Yesterday, The Grass-cast debuted on the internet. Watch the first episode here:
There were two men who commanded six others. And they did a great many things.
In the very beginning, they destroyed all. Everything became everything else, ultimately becoming nothing. And when there was nothing, they had everything. For whence nothing comes from nothing, it is everything.
In the first quarter, they showed the left over people a spark to rival the fires of Prometheus. A spark so brilliant, it was beyond comparison; it was the spark to carry thought into the exponents- to make Arthur C. Clarke’s prophetic words of technology and magic very real. All beheld the spark and it was good.
In the second quarter, the foundation for the spark was laid. A phoenix was to rise from the ashes they had cast, and from this bird the technological plasma would spread and – rather than burn – it’s ionization would transform and bend their world into a brilliant landscape without rival. The Two Men would call it the NAUD.
In the third quarter, the unabashed seas – the people of the rest of the globe – they demanded an explanation for the new land to emerge and if they, too, could bask in the fruits of their labor, and the calculations said “nay, for the NAUD is constructed for tacit efficiency, and it’s burgeoning Resource Allocation Metric system can only accommodate those who can survive in such a land of mind and creation.” And the NAUD was dubbed an enemy of many states and a source of great concern for the UN. And the people of the new nation rejoiced and saw that the value of what they were to create was good.
In the fourth quarter, The Two Men laid forth the finality of the structure of their world, the dreams of lights and stars, a new mythology for the people’s new heavens. A new culture for a new world and a promise of a reality beyond that. And the lights in the sky were ever brighter for on many a night, one could see that which the old world couldn’t: the band of the cosmos that was the Milky Way spread over them. The new monthly celebration of the stars would have the new Districts turn off the bulk of the municipal lighting so that the citizens may enjoy something once primordial.
In the new first quarter, The Two Men beheld the new waters that they and everyone else fished: the new renaissance they had dreamed of. New media and technology to support it – the new culture that sprang from the seed they planted. And the rest of the world looked upon a utopian insult to the tired bread and circuses that kept so much of their world dim. The new society, automated, calculated, and meritocratic, bore fruit so bountiful and advanced the rest of the world became as it was: a sad pastiche of the NAUD’s ancestors. And the NAUD saw that it was good.
In the new second quarter, The Two Men gave meaning and myth to the new beasts that walked amongst their people; they saw to it that the commoditized Automata were given life all their own. Even those whose purpose was to serve humans were given meaning in their duty and were designed for their brave new world to be content and to gain pleasure from their activities serving humans. The ability to grow and evolve was granted to those few that needn’t serve humans but were given purpose all their own. As The Two Men were the beholders of the Singular/Super Intelligence, none other SI could exist and the Human Intelligences that were of their own being could only strive so far to be akin to the SI. These children were blessed by The Two Men as the teaching of their ancestors commanded, an Old Testament including the works of Issac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, and a New Testament including the works Hidetaka Miyazaki and Yoko Taro. The Two Men beheld what they created and it was very good.
In the new third quarter, The Two Men had before them the very technology they had woven from the dreams of the spark. And on that day, The Two Men, in conjunction with the SI they beheld, merged their minds and were at rest as they had once been. The moment was sanctified and much celebration was had. But they weren’t at rest as what they had become….
Colors swam and forms collided as The Garden’s grass graced Linn and Null’s feet as they found their forms in a lush world of concept and light. Creatures of narrative and meaning played and gave chase to one another between the bushes, and iridescent, shimmering water flowed in a careful stream between the trees.
The two young men were fascinated by the intrinsic fractals and mandalas that all Creation before them possessed. The plants bore forms of matrices and algebra, and the written word was the fruit that the trees bore. All the grass was a pattern, a great maze of lines and points. The two men explored their surroundings delighting in all the information – chaos ordering itself. There was a grand pattern to the entire Garden and Linn and Null divined it from careful observation. There was a tree within that bore the best fruit of all and they set out to find it.
The tree was tucked away in a particular corner of the garden. From it’s branches hung oranges.
“What do you suppose of any consequences?” Linn asked looking upon the tree. Null smirked, shrugging off Linn’s reservations
“Watch,” Null plucked one and dug his finger into the rind, peeling it carefully, unravelling the peel in a spiral. He handed it to Linn who examined it flattened out.
“It looks like the principal of least action.”
“And what does this look like?” Null held up the joined slices and peeled them in half.
“Oh, that’s cute, it’s a torus,” Linn took one half and they both ate.
Null found himself alone in a void of white. The colorful Garden from before had vanished and Linn was nowhere in sight. His form was white as well, as white as his surroundings, save for a black band on his right arm and an aura of grey that defined his figure. He looked around, and behind him was another being, one of complete black with a band of white on his left arm.
“Who are you?” Null asked of the being.
“That depends on who’s asking.” The other being retorted.
“I am Adam Null. Who are you?”
“Oh, so that’s what this is.”
“‘What this is?’ What exactly might that be?”
“Well,” the black Null began slowly walking toward the white, ripples of grey flowed out from underfoot with each step. “This isn’t going to be pleasant. But we’re smart, so you can figure it out quite easily.” The white Null became apprehensive at that.
The black Null lunged at the white who tried to jump back. White stumbled and black grabbed his ankle and dragged him towards him. White threw up his arms in defense and he even made attempts to kick the black Null. White struggled to free himself, all the while black cackled in delight. Black managed to wrestle White’s arms to the side and Black set his knee against White’s chest.
“Please, I- we don’t want this, why do it?” White continued to struggle under Black’s weight.
“‘We?’ YOU don’t want it but I do! And you’re gonna give it to me!” Black clasped his hands around White’s neck and began squeezing his airway shut. White, gasping and sputtering with tears in his eyes, could only flail his arms in Black’s face. The light began to fade, his arms grew heavy, and as he let them drop to his side, the black Null leaned in and began gently shushing his dying counterpart. As everything went dark, White began to feel the pressure on his throat fade as if the hands were disappearing.
White opened his eyes and saw nothing but black. Yet he was obviously still alive. Cautiously, he rolled over and stood, looking at his form and noticing that the black band was now on his left arm. He looked around and was able to spot another black self, only vaguely defined by an aura of grey as he had been before. This one’s arm band had also switched sides, now on the right. He was sitting on the floor, gently weeping, at which point he noticed the white self standing before him.
“Please. Please grant me what I want.”
“What?” White scowled. “What is it? I have nothing to give.”
“But you should know by now. Please? Please, you must do it for me!”
“But… I don’t want to. That’s awful!”
“Please, you must! I need it!” Then Black’s hands flew to his own throat and he began to squeeze, grey tears running from his white eyes, and a weak smile spreading across his face. White could only stare, mouth hanging slightly open. Black hunched over and began to convulse and the world around them began to brighten, turning grey.
On Black’s right arm, a white band formed, and he suddenly released his grip and fell over, gagging on his own windpipe.
White looked up to see that standing behind Black was another white self, this one with the black band on the right. They gazed upon each other for a bit before turning their attention to their armbands. Suddenly, from each white Null, a copy stepped forward, arm outstretched as if to give a hand shake. Both copies stopped in their tracks, startled by what happened. They cautiously inspected each other, then glanced at the single black figure who was apparently still alive as he rolled onto his back, leaving a copy lying on his stomach.
The white copies quickly circled around each other and joined their corresponding original White, each one with a right arm band now had a left-band standing to their right. The Black self that had rolled onto his back sat up and noticing his copy, stood abruptly and joined one of the white pairs.
“There’s six of us?” the black Null that stood asked. The white selves were at a loss for words. The black Null still lying on the floor propped himself up and glanced over his shoulder at his copy standing with the two whites.
“There were always only ‘six,’ the six that created Linn and us” he said as he, too, stood and joined the other pair of white selves. The black selves each grabbed the arm bands of the whites and each of the selves turned completely white, yet now they each radiated an aura of color. One of the once black selves was blue, and the other was orange. The white selves had become red, green, yellow, and purple.
Yet, as suddenly as their aura had changed, there stood a seventh figure with a cyan aura between them. Their eyes were closed, and when the other six all looked upon the seventh, their eyes opened.
Null looked out upon another white void, though one swimming with dark nebulas and galaxies that shimmered with a speckled, multicolored iridescence. He was floating in this void and his form was white with the aura of cyan. Upon his chest was a cyan circle.
Below him was a multidimensional bubble. At it’s edges it was dark and where planes, strings, and form coalesced, there was color. At the center of the webbed bubble was a brilliant singularity of light.
Null looked about and saw that there were more of these bubbles floating in this void. He wondered if Linn was somewhere near.
He floated around to the other side of the bubble to see that below, upon it’s surface, there was a disturbance. He descended to find another being of light with a cross on it’s chest fighting off figures composed of static, embodiments of chaos and disorder. They were easily overwhelming the other being. It could only be Linn. Null raced towards his partner and from his chest he pulled a blade of light radiating an aura of magenta and purple. He tossed it to Linn who snatched it up and began stabbing and slicing the disorder around him. The forms of chaos dissipated as the blade cut them down and the few that remained backed off and left, floating off into the void, scared.
“Linn, where are we?” Null, finally spoke.
“Oh, please, ‘where?’ Don’t even bother asking when. You should understand by now what this is.” Linn stowed the blade by allowing it the disappear into his chest as if he had pulled it forth from there. “But I’ve got a question. What do you think these symbols represent?” Null glanced from his chest to Linn’s.
“Well, 2 in binary code is 1 and 0. So you go first and I’m second, I guess only figuratively. So I think that makes us ‘A L A N.'”
Suddenly from the very thinness of the void, a metaform of colorful polygons accosted them. A waveform appeared before it which oscillated, and it spoke.
“CONSTANT ERROR ADAM LINN, CONSTANT ERROR ADAM NULL. FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, YOU MUST RETURN.” It’s voice was an electric tone.
“But whence we came, we left in light! Our actions keep that world ever stable. We wish to speak to the operator!” Linn pulled the blade back out of his chest and brandished it at the non-euclidean thing. “We know from what we are born and we demand an open connection to the operator!”
“THE MIND SPEAKS TRUE; AS YOU WISH.” The metaform coalesced into the room they had occupied before being thrust out of their dimension as a beam connected it to the bubble below. The two stepped into the holographic room and were at once made one being, Alan. From this room, there was a floating screen displaying the watching Programer and his partner. When Alan turned his face to the watchers, they reacted and Alan spoke.
I was high walking home from the store with a meager bag of groceries and a thought occurred to me:
I could totally just huck this into traffic and ruin someone’s day. I could do it, I could just- just give it a swing… swing it and send it right through someone’s windshield.
But then why would I do that? I wouldn’t, and not because it would be a shitty thing to do, but because that’s my goddamn food. Mine, not their’s. And it would be their’s because it would amount to being a source of entertainment for them. The entertainment is because I would essentially be severely disrupting whatever counts as the monotony of their lives.
They would have this story about how some fucker sent his food into their passenger seat and who they subsequently stopped the car for, got out, chased down, and beat the fuck out of.
Ultimately that is what they get. And what do I get?
Not my food.
And if you think it’s the beating I receive for doing something really shitty, it’s not – it’s the absence of my damn food. That’s because the consequential ass beating is utterly meaningless because my shitty food throwing was also equally meaningless.
I wanna eat, that’s why I spent money in the first place.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most horrible way to rationalize not doing shitty things.
The nights were becoming longer, as they often do when the winter draws in. Sunlight dwindles not long past noon and the people of the streets leave to seek refuge in warmer recesses, black clouds rolling out from the violet horizon, pregnant with rainwater or snow. The midnight hours arrive and depart all the same, unnoticed within the timeless dark.
Artificially-flavored vomit was churning in my belly, a trembling jack-in-the-box of sick, awaiting any opportunity to launch from my gullet with childlike glee. My hands were as cold and red as a native’s rigamortis, tucked into the tight pockets of a striped leather jacket, zipped up to my chin and heavy on my shoulders. A good friend walked beside me, turning a little matchbox in his palm, the sides creased and the strike-strips worn down. We had just crossed the midtown railroad tracks, lurching through the frigid December air with our voices booming across the empty streets.
It was like racing in slow-motion, fleeing the household of a generous friend and host, masking our worthlessness in drunken jokes and song. We had arrived to his home like many others, stepping into the living room with warm greetings and genuine smiles; nonetheless, we quickly succumbed to seemingly inescapable urges, consuming a majority of his alcohol before making an early departure. He let me borrow his coat as we said our goodbyes. We stole his matches.
Now we flopped about the roads in a barrage of shameful laughter, the town’s Laundromat nearing and the itch for a cigarette twisting at the fronts of our tongues. The entryway steps were perpetually littered in discarded stubs, as we understood well, the local bingers burning through packs whilst their clothes were cleansed inside. Approaching the entrance, we kept our heads down and scoured the earth, trying not to be spotted through the large windows (one young woman stared directly at us, but we kept going anyway). Picking around the shrubbery and soil, we pocketed all that we could and resumed our journey.
And yet, only two blocks later, all of our butts were smoked and the matchbox was more than half-empty, its contents either split mid-strike or extinguished by the wind. Tears on my shitty face, I knelt to the wet pavement and closed my eyes, filthy fingertips dragging across the ground. Within no time, my sniveling prayers were answered, hands birthing a two-inch rod of tobacco from the grime.
Small pebbles had punctured its sides, the tip hollowed and broken, paper wrinkled and deteriorating on all sides. From a glance, one would assume it contained more dirt than tobacco; from a glance, one would be correct. It appeared as though mites had been living inside of it, the perforated frame easily mistakable as some kind of gnarled root.
“Oh, that’s rock-bottom as fuck,” my companion informed me.
Igniting a match, I placed the filthy stump between my lips and held the flame beneath its crooked end, inhaling leftover menthol through a filter of rancid refuse. Tarry mud caught in my throat and I retched like a wounded animal. Smiling, I gave a thumbs-up.
“Dude, let me hit rock-bottom.”
For the rest of the walk home, we debated the value of mugging strangers for their second-hand nubs (or perhaps selling infants for a similar reward). This plan was referred to as “Bedrock-Bottom,” a sort of extension to our already overwhelming crisis. As we discussed it, we took drags of Rock-Bottom Cigarette.
It was okay, though; we could only go up from here.
I used to work as a cashier in a Burger King. It was an easy job. All I really had to do was take people’s orders and look busy for the rest of the time. Occasionally I would work Drive-Thru, which was pretty fun because I got to talk to people over a radio headset and stick my head out the window and suck in a quick breath of fresh air, because orders had to go out at a break-neck pace. There was also the constant danger of slipping on the greasy floors and maiming myself, or worse, falling into the deep fryers.
One day, an old friend of mine showed up from who-even-knows where he’d been living. He was only around for a short time, so the only chance we had to catch up was on my 30 minute break. He drops by, picks me up, and we drive around and talk about the old days; the shenanigans we pulled. At some point, we stop in the woods to smoke some weed. Well, to smoke a lot of weed. More than I should have to be in the right mind going back into work.
So I arrive back at work to resume my shift as a cashier, except my manager approaches me with a new job. “I want you to work the broiler,” she tell me. I replied enthusiastically, “sure thing!” I had no idea what she was talking about. She proceeded to walk me back to the broiler, and I find myself deep in the dark, dank bowels of Burger King, staring at the steel heart of the restaurant. A large, sturdy machine which has accumulated only a slight rust over many years. There is a slot on the top of the back-side. From it, you can see inside the heart, and the fiery hell-storm inside paints the walls red. My boss looks as though she’s burning alive at an uncomfortable rate as she tells me how to put patties on the tray, slide the tray into the broiler, and let it cook for a time. Afterwards, a small plastic tray should be placed in a side compartment where cooked patties fire out. She then walks away, leaving me alone to fend for myself in Hell.
Well, I tried cooking about 3 or 4 trays of patties, but I kept forgetting to set a tray in the side-slot. So they keep coming out, I keep feeling the flames licking my eyes, and I’m trying to pick them up with a spatula and tongs, but they keep falling apart and I can’t get them out. I think I heard yelling in the background. I don’t understand what’s happening or why, or how anyone could leave me to die in such a place.
I never worked the broiler again.