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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, hamster or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. First published in Reality #2 in 2010 by Marc Fiszman Written and illustrated by Marc Fiszman Marc Fiszman has asserted his moral rights My thanks to Carla Atkins for her guidance in the editing of the manuscript, and to my family for their love and support.
Copyright © 2010 Marc Fiszman marcfiszman.com
nameless entity #4
At first, I was Nothing.
Both at the same time.
I was big.
At the same time.
For a billion years, nothing much happened.
Then, one day, I emerged.
Came into focus.
I was nameless, without significance.
Suddenly, from nowhere, a voice said, “Play!”
So I started to play.
I discovered rotation.
I formed a spinning star.
I spun away and lost myself in a collapsing cosmos grid. I realised this grid led to somewhere special and that I couldn’t go there now. I discovered emotion.
Discovering emotion meant I was ready.
But for what…
I left the grid and met a being, who told me his name was Harvey. Since I didn’t have a name, I introduced myself as Nameless Entity #4. Harvey belonged to a hyperdimensional species known as b-grid. He’d just come from a party to celebrate his promotion to b-grid rank 10. He said: “Ascended Masters are promoted to 3, the max has been 12 since this morning. At 9, we return to the Oneness to complete our training, or take a break and raise a family.”
When I asked what an Ascended Master was, Harvey gave me an impenetrable look which made me feel very young, like a child. I looked around and the world was different. It was as if I’d just been born.
Harvey then asked about the cosmos grid and I told him everything I remembered, though the details were already very hazy. When I finished, Harvey said it was a good thing I’d left the grid when I had. Apparently, if I’d spun around any longer, I would’ve turned into a pigeon. That didn’t sound so bad to me, but Harvey said it would’ve interfered with my mission.
I was about to ask what my mission was, but was interrupted by a beep from Harvey’s phone. “Text message,” he said, removing the phone from its holster. “Ah, the spaceship is ready. We should really get going or we’ll be late.” I wouldn’t normally go off with strangers, but there was something about Harvey which made me trust him implicitly, like I’d taken some E, but with more authenticity.
I packed a suitcase with all my possessions, which turned out to be nothing at all. “I’ll teleport us to the spaceport to save time,” Harvey said. “Okay,” I said, as I took his hand and everything went black for a moment.
When the lights came back, we were at the spaceport. We boarded the spaceship, Harvey pressed a few buttons, we took off and flew away.
The journey was long and automatic, and after a while I became bored. I explored the spaceship, but there wasn’t much to see. Just a load of empty white rooms. I returned to the flight deck and sat down with Harvey. When I looked out the window, I saw that something new had appeared in the blackness, a row of four, glowing white Portals, each leading to a different Reality. “Which one looks good to you?” Harvey asked.
“Portal #2,” I replied straightaway. “Why’s that?” “The outside ones shouldn’t be touched. They hold the whole thing together, like a sandwich. Of the others, I prefer the one on the left. It reminds me of a slice of perfectly seared tuna. Enjoy with avocado, soy, ginger and lime, or delight in a new-style Niçoise.”
“Good!” Harvey said, a big smile on his face. “You’re developing quite a mind. This looks like being a very successful mission. Reality #2 was an excellent choice.”
“What’s this mission you keep mentioning?” I asked, as we blasted through the Portal. “Does it even exist?” “Of course it does!” Harvey said. “You’ll find out soon enough. For now, just enjoy the ride.”
The rest of the journey was uneventful, and after a couple of hours we touched down. When I stepped out, I saw that we were on a planet. There was grass and trees and sun and water. Absolutely gorgeous! I turned to the side and smiled at Harvey, who was smiling back at me. His eyes were twinkling and I thought he might cry.
“You look lovely,” he said. “Very fashionable!” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Check yourself out in the water.” I walked with Harvey to a still spot of water and stared at my reflection. I looked exactly the same as usual… Apart from the seven blobs floating above me!
“What are those blobs?” I asked Harvey. “They’re here to help you with your mission,” he said. “Think of them as your guardian blobs.” “That’s very nice of them. Do they have a name?” “Not yet. You get to call them whatever you like. Any ideas?” “How about… Blobbitrons?” “Perfect!”
“And what about me?” I said. “I still don’t have a name, you know. Unless you count ‘Nameless Entity #4’. But that’s not really very hip, is it?” Before, I hadn’t cared that I didn’t have a name. But ever since arriving in Reality #2, I’d been feeling kind of empty without one. “No, it’s not very hip,” Harvey agreed. “Nor is it particularly valid. But don’t worry, you’ll have a real one soon enough. All things must be named in the physical Layer, or else they don’t exist.”
“Really?” I said. “But I don’t have a name and I exist.” “To yourself you do,” Harvey said, “but not to others. Without a name, they can’t even see you! You’ll have one as soon as you wake up and your mission begins.” “But I’m already awake.” “Not for long.” “What is this mission, Harvey?” “Time to sleep!”
I was about to tell Harvey I wasn’t tired, when I realised in fact I was completely exhausted. The journey to Reality #2 had used up nearly all my energy. Suddenly, I lost all interest in names and missions. All I wanted to do was pass out.
“Are you going to sleep as well?” I asked Harvey, yawning widely. “No,” he said, “I’m done with all that. But don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here while you’re sleeping, and I’ll be here when you wake up. Think of it as a time-travelling sandwich!”
“And what about the Blobbitrons?” I asked. “They’re going to stay awake with me. They could hardly look after you if they were fast asleep now, could they?”
“No, I guess not,” I said. “Well, thanks for everything, Harvey. I’m really glad I met you and we became friends.” “As am I,” Harvey smiled, and a tear rolled down his cheek. I gave him a big hug and said, “I’ll never forget you, Harvey.” “Of course you will,” he said. “That’s the whole point!”
I didn’t understand what Harvey meant, but by now I was too tired to ask any more questions. I hugged him again, then settled down on the grass under a tree. As I drifted away, strange pictures floated before my inner vision, strange creatures and objects which made no sense. I started to feel scared, but the Blobbitrons relaxed me.
And then, from nowhere, a voice said, “Sleep!”
So I slept.
mug-based consciousness reallocation
I’ve been working very hard. I drink lots of coffee. I get headaches. I drink coffee. I work very hard.
I have a name and significance. I work in an office. We’re fucked.
The problem is the numbers are down. Three consecutive quarters of fuckedupness.
Lots of people have lost their jobs. I’ve still got mine. Not sure why. Well, that’s not quite true. Obviously I’m still here because I’m useful. Essential, even. I’ve got some talent, I work very hard. I’ve risen to the top. But that still leaves one rather important question…
What exactly is it that I do here?
Once upon a time, I think I knew. I went to the office, I did my job, I went home, I got paid. Made sense.
But then one day, a couple of months ago, something very strange happened. I was at the office, drinking coffee, working very hard. I set down my mug and stared at it, and for a moment, I was staring back at me. I don’t mean I saw a reflection. I mean that I was actually in the mug, staring back at this person, who was me. Wacky.
At first, I thought I was imagining it. But then it happened again, and again. And each time it happened, it went on longer. For a moment, then seconds, then a few seconds more.
I thought about telling someone, but realised I had no one to tell. No one I knew was weird enough.
I wasn’t weird enough.
So instead, I started drinking lots of coffee.
I mean, I’d been drinking plenty before, because things were fucked and I was working hard.
But now I was drinking a silly amount – 20 mugs a day – because drinking more coffee gave me more opportunities to stare at my mug. You see…
“An empty mug won’t do anything!” “A mug of water won’t do anything!” “Tea’s no good!” “Tomato soup’s no good!” “It must be hot coffee in a mug!” “With steam!”
“With seven blobs of steam!”
So I drank 20 mugs of the stuff a day, because I wanted the mug thing to happen again, because it was weird and interesting, and whatever it was I did at this office didn’t seem very interesting any more.
But as suddenly as it’d started, the mug thing stopped.
I tried staring at other things – a phone, a CD, an executive toy. But nothing happened. So eventually I stopped staring, but kept drinking coffee, getting headaches and working very hard.
Apart from that one rather important question…
Things are better at work.
It started with the logo for the oil co.
Then that thing for the fast food chain.
And then the luxury brand reinvention.
The pill that gets you hard.
Dominate me, you useless human motherfucker!
So we’re making a shitload of money again.
It seems I had something to do with it, working 20 hours a day, drinking 20 coffees a day. “The guy’s a machine!” they’d say. Except machines don’t spend half the day pissing coffee.
Or popping pills for their pounding heads.
But whatever, I got a bonus, a raise. I was kind of a hero, really.
Things were making so much sense.
Until one day I stared at my mug, and I was staring back at me.
It’s a different experience this time. For one thing, it’s sticking around. It’s been going on for nearly three months now. Last time, I got 18 days. I also seem to have more control. I can make it last as long as I want, up to a point, which is currently 5 minutes 20 seconds. And then there’s this other thing, very odd.
Before, whenever I entered a mug, I still felt like me, like the human outside, the one across the table. I just happened to be inside a mug. But now when I travel, I feel more like… a mug. I feel the heat of the coffee, I feel the heat of the steam, I feel myself bending round, my handle is like a brain.
Longer travels mean I’m drinking less coffee. I’m down to 15 mugs a day. The headaches have stopped, I’ve flushed the pills down the toilet. I’ve been taking some excellent shits.
You know, the smooth ones, a little dry. The ones you don’t have to wipe. Each morning I crap and praise my good fortune.
It’s not all smooth shitting, though. Lately, I’ve been having this issue with… bubblehead, I think I’ve called it. When I’m not transporting into mugs, I often float around like I’m in a bubble. It’s okay when I’m by myself – kind of entertaining, really. But interacting with people is getting harder. I’m having trouble following what they’re saying, what they’re doing. The world doesn’t look quite right.
People keep asking if I’m feeling “okay”. I’ve found something like “sausage car” keeps them at bay. They say, “Are you okay?” I say, “Make mine a sausage car.”
This morning, the Boss Man calls me into his office. His face is grim. He says, “It’s been brought to my attention you’ve reduced your coffee consumption.” “Yes,” I say. “I’m down to 13.” “These remain uncertain times…” “Quite so. But the shits are oh so good.” His eyes go wide, he flares his nostrils, he bursts out laughing and says, “Cock, my boy? Tail, my dear? You are God of this enterprise! Carry on!”
I smile, rise and leave his office, thinking (to myself, I think): • What is this place and why am I here? • What is that woman doing? • Why’s she wearing that thing round her neck? • Why’s she pressing that thing with her fingers? • Why’s her hair all long and black, and streaked with red, and cut like that?
What kind of game are we playing?
After several sausage cars, I reach my desk, sit down and feel more stable. I check my email. “Three strikes, you’re out,” the subject says. The sender is my girlfriend. The body: “First, you were fucking that little bitch. Then you were fucking your career. Now, you’ve turned into a fucking weirdo. Mug-based consciousness reallocation?? Freak!” Guess I shouldn’t have mentioned the mug thing.
I delete the message, she goes away, something tells me I’m supposed to care. I find I can’t summon the emotion. Instead, I hop into my favourite mug and bathe in a cappuccino. Bliss…
find that fish
I’m developing a new ability. You see, before whenever I entered a mug, the me I stared back at was apart from me, like a different person, one I didn’t control. He just sat there doing nothing.
But now, increasingly, I’m part of that me, even as I’m part of the mug, so that more and more I’m both man and mug at the same time. A ManMug, if you will, with two brains.
It has crossed my mind
I might be going mad
The Voices assure me I’m okay.
If a little behind schedule…
They arrived about a month ago and pop up every now and then, usually after I’ve just poured a fresh coffee and it’s still too hot to enter. They seem to have some good ideas and I’m trusting them more and more.
But it’s not like I can really talk to them, or they can really talk to me. The lines of communication are indirect. And fun as all this mug stuff is, I’ve been thinking I should have a proper chat with someone. Just to, you know, get a second opinion.
It’s frightening sometimes…
Yes, it is time…
So who do I speak to? A friend?
No, no friends… Not weird enough…
No… All dead…
No… Too much of the brain…
A goldfish, then?
More like that… But perhaps less fish and more human being…
Better feedback, one suspects…
And fish food smells unpleasant…
And fish remind me of suits, an unhappy period in my own existence when I had no mind and was a slave to “The Man”…
I had that as well…
But enough about us…
Angelic separation at 60%!
I can be a mug for 10 minutes now. (Down to 10 mugs a day.)
I can be a mug for two hours now. (Down to five mugs a day.)
I can be a mug for the whole day now. Down to two mugs a day. (One’s for the morning shit.)
“Jellitron 4 is here!” “Mug still required for Referential!” “Coffee Juice still required for turbo boost properties!” “Iced is acceptable, though warm to hot remains more efficient!” “Escape from prison, please!”
Work’s a breeze – the mug has talent.
It’s just that…
And I can’t find a fish.
The Boss Man says, “I need someone to go to Z— and see how things are — going over there.”
“Sure, I’ll do it, Mr Boss Man,” I say. I could use a change of scene, even if it’s just for a day. I’ll treat it like a holiday.
The journey is short and automatic. I look out the window and see clouds.
I eat a sandwich.
A man with vigorous nasal breathing excites the hairs on my arm.
I arrive at the airport, find the driver, my name has been misspelled. It’s written on what looks like a giant sponge attached to an ice lolly stick. “Hi,” I say. “Hello, — —,” he says, getting my name right. And then I notice he had it right all along.
Find that fish…
My bubblehead’s kicking in big time for some reason, perhaps because I’m away. During the ride, I make the most of it, wondering what I’m doing here. Ten minutes later, I’ve mapped out a plan, a story of socks and antifungals, and a glue based on alien tech. The glue is great, very versatile. It can be everything from whipped cream to pigeon crap.
I run the whole thing by the driver, who says, “I like it. But where’s the sex? Where’s the hnngghhh?”
Five minutes later we hit Glue HQ, a 90-floor skyscraper in the shape of a lipstick. I pass through security, join some sexy doodads in the lift, and by the time I’m sitting in the reception zone, I think I’ve got it all worked out. Aliens are mating with humans, humans are mating with trees, they make the stuff in a vat on the roof and run it down a chute.
Perhaps more focus on the fish…
But then the lad arrives to get me and I realise I’ve got it all wrong, that Glue HQ is actually nothing of the sort, that there is no glue or antifungals, no socks or pigeon crap, that in fact this building is home to a cosmetics company we did some sort of work for last year, “we” being some sort of company I work for in some capacity… A vision of toilets flashes through my mind, and then I’m sitting in the meeting room with two female execs, two male execs, they’re wearing suits, and I’m wearing my beach gear – shorts, flip-flops, a tank top, and so on.
It’s December 3 and snowing.
One of the women says something – she has that hair thing going on – and then I hear this person who is me saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, each time you empty yourselves at the toilet, and particularly when you shit, are you not forcefully reminded you are in a body over whose internal processes you appear to exert no control? How does that make you feel, exactly?”
Four sets of eyes are watching me, there’s a knock, the lad comes in. He’s carrying a tray with five mugs of coffee and a plate of chocolate biscuits shaped like lips and bras. When the mugs are down, I enter mine for a little distraction, then discover something new I call hoppenpop. Hoppenpop lets you hop from one mug to another by observing a mug from the perspective of a mug, possibly ad infinitum.
Following the “simultaneity principle” we’ve explored before, I become man and five mugs at the same time, with six brains.
Which is to say:
I’m black with cocaine.
I’m 5'11" with flip-flops.
“Let’s make an ad!” I say. “A giant lipstick which transcends race.”
“That didn’t go so well,” the Boss Man says. He looks tired, disappointed. His olives are down. “Even God needs to contextualise, you know.” “Of course,” I mumble, mopping my brow with the driver’s sponge. What possessed me to get out of bed? “Do you need a break?” he asks. “You’ve been working like a motherfucker.” “Not at all, I feel fantastic. Just great.” Actually, this isn’t quite true, for I’ve lost my mind.
It went missing in
“Fine,” he says. “Then return to your station. I will think more on this and send you the data.” “Okay,” I say, I get up and walk away. When I reach the door, I turn and say, “I don’t suppose you’re a fan of fish?” “Fish?” he says. “No, not at all. It gives me gas. And hives. Even tuna. Corn Flakes® aren’t so bad, if you get my drift. All content © [date] [entity].” “Right. Thanks.” And I open the door and leave.
The Boss Man’s office was a small respite, and now I am fully back in the madness. Things are floating and meaningless, they have nothing to do with each other. Giant insects are discussing “the football match” and “good night clubbin’, yeah, hnngghhh”. The world has been so since the lipstick execs, since the mind-melting, six-brain hoppenpop. It was then that my primary cerebral sausage became a squashed noodle with ketchup and “brown sauce”, some thyme.
The mixture’s pushed my bubblehead to a whole new level. It’s like bubblehead had a baby and called it bubblehead, then squashed it on its forehead. I think I’m calling it bubblebubbleheadhead. Unlike the original version, it isn’t remotely entertaining.
Actually, it’s scaring the shit out of me.
Meanwhile, just when I need them most, the Voices are MIA.
I sit down at the thing, rub my fingers on the thing, watch disconnected letters scroll across the thing. Then I lift the thing to the side of my head and say, “Yes, 2 p.m. Thanks, Joan.” The thing goes back, I rub a bit more, I look up and he’s standing there. I recall that this is the IT guy, that he sticks to himself and is weird. He usually wears jeans and a geeky T-shirt, but today is naked apart from an oversized top hat with a strange, grid-like design.
Never before have I seen this grid.
He says, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
“What?” I say. “Nothing,” he says. “Now look into my eyes…”
He leans towards me across the thing, all close and personal, great skin. I stare at his pupils, which grow very small, and then they grow very big. A flash of white, his pupils recede, he withdraws and smiles and says: “I have been here two years, but never met you with my clothes off. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Yes, same,” I say, wiping the sweat off my hand, then using it to shake his own, during which I can’t help but notice the extreme flaccidness of this man’s member. It’s more than limp, it’s almost… negative?
“Don’t mind that,” he says, sitting down opposite me. “Mind what?” I say, closing the lid on the thing. “The cock,” he says. “Comes with the territory. Now I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with our illustrious leader. I have a certain knack for contexts. You might call me a ‘contextualiseratorisationer’, if you were so inclined. Perhaps I can be of service.”
We watch each other for a minute or so, and then I’m saying, “As far as I’m aware, the room to which you refer indirectly is sealed to prevent leakage of sensitive sound waves, and indeed sound waves of any description, for how would a room discern sensitivity? Better to just sweep it all under the carpet, squash it all through the hole, clump the clumps for efficiency, bongzippidy, brain-injected zombification, etc. In fact, I believe it was your very good self who constructed said sound protection environment using technical proficiency acquired through genetics, training, a walk in the proverbial. Oh, sweet Jesus…”
“Lovely!” he says. “We’re well underway. You remind me of the Buddha. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask a few quick questions. We can get into the meat over dinner. I know the perfect place.” “Christian?” I say, mopping away. “No, Thai. They do a fantastic fish curry. With accompaniment.”
“Thai?” I say.
“Thai fish?” I say.
“Fantastic Thai fish curry?” I say.
“With accompaniment?” I say.
Ding-a-ling-ling… We have a winner… Boarding passes, please…
“Proceed!” I say. “Good God, proceed.”
“Text mode on!” “Fasten your nose clips!”
inally, I have found him! My fish! My human! My top-hatted information technology person! Who even now is staring deep into me, preparing to say God knows what, to whisk me away to God knows where. Away from this madness. Yes, why not? For all around the insects are morphing. This place is becoming… an office. For yes, of course, this place is an office. These insects are human beings. <<!beep!>> What? What’s that? Communication device? A message, a text… “Check it,” he says. And I do, I do check it, I check it… my God! The Voices are back! And with a text, no less! How very direct! They call themselves 1234567. Be calm, they tell me, be professional. Don’t exchange one madness for another.
And of course, they’re right. Absolutely. For while a flaccid cock may pass unnoticed, add an overexcited sponge to the mix and you’re on dangerous ground. I wipe my forehead one last time, then drop the sponge into a receptacle. Three days of hell was quite enough, I will have no more need of the thing. Let the cleaning woman take it, for her bath, or kitchen. Her name is Anna. I have long admired her flexibility. I return to my saviour, who is watching me, I feel myself drawn to the world. And then he smiles a little and says, “Feeling better?” “Yes,” I say. “Good! We’ll need you fighting fit. You’re to be initiated into some serious shit. But that’s for later. For now, I want to lay a little groundwork, familiarise myself with your case. Ready?” “Sure, go ahead. Maybe shut the door first?”
“No… I think you’ll want to keep that open. Better view of the action.” He winks. “Right, let’s get on with it. What powers have you developed?” Calmly – professionally – I reply: “Just the one, really. The power to split myself and reallocate a fully realised aspect (minus the usual insectphysical accoutrements) to a mug, thereby doubling my brain. Following the ‘simultaneity principle’, I am both man and mug at the same time, aka ManMug.” “Insects, you say?” “Yes, the humans. Football and hnngghhh.” “Right, of course. The Buddha called them ‘sweet willies’. Can you go a full day?” “Yes. And using hoppenpop, I can maintain six brains, though I have ventured no further than 30 seconds in that guise. The tremors were more than intense. And besides, those biscuits were more than distracting.”
He does one of those long, high-low whistle things. “So you’ve attained hoppenpop already, eh? And six brains… my God, that’s impressive! Very rare for any sort of hoppenpopping to precede the penetration of hyperdimensional abstraction.” “’Scuse fingers?” “Oh, don’t worry. We’ll get to that over dinner. For the time being, let’s just say that my job, within the context of your particular condition, is to guide clients to the perception of something we contextualiseratorisationers call hyperdimensional abstraction. From there, they attain hoppenpop, and eventually one of the advanced states of hyperawareness which grant access to the Hyperzone, a network of hyperdimensional vistas blasted into an altogether Higher Reality. Hoppenpopping before acquiring a solid understanding of hyperdimensional abstraction isn’t unheard of, but it’s extremely unusual. I suppose having a mug as a Referential must help. Often found in groups. And they’ve got that sheen…” “And a Referential would be…?”
“A contextualised version of your original face, the one you wore before you were born. It’s your ticket to the Hyperzone’s entry point, the pristine Plains of Ashok. Or is it the lovely Lake Piddle-Piddle… Perhaps Mount Malaise? I get confused. The Kaspersians are always changing their minds! But not to worry, the place is the same, no matter what they call it. Quite frankly, by the time you hit Jellitron 4, names lose 80% of their Hopsberg Significance anyway. You’re a big ol’ 5 according to my troktometer. Yes, I know, it all sounds a bit odd! Trust me, dinner will clear everything up and we’ll have you on your way before you know it.” I feel that my mind should be spinning more than ever, what with these Kaspersians, Hopsbergs and Jellitrons, these Ashoks and Hyperzones, but I’m feeling strangely… normal in the presence of this IT person. Could it be he’s more insane than I? That relatively speaking, it’s all just fine? A food boy with a hairnet and toxic green apron sticks his head through the door. “Sandwiches, guys? I’ve got pickle on rye, tongue on ciabatta.” His voice is unbelievably nasal and sears through my tender brain. “Oh, and mini quiche,” he adds. “With herbs.”
I’m about to not-so-politely decline, when I notice something going on with IT Guy. I shift my attention back to him and see he’s been taken by a wicked transformation. He grits his teeth, he flares his nostrils, his eyes are bulging, glowing red. When he speaks, he hisses, still watching me, “Leave now, boy, or die.” His voice is ice and makes me shiver. It’s like death warmed up, then cooled down again, then dumped in a freezer to make corpse sorbet. “With maggot sprinkles,” he hisses, with spit, with dribble. “Don’t forget the fucking sprinkles!” “Er, sure…” I say, somewhat fearing for my safety. He seemed like such a nice young man. “Whatever you like. Would you like some water? Valium?” I turn to the boy, who’s either about to burst into laughter, or about to crap his pants. “Got any water?” “Er, sure…” he says, disappearing for a moment, then rolling his trolley into view. “Still? Sparkling? There’s this new one they inject with—” “See the sprinkles!” IT Guy hisses, darting towards me. “See them! See them!”
“Yes, okay!” I say. “I see them! I see them.” And I do. They’re unusually vivid… He starts to withdraw. “See them in your mind…” “Yes, very wobbly…” “See the crunch…” “Which water was it then?” the boy asks. “Fuck off!” IT Guy shrieks. I wince. The boy hurries away. “Now, where were we?” IT Guy asks, relaxed and smiling and hissless again, the sudden shift back to his pre-maggot self propelling the larvae out of my mind and onto the carpet, like a spray of mental vomit. They wiggle away
with alarming speed, out the door and around the corner. For a moment, there is nothing, just a sort of buzzing, and then the air is alive with sound, with squishy shllrrrrrrrrrps and tremendous crrrrrrrrrrrrracks, as the maggots reappear, giant-sized. The insects are bad, but these are even worse! I want to scream and run away, but all I can do is say, “What the fuck…” “Focus now, man!” IT Guy says, leaning into me. “It’s vital you stay with me. I’ve never lost a client to the maggots! Now tell me, where were we? Tell me, man!” “The… Referential, I believe,” I say, as I watch a giant fly emerge from its casing, then emerge into my assistant, Joan. She smiles and waves, walks away. So this is where they come from… My vision returns through other birthings to settle on IT Guy, who watches me eagerly, his eyes are wide. And once again, despite everything, there is this feeling of… normal.
“The mug, that is,” I say, as he sits back, a crack in my back, and something delicious pulses through me. “The Referential, I mean. A mug of coffee, to be precise.” “Oh?” he says, looking surprised. “So you still need Juice?” “If Juice is that liquid named coffee, then yes. A mug alone does nothing. Iced is acceptable, though warm to hot remains more efficient. Escape from prison, please.” “That sounds like something they would say…” <<!shllrrrrrrrrrp!>> <<!shllrrrrrrrrrp!>> <<!crrrrrrrrrrrrrack!>> “Oh my God!” I cry, covering my mouth.
“Fight through it!” he says. “Be a man! Be a tree!” And immediately I feel much better. Goo-covered wobbly things slither away. A woman calls, “Anyone seen Geoff? How about Lilabeth-Sue?” “Sorry,” I say. “It’s just that…” “Oh, I know. Believe me.” “Yes?” “Oh, absolutely. I’m rather to blame, actually! I use this trick with all of my clients. It’s a sort of pre-initiation. Not always maggots, though. Depends on how things are expressing themselves. It’s torture, I know. But well worth it, believe me. Are you okay to continue?” I’m sure I should be angry with him, but more deliciousness pulses through me and everything looks so pretty. “Yes, I think so… It’s good to talk, isn’t it? What were we talking about again?” “You mentioned the ice, the warmth, the heat. Escaping from prison, please.
Remember?” “Right, yes. You said it sounded like something they would say.” “That’s the one!” “Like something who would say?” “The Voices. Vibrations. Exhalations. Whatever. Every traveller has a companion, you see, usually seven of them. They begin life bound to the Referential and gradually assume independence. They’re here to assist – mostly as they see fit! The reference to temperature suggests they’re taking the form of steam.” “Oh, I see.” Though I don’t, really. “No, it wasn’t them. It just popped into my head a few weeks ago. And come to think of it, this Referential thing might have as well…” “Ah, perhaps the elusive Higher Self, then. All of us have one; we’re kind of like their pets. But no matter! The Self is as meaningless as anything else,
or so the minutes of the 30th Wacky Wizards Convocation would have us believe. Some of my clients might claim otherwise, but who am I to argue with Wizard Kwoorg?” For some reason, I say, “Who indeed? Brilliant man. An inspiration to us all.” I suppose I want to seem on top of things. IT Guy chuckles. “Not man, my friend. Gas. Wizard Kwoorg is leader of the Pooshies, a race of hyperdimensional vapours. But you’re right, he is brilliant. Gorgeous molecules. Anyway, this coffee of yours…” “Or Juice, as you called it.” “Yes, very odd… Granted, Jellitronic demarcations are notoriously fluid, but if there’s one thing every contextualiseratorisationer agrees on, it’s that Jellitron 2 marks the end of Juice. As I said, you’re a big ol’ 5…” “Is it bad that I need it?” “Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it favourable. Think of Juice as a set of training
wheels for the deeply deluded, a tool to help n00bs connect with the Referential. In your case, without coffee, you’d just have a mug, which could hold all manner of things, or even be a work of art. The more focused a construct the better, at least during acclimatisation. As you move beyond the adjustment phase, however, Juice starts to get in the way, limiting transportational perspective and constraining hyperdimensional range. Seasoned travellers therefore quickly abandon it once they develop a consistent connection with the Referential. I can’t imagine why you’d still need it at your level of awareness… Ah well, not to worry! As I like to tell all of my clients, there’s still every chance you’re the Messiah.” “Messiah?” “Yes. You know, sent from the Heavens to save us all!” A shot of something spasms through my body. It’s not delicious this time, more like… rhubarb. Pooshies are one thing, but Messiah… well, that’s getting pretty weird, even for a naked guy in a top hat. I wonder if this man is even crazier than I thought.
“You do know what you’re talking about, right?” I ask. “As you can probably tell, my health has been sub-optimal of late. I could really use someone with the proper qualifications.” “My friend,” he says, with what I have to admit is a most sincerely confident, sincerely sane air, “I have spent the past 3,000 years hoppenpopping the great and good back to the Plains of Ashok and environs. I assure you, you’re in the safest possible hands. Am I convinced you’re the Messiah? No. But from what I can tell, you’ve got what it takes. Oh, and before you ask, no, of course I’m not 3,000 years old! I’m a mere slip of a whipper at 25, my birthday being two weeks hence. No, the truth is I am blessed to count time travel among my rather humble abilities. In fact, only last night I was drinking your predecessor under the table. Lovely man, though a splash on the intense side for my taste. Still, he certainly got the job done, didn’t he!” “My predecessor being… Jesus?” “No, the Buddha.” “Oh? I thought Jesus came after the Buddha.”
“Indeed. But my… society, I suppose you could call it, likes to think of the Big J as a sort of stopgap solution. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful effort. But he was just terrible with chopsticks. So! Mug for Referential, coffee for Juice, your life as you know it is over. Any meetings for the rest of the week? You know, those business gathering things?” “Yes, I expect so. Should I rub Joan’s thing?” “Yes, do that. As soon as we’re done. Cancel everything, tell her you’re ‘going away’. If you have a life outside the office, do your best to cancel that as well. Just tell everyone you’re ‘going away’. Pay your bills if you want to, but it doesn’t really matter. Heaven hath no fury like matters pecuniary, as Captain Fork would say. Now, can I give you something for the wobbles?” “The wobbles?” “Yes, you know, the madness, or whatever the psychiatrists are calling it these days.” “Oh, that. Well it seems to have sorted itself out, actually.”
“For the time being, perhaps. But believe me, it’ll be back before you know it.” “Really? Oh. There’s something you can do?” “Yes, I have some pills. I call them twibblies for most of my clients, but I feel I can be more open with you. Their real name is splrrageuuuurgh. They were made by the Splrragians of Vordok Prime, an advanced, highly spiritual civilisation, sadly obliterated across all timespaces 8,000 years ago following a misunderstanding with the Tooshies.” “You mean Pooshies?” “No, Tooshies. They’re vapours as well, though they have about as much to do with Pooshies as teacups with peanuts. If we ever get this religion of yours off the ground, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with their maniacal opposition to spiritual development. Their leader Queen Shnoort is quite the bitch. Anyway, the pills were passed down to me by my mentor Captain Fork, perhaps the finest contextualiseratorisationer there’s ever been. I have three remaining from an original parcel of 642. Should be the right dose for a
man of your stature.” “And this stuff really works?” “Like a charm. Just pop the pills and poof! No madness. Or at least, not for a few hours. The Splrragians used them as a kind of laxative. They’re yours if you want them. The cost is zero units. Cheap at 10 billion times the price.” I carefully consider the offer, then say, “Well, it’s very tempting. Very tempting, indeed. For the thought of those giant maggots returning fills me with the most awful feelings. But I really couldn’t take your last dose.” “Tosh and poppycock! If anyone’s earned it, by God, it’s you. Six brains. Remarkable!” “But I’d feel bad about exhausting your supply. What about your other clients?” “What about them? Carpe diem, my man!”
“Aren’t you able to get more?” “No, sadly. This is the last bit of splrrageuuuurgh on Earth.” “Make some more, then?” “No, sadly. The recipe’s common knowledge – it’s all over the megabot – but one ingredient is impossible to find on this planet, a special sauce akin to a spiced gazpacho. Could it exist elsewhere? Perhaps. But I’m a time traveller, not an astronaut.” “Then… go back in time and borrow some from an earlier version of yourself?” “Ha! Nice try! But no, sadly. Apart from a Vordokian vortex of other complications, that sort of thing does a number on a time traveller’s cock. I’d like to have at least one more erection before I die! And besides, as I said, the Splrragians were obliterated across all timespaces. As far as the Reality Grid’s concerned, they never existed. Go back in time and you’ll find nary a splrrageuuuurgh.”
“And yet, you still have some, even though they were never created…” “Gotta love those temporal paradoxes, eh? But come, just take the damn pills. No doubt I’ve been saving them for you.” He removes his hat, reaches an arm inside and returns with what look like three headache capsules. “Oh, I know what you’re thinking!” he says, handing them over. “But fear not! This isn’t some rubbish I picked up at the chemist. This is 100% Grade A splrrageuuuurgh. Down them with a glass of the freshest pomegranate juice and you’ll feel almost normal for up to seven hours. Your powers will be gone, as will the insects. But fear not! Everything will be wobbling again in time for dinner. You’re off home, my man! Very exciting!” I inspect the pills, give them a sniff, then down them with a glass of the freshest pomegranate juice, which magically appears in my hand. “Takes a few minutes to kick in,” he says. “Maybe go take a crap or something. By the time you get back, you’ll be feeling just dandy. You could
have a chat with Shandy about the football!” He stands and extends his hand. “Until tonight, then. Basil’s at seven. I’ll email a map and reviews. Very exciting!”
“Switching back to alpha dibble mode!” “Remove your nose clips!”
I take a shit, return to my desk, sit down and the world is clear. I type on my keyboard, I talk about football, everything’s in place and connected. In a way, I am overjoyed. I stare at my mug and see nothing but mug, and in a way I am overjoyed. And then I wonder if I’d rather be splrrageuuuurghed than hoppenpopped this day, and for all days. I’m not so bad in the kitchen. Perhaps I could make that spiced gazpacho…
Absolutely not… It uses cucumbers from Vordok Prime which are unknown to Earth and cannot be grown here due to the absence of certain nutrients… Vordok Prime was also obliterated by the Tooshies… And besides, you’re on a mission…
“Joan?” I say into the phone. “Yes, — —?” the voice comes back. “Cancel everything, please. I’m ‘going away’.” “Even your two o’clock?” “Yes, even that. The world can wait for its polka dot lubricant with ham squirt. I doubt I’ll be needing any myself.”
“Mr Boss Man,” I say, “I’m ‘going away’. I trust this won’t destroy the company.” He looks at me very seriously, then shouts, or screams, “Beware the Grid! Beware the Master! Beware the Master Key!” And then he smiles, we stand and shake hands, very manly. He says, “Go on, get out of here! Enjoy some final physical pleasures. Perhaps a peach cobbler? An old-fashioned fuck? You’ll give my regards to the Upstairs People, yes?”
And then I am walking, out in the world, where the air is crisp and all is in place, and I find I have never been happier. I wonder again if I’d rather be splrrageuuuurghed, if I’d rather live a life of order. I think of an ad: Splrrageuuuurgh is great, it clumps into clumps. Pancakes rain from the sky.
I think of all the people I should tell I’m ‘going away’, and realise there are none. I realise I have no friends, no family. That all my bills are paid. So instead, I partake of lusty pleasures with a woman society calls whore, and whom I call Joan, though she is not my assistant. She does some kinky Tantric shit.
As I climax, I wonder, “Am I a failure to end my life in this way? With no friends, no family, no bills to pay.”
“Yes!” she cries.
Ignore her, she’s blind… Blinded by sex, by orgasm… Your mission this time wasn’t to love, but be a mug, and make money…
Perhaps we’ll try the love thing the next time around…
Reallocate you to a chocolate…
The clock stopped running an hour ago, but Joan keeps me around and we climax several times. Everything is perfect and coordinated, and I think it would be even without the splrrageuuuurgh. This woman has fallen in love with me, and were I capable of such a thing, I would fall in love with her. Her make-up runs when I leave her, we agree to meet in another life, and then I’m approaching IT Guy at a busy Thai restaurant called Basil’s Squashed Noodle, Ginger on the Side.
He rises as I reach the table, he’s all dressed up for our “date”. Jeans and one of his geeky T-shirts, that towering top hat. “Greetings!” I say, chipper from the fucks, if a little sore downstairs. “Welcome!” he says, a big smile on his face, shaking my hand and glancing at my crotch. “Pleasant afternoon?” “Yes, quite nice. Plenty of sex.” “Good for you! Not much of that to be had in the Hyperzone.”
We take our seats and a waitress appears, setting down two martinis. She’s sexy as fuck and I feel myself throb. “I’ve taken the liberty of ordering,” he says. “I hope you don’t mind? Fish curries and more martinis. Alcohol-free and just bursting with spirituality!” “Not at all,” I say. “This is your domain. Though I trust my cockle allergy won’t be an issue? I’m sorry, I should have said something. I was too excited before.” “No problem at all. They use monkfish, I believe. The Buddha was sensitive to bivalves as well. God, I love these ‘coincidences’. Cheers!”
We sip our drinks, he watches me for a bit, and then he says, “So, great sex aside, how has sanity been treating you?” “Less well than I would have expected,” I say. “Splrrageuuuurgh is powerful medicine indeed, but it can’t deny the truth of the matter, that my core is perpetually unstable. (The aliens have revealed this.)” “And would you have it any other way? It is only in chaos that we find true order. You just need to make the connections. Think of it as a game within the game. Or a game which isn’t a game. Or a game which goes <<!ping!>>. You’ll get the idea.”
I’m not sure what he means, but I’m more focused on my martini. It really does taste good. Sort of… radishy. “And what of you?” I ask. “It appears you’ve rediscovered a fondness for fashion. Do you only go naked in the workplace?” “Ah, don’t remind me! I much prefer to conduct initiations in the nude. You can’t beat the birthday suit for clarity of vision. But sadly, this place has a strict no-naked-dining policy. Blame Basil and that incident with the underage locksmith!”
“We could go elsewhere,” I say. “I assume the boarding pass is transferable?” “Of course,” he says. “But you can’t beat Basil’s for exploring complex metaphysics. Apparently, the place is built on the site of an ancient sausage casing factory. Amazing energy, very spiritual. Well worth putting your clothes on for!”
“Anyway, let’s get on with it, shall we?” he says, smiling and downing his drink. He removes his hat, reaches an arm inside and returns with a pair of bright orange nose clips. “Put this on,” he says, handing me one. “Don’t worry, it’s very loose. We won’t sound remotely nasal, remotely quiche.” “What’s it for?” I ask. “Textual incursions. Prevents those messy cerebral explosions. Well, most of the time!” I attach the clip and he does the same with his.
“Ready?” he says. “Make it so.”
ight,” he says, “we’ll get down ’n’ dirty with some hyperdimensional abstraction in a minute, but first, the matter of Juice. Despite my apparent good humour when we parted, I was in fact deeply disturbed. This coffee business is exceptional, you see – unprecedented, as it turns out – and I could see no good reason for it. As I said, your Juice should have been abandoned several Jellitrons ago; it made no sense at all that you were still using it. You were the furthest thing from a n00b in these matters. You were pwning that mug, for God’s sake. The whole thing was really starting to piss me off, to be honest, and I seriously considered dropping the case, a terribly shameful path in my line of work, and one I have never followed. So imagine my delight when, in a divine moment of triple espresso inspiration, I realised the truth of this coffee of yours, that it wasn’t stabilising Juice any more, but something else entirely. Think less training wheels and more turbo boost for your hyperdimensional spaceship. You didn’t need coffee to contextualise, but to prime your system for a final release into places no client has gone before. Suddenly, we weren’t just talking Hyperzone. We were talking Hyperzone Pro.” “As in… professional?”
“Yes. A Master of the Art. Founder of perhaps the greatest religion the world has ever known. Bigger than Jesus. Bigger than the Buddha. Bigger than 3DTV, for fuck’s sake.” He dips his head and quietly says, “It is an honour to sit before you.” Once again, the rhubarb spasms through me. “Look, about this Jesus thing—” His eyes shoot up, he looks a little deranged. “Started work on your Bible yet, have you?” “My Bible?” “Yes, you know, your Holy Work. Every great religion needs one. I was thinking you might call it ‘The Mindfuckuccino’. I know, I know, it’s edgy as hell! But the 18-24 demo would lick it up. It’s just so badass. Thoughts?” I’m thinking this man might have really lost it this time, but after all he’s done for me, he probably deserves the benefit of the doubt. I down my martini, put on my marketing hat and say:
“I think you might be onto something. If there are two things my former employment taught me, it’s that young adults are way too cool for Jesus, and they’re bloody easy to manipulate. A hip religion, packed with profanity and other ‘crazy shit’, would probably be huge. The merchandising opportunities alone are astounding, and that’s before we get into the whole mass psychedelic ritual business. Think about it: a mere 30 units to hang out with your spiritual brothers and sisters at one of our franchises and drink a mindfuckuccino laced with acid. Oh sure, they’d be all over that. They would lick that shit up. But the thing is, what’s any of this got to do with me? I know what you’ve said, that I might be the Messiah. Now you’re calling me bigger than TV—” “3DTV.” “Right. But honestly, I think you’ve got the wrong tree. Sure, there’s this mug-based consciousness thing, but really all I am is a corporate cog with a knack for multiple orgasms. I don’t even meditate. Or do yoga. Or have a Buddha statue in my fireplace. I’m about as spiritual as a cigar.” “Corporate cog? T and P! My friend, you’re a creative genius. You’ve saved
one company from financial ruin and had biscuits banned at another.” “Well sure, I’ve been known to have my day, as they say. But the fact is, my adult life has been spent in offices, sitting at desks, rubbing keyboards. This year, I attended 20 conferences, wrote 200 briefs, had 2,000 meetings, sent 20,000 typo-free emails and received nearly three times that in spam. My assistant is Joan, she’s civil-partnershipped to Jane, she’s just gagging to hop into the sack with… Wait. How come I’m remembering all this mundane office data? Shouldn’t I be mad again by now?” “Aye, that you should, lad. My hat and the nose clip are helping to preserve some vestigial splrrageuuuurgh. We don’t have much time, though. Not that we’d really want any. Without madness, there can be no breakdown. Without breakdown, no countdown sequence. And as for cigars… well, if reallocating your consciousness to a mug isn’t spiritual, what the fuck is? Sticking your head through your legs and chanting, “cluk-cluk-aum, dik-dikpachaki”? Ah, wonderful! The food has arrived.” The waitress appears and sets down two plates of steaming fish curry, along with two more martinis. The spicing smells perfectly authentic, and I feel I’m
in Bangkok, though I’m not, and never have been. Red lips shining, the waitress says, “May the food and drink bring you pleasure, gentlemen. The accompaniment has been installed.” My manhood gets big. Very big, indeed. I push down hard on my napkin. “Well this looks great,” I say, as she walks away and I follow her ass, hungry to mount. Maybe the Hyperzone Pro gets a sex upgrade… “And it will taste the same,” IT Guy says. “The food’s excellent here, just very bloody spiritual. If you’re done with the porn show, perhaps we could start?” “Oh, sorry. She’s just so…” “I’m joking, man! Yes, she’s hot. Hot as fuck. And no, there’s no sex in the Hyperzone Pro. And yes, there’s plenty of other stuff there to keep you occupied. Trust me, your dick will be the furthest thing from your mind. Apart from anything else, you won’t even have one!”
“But right now I do, and my God, it’s on a mission. Sure, I’ve always enjoyed that side of life, though it has lost some of its shine these past few months. But this is more than I’ve ever felt before. It’s like an obsession.” “Genetic imperative, to be precise. Your member knows its days are numbered. All of my male clients get it. The women will often wet themselves.” “Is there something I can do?” “You mean apart from masturbating for 10 hours straight? Not really. Just try to ignore it; it’ll only bring you down. And know that during the final rise, you’ll have the best orgasm of your life. But come, enough meat. More fish. Let us eat!” He shoves a healthy portion of fish and rice in his mouth, chomps noisily, and encourages me to do the same. I shove, he shoves, we chomp together, and then things are starting to wobble. “Ah, it cometh!” he says, clapping excitedly, then downing his martini. “Right,
let’s do this. Just relax, take a breath. It’ll be great. I promise! Are you ready, my man? Are you ready to get just absolutely fucked?” Already, I see the humans are morphing, and already there are shllrrrrrrrrrps and crrrrrrrrrrrrracks. Before my eyes, the world is swimming, splitting into pixel chunks. But wild as this is, I’ve been here before, and I know now where I must go. I rattle my head, slap myself on either cheek, and lock my focus on my guide. Touched by his strength and my own inner power, I down my martini: “Fuck yeah.” “That’s the spirit! Right, this symbol on my hat. This grid thing. Do you recognise it? Had you ever seen it before today?” I think for a moment, then say, “No, sir. I have never seen it.” “Excellent! Had you said yes, I would have called you a liar, or knave, or at the very least, made you foot the bill. For what we have here is a Master Object, a geometric-abstract manifestation of the Hyperseed which is overseeing your story. Only a contextualiseratorisationer can condense a Hyperseed into a particular Master Object, and since I was assigned to your
case just this morning, you wouldn’t have seen the grid before. Push that nose clip a little higher, would you… yes, perfect!” A slab of focaccia flashes through my mind, and then I’m saying, “This grid of yours, this Master Object, wouldn’t happen to be related to the Master Key, would it?” “Indeed it would! Well done, sir. Just very well done. Yes, that’s exactly what this cheeky devil is, at least once it’s been de-Objectified. It’s the key to the madness, the key to the game, the key to the is, the isn’t, the <<!ping!>>. Ping-a-ping-ping, three mugs in a sprocket. A bit more curry, if you wouldn’t mind… lovely! Time’s a-hurtin’, as Captain Fork would say. Kaboom! reaches peak density in… 1 hour 16 minutes.” “Kaboom!?” “That’s the one. It’s a brand new independent coffee house. Very big. Very happening. Terribly familiar, and terribly not. Transcend the illusion and blast thyself to Infinity! Now come, let’s eat. Let’s hurt time the way it hurts us!”
We shove and chomp for a couple of minutes, I finish my curry, we finish our curries, and then he says, “Right, let’s talk art.” He looks away, waves his glass, seems to mouth, “Four more, please. A little heavier on the chakra radish.” “What of it?” I ask. “Do you like it?” he asks, returning to me. “Do you live it? Do you get it? I noticed a can of soup on your desk, a pipe on your shelf.” “One was for dinner, to be served with a roll; the other an award from the Society for Old-Fashioned Pleasures. But yes, I do have a certain feeling for it. I probably couldn’t have done my job otherwise.” “A feeling which tends to the abstract side of things, perchance…?” “Yes, I suppose. I used to like landscapes, bottles and beach balls, but then I attended my first public urinal.” “Excellent! This part can be such a pain with my more conventional clients.
Saint-Germain was surprisingly literal. Always going on about his car keys… Anyway, as you’re no doubt aware, abstract expressions, visually speaking, depart from accurate representation of the outer, physical world. The abstractionist deviates from the party line in this way in an effort to present a more essential image of the model, or to charge it with intellect or emotion. Note, however, that while the results of his experiments can look very screwy, they do usually still refer to recognisable physical objects.” A flash of white and I find myself sitting in a university art history class. It is 15 years ago. I am bored shitless and half-asleep, the five ecstasy pills I took last night doing me no favours. But then the professor comes out with something which fires me with energy, which makes me sit up, makes me go, “Oooh…” I want to dance and be everybody’s friend. I remember it now, recall it so clearly. My God, have I been on this path all along… A flash of white and I am back at Basil’s, not a single second has passed. And in fact, it’s even less than that, less than nothing, negative something, for it seems I’ve gone back in time. I am midway through IT Guy’s opening statement, he’s coming up to “deviates”. Soon, we’ll have “screwy”, he’ll end with “objects”. When he finishes, I repeat the professor’s words:
“Not all abstraction is so ‘realistic’, however, so grounded in the physical in this way. One example is geometric abstraction.” “Very good! Geometric abstraction – in the purest, spiritual sense – uses simple geometric forms, presented in non-illusionistic (that is, flat) space and arranged in non-objective fashion, to express a higher, non-physical Layer (each Reality being comprised of 642 of these, at last count). While the physical and non-physical Layers are joined metaphysically – and indeed, may be said to be one and the same – physically speaking, they have nothing to do with each other. Abstraction in the general sense has a direct connection to the physical Layer; geometric abstraction has an indirect connection. Do you follow?” “Yes…” I say, buzzing away. “This is all very familiar. Please go on.” “Now this grid on my hat, this Master Object, this… b-grid, I think I shall call it, is a particular type of geometric-abstract expression known as an abstractoid. An abstractoid differs from your common-or-garden geometric abstraction in its reference to a special form within a special, non-physical space. That space is the Hyperzone – or in your case, the Hyperzone Pro –
a lovely hyperdimensional land where all your dreams come true. The form is a Hyperseed, or hyperdimensional seed, a core node of the Reality Grid. While the exact number of Hyperseeds is unknown, there are thought to be seven floating through the Hyperzone. The use of geometric abstraction to represent a Hyperseed is known as hyperdimensional abstraction. Still there?” “I think so… At the very least, it’s certainly keeping the maggots at bay.” “Good to hear!” “Though your ear just fell off and turned into a squirrel.” “Not to worry! Now an abstractoid, like any other geometric-abstract expression, has an obvious physical presence; it is something you can clearly see. The Hyperseed, meanwhile – the thing that the abstractoid represents – cannot be seen, at least not with physical eyes. Understand that a Hyperseed, physically speaking, looks nothing like its abstractoid, for the simple reason that it is essentially non-physical. Actually, that’s the whole point. Transcend the illusion of visual cues and you’ll penetrate the
true, metaphysical connection between Hyperseed and abstractoid. Then, and only then, will you know what it is to be hyperdimensionally abstract. No need to raise your hand, son! Ask away.” “Can a Hyperseed only be represented through geometric abstraction?” “No, but geometric abstraction provides the finest approximation. Other abstract forms have some validity, but to the extent they are grounded in the physical, or are charged with intellect or emotion, they are unfaithful to the model. Figurative representations, those which strive for objective accuracy, are, naturally, the least faithful, for they only see the Hyperseed in final combination. Now abstractoids may be best when it comes to Hyperseeds, but just because an expression is abstractoidal, doesn’t make it particularly valid. A Hyperseed has a near-infinite number of possible physical manifestations, the vast majority of which will be brought into existence through random events. A large number of those creations will be abstractoidal, but due to their random generation – a physical process, note – will tend to do a poor job of Hyperseed representation. The few abstractoids which arise intentionally through intuitive perception tend to prove most faithful to the model. The intentional abstractoids known as
Master Objects are most faithful of all.” “And how do they come about?” “For an abstractoid to be considered a Master Object, it must satisfy three conditions: first, it must be intentional – random events need not apply; second, it must exhibit an extremely high degree of faithfulness to the model, as determined by the Tesseract, a sort of password-protected Hyperseed chat room; and third, it must be bound to a single entity, again determined by the Tesseract. While abstractoids in general belong to no one (or everyone, if you prefer), each Master Object is said to belong to a particular individual, as this b-grid has belonged to you since 8:15 this morning. Others may observe and use the Object, but it can never be as close to them as it is to its owner. And only the owner can convert a Master Object into a Master Key.” “Through de-Objectification?” “Yes.”
“And how does that work?” “Quite simply, through the owner’s thorough penetration of hyperdimensional abstraction. Wrap your head around that and the Master Object becomes a Key, capable of unlocking the connections within the madness. It is along those connections that Referential-bound hoppenpop blasts the traveller into the higher states of hyperawareness.” The waitress appears and sets down four drinks. I’m so engrossed, I’m hardly aware of her tits. She whispers, “Radishes, for your pleasure.” For what seems some time, I watch IT Guy, and he looks back at me. I’m drawn to his hat, drawn to the grid, and though it is true it is new, it grows ever more familiar… I return to him. “You were the one who created this b-grid, right?” “I condensed it, yes,” he says. “And why did you choose this form?”
“Choice had nothing to do with it. It is simply what I saw when I put on the blotterwee, the magical top hat we contextualiseratorisationers wear to assist our clients in their ascension. For most of the year, the hat stays locked away, black as night and undisturbed. But then one morning we rise and know we have a chance to be assigned. The hat is assumed, pyjamas removed and we enter deep meditation, during which the form is slowly revealed, then dramatically confirmed. By the time we return to the physical Layer, the form has attached to the hat. A cup of tea and three crumpets later, we join the Tesseract, which reveals the purity of our vision, and, where fitting, the Object’s owner.” “Who is me…” “Yes.” “But why?” He smiles. “Because the Hyperseed said so, the one guiding your story. A beautiful gift for a beautiful man. Who will do such beautiful things…”
He looks at me, his eyes start to twinkle, a tear rolls down his cheek. “You know, you’re the best I’ve ever had,” he says. “Such depth in you. Such… love?” I look at him, my nostrils are flaring, I feel all funny in the throat. “No better than you,” I say. “Not even close.” He wipes his eyes, I swallow twice. We make manly grunting sounds. “Yes, that’s better, isn’t it?” he says, downing a martini. “I can’t stand that shit. Such a waste of time! And we’re running late, the spaceship awaits. Are you ready, my man? Are you ready to get just absolutely fucked?” For a moment, I wonder, and then I decide. I down a martini. “Fuck yeah.” “Than take it off, man. Remove that nose clip. And ask me some proper bloody questions!”
“Do four four-bar bar charts make a grid?” “Only on Mondays, throw away the key days. The world is made of marshmallow, not financial terror born of man’s self-imposed exile.”
“Does a flag on a tanker make a grid?” “Only on Tuesdays, coughing up a lung days. Hydrogen will make your car blow up.”
“Does a bun on a burger make a grid?” “Only on Wednesdays, Filet-O-Wednesdays. Everything’s a sandwich, even salad and ice cream.”
“Does a bag on a handbag make a grid?” “Only on Thursdays, sausage with ‘brown sauce’ days. Pour ketchup on your fur coat and eat a fertilised duck egg. Change your name to Emily.”
“Do grids like to ‘do it’? Do they like to ‘make love’?” “Only on Fridays, let them out of prison days. A nice fuck that night, then nothing for the weekend. We call this capitalism.”
“It’s Saturday, I’ve been freed. May I wear casual clothing?” “Absolutely. Global brands just adore hyperdimensional slavery. (They learned it from the Tooshies.)”
“Which brings us to the hat,” I say. “Indeed,” he says. “On a Sunday, no less. A day for church and hidden shotguns, a massacre to spice up the news.” “Which begs the question…” “Is that a shotgun under your hat? Or is your hat a hat-shaped window into outer space?”
He says, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.” And I do. There’s smoke coming out of the window. “It is a powerful drug, this herb…” I say. “It shows me something… it shows me the Key… I’ve been born anew.” “Lovely!” he says. “We’ll go for a walk soon.”
“But first, look around,” he says. “Things should be starting to come together. Connections appearing all over the place, all over this madness. Let the Portals emerge!” I look around and the Key is coming, unlocking grids and vectors from nothing, as shapes, lines, curves and edges tend towards significance.
They’re coming together, opening pathways, Portals to higher worlds.
“It’s like walking through someone’s house,” IT Guy says. “The concept is gradually revealed.” “Yes…” I say. “Just without the house… and with Portals instead…” “Exactly.” “And a balcony…” “Yes.”
IT Guy says, “Shall we?”, more drinks go down, and then we’re walking, out in the night, making our way to Kaboom!. A glorious sharpness has come to my vision, and to all my physical senses. I see my breath, hear the tyre, feel the wind, taste the fish. And yes, I smell it, smell toxic meat, smell the wrapper hit the ground. Teenage fuck…
No, not a fuck… Merely misguided. Let him read the news and recycle.
Relax his hnngghhh and gangsta vibe, eat veggies in place of toxic meat. For aye, that’s the way, the White Person Way. Replace fast food with veggie burgers. For our food should be bland and overpriced, should be organic and made of dry corn.
For aye, that’s the way, the White Person Way, the White Person With Money Way. Laughing and drinking their microbrew beer, getting fat and smelling of shit with their money, minds all stodged with veggies and news, and tofu, meditation.
Yes, it is… But you are sensitive… Sweet prey for the creatures…
I move beyond…
We move along, through humans and pets, through humans and 2-for-1 offers. I look at myself in the window glass, and I am here. I am never so here. I am stood with mannequins, pecs and tits, eyeless and cheekbones, artificial snow.
I am that mannequin.
There are voices:
Man: We’ll push that going forward. Woman: They’ve got some lovely blouses. Child: I hate you! Girl: The dirty fucker shoved it up my ass. Boy: Fuckeatkillcompete.
I move beyond…
We move along, through humans and pets, through humans and 2-for-1 offers. Delicious things are pulsing through me. I try to speak, but it’s all too much. The worlds divide, reform, collide. And the b-grid is coming, the spaceship is coming. I see them in my mind…
“The Reality Grid owes you a huge debt of gratitude,” IT Guy says, so sincere, I feel I’ll explode. We stop and I turn to face him. His face is beaming, joy and pride. I close my eyes and Geometries arise. I open them, he is bound with Light. I watch as threads flow out of him – from all these humans, out of them – linking to the object world…
I behold the Tesseract.
“That is yours now,” he says, as the cubes slowly turn, and already they start to fade. “The password is *******, it is yours to keep. They will speak with you. Firm, but fair.” “And the Voices?” I ask. “The Blobbitrons?” For so they are called. “They are done.” And I feel they are gone, separated. I fire off a text: “Thank you, dears.” There are tears. A flowerpot of tears, I let them run.
And then there are tears, a blotterwee of tears. We wipe, we grunt, we move on.
“Can you see the spaceship, by any chance?” he asks, after a while. “The Big J and the Buddha both perceived it.” “Yes…” I say, coming to a halt and looking to the sky, cold and black and full of stars, which somehow outshine the city this night. “It travels from my mind to the outer world. Vague yet, like a handbag. But it comes.” “Wonderful news! And yet, touched with sadness, for our parting time is nigh. Allow me, if you will, to tap your higher knowledge. I promise not to sell anything you teach.”
This is my moment, the birth of the cult. It comes in a flash of wonder… Once I’ve recovered, I thank the Grid and say: “Let this sacred beverage, this mindfuckuccino, be not cold and blended, but hot, with five parts, none of which is whipped cream, syrup or drizzle. The recipe is as follows.”
1/4 part espresso
1/4 part seeping liquor
1/4 part milk
1/4 part foam
A dusting of psychedelic powder
“And so is made the mindfuckuccino, served in a moderate size, and recorded in the book of the same name, though let the latter be capitalised.” “Such awesome knowledge!” IT Guy cries. “Let us toast! Let us drink! Let us fuck with our minds!”
I am only vaguely aware of my partner’s joy, for my mind has turned to the sky, where Beings of Light are floating over buildings. I am flooded with deliciousness. I see them all, the founders of great religions, and others, just gorgeous in their own way. I observe the Buddha, our eyes lock and he whispers, “Add this, add this one, add this one, Charles.” I say, “Add this, add this one, Charles. For that is your true name, is it not?”
“I am not worthy…” the man formerly known as IT Guy breathes, collapsing to his knees. He kisses my feet, he kisses my PUMAs. “The ground is no place for you,” I say. “Rise, sir. Arise, Sir Charles. I feel the second coming.”
Trembling, he rises, he meets my eyes, I feel myself fart and I say: “Add this one, Sir Charles. Add this to the recipe. Let us make it open source. Let there be no trademarks, patents, or other nonsense. Let the liquor seep free. Let us encourage derivative works.” “An enterprise for the times!” he cries. “I retire this day as an IT Guy and become your Personal Assistant!”
“No,” I say. “Be the CSMO. Be the Chief Social Media Officer. Use your knowledge of the megabot to reach the young people, for the cult is with them and they enjoy social networking. Will you take this position?” “It would be my honour…” “Then let us check with HR, the Hyperdimensional Realm. Does the HR Manager approve?”
<<!boom!>> <<!boom!>> <<!boom!>>
“I’ll take that as a yes,” I say. For the sky is clear, my Seed has spoken. “You are named Employee #1.”
I extend my hand to congratulate him, but he fades, then disappears. He has phased to another Reality. I sense I will never see him physically again. I offer a prayer: “Thank you, Sir Charles, for bringing me here. I couldn’t have done it alone. Be safe in Reality #3, and have fun, for the laws of physics are less strict and you may fly, etc. Carry the teachings far and wide, across the networks of Alophomat. From your base on the island of V’ktar, where stands the Great Pyramid.”
“And the mysterious ruins of the Half Pyramid.”
I look out the window and see the BT Tower. Right now.
I eat a sandwich of warm pita with Israeli couscous and feta.
I snort a fat line of Grade A Colombian.
High on Light and inspiration, I continue, trance-like, through the city.
I take a left on audacious A— Street, — a right on busy B— and as I walk, —, I become aware that the people are parting for me. All around I hear their whispers, their voices. A person says, “It is He.” And yes, it is me, though I miss my disciple, our fantastic rapport. I feel reduced…
Password: ******* WRONG! Password: ******* CORRECT! < < < < > BEGONE FROM YOUR FUNK, IT IS NOT FITTING. > I am feeling less a lord. . . > THE POWER RESTS WITHIN, NOT IN JERKIN. > BEHOLD:
Look where you’re going, fuckhead!
I feel improved.
I take a left on clever C— a right on Derek —, D— and a minute later arrive at Kaboom!, —, or at least where it’s meant to be. Certainly, there is a coffee house here. And certainly it is large and filled with people, the lighting inviting, laptops ahoy. But this place is Moondollar, not Kaboom!. And it’s been here for years, it isn’t brand new. And it’s a formulaic franchise, not a happening independent.
I come to you from Shashkileen, on the southwestern coast of Alophomat… I am on a cruise… “Sir Charles?” Yes… Remember to use the higher vision… Terribly familiar, and terribly not… Transcend the illusion and blast thyself to Infinity… “Yes, of course… Thank you, friend.”
I breathe three times, align the higher vision and look to the Moondollar sign, which before my eyes becomes the grid, the Hyperseed of my story. I look down to find there are other changes, a crowd before the door, a line of happening-looking people, a leather-clad bouncer, seven cows wide. I should be delighted by all of this, for Dollar is made Kaboom!. But instead I wonder what on Earth I will do. I’ve been teleported to the back of the queue, you see, and the peak is due in three minutes. Who knows how long this’ll take to clear…
Part them, then… “Just tried that, Sir Charles. They’re too focused on being happening.” I see… One moment, please… Ah yes, of course… The skipper reminds me you should be fading from the physical by now… Use your subtle body to slip past the guard… When you need to return, just pinch your ass…
And it is true, I am fading. I can see through my arm.
I slip through unnoticed and pinch my ass.
I pass through…
Kaboom! is peaking as I enter, so high, with jazz, loud conversation, warm tones, branded crap to buy. Everything, in other words, as it should be, as it is, at your friendly neighbourhood Moondollar. For we deal not with jerkin, but with Spirit, with Essence, with the Geometries of the higher sight. Crafted by Seeds and bound to this coffee, which fills the air, which fills the mugs. I approach the counter:
“What’ll it be?” the till woman asks, bored and strangely middle-aged. The badge on her dark green apron reads, “Three Cheers for Scientology”. “Jumbo Americano. Black. Mug. Paper cups just suck for hoppenpop. You need a little sheen, you see.” “Jumbo Americano! Black! Mug!” she calls out. “Anything from the pastry cabinet?” she asks me. “No thanks,” I smile, swiping my Kaboom! Card. “I saw that documentary.”
I strike the gong, shuffle along, and a minute later the barista boy says, “Americano, black, mug.” His hair is swept and blotterwee black, his skin pale white and without a crack. He’s wearing one of those skinny ties. 18-24, no doubt. “Thanks, son,” I say, taking my mug, looking him straight in the eye. For this lad is ripe, prime for the Light. “What’s your name?” “Barry,” he says. “Barry Macchiato.”
“Make that Commander Macchiato,” I say. “You’ve been promoted. Here’s a badge.”
“The acid’s on its way.”
I smile, wink, sniff my drink and stroll to a corner table, where I sit. I observe. The room is packed, perhaps 200 people, some 70% sitting with mugs, some 80% of which, let’s say, contain a coffee beverage of some description, the rest being Juiceless – tea, hot chocolate, babyccino, etc. So 112 mugs of coffee… that’s fine. I feel I’ll need 50 for what I’m after, a consciousness of the highest order.
For I am — Mr Mindfuckuccino, —, distilling this wisdom to a mug. Topped with foam and dusted with powder. This mission is mine, I am — —.
A worthy successor to the Buddha.
A better chopsticker than Jesus Christ.
Integrating the teachings of the East into the Western spiritual tradition.
I should be scared shitless by this monumental task, but I find I am not. I am — —. I am black of base with a white appendage. A mug of the Infinite Order.
I sip my coffee, glance at Barry, then say, “Goodbye, sweet Earth. It’s been a wonderful ride. Please spread the teachings far and wide, as they seep into this Reality from Alophomat and the island of V’ktar. May your mugs be filled with coffee, with liquor, with milk and topped with foam. And take for your powders LSD and psilocybin, DMT, and others of your fancy. Enjoy.”
My farewell completed, I stare at my mug and am immediately in it, already on the verge of hyperorgasm, so attuned am I to my Referential. Two brains in my wallet, I call hoppenpop, quickly gaining a new brain, and another, and more and more, till I’ve broken my record, standing tall with 10 fine brains in my wallet.
The six-brain hoppenpop may have melted my mind, but this feels great, feels absolutely “on message”, and with thrust in my loins, I hop to another, then another, one more, 13 brains in my wallet. I’m hopping through mugs, coffee and foam, steering clear of the syrups. Oh, how delicious! And then I am 20, 25, I’m shaking. But my God, this is good. Sweet fuck, this is super. Jellitron 7, 8, 9, 11. Hyperzone Pro here I come!
I pause for a moment to gather myself, to observe the world from 25 places, from 24 mugs and a trusty base unit. And I see it all, this room Kaboom!, this room Moondollar… And the spaceship, too! For behold, the spaceship! My God, how it comes! Stronger now, like a toothbrush, and it comes! How it comes! Flashes of white, Objects and Keys. I never thought this would be so easy!
And of course it isn’t, as I suddenly learn, as a thousand Realities crisscross and get squashed, squashing my primary cerebral sausage, which splits and leaks out my ears, my nostrils. I clutch my bursting head and scream, “I cannot do this! I will die this night! And not in the good way of spiritual ascension! But the bad way of exploding nose, ears and brain!” I scream for help, but they’re ignoring me, laughing and talking and turning into maggots. My God, the maggots!
Password: ******* CORRECT! < < < < < > CALM DOWN. > My brain! > IT IS SIMPLE. > Aieeeeeeeeeeeeee!! > JUST VARY AUTHENTICITY IN A MORE SYSTEMATIC MANNER TO REGULATE THE TURBO LOAD.
> AS WE SAID, IT IS SIMPLE. > CONSIDER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BLACK AMERICANO AND A LATTE, OR CAPPUCCINO. > WHILE ALL CONTAIN JUICE AND ALL WILL BOOST, THE AMERICANO IS PURE COFFEE AND THUS MORE EFFICIENT. > ALBEIT CONSIDERABLY MORE INTENSE. > JUST TONE THINGS DOWN WITH MILK, FOAM AND DRIZZLE, THEN HIT THE ROCKET BOOSTERS BIG TIME WITH A MORE AUTHENTIC BEVERAGE.
“Brilliant!” I cry, pumped with relief, as I scan the room for a mountainous thing and slam myself into it hard. It’s almost a sin to call this thing coffee, and yet, there is some of the black stuff there, enough to be Juicy, enough to be boosty, but tempered with the white shit I need.
I take a moment to luxuriate, to be dirty, slutty, all sticky and pornographic, as my base unit calms and the sausage rewinds. I swim in the cream like a whore. For aye, I’m a whore, a robot whore, eating my coffee with a spoon. And for that single, whipped cream moment, this world is perfect, this world is ideal, this material world of lust and greed, of fucking, eating, killing, competing. But then I see, I open the higher vision. I restate my case: Let us on!
I spot a man with foam on his tache and then I’m in his full-fat cappuccino, into a granny’s skinny caramel latte, a white chocolate mocha, some gingerbread shit. My efficiency may have gone down the crapper, but at least I’m alive, at least I’m advancing. And now I know I must push it again, as I pick out the poets, the smokers, drug addicts, bubbling through authentic blackness and getting just unbelievably fucked.
By now I’m split in 43 pieces, the Jellitrons are off the scale. And again with the sausage – my God, how it hurts!
I’m sure I can’t take it, sure I will die, but the Tesseract kicks me, the Master Key licks me, as I slam, thrust and bubble up, take a detour through the pastry cabinet and a tart with a cherry on top.
And then I am there! I hit number 50! An Americano which matches my own. It’s hot, black, authentic as fuck.
Authentic as fuck, motherfucker!
And then it explodes, it all becomes One, as I lift towards the ceiling.
“Goodbye world!” I shout.
“Goodbye, dear Joan!”
“Dear Chief Social Media Officer!”
Three mugs in a sprocket…
“Warp drive ready, Captain!”
Welcome home, son. I am your father.
Welcome home, dear. I am your mother.
I am your brother.
I am your sister.
I am looking in the mirror.
I am your pet.
Forty years have passed since I tested these waters. And perhaps 40 minutes have passed. I remain, as ever, a mere slip of a whipper, my birthday being two weeks hence. But wiser now, for I have learned much on V’ktar, have studied at the Half Pyramid.
It was there that I met the Priestess Pash’bonk, who renewed my supply of splrrageuuuurgh. And who gave me a new drug, the root gadrook, which took me where I’d never been. The Hyperzone Pro…
“It is fine to see you again, Sir Charles. Forty billion years have passed.” “Who goes there?” “It is I, — Though my name —. here is other. My people, the b-grid, call me Piers.” And he appeared…
“You are the Seed. My God…” “No, friend, far from it. But we b-grid are made in its image, from rank 3. We are the army of Zor, Hyperseed #4. It watches us, and we fight for it.” I was in wonder…
“It is a noble lot, Piers,” I said at last. “Everything you deserved. And it treats you well. You speak as a king.” “And so, indeed, has it come. For my father, Harvey, retired some time ago, reuniting with the Oneness. And his crown was passed to me, King Piers. Though like him, I dispense with the formal title. Now listen.”
Our talk then turned from pleasure to business, to the business of the cult, to the Tooshies gathered at the Joddipum Portal, which would blast them off to Earth. “They will infiltrate,” he said, “assume many guises, and prepare the way for Queen Shnoort. The cult must be strong to counter them, and others, most vile. Now listen.”
And so the work began in earnest, as the cult took hold on Alophomat, as yet unnamed and mere preparation, for the liquor was being made. Many stores were built, many coffees were served, beautiful things, though not magic. Dusted with powder, yes, with gadrook, but missing the liquor, 1/4 part.
And then, 40 years from my coming there, with the Priestess now my bride, impregnated four times with my enlivened seed, it was time to leave Reality #3. For Earth was calling, I would call the one who would lead us to greater things. No longer would I serve in interim. We would have a true CEO.
“What’ll it be?” “I am looking for Barry. Barry Macchiato.” “Down the end.” “The sexy one?” “Yes. The girls call him God.” “I thank you, madam. And cheer up. Things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.”
I strike the gong, shuffle along, look across the room to King Piers. Or rather, a shell, for he is — and sedated. The Spirit has gone. He is left a zombie. —
He looks up, turns towards me, our eyes lock and I mouth, “Many radishes, friend, for your pleasure. Your work is done.” He looks away, gets up and walks away. I return to the matter at hand.
“Barry?” “Yes?” “Barry Macchiato?” Not that I need to ask. For he wears the badge given by — mere minutes ago. — “Yes, that’s me.” “Please come with me. The teachings are seeping. Bring a mug to collect this nascent liquor. We will use it as a base to create a new beverage. And a cult to save the world.”
To be continued…
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