paragraph ideas, jokes, and phrases that litter my computer and phone like so many condom-wrappers (those aren’t all over the place in your life?) to light, so here goes:
All you have to do to pickpocket someone is tickle them hard enough.
Wasn’t that fun? See you, space cowboy.