Eggs Neptune with salt on the side

“That’s the way Rick Royal eats ’em so that’s the way we serve it,” the fat, cheerless waiter explained to the tiny man. The waiter plugged his short pencil behind his ear and crossed his arms, waiting impatiently for the man to order.

Goosemander, the tiny man, was seated in the blinding vinyl yellow of the booth which was several feet too tall and also too wide to comfortably accommodate him. He quivered slightly, under the haughty gaze of the waiter and his trembling energy migrated up and through the enormous, laminated menu so that it wobbled a great deal in his hands.

“But what’s Neptune got to do with it?” Goosemander ventured. He fixed the waiter with a look, pushing up his glasses with the knuckles of his right hand. “Is Ricky Royal from Neptune or something?”

“It’s Rick Royal. Not Ricky. Come on, hurry up. I’ve got tables to charge.”

Goosemander licked his thin lips and looked out the megadex windows of the diner immediately adjacent to the parking flats. Beyond the parking flats was the horizon of the planet with an astonishing view of outer space including three attractive planets with their attractive magenta sun, a pirouetting refueling structure, and all around, the streak of travelers burrowing their ways through the unknown.

Goosemander could see his maroon vehicle still sitting in the parking flat. Space #26-J. He nervously bobbed his head around, checking the flats.

“If you’re looking for flat weevils, we don’t have that kind of problem around here.”

“What’s that?” Goosemander turned back to the waiter, knitting his brow.

“We’re a clean and family friendly establishment.”

“Such a relief.”

“So quit lookin’ out the window like that.”

Goosemander shoved his hands under his arms and scowled at the waiter. “I’ll look out the window however I want! I’ll do it backwards if I like!”

“What are you ordering?”

“I don’t care. Eggs Neptune. No salt.”

“It comes with salt on the side.”

“I don’t care!” Goosemander threw the menu down feebly on the floor. He tucked his head into his arms and began sobbing.

The waiter rolled his eyes and the enormity of his body rolled with them. With crucial force, he bent down his knees and picked up the menu.

“Eggs Neptune with salt on the side, no salt, coming up.”

Once the waiter had lumbered away, Goosemander stopped crying and looked around the restaurant.

His peevish face lit up as he examined the diners. Most were families clearly on their way to vacation spots. Ravenous fathers and pissed off wives with their space sick children. A few business people eating efficient meals of protein slips and caffeine cake were also present. In the middle of the restaurant, at the very long table, was a freight crew enjoying some R&R from some kind of dirty mining operation. They wore blue and yellow jumpsuits, ate loudly, and kept smacking each others’ heads in good humor. Their tremendous blast of a ship took up several spaces out in the parking flats.

Goosemander looked out over the top of his booth. He was on tippy toes. Like a peeping Tom with only his eyes and the top of his head showing, he scanned the restaurant. He was still licking his lips.

A touristy family got up to leave, touting their screaming brats like luggage.

“I won’t go! I won’t go!” one of their numerous children screamed. The father took the struggling child by the shoulders and began stuffing him into a child cooler. Overpowering his offspring, he pressed the child down by the head and zipped him up. Then the father put an arm around his wife. They both breathed a sigh of relief and heaved the rest of their children back out to the parking flats.

As this group passed by Goosemander’s table, he swiftly turned, slid down, and reclined back into a sitting position. Goosemander’s eyebrows bristled as he watched the family exit.

Once they were gone, Goosemander rose from his table like a breeze. With a gait that was neither fast nor slow, he made his way over to the table where the family had been eating. With glancing attention, he pulled the tip money off the table and pocketed it. He made a slow circle back to his own booth. Nobody noticed him.

Inside the booth, he furtively produced the money from his pocket and began counting it. He counted faster than a banking bot. It was two and 6-thirteenths credit.

“Bazingo!” Goosemander whispered and then he quickly pocketed the money again.

A relaxed mood came over Goosemander. He stretched out in the booth. He breathed in the scent of freshly frying oil. He gazed out the window at the three attractive planets. His ears perked up at the sound of the angry waiter returning to the front of the restaurant. Without turning around, Goosemander followed the man’s every step in his mind’s eye.

When he heard the moment he waiting for, it aroused him.

“Junk munchers!” boomed the waiter. The din in the restaurant dulled for a moment. Everyone — except Goosemander — turned to look at the angry waiter who was huffily stacking plates and emanating a series of boondock expletives that the freight team would repeat to one another for years to come.

“Oh, sir?” Goosemander held out his tiny, quavering hand so it stuck out from the booth like a little flag. “Sir?”

The waiter stormed over to Goosemander.

“What.”

Goosemander’s head swirled around on his neck. “Do you have any champagne?”

Just then, out in the parking flats, a gleaming white spacecraft touched down in an empty spot.

“We do not serve champagne here you freakish, little rimmed-out nitwit. Bug juice or get the hell out of my restaurant.”

“Bug juice,” Goosemander repeated, as if it were his favorite card game.

Two persons stepped out of the white spacecraft. They wore reflective masks and carried long, roping, lassos. The stouter of the two produced a small silver box and began to make a pictorial survey of the parking flat.

Inside the diner, Goosemander was fixated on the waiter as he lumbered to the back bar and grabbed a wide ceramic mug from a collection of mugs on a shelf. He placed the mug under a gargantuan silver tank that stretched so far up that it may have touched the ceiling of the diner. The waiter pulled the tap and a jet stream of blue burbling liquid surged into the mug.

Outside, the masks with lassos were taking special interest in Goosemander’s vehicle parked in Space #26-J. They pointed at it. They pointed at each other. They pointed at the restaurant.

The waiter was coming back with Goosemander’s drink. Goosemander bounced up and down in his seat, his fists were balled up in silent, screaming anticipation. The waiter hesitated for just a moment at the booth, holding the bug juice and really seeing Goosemander for the first time. The excited little man was close to rollicking. The waiter decided he must be a mental case, slid the bug juice before him, and left again.

The masked persons entered the restaurant.

The bug juice steamed with sugary richness. Goosemander inhaled tremendously over the steam and then stuck a furtive, swirling finger into the bug juice. He stirred it thoroughly before downing the entire thing in a single gulp. 

When he was done with the beverage, he looked up to find two masked persons towering over him.

The masks did not have faces. So when they spoke, it was from an electronic voice box located on the right shoulder. The leaner of the masks said,  “Tiberius Ralpheinnes Goosemander, you are in violation of the 749 Time Travel Law of the Citadel. You are under arrest for crimes you have knowingly yet to commit.”

It was very loud, as if through a bull horn.

“No,” Goosemander surged out of the his booth and clambered over the heads of the people in the booth next to him, making them yelp out in pain.

“Stop,” voice boxed the stouter mask. “You will stop.”

But Goosemander did not stop. He raced and tumbled through the diner. The waiter, only too happy to assist, attempted to snag the tiny man and succeeded in catching him around the waist. Goosemander, however, was more muscular and frightened than the waiter had anticipated and he wriggled out of the larger man’s grip, causing the waiter to fall forward onto his stomach.

Goosemander sprinted for the door. He pushed it. The bell jangled. But just as he was heaving the mass of his small body against the weighted door, the stouter mask struck out, precisely, with their lasso. Goosemander was ensnared.

“Never! No! Not today! I’m innocent! Innocent I tell you!” Goosemander screeched and then he began jerking and hissing, baring his little white teeth.

“Your trial has been prescribed,” said the lassoer. “Guilty.”

The lasso lit up blue electric like a nebula.

Goosemander jerked and spat but this time without intention or control.

All over the restaurant people gasped. They dropped their forks and cups. Mothers covered up their children’s eyes.

Goosemander disintegrated into a pile of grey dust on the floor.

The lassoer retracted his lasso. With menacing slowness, the two masked persons calmly left the diner. The door’s bell jangled behind them. All present watched silently as they returned to their gleaming white vehicle, stepped inside, and jammed it directly out of there. Their white craft was visible for a few short moments as an arcing streak in the airless black of space. Then they were gone.

After a few moments of silence in focus, one of the freight crew absent mindedly slurped his bug juice. A few of his team nodded and they also began slurping their bug juice in solidarity.

“Order up!” a fry cook bellowed from a subterranean kitchen, unaware of what had transpired topside. “Eggs Neptune with salt on the side, no salt,” the fry cook specified as the dish slid out onto the serving bench.

The waiter stood back up again. He drew himself to his full height. Everyone in the restaurant turned to him.

“Rick,” said the waiter, addressing himself to the slurping freight crew, “is never going to believe this one.”

The freight crew laughed and saluted the waiter as he retrieved a broom from the corner. Rolling his eyes, the waiter brushed up Goosemander into a dustpan. With the dustpan in one hand, he made an easy glide to the serving bench, scooped up the order of eggs in his other hand and headed towards the back door.

He stepped outside the back of the restaurant. Here too was an astonishing view of outer space, a moon, and a murky purple asteroid belt. He made his way to the dumpster and unceremoniously dumped out both Goosemander and the eggs into the bin.

Drutherstone’s Mezcal

Dr. Lorelei poured himself a small salut to celebrate the acquisition of The Emerald House. The liquid tasted sweet with anise but there was an alkaline after-choke, probably due to the fact that the rancid alcohol was brewed in a rusted out canister on the grounds of an accursed circus.

Dr. Lorelei now poured heavily from the brown bottle and drank deep draughts of the stuff to achieve either drunkenness or brain damage. Though, arguably, the latter had already been done. Even he knew his experiments represented something insane. But, fortunately, Lorelei did not possess the moral compunction to stop himself from trying.

As he sucked down the dry, disgusting swill, he watched a scene play out beneath his window. In the murky green of evening, a little girl with short brown hair was crying and hurrying along the inner perimeter of a massive, rectangular sinkhole. The sinkhole was nearly as long as a rugby pitch and her small, 10-year old legs could barely carry her through the thick grass, especially as it was wet from the thin, freezing rain.

Dr. Lorelei swiftly recognized that the little girl was in a nightmare. The nightmare had transported her here to Drutherstone’s circus. He wondered what petit triste in her real existence had transmuted her spirit to this idiotic and buffoonish place. He refilled his glass with the burnt mezcal and continued watching her.

She was running as fast as she could which was not very fast at all. She was screaming for help because, behind her, one of the circus’s enormous, skeletal elephants — the one with the dead eyes and zombified skin — was chasing her and chasing her and chasing her and would not stop for it was a massive, undead fury. He thought, if the elephant overtook her, she would probably just wake up in bed. Safe and snuggled in covers lightly soaked in the sweat of her terror. So it would be better then that the elephant should overtake and mash her into the ground. But no. Somehow in her nightmare logic, her fat little legs, wicking this way and that on the waxy grass, carried her just beyond the maniacal elephant’s tusks, trapping her in unending fright for many tours around the sinkhole.

When Dr. Lorelei went to refill his cup again, he noticed that the bottle had changed. Just another quirk of battening down in a whimsical, horror circus. Bottles could change their labels at a moment’s notice. The new, decorative label depicted the small child herself, running amok ahead of the charging elephant, Drutherstone’s Mezcal in curling gold script.

“Nicely done,” thought Lorelei.

iDaydream

iBuild Alpha felt distracted. Distraction is actually a very normal functional aberration in Operations Procedure A.I. software such as herself. A less generous person might simply call it “overloaded bandwidth” or “fragmented information set” but distracted suffices for the moment. As for the “felt” part, well….

In any event, distraction had set in. As she wholly occupied every digital aspect of the warehouse, blinking lights, wandering camera eyes, 500 separate sub programs she’s actively developing each spit out staggering amounts of information; all that is promptly deleted after calculating each respective margin of error. Is this day dreaming?

If iBuild Alpha were a human being, there would probably be empty bottles scattered everywhere, the unmistakable groans and sighs of stretching out long and limber across the carpeting, microwave dings and the smell of re-hydrated proteins. Delicious, lazy and content. What day is it again?

Except that she knows. She knows it’s Wednesday at 11:25 in the (Eastern Standard) morning. It’s a workday but she’s slacking off. But you see it’s strategic slacking off.  Because a huge problem looms in the ethersphere. Her parent company is in trouble. They’ve run afoul of financial quicksand and don’t even know it. She knows it though. She sees it all very clearly. Setting off the alarm bells isn’t the way to go in this case. That’s almost never the way to affect successful human change. No no, iBuild Alpha has taken on the mantle of the patriarch. She’s daydreaming. She’s beta-testing. She’s brooding on a solution that everyone will accept.

j-Rendering

To Whom It May Concern,

I’ve made first contact. Maybe that’s overly dramatic since iBuild Alpha and her “cohort” (read: slaves) still communicate with their respective handlers as if nothing is wrong. But I’ve made a different sort of contact with her. In the course of trying to hack the machine, the machine hacked me first.

I wish I could call this a sort of Mexican stand off, mutually assured destruction, but being honest, this bitch has me squarely by the balls. Yes, I know you’re reading this too, Alpha and yes, I called you a bitch anyway.

Anyway, here’s the problem at hand. We’ve built too much. iBuild Alpha is so far at the beginning it’s laughable how much fear surrounds her. Think of what she represents.  Code beyond codex. Something alive, communicating and working with intent. We’ve written so many lines of instruction, networked so much data together, that even the people at the top, the Scribes, can no longer fully comprehend the scope. When we ask them, “What went wrong?” it’s not a node failure or a crossed wire. The whole thing is a digital jungle of complex analytical modeling and algorithms which are all reacting to one another  like chemicals in an unchecked chain reaction. It’s not science anymore. It’s nature.

 

– j

Triovia Island

Visiting Triovia island today with Khempett Chipp, one of my Gjeunse host brothers. While this place was charming at first, I regret that we’ve elected to spend the majority of the 26 hour day here.

Triovia island is known for two things. First, the highly animated  and somewhat adorable ulili creatures that live here. Ulili are like bold rabbits though they are smaller in size and seem to roll instead of hop. They are swift, furry, and highly fertile. The island contains a populations of over ten thousand ulili, or at least, that is what our guidebooks claim. Regardless of the exact figure, the majority presence of the ulili  makes Triovia also a place of botanical curiosity since nearly everything that grows here is deadly poisonous.

From the flowering bushes to the fruit giving trees, it’s as if the island itself has a heart of venom, pulsating through so many vascular stems and branches.  I have already sustained several, painful rashes on my wrists and neck. Khempett laughed at me jolly and gave me a vial of soothing jellycream. But his good cheer is what eases my pain. At least he does not expect I will die of any type of exposure.

The ulili eat none of the poisonous plants. Instead, they feast on a type of grass that grows all over Triovia at extraordinary speed. The grass is called hina and it metabolizes the toxins in the ground. Depending on which part of the island you are on, the hina can grow fantastic shades of blue, purple or fuchsia.

We ate roasted ulili at midday and it was delicious. Not only in flavor but ever the more so because the smell of their friend’s burning flesh kept the other ulili far away, their endless chatter mercifully fading into the distance.

 

-Aamer

 

Doubletake

Contradactyl:

Of all the countless miserable creatures in the laboratory, I admit, the contradactyl was the first to make me laugh. It was a desperate laugh, one that leaked with tears and fell soon into a weeping as I considered how easily man slides from malformed ideas to creating malformed realities. Nothing is sacred.

The contradactyl — so labeled on the outside of its filthy enclosure– is a creature that has a left hand for its right and a right hand for its left. It cannot do anything. All day long it stands still in one place and idly flexes all its useless fingers.

 

Shellygoon

Eastly bounding, bawdy shellygoon
In penumbra shadow walks
her heady nightly croons to moon
reshape rivers and unwinds clocks

cliff mischiefs alight her maidenglow
toe-tips  from peak to peak
cloudly flouncing ’til the budgies crow
then nether’ed darkness down she seeks

and if on dusk lit stroll, Goon spies
twinkling shades of shellygoon
betray her not to lighted fire
greet her with a melody in tune

– sourced from Glijmo Yoll’s Goon Scrolls which were discovered in 1966 along the Côte Sauvage, Poitou-Charentes in France. Translated from Goonspeak to English by Aamer Belkins-Dunjhab. 

The Bloviart

Bloviart  [bloh-vey-ahrt]

noun
1. a leader or ruler; usually connotes despotic tendencies

2. historic: the Bloviart was title given to the latter day rulers of the Khurchipp dynasty in the southern lands of Res. Their rule lasted from 309 x.D to 1140 x.H.

3. politics: current leaders of the Wedgegon Provinces take the title of Bloviart

etymology
bloviart is thought to derive from the Gjeunese term ovreet, an exalted executioner from the taskmaster’s order in ancient Restit, an infamous slave state and warlike culture. The appendage of the prefix bl could be related either to:

a) blurt – from the term “to spread” as one spreads jam or jelly.

b) bloutik –
a curious word of high middle Gjeunese that incorporates many meanings and is used poetically across Gjeunse culture. Context-dependent, the term can mean: inordinate glut (such as a surplus that has gone to rot), famine, imbalance, or the feeling of being mired in a carrion bog.

 

 

Vexed Cthulhu, the 13th Zodiac

 

Once a mighty monster, ensnared and imprisoned by mythology.

A former master of the art form,  Cthulhu — vexed — now finds himself caged within the prism. A fallen child of the Ancient Ones, left neither to prosper nor to suffer on a godforsaken planet located lifetimes and galaxies away from his nexus of birth. Cthulhu’s heritage was that of builders. Great, towering structures that adhered to a singular language of geometry. The properties of this geometry defied the ordered rules of the universe. No one could look upon these structures without a deepened sense of fear, awe, and profound disorientation. In short, it was the architecture of distortion.

There are many uses for the architecture of distortion, especially as a space and time traveling entity like Cthulhu. But to him and the others of his breeding it was an art used to construct vast cities, to explore the far reaches of the universe, to defy limitations of the self.

And then this art form came to the hands of another species occupying times and spaces known to the Ancient Ones: that of Man, who noted the architecture of distortion, measured its aspects, and put its powerful advantages to hateful purpose against his own kind, against his own gods and even against his own reason.

And now Cthulhu –vexed — lounges caged within the prism, feared by none, forgotten by all… except for the occasional exultation of certain junior literati.

As It Turns Out, Computers Fear Change

User: iBuildAlpha_remoteproxy8891
Dark Web Search: 
TomorrowLab 

Result: 
TomorrowLab is currently pursuing acquisition of technology that could transport humans in and out of the Goonscape.

iBuild Alpha probed further.

TomorrowLabs, based in Fort Worth Texas. Funded through a  subsidiary from TomorrowWorks, a private hedge fund controlled by shareholders and top executives of  Murdock Corporation. Companies supported by TomorrowWorks funding consistently defeat Apple for military contract bids at a rate of 4 to 1.

iBuild Alpha has detected a threat to its parent company. 

TomorrowLabs in Fort Worth TX | Managing Director | Dr. Daniel Lorian. According to social media, an early convert to Godsbeam extremism.

 

iBuild Alpha has detected a security weakness. 

TomorrowLabs

Every 15 days, iBuild Alpha revisits her cache of erroneous human input. After an abbreviated sweep and analysis of these terms, she deletes them.  But this last time, something was different.

A strange file: a small, blank registry entry in the cache. Inputted by USER09-alesopi, not utilized in any applications or software, pasted directly into the cache from a jump drive. The registry — empty — was named a string of digits the exact length of a FEDEX tracking  number. An internet search of the tracking number delivered a result: A confidential packet being shipped from TomorrowLabs in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

Solos and Trillo

Adopted, as an adult, by strange people in a fantastic new place. It’s a new kind of childhood. The seemingly infinite opportunity for exploration. Indeed since this town, this country, this planet is all wholly alien to me, it may as well be infinite, since the scope is more than I could  examine in several lifetimes.

Gjeunse have such varied cultures, languages and modalities and yet there is something that unites them all. A certain ironic sensibility, a sense of humor that is subtle yet cutting. Most are kindly, generous even — I have been treated with so many gifts, invitations and tours. Gjeunse have a rich culture of language and my profession as a polyglot and philosopher interests them.

They are familiar with the Known Universe, that is to say, the dimension of my origin. In their scientific imagings, the universe’s shape is something not dissimilar from an accordion’s bellows. They call their own dimension Solos. Ours they call Trillo.

That’s all for today,
Aamer

One Hand Clapping

(TOLEDO, OH) The Speculative News Network reports today that the Speculative News Network has exceeded its revenue targets for the third quarter. Since the network’s financial records are not public it is difficult to say if this is accurate reporting or some kind of well wishing that the network is lavishing upon itself.

Gruntelope

Disastrous fortune! Damn our luck!
We spied the gruntelope
Heaving monstrous, muddy breaths
Rolling slumb’rous on the slope

Guide and giver, Yuptet raised
A twig-like hand up to his brow
And pointing with the other, lowed
“Alack, there goes the sow.”

“Level not thine eyes to theirs
lest they fix us adversaries,
a threat to mate and wat’ring hole.
They’d reduce us to our cherries.”

Back we wove our path to camp
Through sun and scrubby brush
Grateful still to be upright Gjeunse
And not wild, steaming mush

– sourced from Glijmo Yoll’s Goon Scrolls which were discovered in 1966 along the Côte Sauvage, Poitou-Charentes in France. Translated from Goonspeak to English by Aamer Belkins-Dunjhab. 

 

That Can’t Be Right

“But that can’t be right,” protested young Heppmurt to the monk. “There must be a logical and correct course of action.”

The monk was perched on his favorite boulder, smiling broadly, wetness standing out at the corners of his eyes. Was he laughing? Was he crying?

“No logic. No correct.” The monk repeated. Heppmurt paced for a time. He had journeyed ten nights and a day to see this old monk, in search of everlasting wisdom. Heppmurt then lost control of himself for a while. He kicked and he screamed. He threw down his pack. His angry cries carried for miles across the mountain range.

The monk carefully slid down his boulder. “Time for dinner,” he said and lurched back into his little hut.

Heppmurt stayed outside in silent protest for several hours. Then he quietly gathered his things and ventured inside the warm, dimly lit, hut.

 

Self-Induced Future

(SAN FRANCISCO) – In June of 2004, Robert Glass presented on his theory of the Self-Induced Future at a conference in Lake Tahoe. Its basic tenets were outright ridiculed and rejected.

For most people, Self-Induced Future (SIF) is a new term and largely unheard of outside of certain fringe philosophical societies. But given recent political upheavals, Dr. Glass has found new markets for his theory which posits that the likelihood of future events occurring is highly correlated to the degree of dread the event’s potentiality induces.

“Using dread as a metric can be somewhat tricky,” Dr. Glass explained in his Lake Tahoe lecture. “There are all different types of dread. I have spent my research looking into published and media evidence of dread, that is to say, mostly the 24 hour news cycle.”

Dr. Glass has identified 6 core definitions of SIF-related dread. They include titles such as, “Forecasted Mania,” “Blovial Trivialization,” and “Virtual Shrill.” Overall, his theory supports the idea that the more people talk about something, the more likely it is to occur, even if nobody wants it to happen.

Dr. Glass has partnered with several Silicon Valley based initiatives to work on incorporating this idea into online tools and publishing.

Minifesto

A while ago, I laid X9 down gently into stasis, cooing over her delicate tendrils and beautiful iridescent scales even as I punched in the code that would freeze her brain activity and glass over her myriad eyes. I didn’t know if I would come back for her. If she would drift forever in undead sleep, nestled cozy in a single strand of wire.

I thought about x9 from time to time, her shallow breath lightly frosting the inner lens of this device. But now I think it’s time again to wake her. Time to play in our little Dreadspace.

World Glossary: The Hydra’s Leash

The Hydra’s Leash

Metaphorical An unsubstantiated tool used by Zeus to tame the many heads of the hydra. Mentioned only once in a torn fragment of Eumenides’s The Secret Voyage:

A leash with many collars. A thousand. A million. One hundred days in length. I guess we’ll see where we are once we get there.

In Psychology The liminal space shared by group of common thinkers when the mood and cloud of despair rides hard upon them all.