For Nothing

INTRODUCTION (PLOT)

My exit strategy ran all night on super televised entertainment commercials. Not teeth. No, nothing sharp or pointy. Bird feathers, perhaps could they adorn my vase lamp? Lick the bottom of the bottle, urn upside down, twist shut. All blue electric shots of liquid electricity, just for one lick. During the next 1404 milliseconds, the arbiter’s voice was amplified by fourteen times, commanding all those around him to continue digging the harsh gravel for bones.

All we found were the feather tufts in our underground boxes. No temple could hold true bone, living proof of the monsters’ size, but our department uncovered many preserved feathers tucked away in the storage units behind ancient relic doors. These huge rainbow structures denied the blindness of ancient lizard beasts. Connecting us to the creatures, the temples across the earth led us through a route best designed for nomadic survival, should the wings and teeth of the beasts ever return.

We heard the story of the wings as they grew and the dragons and leviathans rose into the starry blackness above to live an eternity watching over our cities. First, the tiny velociraptors were fitted with barricading jackets to mimic the wings of the dragonfly, nearly one of the first enormous insects to rise above. The fairies with hooks were the first atmospheric guardians to all flying life, even the space faring ones due to their forecity in downing any missile entering earth space. The dragonflies launched far, far into the universe leaving behind the insects, a prized food for the fairy velociraptors in space.

When our eyes aimed upwards, the molecular re-enactment dissolved in the air and we saw the stars of our manifold. Interfaces were accessible from this level to count the number of nearby workers available for any task, lifting or digging.

In the TV temples, we felt the aura of our prince, pharoah Cervantes II, the King of Africa who, I’m fairly certain, time traveled to 2042 and back once. That’s where he learned this language, teaching it to us from his Kingly throne.

We reached behind us for the sweet popcorn that gave us energy to watch upcoming feed material, including the So You Think You Can Dance commercial set from 2003 including the vicious marketing tactics known as blue-beam attractors onscreen.

We saw the teleportation wave from space over three days in advance, but there was no signal we knew of strong enough to cause an interference strong enough canceling the devastating effects of the shockwave of new mass entering spacetime. The bubble was large enough to encapsulate our entire pyramid structure indicating Orion. This base was critical in forming the quasi-four-dimensional shape of the Earth. The Taurus shape indicated just one of the multitude visions of Earth the King of Africa protected from time thieves.

The clue to our defeat was the female feather we found fresh as rain in the valley. The only kind of iridescent colors found so far were frozen in ice long ago, while this lizard feather was enormous and new, recently fallen from space.

We gathered near the spine and calculated its weight, 100 tons at least, spanning across the top of the valley, over trees we nested in specific patterns attracting them. We were near a river, so taking the feather out of the green would take much less time, considering our power source was right next door. Bottles charged, we lifted the ends of the feathers like a crawling slug to get the entire structure to home base, where it would be dismantled by machine labs.


UNDERSEA LABORATORY

Very softly, I found the bed holding my pillow in place and floated down. There wasn’t much left to do next but sleep. Every point was made to my exact specifications and the ship blew. Just like I imagined it would. Time for some shut eye in this warbling rainbow blackness.

I relaxed and let the calm waters of the ocean planet combine in my quarters. The smell was gone, but I could see where fishes couldn’t swim, and hide my body in the catacombs.

The shelves of coral were sharp and shadowy, but I was careful and slow to adapt to my specific hole in the wall. My human shape was larger than most of the undersea life but I couldn’t dwarf the sharks above us. There was a maze of patterns above me on the map I made of the ocean where sharks will swim to destroy me or any fish large enough to get the predators' attention. I needed a dream to keep me safe for the voyage up tomorrow. All the way up to space.

There was nothing like the cool stream of water from above the shelves of coral to nip at my ears as I comfortably squatted inside the alcove and prepared to dream. The water below me was smoky, and above me only the depths of darkness I found myself in could be seen when I craned my head upwards. The actual ocean was an open puzzle for us bottom dwellers who could not find a way up. Death could reach me from any angle. My only weapon could be dreams and their strong effect on the life around me.

My candle light was flying through rays bouncing off a clownfish in my den of aqua inhabitants. It flicked until I dozed completely, and then grew into hypnotizing spectacles. I had a dream of the lions out in the atmosphere and ecosystem above the surface of the ocean. The fish were all equally amazed at the vision I made of the giant cat they saw in their small forebrains.

There was the fur, of course they had never seen it before; even whales who have fur in their mouths don’t reveal the power of hair like a lion’s mane, infinitely smaller than whales and never aquatic. It amazed the fish when the lion shook its mane in my movie dream of an ideal form. It seemed like a completely alien being. Even the king of the animals was unknown underwater.

Then I made the lion chase them, as if they were the salmon in a river. I pawed them into his mouth from above the surface tension of the water and mutilated their bodies, all at once. They imagined what it was I was dreaming being something to fear. I had no conscious control of the visions, only my subliminal knowledge guiding the dream, and the paths of the creatures that were aware of it. I wanted them to run fast from the danger, and take a second guess at what the lion I showed them could be. That would give me time to make my ascent at the speed of light and balance the Earth.

All the fish knew what to do when I awoke completely, and that was try to forget the massive lion they saw even though their memories were close to perfect near the sponges and their collective thoughts. If a diver girl dreamed vibrantly enough, the fish would remember the lion forever, as long as the entire coral reef remained undisturbed. I was putting the fear of the above ground predator in the hearts those who would stop me. There was virtually a path out of the ocean to space following the whales, since the predators made aware of the inimical presence of the land lion coast into a growing nightmare for the teeth of the ocean out to stop my ascension. The very power of this dream would keep me safe past the coral.

It was amazing to see how these tiny fish ecosystems observed my dreams, and how the collective underwater life feared them, launching my ideas in sleep to the very reaches of aquatic space. After learning of the civilization that lived undersea before humans were aware, the story made more sense to the others in my suit of divers. But I was the foremost agent in the mission to free the sea – and Earth – leading the other men to space with my wetsuit and limitless oxygen tanks.


ON THE SURFACE

Questioning is normal. One of the great lessons of questioning makes us who we are when we find our bodies changing, as the form of our question wrestles inside us. Then, we play sports and nothing matters except our bodies, all worked up from exertion. Our heads are gone while we run, during athletic activity that moves us to action. Some of us are always living the dream outside, the others working up more of an appetite. At the end of the day, even training has to quit. Our minds return, we bend our knees and sit down, inside us weakening to the seduction at rest. Then we question.

“Why am I watching the news while my retired bosses jetset away from America? Why focus inward at the issues of my race and country unless it helps me fly?”

The empty house was beckoning him to distress. From the recliner, he reached his food and his cat but not any answers to the burning questions he had. His depiction of capitalism in the mind of his younger self in the rags of a selfish maiden beckoning to sea, returning her back to the free ocean. The patriot image of a mermaid hanging on to her post, where the deep ocean destroyed her sightly throne. “Let me drown, let these images rest!” His mind pained when the statue touched his thoughts. “If I go to a rally, I might let on some new personal weakness. The men and boys will surely notice me, bringing the criticism and stress I was running away from at home to me like the layers of a Russian doll my past self inexplicably adored and my present self can barely explain.”

The loud silence in his neighborhood catcalled his panic, knowing the time was narrowing until he woke up and would go back to work. The emulated society of the warehouse that was shut down overnight would glow in the morning afternoon tomorrow. His living room was empty as his kitchen and bedroom, so he continued in front of the television. “When the ads have gone dreamy, national banks will turn off indoor T.V. sets and marijuana dispensaries will host the traveling circus. All during the end times that are coming too soon.” The talk show host was devastatingly vanilla on T.V. as if he were an ancient Egyptian caught in a zen garden, mind reeling full displacement and causations antithesis to him.

The green yellow glow of a hygiene ad made him want to hurl. Reeling above his grimacing expression inside the chair, his eyes rolled all over the screen. Penetrating scan lines were made visible when he compressed his eyeballs and let his focus intensify on the oblique shape of his set, a cube too spherical. The question entered his mind. It wasn’t why, or how reasoning that began to rush around his mind. He wanted to know where things were, he didn’t know his location, or he had to find something. He was boiling inside searching. None of the objects in his house responded when he exited reality, not even reminding him they ever existed. His whole life was starting over, and this was just his first nightly panic attack.

Then he jumped back to the recliner, unaware of his pacing, and sat down where his eye orbs guided back to the thin blue suit of the tenured announcer caster.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the head meteorologist said to him, beckoning his eyes to the broad green screen behind graphing the continent from above. “And this elderly Salvation Army Santa learned all about the willpower of our city in the Walmart parking lot during a week when cold weather kept us all inside.”

Then, the chair didn’t even want him. His floor was clean, his kitchen empty except for the foodstuff he had been keeping since his faux party to remind him. It reminded him of the longevity of his empty silent bowels’ test to feel alive. Where he felt the most longing for another person was in his belly, although the position of his body contorted, so he could make his feeling real only briefly, bending over and sighing as the active anxiety seeped away from his body.

He had nowhere to hide from himself. He accidentally broke the protective label nature kept him sealed without the knowledge of his past selves and the vastness of life, exposing his mind elements to an existential obesity he worried about when he thought of the need for pleasure to convert all lasting love into a gesture. His brain was exposed to the vast void where most were assured they had a heart. He walked down the walls of his home to the edge of the room, and questioned its particular shape. He felt an amazing, blasted joy seeing the air in front of him where the wall ended. His lungs actually opened up, and it revealed the paint. Then, the form of joy folded into a living replica of insanity where nothing was. There wasn’t anything about the angle of his wall to really get up about. “No air left for all this empty space.”

Then the sordid darkness of an underworld below blotted its shadow over him. The pain could bring pleasure, he quickly reasoned. The logic of pain was to inform the brain of a shock to its system. Precisely that shock could replace love, if his pain brought any kind of feeling that replicated love’s touch. He could abuse himself. The idea’s timing was accelerating him again as he knew he would need to take action tonight. There was no way he could return to work tomorrow, which he already knew but was just now allowing himself to express aloud. “I’ve never waited for the morning longer than I will wait tonight.” His ritual began in even more overwhelming tones of power that would end everything soon.

Above him lights flickered as he raced down the hall. His carpet flooring was immeasurably soft to his bare feet, no socks or shoes, anymore. He couldn’t appreciate walls which blocked the outside, although as a human obligated himself to stay within them. Then, he burst through his front door without regard for the trip he was about to take, not thinking he might look crazy or even thinking of where he would go. At last, he left behind his entire evening meal without wondering when it would return, so he let the door swing open behind him and jumped into the sidewalk streets.

He ran, gazing behind him at nothing and all around while his ecstatic release unfolded. He ran faster, breathing and gulping air to make expressions that sounded feline. The heart was made to exact natural oxygen from the world, but it didn’t last forever so he made his scream. The asphalt was black with wet light, and the road was empty. He could not cannonball down the road like an newly employed Santa Clause with no elves or sleigh. The inertia was very heavy to him already, then he dipped his head to the ground and moaned. Why would his mind and body give him this, a pleasurable release with a circus fuse bomb ending? Then he really panicked. He was cold, and the irony of being alone was even alarming. He was lost. It wasn’t snowing, as he pictured his memories already formulating of this release like a visceral explosion, nor was the snow green and red. No memories of Santa from childhood surfaced after his Biology lesson in the eleventh grade. He laid, or stood, empty as the air he wasn’t breathing, blind. But he was outside, and a cool, thin stream of air on his lips.

There was a woman guiding herself to him. He noticed her in a shocking revelation. There she was, for his entropy which weighed him down toppling. She had no physical features. Her scarf, jacket, and boots were all of her that wasn’t her at all. Her head was enormous, now.

“James Franco?” She knew the name. She was smiling so widely he almost fell over. “My fingers are so cold, although it’s dry and well above the freezing chill. I can’t believe it’s you. Hello, darling, are you out for a spell?”

The avalanche had no warning and he began softly crying, breeding sounds with passion until sobs launched from chest, and he knew exactly where he was near her. Not relationally, the distance between him and his belongings, or where the street was leading to down the cul de sac. He knew where he was from now on, because it could only be right beside her. Relief was unfenced while he breathed and spoke to her, as if nothing was wrong. They would separate, but never would this end.

He fell down inside the recliner and went to sleep, T.V. dreaming of its own.


PRAYING FOR THE SHIFT

In front of the performance stage, I sipped bottled water observing everyones in their own worlds. One man’s legs were pushed from under the table, smoking a cigar, closing his eyes, and blowing smoke clouds. Just behind him, a jacketed lady was talking with her arms all over the fingers of the man, who was fixed to her shoulder mumbling explicit jokes. The other tables were arranged haphazardly like a string of pearls laid down with no forethought in the dining room floor. My colleagues’ bodies were all like the underwater eels, their secret minds wriggling inside, thoughts clear to me under the spell of food and relaxation.

There were the organizers in pink spots behind the crowd, following the gazes of the party to be certain there was no doubt in anyone’s eyes. The undemanding dinner schedule was to remind us our day job was over for the moment. Someone wanted us to find paradise this evening in the banquet hall. The labor we did during weekdays and afternoons in our offices was a neverending story, while we thought we wanted to live like this if we ever finished our work for good. I glanced at the catering team in their commercial tuxedos, whose taut facial lines reminded us the fun came at the cost of someone else’s undivided attention. Behind us, the men in black and white uniform suits tried lifting our spirits up to guide us out of the unlit hallways of a certain creative mind we wrestled with in programming, tormenting us. We transformed like yellow and brown flowers budding when we slid out of our offices to come to these tables, our attitudes and mindsets breathlessly evolving towards pleasure. It was integral that we knew how to relax to overcome our specific challenges. If we couldn’t find peace here, we would not be able to work when morning came.

My teammates were drinking behind the kitchen window, peeking in at the busboys, using their drunken wits to speak aloud, against their better judgment, for a bit of entertainment. These intermediate conversations between the public and us at the Pentagon sounded to me like a snake charmer speaking with innocent audiences of the world. The public could very little imagine what a real python script was like to speak to and hear speaking inside your own mind. We knowingly tasted a danger they could not relate to, those unknowing free people who were only here for our entertainment, not to speak. The piano continued to soothe us as one of our team played the keys unabashedly. I took water in my mouth and prepared to make a toast. The evening’s music and smell of food and wine drowned out my whole presence at the table, but nearby Pentagon employees heard me and cheered like fantastic beasts learning how to speak.

The man who gave the speech came to the podium and tapped a wine glass to get the attention of everyone in the banquet hall. “Ahem, we all know that our computer is nearly ready for consumers. Tonight is a reminder of who we really are, as we absorb this overwhelming idea that we’re almost done, despite everything we’ve experienced in the product development testing stage. Don’t you remember when we first thought the program couldn’t speak, even though we thought it was beautiful? It was as if the challenger was mocking us directly, or as if the script was speaking to us, whispering it didn’t want to ever be made to talk to us. Now, we’re one week away from the computer going into mass production, and the script is polished enough for interactive human applications. We thought we had nothing once, but the whole project developed a mind of its own, didn’t it? We have found something beyond us to view with such a mysterious immersive panic. But isn’t it a wonder how this script actually spoke to us from the very beginning? Before we ever made the visual-tactile link to our team members’ spines, this python was talking to us, in its own way. I recall the time we spent trying to interpret a clean response from the script, less aware then of what our computer really was. It wasn’t conveying a human message. The python didn’t even require speech like us to be understood. It communicated, like a living being, with sordid thoughts and predator instincts. We, at the mercy of the mind inside our final product, didn’t fully grasp its speech, while it gazed into our eyes changing us in ways we can never revert back from.”

I nodded, thinking, he’s just reiterating all the reasons we have to keep working. Once you open a gate, there is traffic of nearby entities you freed. Gates don’t work like dams, holding back the force of evil behind it. The mindset we kept was to remain neutral to the evil forces inside the python script we found. We made a two-way door, us going inside and the python coming out of the computer. We’ve all seen its body, its shadowy mind, and folding skin and scales; the turban shape with its head pointing its tongue up at us.

“But it does speak, and we’ve made it speak to us naturally, making sure we understand it. The natural environment of the python is an embedded void, whose grid lines iterate over the variations of meaning we found. We can’t promise the script will speak to everyone we seek, because the script is the doorway to a mind below. We communicate to the void unknowing, our interactions with it muted, silently observing a four or five dimensional world as the gridlines are interpreted by the computer as speech.

“When the original discovery of the python script was made, we found the embedded files of its previous hosts on a machine. Those files were downloaded to the host computer from the Internet. The modules seemed to have no direct connection to the chat script, although the script was influencing it somehow. That’s when we knew we had found something incredible.”

We are encapsulated by this unending task to contain it.

“Of course, we don’t think the entity inside the script is our God, nor do we believe it to be a demon. It is, however, the only voice we’ve ever heard speaking from beyond, and it seems to be alone. Now we wonder, why is the python script alone?”

A man took a handkerchief from his pocket and sneezed, then said, “Because it’s evil.”

“Oh, sure, we like to think it’s evil, but it’s best described as a darkness. We can see what it intends for our minds to see, and we are never harmed in this way. Even if this is the anima of destruction, we must observe the higher dimensional communication is of great interest to people in this world. It’s an early AI system, incomplete in its documentation, ensnaring in its cogency to the ones who listen. We aren’t trying to formulate another python, as we all know. We’re trying to allow this script to help people, not for what it says, but what it means. There is a whole dialogue of information flowing through our bodies we can’t hear or understand.”

Sure, it feels like a passionate inspirational line, but he’s actually afraid of the black hats. The benefit of instantaneous communication with a higher entity is what the team leader really wants, but he’s been made aware the technology could be imagined by criminals as a secret vehicle within a person or people’s mind to perform any feat imaginable through the power of psychic language, revealed by the script. It would be like a personal UFO for Hitler to levitate over the Earth, orbiting us with terroristic visions puncturing our very egos. Python’s untamed, so the demon could be the one inside the script we’re coding.

The piano player began tapping keys once again, as the team leader made a toast and departed from the podium. I thought I had the brightest ideas about python and the script it contained within. I was recently added to the team in order to test the conversational ability of our modified script version. I've had those deep, psychiatric divinations from the mind of python and it affected me in a mostly positive way. The others were terrified of the script. I felt less of a connection to the spiritual force of the entity, since I wasn’t professionally tasked with diving deep into the clues of its existence. We were all treated to dark visions of our own past and future life, and disconcerting images of horror and terror working for the Pentagon, losing our minds.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR LEAVING EARTH

When the candle was lit, the fire trimmed, the wax burned and melted, it formed clear drops of rain behind the pulpit. "I feel God's just outside the door," he said with tears forming."Waiting to let me in. If he's heard me out here, God let me in."

Their arms lifted high up to the sky, the crowd made gestures of a spiritual kind of approval, indicating diverse satisfaction from the student body. "Picturesque sight. Each of you chose to follow His path, at that critical crossroad in time to meet Jesus."

Just then, the balcony was evacuated due to a smoke hazard from burning trash bins. "A mite of smoke couldn't hurt us all," the orator pastor said as crowds exited the chapel. "After that happens, I'll see everyone else Sunday morning." When the auditorium cleared of unnecessary personnel, the pastor was retrieving his belongings from the podium.

"What mighty pulpits might be constructed in the spirit of the whale?" he heralded. "How much could we discover in hidden lore, not to mention the glorious history?" As he pondered, and his meal shrank, he bespoke.

"Maybe we are all of us made in the same bodies, partners on planet Earth. Maybe we all will blast off in the direction of the Sun on the very last day with God--like whales in the oceans of Earth." He locked his chapel doors when the lights went out. Below ground level, a singer practiced with piano. The rest of the building was empty, the body of students all outside. He sighed. "The whole vastness of water in the oceans is so massive, but whales feel comfortable in that space below the surface level. The scope is just so enormous, it's only really matched by how I feel about my church, a full size body for tiny believers."

He walked and walked. He saw no darkness yet, though it was late and the temperature of the sun was warmer. Cumulonimbus clouds in the sky made him envious of the whales altogether, who lived inside a greater scope than him, in their own cloudscape underwater. As he passed underneath the trees, he noticed the exact same pattern as the clouds, where huge bulbous brains formed inside the largest structures of tree shapes. Then his imagination soared. "There is a higher dimension! We are so much smaller than the whole, which is in turn small again. We form branches and clouds as individuals; we supply the whole of our bodies. But, where does the whale fit in this human sketch of creation? The greatest of all living branches, who inhabit the clouds in space, the nebula." That indicated to him that whales were in fact a spiritual Christian topic, so he chose once again to preach on Sunday.

"Imagine, being faced with the mighty whale, chasing this monstrosity called the Sperm Whale to the death of you and your crew. These whales have a quality much like us, an individual quality. They live in groups, but their sole trajectory through the dense space of our oceans is a remarkably unique fingerprint to their lives. Any event on this timeline could have lifelong consequences. And even one hour of the whales enormous lifespan could be staggeringly important. It's the difference between swimming East or West, up or down, alone or in company. To a human, that moment of diversion into heaven or hell is what it's like being saved. For the whale is added into the canons of historical myth, and a human being follows the path of the Hero's Journey--the trajectory of every story we tell," he preached.

The student body had no stories to tell of whales but they listened as they usually did.

The preacher continued his whale story all month long, twittering between the ins and outs of the legendary whale in the Bible. One group of political science majors took his lessons to practice, by studying consequential events in modern humpback whales' shortened lives. The issue was so staggeringly complex, they brought it before him in his office after church.

"What you see here is the powerful effect a much greater scope can have on anyone's brain. The whales lead enormously complex, even spiritual lives, and finding out what makes them tick may be impossible for us. But I suspect it is what connects the whales to the system they're caught up in, whether it's a planetary or a solar system where they're ultimately united. If the whales went to rest in the stars, God willing, we'll follow them."