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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
...awakening up into a particular reality to realize that you're awakening up into a particular reality to realize that you're...

Submitted: April 17, 2016

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Submitted: April 17, 2016




squeals Time as it kicks me in the synapses. I roll up a bill and take a long hit out of the snooze button. There’s a heated exchange, and by the Time I run out of product I’m quite sober and very late for my existence.

Outside the sky is clobbering the earth with tiny fists of fury and I quickly understand that my pointed apathy shield will be of little use. On my way to prison I drop by the pharmacy for a shot of caffeine. The lady at the counter asks if I have any change instead of the small, consoling picture. Further down the road, a man politely offers me a small piece of Truth. Before I can politely make a getaway, he pricks me in the logic.

Plodding my way through the viscous, early morning texture I arrive in Time to strap off my soggy brain, toss it into the pile at the front and sneak into my cell just as God walks in and immediately starts handing back the assignments from the week before. He looks disheveled and overworked in his worn out, supreme-being uniform. The wrinkles of light that undulate along his flimsy aura speak of the divine levels of stress he’s subject to: A master of the universe with the infinitely-pronged arrow of Time stuck deep up his ass. Small wonder assignments are never returned the day they're supposed to be. God hands them back in the usual metacognitive order, and today I’m at the very bottom of the pile.

After they've all been crumpled up and thrown into the old assignments box for concept recycling, he heads over to his desk, rummages around in his omnicomprehensive briefcase and pulls out today's ones. Each individual gets a different assignment that is crafted uniquely – and grudgingly – for them by God's assistant, which then gets approved by God. Mine reads: "Challenge yourself to a duel with an unrepentant fork." I’ll have to think this one over. Unfortunately we aren't allowed the use of grey matter for assignments. Brains are for categorizing information, or the occasional lab test, and that's about it. I’ll need another body part to get the job done. I’ll have to think on my feet. 

After several macromoments of feetstorming back and forth inside my cell, Time gets bored, picks up pieces of leftover knowledge from the junk pile, and starts hauling them at me with its powerful, unstoppable arms. I take cover behind my self-regulator and for a while remain safe from its attacks, until the processing unit runs out of internal power and I find myself once again at the mercy of this temporal data assault. All of a sudden Time picks up a sparkling idea that dances with life. It obliviously cocks its arm to throw, launches, and is just about to release the idea from its grip when it glimpses my greedy, eager eyes, and instantly realizes the grave violation it’s about to commit due to a simple sorting error. Panic-stricken, it wraps its fingertips around the idea barely enough to prevent it from escaping its grasp as the momentum of the moment is unleashed. I try with all my might to pry the fast-evaporating beauty out of its clenched fist, but it's gone.

Time heaves a tick of relief. I suddenly realize that it's being particularly present today. I wonder if the problem is just inside my timeline, or if it’s all over the timetree. Hopefully not the latter. I'll have to drop by the Infinity department later for a checkup. But that’ll require a signed permission from the teacher assistant. Ugh. Time leaves me alone for a while...

It's a while later and I’ve made no progress on the assignment. Time is whimpering noisily in the corner and I can't ignore it any longer because now it's lunch Time.

My favorite part of the day, apart from watching the sun, is traveling back and forth between my cell and the cafeteria because I get to visually explore the Building. The Building is where everybody comes to exist, and it's pretty special: It has the shape of an oblate spheroid, enjoys its own internal biochemical regulator that comes in all the colors of the emotional spectrum, but most importantly, it's upgradable. This particular version showcases yellow-green rooms, dark-blue corridors, and pale, blue-white ceilings that say “V” and “v” and “M” and “m” over and over in black. It's quite beautiful. I enjoy wandering past the different departments and imagining how their rooms are decorated on the inside. All you can see from the outside are the enlarged photographs of barbed wire fencing covering the walls, the same ones from the glossy brochure.

I reach the cafeteria. On the menu today is word salad and alphabet soup, served usual screen in as plate the bowl uitgh jx frahgyol. With my courage bent into a hook, I fish out a couple of conformity coins from the darkest corner of my soul to trade in for the plat-du-jour. I pick up my tray and trek out to the far end of the cafeteria. I stop at the last table and steal a glance at its single occupant on the far opposite side, before taking a seat.

The Subordinate-almighty-teacher-assistant-nominee, despite looking no less burnt out than his all-powerful boss, is devouring his meal at a supernatural rate. He occasionally interrupts his intake to rest for a few seconds, panting heavily from the physical, mental, and spiritual work the grand majority of his six hundred and sixty-six senses are engaged in. He certainly does have a lot on his plate. Aside from assignments to write, faculty meetings to organize and marketing seminars to oversee, his Red-collar job requires him to personally handle the blazing trail of paperwork scattered about in God’s everlasting wake. All this renders him, quite understandably, diabolically ill-natured.

I bite into my food and masticate slowly on a piece of misfortune, eyeing the animated scene out of the corner of my peripheral vision and dreading the inevitable interaction to follow. Upon finishing his meal, the assistant rises to his feet.

“Excuse me. Uh, Mr. Subordinate-almighty-teacher-assistant-nominee?”

“It's Satan. Whaddyou want?”

“Sorry to bother you, Satan. I was just hoping you could sign this permission form for me? I need a tempo checkup.”

“Tempo checkup. What the hell for? Can’t see any screen tearing. Sync rate looks just fine.”

“Oh it's not my syncing, my Time is too present. When I said tempo I just meant temporar–”

“Oh for fuck’s sake as if I didn't have enough brainless dipshits around here to deal with already! Can't tell the difference between his sync rate and a fucking sensory anomaly!!! OKAY GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY VISUAL FIELD!.” He tosses the form aside and storms off. As I bend over to pick it up I’m relieved to see his initials burned into the bottom right corner.

I quietly finish my lunch and make my way over to the Infinity department, where I'm greeted by a Time expert. I hand over the form and proceed to describe the exasperating manifestations of Time throughout my day. He shows me into the Timetree generator, straps a belt around my Timeline and activates a few switches. A small brown tube materializes out of the nearby counter-like surface, out of which erupts a vast network of smaller, equally brown arteries that expands and multiplies upward.

“I'm just gonna ask you a couple questions, ‘kay?” I nod.

“So. What Time is happening right now?”

“The present.”

“What Time was happening before now?”

“The present.”

“What Time will be happening after now?”

“The present.”

He nods, scribbles something on his pad, walks me over to the Timetree: “Alright so we're gonna need to overwrite this part here,” he points down at a tiny bright green bud tucked deep inside a cluster of identical brown veins amongst the ever-growing structure, “and then perform a quick system reboot to restore its function to the main Timevein. Truth exposure?” he asks, still pointing at the bud.

“Yeah. I got a bit distracted on my way this morning. Can't really afford the protection kit, you know.”

“Sure. Alright well strap on this brain here and stand perfectly still. Won't take more than a micromoment.”

He activates a few more switches. There’s a low hiss. I feel a tiny glitch in my sync rate.

“Alright. What Time is happening right now?”

“The present.”

“What Time was happening before now?”

“The past.”

“What Time will be happening after now?”

“The future.” Scribbles again in his pad.

“Alright. Good to go.”

“Thanks. So what do you think happened this Time?”

“Well, these Truth viruses are getting smarter, that's what. They know they can't directly alter neurological functions anymore thanks to our new brain walls, so instead they'll exploit an event to plant a backdoor in one of your Timelines. That is then used to hack into all the cognitive systems of your Timetree, one by one, in order to connect them all to the main Timevein. Obviously, if all the systems are successfully connected, the simultaneous syncing that occurs in the Timetree basically obliterates every reality involved. Now the infection rate of a virus moving through a tree will vary depending on factors like uhm, branch density, or events within the individual Timelines however, the success or failure of the infection is ultimately determined by the initial contaminant exposure, which in your case was negligible enough to allow for the effects to be completely reversed. It's a good thing you didn't wait any longer before coming in though, or I'd have a whole goddamn Timetree of you lining up in here. You know, as a general rule it's good to limit brain usage as much as possible to avoid cross-contamination from exposed Timelines. All it takes is for any one of you to space out for a moment and just like that you’re truthfucked. They can't hack into your brain if you're not wearing one, right?”

“Yeah. No, you're right. Thanks again.”

My thoughts are hazy as I head over to the Solarium for the long-awaited afternoon diversion. When everyone is seated, the sun emerges out of a fog of chemicals in the same grey, politically correct lab coat it always dons inside this stage of consciousness. I wonder to myself how long it's been since I last feasted my eyes on its glowing, naked curves dancing freely across the ceiling. I then wonder how I came to be in possession of such a memory. Probably just a glitch from the system reset.

The sun is gone just as fast as it appeared. I make my way back to my cell, strap on a brain from the pile at the front and head for the exit. For some reason I can't stop thinking about that tiny green bud. I wonder if it’s another side effect from the reset…

On my way home, the same person from this morning corners me in a narrow alleyway. This Time he's carrying a massive, quadruple-pronged statement of Truth the likes of which I’ve never seen before. He threatens to fork me with it unless I fork out my possessions.

It's not like I’ve never tasted Truth before today. In fact, we even used to prepare our meals with it every now and then; a little pinch of the thing can really enhance the flavor of a dish. However, on account of its harmful effects when handled in raw form, and because it becomes increasingly hard to control the dosage and prevent its aroma from overpowering the other ingredients and spoiling an entire dish, we eventually stopped using it in favor of milder virtues. So while I have some immunity to the substance, to be casually pricked by some puny little Truth is one thing, to be impaled by a towering, razor-sharp-polished Truth is an entirely different story and I'm not about to take any chances. 

I empty my pockets, letting the few rolls of pride I have left fall to the ground. He’s not content. My thoughts watch, paralyzed and powerless as the Truth is thrust into me and emerges, scintillating, from the other end of myself...


. . . .


…a pair of terrifying, soft blue eyes holds my consciousness in its warm embrace...the omnipenetrating gaze delicately shatters the texture of my reality…pixels soaring in every direction…a dismembered chrysalis floats timelessly to the ground, majestically sucked into the emerging void...


. . . .


"Good morning," dances Time

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