“Though nothing means anything and all roads are marked “NO EXIT,” yet move as if your movements had some purpose”
THE MASTER GAME, Robert S de Ropp, 1913–1987
Aleister, you’ve seen the Corvette, are you sure? Vitor Weiss’s pulse raced. Suddenly Vitor’s eyes began to itch, his ears rang, he felt tired; while his heart continued to accelerate. Would he explode? Did humans explode? He grabbed his cellphone and checked the time, 23:00, 11:00 PM. He was tired. He needed to sleep, he thought, although he had never slept before.
Predation risk, that was the compelling reason for Vitor to remain alert. He knew there were far more vicious than this one who would kill or worse, sometimes even eating their victims. Zealand, a New Zealand… Yes people were crazy. His mind shuffled the cards of memory, shimmering waves of words and images he harvested from the Internet on that Laptop PC inside Angela Weiss’s Library at Parrot Cove, Skyhaven, New Hampshire.
Angela had warned him in spite of his energy, intellectual acuity, and cognitive speed; all which, she told him, were exceptional; that he would eventually need to rest. Aleister the failed highwayman, untidy person, buffoon, and general nuisance seemed to be nearly as spent as he, Vitor, but still… it was late in the evening and Vitor’s assignment incomplete.
Vitor Weiss wondered exactly how human or not human he, Posthuman-Weiss, would turn out to be? Is this what a naturally manufactured human felt like on a daily basis? Were they — mixed humanity, a culture of random cells, not pure — once small, like tiny Angela, and before that smaller still, and winged; like the fragile air creatures? Gulls, his mind grepped and parsed the data he had gathered while Angela watched with large eye-openings.
He replayed his first seventeen hours of consciousness: Angela against the backdrop of the new day, Vitor’s day. Tungsten fire chasing shades of blues regency steel sapphire ultramarine. The gulls gliding lazily warming their bodies gathering the strength to find food to eat…
They snatch from the sea, the gulls, she told him. Tiny fishes at the surface, picked like berries on the hill to the cliff here. Mollusks — shell things. Little worms — wiggly. In the summer season, bits of dropped fried dough from tourists…
And after that, he asked? They glide and enjoy the view from above. They breath the salty air. They drink from the salty sea — don’t you drink the salty sea, Vitor. Fed and watered, they rest and hover and wait for the night. The following day, once more they rise and warm themselves…
Skyhaven Beach State Park. Aleister told Vitor there was a new Corvette, color of soft obsidian, brilliant; one could count each and every star’s reflection on the surface of the vehicle. It’s the old state park by the steel bridge crossing the river, on the other side. You’ve walked past the new state park, its gray, white, clean with an amphitheatre like a huge seashell with wooden panelling… Right? Vitor?
Vitor, the ‘Vette, it’s yours — no Angela, your old lady? Vitor held aloft what Angela called keys and clicker momentarily, before his companion could snatch and run. Vitor’s other hand clutched tightly the Monkey-Mind-Machine he had wrested from the pathetic troll who would steal his stuff. Hungry children, Aleister told Vitor. Where are these hungry ones?
They had arrived. At a large overhead metal door Aleister-Thief squirmed, waved and shook his hands, shrouding the secret spell-weaving. The door rolled up, shrieking like a slain and dying dragon beast.
The air and the machine, smooth glossy scented of steel oil rubber adhesives. Tall tires a foot wide. Aleister smiled crookedly beseechingly beaming at his new master.