BLINK AND THINK
Johnny hadn’t quite gotten the knack of the contact lenses yet. He was thinking about the girls in his class again, and how unattractive they were.
Not unattractive in the conventional sense, as if they had buck teeth, or features that were cratered with acne and too many freckles, but unattractive in the sense of morality.
These were the girls you would entrust your deepest secrets to out of some cocky notion they would take pity on a nice guy and turn to you in understanding, but all they do is turn the information loose on their friends, or their jock boyfriends who’d wait patiently for you outside the school gates and taunt you mercilessly with the information as you crossed the road, complete with their judgement.
You’d get half-way across the road with your darkest secret being thrown back in your ear, and you’d be compelled to stop dead in your tracks and hope the approaching school bus carrying all who were in kindergarten would mow you over and give the little devils it was carrying their first glimpse of the cost of mortality up close.
He wanted to punish those girls for not being the kind that would stand by the nice guys in the class, the ones that could stay equal and independent of them, but have the compassion and kindness necessary to be open to dates, to maybe even marriage, and maybe even a family.
Too many women in his generation weren’t functioning the way his mother did in her marriage to his father. He had been raised by a family that had lived in conservative times that had been graced only by the tender innocence of then-radical innovation. Ideas of how the world ought to function differently, but ones that had not taken on any form of chaotic exaggeration or had helped to bend too many rules.
This was an age where the nice guys were tarred and feathered, and mocked for their insecurities, not helped through them.
But then, maybe the nice guys had earned it.
Nice guy is often an easily used term to describe the shy, the needy, the socially awkward, the helpless, and too many strong-willed women, at least the ones in his class, didn’t take to that. Maybe it was an age-old story God got nostalgic for and applied it to each generation, Johnny didn’t know, he was only fourteen.
He was fourteen and thinking way too much about anything but the lesson being taught to him, the lessons about the contact lenses attached to his pupils.
In today’s age of radical thought and radical behavior, learning the nature of these lenses was key to maintaining an ever rare prescense of dignity.
The nice guys now needn’t tell any jock’s girlfriend their private info out of some desire to be noticed, even loved, now all they had to do was blink and think, and it would all be downloaded onto the lenses, the glass also functioning as a clear micro server, a cloud drive with which all that was conjured forth in the mind during the lesson would be stored.
That would include revision, research, answers, questions the student didn’t have the motivation or drive to really ask of the tutor, and of course slightly more wayward thoughts.
It was often agreed upon in the testing stages that the lenses being open to all thoughts would lead to a significantly more focused form of think tank, where the dangers of having their dirty laundry processed would encourage students to be of a more strict and educationally focused mindset, with no room for filth in their thoughts.
If they persisted, the information would be collectively gathered from the lenses, uploaded to the computers in the staffing area, and each potentially devious and damaging thought would be noted down and put in a permanent record which would be issued to every other educational facility and job agency far across the country.
It seemed like an unfair and demanding task, one the students had no control over, but there was some quality of mercy attached to this insistence on a more strict and uniform collective.
The required information would be processed and separated through the right and left lenses, representing the left and right centers of the brain, which also process problem solving, logistics, and more creative and self-pleasing thoughts separately.
As the bell rang, the teacher instructed the student body to remove the contacts they were wearing and place them in the boxes, which would then be gathered by a choice pupil. The class would then move on to another room where they would undergo the same process for that specific tutor and subject, and repeat the process through all available periods until the end of the day’s school session.
This was the first day, the first hour, and the first moment of truth for Johnny.
He had been processing much of the lesson despite constantly thinking about the abhorrent actions of women among the student body, but he worried that his thoughts would be regarded as controversial, he wasn’t quite sure how to feel.
He nervously walked up to the intimidating cardboard boxes at the edge of the Tutor’s table, watching as the rest of the boys and girls removed their lenses and deposited them in the left and right versions.
Johnny was in a particular pickle here, and with good reason.
He could never tell left from right.
A friend of his chose this opportunity to pat him on the back with a gently slap that knocked both of his lenses into the left box.
A student in the class was summoned to take the boxes to the staffing area, to Johnny’s dismay, it was one of the girls.
“Hey wait up, I want to check if I put the lenses in the correct box” Johnny said to the girl as she left the classroom.
“You’re Johnny Spencer aren’t you?” the girl said as she skipped merrily along, Johnny trying to keep up with her.
Johnny looked in the box, on the lenses were little nuggets of binary code, the same row of numbers except for the final digit, the digit represented the student number on the class roster roll-call sheet.
“Don’t worry, just tell me what number you are and I’ll fish it out” the girl said.
“Ok, twelve” he said.
“There, that was easy” she said.
“I’m a bit worried…my thoughts on there, some of them aren’t pleasant” he said
“Neither were mine” the girl replied, telling Johnny how all she could think of was making love to a German footballer she’d saw plastered all over the back end of the express newspaper.
“See? Everyone’s dirty laundry is on the left side lenses, not just silly boys” she said, “It’s equal footing for everyone, nobody has any secrets, not from them, so we all have to be on our best behavior, and it doesn’t have to seen as slavery, or being forced to think more collectively, we can use this opportunity to build character, morals, strength, conviction, and maybe make a better choice when sharing our pleasures with those we love”
Johnny grinned, perhaps there were still some girls out there getting it right.
“I’m no German footballer, but maybe we could score sometime” he thought to himself, glad that the lenses were off so the girl wouldn’t pick up on that.
“Tell me what you’re thinking anytime” thought the girl back.
Locked away in their private thoughts, finding freedom in the ten or so minutes they could enjoy between classes, the two of them chatted away in as appropriate a manner as social norms allowed.
Every day there’s a question
It plays with my soul
I find only one answer
Which way do I go?
Do I try to move one way
Left and not right?
And when the voices descend
Will they say day is now night?
And the strength within us all
It cries out for a weakness
To make the right call
And the fears within us all
It relies on our silence
To ensure that we fall
WE INSIST UPON THIS REALM
Long and distant whispers
As unquiet as the soul
Fill the rooms around us
They bring comfort to us all
Close your eyes and listen
And believe there is a place
Where echoes of our confessions
Inform the heavens of our race
We pray that our sins cause commotion
Among those standing at the helm
And they look kindly on the parliament where we insist upon this realm
THAT SPELLS OWL
The letters are laid out on the keyboard before you, all in the wrong order.
Christ, not even the alphabet is spelled correctly.
That’s what awaits you as you leave this not-so-perfect world even for a minute to indulge in crafting fantasies for others, you are tasked with bringing to life in another reality what you cannot offer where you are presently.
People stutter, people stammer, they can’t produce the words sometimes in presentations or speeches, so what makes you think you have the power to make the fiction surpass the reality?
Spell checker you ask, you must always use spell checker.
Connected to a vast library of proper pronounciations, capable of detecting a typo, all you have to do is screw up.
It won’t judge you.
In the final assesment, that’s all up to you.
Keith understood that as he typed in the instructions, the sentence structure, to the beta model of O.W.L, the latest line in a series of L.O.L models.
It was no joke, L.O.L.
Ladies Off Limits.
A booming artificial escort enterprise, named the way they are for their difficulties passing legal channels, and sold at steep prices.
“Hey, it’s late, you want to head out to Rousey’s place?” Keith’s friend asked as he entered the work cublicle, put on his coat and checked the time.
Keith turned his chair around, scratching the back end of his neck.
“Nah, nah I’ve got to get the typing right otherwise she’ll just be uttering gibberish” Keith replied.
“I’ve never much cared for volume on these puppies” his friend added, walking over to the beta model and stroking her breasts firmly with both hands
“Hey, don’t touch that” Keith cautioned.
“Oh pipe down, she does’nt feel it” his friend said in protest.
“She’s meant to Fred, alright, that was the mandate that came in” Keith replied.
Fred suddenly had modest interest.
“Really now?” he asked, “They want emotion in motion? Why, does it give other customers a thrill? What happened to the chirpy inspirational speeches that let them know the loveless could be loved?”
“Some don’t go for that, some don’t want anything out of that” Keith explained.
“This is too weird, since when did this order come in? What changed the old man’s mind?”
“It’s got nothing to do with the old man, it’s his son, he pointed it out”
“Pointed what out?” Fred asked
“He heard her speak alright” Keith revealed, the tension visible on his features as he straightened his tie, “He was down in the lab, he wanted a demonstration, I gave him one. She spoke, he listened, he went to the board, talked it over a bit, he came back and gave me the mandate. Old Man does’nt know about it”
“Then how can it go ahead? Everything goes through him” Fred continued. Keith just stared into him, depending on his friend’s instincts to lead him down the neccersary deduction.
Fred did not disappoint.
“You telling me you’re being privatley contracted? The young kid wants
“Ask her what her name is” Keith asked
“What? I know the broad’s name. O.W.L is’nt it?” said Fred.
“Ask it” said Keith.
Fred walked up to the beta model, he took out a ciggerette from his pocket, he lit it.
“Ok lady, spell it out for me. What’s your name?” he asked.
“Ow” she said
“Excuse me?” Fred asked, a little perplexed.
“Ow” she said.
“Spell it. Spell your name” Fred said, starting to get a little excited.
“O.W” she continued.
Fred was surprised, as well as a tad ecstatic.
“You dyslexic motherfucker, you spelt her name wrong in the protocalls did’nt you?” said Fred, his eyes gleeming with mischeivous intent.
Keith tensley wiped the sweat off his forehead and resumed working at the keyboard.
“Yeah, now I have to make sure I get the remainder down to a precise science” he explained.
“Hey, you know what O.W.L stands for right?” Fred asked
“It’s supposed to stand for One Without Limits” Keith replied.
“No, no that’s where you’re wrong…now she’s One Without. No wonder the kid started pining for her. Her name is pain, lack of compassionship counts as some kind of pain…yeah, it’s endearing. Maybe he thinks he can complete her…but with a name like that…a status like that…she’s the perfect fit for like-minded men who can’t make the most of thier dicks”
“Sounds like you want to pitch this really badly” said Keith.
“Maybe I do, maybe the board need extra persuasion. I’ll schedule an appointment in the morning” Fred said, taking one of the ciggeretts and plaing it in the Beta Model’s mouth.
“Here doll, I think you’ll be more in need of these every day than me” he said.
As Fred left, Keith’s thoughts turned back to the reality he was, and the reality he was shaping for …or O.W, and the power of typing in instruction after instruction.
It was heartache.
But typos in his world?
They were heartbreak.
I’M SAFE IN MY RETREAT
The beats aren’t so erratic
The doomsday clock no longer ticks
I confess to friends all my concerns
Thier advise always clicks
But still I don’t heed their warnings
My fate is with my needs
I give in to the medication
I’m safe in my retreat
Parties are meant to be lively.
Lively people, full of joy and song.
You’ve got to have jokes, for Jokes are beutiful.
Thy’re beutiful because they’re legal lies.
You could tell a million of them freely, openly, and not harm a soul with your story. The only people you make light of are invisible, they’re not real.
Trouble is, with jokes, is that they matter much more when they are about real situations, real people. They’re not often people you know, then that’s taking it too far.
So you make it about celebrities, you make it about the untouchable, you bring them down to a level you’d like to see lowered to.
It’s an easier method today than it was when it belonged to tomorow.
The public vote with special apps on their i-pads, the most well told jokes are attached to a chart listing the names of noones, virtual zeroes, and someones, people of hight stature.
It’s shaped like a thermustad, If the joke is immensly popular, the celebrity or non-celebrity it targets rises in appreciation figures. Eventually, if the joke becomes overused, ages badly, or becomes too repetitive, it “cools off”. The real world reacts accordingly and adjusts, placing another big name at the top of the polls and drops the celebrity or noone made light of to a lower “temperature”. If they drop way below, everything about them is frozen, their assests, their perks, everything.
Once you’re made light of, once you experiance the burn, it’s hard to crawl out of the cold.
Here, let me give you an example.
The person at this party is a bit of a local hero, a comedian who gets by on telling observational jokes about people he knows. He’s never mean-spirited about it, he does’nt attempt to assasinate their character, he just describes their mistakes in a manner that gets everyone laughing. He exaggerates a bit.
Just a bit.
Ok, you could say he lies, but is’nt that what some jokes are? Lies?
Yes. Some are.
But never the best ones.
He meets a woman at this party, another comedian, this one is strikingly fit, for a smoker at the very least, she likes to socialize in a shellsuit. She’s the ironic kind of comedy. It’s her gimmick, she loves it, and people love her.
But she likes to bring celebrities down to our level, and she always goes for the more offensive jokes.
The jokes that ring true.
The man is fascinated by this, he wants to get to know her better, he strikes up a conversation, he notices things about her behavior. The way she talks, the way she moves.
She gets a little tipsy, she spills some of the drink across her shellsuit.
His glass of wine was’nt empty, but he already felt full.
He could take control of the room. Right now. It’d be easy.
Tell people about what he’d just witnessed, give them something to laugh about.
He had respect for her though, and he found her quite attractive.
The two talked, the two struck up a connection, the two fall for each other, as they must.
Their connection goes beyond the party, the subsequant months see them bring a life into this world, a daughter.
This girl’s journey would be shared by the father on the club scene.
Observational comedy. Harmless exaggerations, but he found simply telling the truth about life with a six month year old crawling about in her own filth and throwing up on the mother in bed with the slightest dose of humerous annecdote is what caused his approval rates to go up and up.
A nobody became a somebody, and with it came perks
He lost track of how many baby showers there were from the public let alone his own family.
He and his girlfriend attended every one of them, and they found it lively.
Parties are meant to be lively.
What does’nt stay alive, what does’nt stay alight, is the burn.
Eventually, it all cools off.
Children grow, children evolve, and the fun in how they deal with their growing pains soon becomes an all too harsh reminder of the everyday struggles people experiance from day to day. Everyone is bullied, everyone argues, everyone leaves.
Everyone seeks escapism.
The joke can be a kinder fiction, or it can be a crass but comical reflection of reality.
And most of the time it’s the latter.
When it ceases to be even that, it can only become the former, and society is not tailored to approciate that anymore.
So the daughter cools off, she loses her perks, her boyfriends cut ties from her, she can’t even attend school. She can’t even stay with her family.
The man and woman are way too busy keeping other nobodies and somebodies in the charts to notice. Their field of expertise keeps the wheel turning.
The daughter fails to understand that, and takes a dive off the nearest bridge.
Love is always wise unless it’s a wisecrack.