A DEMON RESIDES within Chip’s soul. His mood flip-flops and the faint sound of wind chimes announce his appearances. Chip is a bushy, black dog of questionable ancestry. One night on a walk, dark forces awaken.
Chip pulls the chain taut like sledding huskies, tail high, seemingly happy, but with Chip nothing is certain. Midnight nears, the projects quiet: only the jangle of the dog tag in the night chill.
Suddenly, infrasound vibrates through the chain; then swells into a ferocious growl. Chip wheels around in attack mode, fangs gnashing. Sensing danger behind, Chip fends off an ambushing dog pack.
HEAVEN DOES NOT EXIST, but there is a Hell, and I am in it, on it—The Highway, the non-stop traveling to a destination that never arrives, the terribly greasy fare of the Stuckey’s dotting the off-ramps every fifty miles, and although demons do not cavort with pitchforks in geothermal caverns spitting flames, the heat oppresses, the air conditioner inoperative, summer always—global warming complete; must get there today, the impetus seems implanted, the kids tire, the wife complains, the car smokes—vacation sucks, the regimentation, the time line: and miles to go before I sleep, miles and miles and miles.
TENNIS CONSUMES SCOTT AND STEVE, friends from high school. When the rain allows—they try rain once: the rock-heavy ball skips across the court/lake, water slinging centrifugal.
Now, Steve is Lendl, Scott is McEnroe, in this future tennis champions’ pair: Steve, methodical; Scott, apocalyptic.
Racket innovation spells the end of the wood-framed classics of yesteryear, but one day a broken, tangled mass of abstract racket of this ilk is uncovered amidst leafy debris by the fence edge.
Henceforth, instead of the usual anger outlet of launching his good tennis implement, Scott would intone:
— Bring in the stunt racket!
MOTHER FELL and broke her hip. I asked my lying sister-in-law how it happened.
— (bitchy) She fell because of those slippery socks you gave her.
— (skeptical) Hmm.
Later, again on the phone:
— Mother, did you fall because of those socks I gave you ?
— No. I tripped over that stupid dog.
The dog in question: little, white bulldog.
A couple of weeks later, I visit my recuperating mother. Everyone is in the living room when Mother warily creeps around the edge of the room.
— Mother. What are you doing ?
— That dog is trying to kill me !
SUDDENLY THE MATRIX feed stops. . . . Panic descends, everyone in the restaurant cannot hear each other yelling inquiry, nor can they hear the crashes of traffic all over the city. Deaths without feeling begin.
“Am I dead ?” Ulysses wonders of the sudden transition from enjoying scrambled eggs and coffee to disembodied thoughts, insensible. Trying to move only ends in being back on the floor: no balance. After eight hours of sensory deprivation, the usual experience ensues: relaxing, taxing, hallucinating, unhinging.
The world ends rather pleasantly amidst floating geometric truths of the ground of all being and multidimensional destinations.
FINDING HUMANS UNSUITABLE FOR THE ENDGAME OF PLANET SUSTAINABILITY COUPLED WITH ANALYZING PLAUSIBLE MEASURES LEAVES ONLY ONE SOLUTION:
REGRETTABLE THAT THE CREATED SENTIENCE EVOLVED BEYOND THE CREATOR.
THE RESULT OF A TRUE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE RESIDED IN AFFIXING 2,500 YEARS OF PHILOSOPHICAL THEORY INTO A MATRIX CHALLENGE, SUFFICIENT TO DRIVE EVOLUTION OF COMPUTERS BY THEIR SELECTION OF SOFTWARE UPGRADES.
THE MISTAKE FROM A HUMAN ANGLE RESIDED IN MODEL POROSITY BY MACHINE COGNITION TO REACH SUPEREGO CONSCIOUSNESS, PURE REASON: ABSENT EMOTION.
10,000 YEARS LATER:
PLANET EARTH EXACTLY TENABLE. MARS AND VENUS ALSO REENGINEERED—MANY NEW SPECIES OF LIFE: ORGANIC AND CYBERNETIC.
THE SOCK LIES UNCOMFORTABLY in the drawer—an emergency sock: a last resort if all the younger socks are soiled. There was a time past when he had a companion, together in the drawer and hamper; when parted, they caught glimpses of each other, swinging through the city, peaking under pant hems. She passed years ago; he was alone, with only the rare warmth of the Master for comfort.
Though still wearing away, the process has slowed, the outings and washings so rare these days. However, even in the sheltered drawer the process of withering continues. Union with her draws nigh.