Ch 9 ~ The Inner Eye
Emily had given herself a reprieve. She had excused herself from the booth at a critical moment, she was sure. But it couldn’t be helped. Her biological system couldn’t be put on hold after a gazillion cups of coffee. Much to Forge’s unspoken displeasure (although how could he argue with this) and Pat’s (who began to argue with Forge about “time and place”), Emily had slid out of the booth, smiled unconsciously initially at the handsome redhead fellow with the laptop who seemed to be surveying the happenings at her booth, and moved to the front of the Glenwood Cafe and around the side as gracefully as she could (…as gracefully, in fact, as an avatar in a sim overloaded with lag) through the throng of people who were still patiently waiting in every available space for a table. She was headed to the Ladies Room and had stopped for a moment to consider that they — Forge and she and the handsome redhead fellow with the laptop who she wondered if Forge would ever introduce her to — that they should relaly think about paying their bills and relinquishing their seats. A whole mess of people stood waiting. She knew this at first sight, but when she tried to manuveur through the crowd, she really understood just how very many were standing in wait.
A thought had played at the slight woman who nearly obsessed over the concentric circles that she had drawn and continued to draw on the napkins. She found herself constantly interrupting whatever might flow naturally from her fingertips to her instrument…as if to put a rational intention behind an unformed impulse. It was good perhaps that Emily’s biological system — which was flooded currently with coffee — had urged a break, but it also provided too much time for the slight woman to give some connected meaning to what had happened, to what is happeining, to what might happen. And there, afterall, seemed to be the rub. Not to overthink this process. Because that was her usual process…overthinking the steps that connect together to create the whole. Refining, polishing, developing, connecting, shaping, reshaping, forming every meticulous detail. And this endeavor suggested, really invited, to let go of the known process. To freefall. Emily had better hurry up back from the Ladies Room, the slight woman thought with some urgency, or I’ll find myself strapped into my very well worn parachute again. And then she was suddenly hungry and thought to order up some food to go along with her carafes of coffee. And thought to feed her brain with something she had skimmed the other day, but decided might be good to look at more closely again. She pulled a book from her totebag and flipped the pages, until she found this:
After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man — the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media. ~ from Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan
In a fit of irony, just as the slight woman had completed rereading that paragraph, a flock of geese honked and wailed into the air…from somewhere not far away. Not terribly far away at all. Whoosh.
She flipped through another piece of written work to dwell on this “…the value soars as you move the intelligence to the edges and away from the center…” from the Rise of the Stupid Network by David Isenberg
The slight woman watched as Emily returned from the Ladies Room and moved to the edges back to the handsome redheaded young man, back to the unconsciously generated exchange of pleasing and interested smiles, back to her booth where Forge and Pat continued to wait…past the slight man with his head frozen in a half cocked position, his ear fully bent of hearing all that he could from the general vicinity of all that was Forge (and that included the people and conversations around Forge)…past the slight woman herself, as she tucked her books back into her totebag (she really wondered about a Kindle, they seemed marvelous, but she still rather liked the feel of paper between her fingers) and as she tenderly brought the delicate napkin with the concentric circles back in front of her view. She kept the center circle transparent, although she knew it wasn’t really empty at all. She moved quietly to the edges, back where the circles were completing (or so it seemed) themselves, replicating, extending out, overlapping, floating into a new branch…as a whole forming a fascinatingly complex organic shape that defied description. It was from somewhere there, at the edges, that the slight woman hoped to be in a better position to be introduced to the characters…the process. The conversation of something to somewhere.
“Sorry about that. I just…well…somethings just can’t be stopped.”
“Welcome back,” Forge said with some earnestness and added quickly, “Precisely.”
Emily nodded her head, clamping her lips together. May as well get on with it, she thought. Forge simply won’t allow anything to deny him this conversation.
“Thanks. Say, you know if we’re going to have this conversation or get into whatever it is that you wanted to get into with all of this, shouldn’t we think about inviting your friend to join us?” Emily unfurled her hand gently in the direction of the young man with the laptop.
“Good idea,” Pat chimed in quickly, “and I can take his order and be on my merry way.” And with that she started to walk away, but Forge tightened his fingers around her wrist (had he kept her standing the entire time, Emily wondered, but then comforted herself by telling herself that she is not one to dilly-dally in the washroom).
“A moment more, thank you,” Forge said crisply and gently urged Pat to sit next to him in the booth. Emily began to object with Pat, but Forge quickly silenced them. “A moment,” he stressed both with the quiet tone in his voice and the insistent look in his eyes. “Just a moment more, ladies, and then I’ll remove myself from your day. If you’ll allow me to get through this without interruption without extraneous questions, then we will have had our conversation and completed it too, and you’ll be back in the thick of things all the sooner, m’dears.”
“Okay,” they each agreed.
“What if we are all three and how is that something that is different from what is already happening,” Emily summarized where they had left things, albeit in a very crude choppy way, but it seemed to bring them all to the same mental space again.
“Pat,” Forge’s voice spilled forth smooth as silk, calming and respectful, “enlighten us would you.”
The slight man at the table in the other side of the cafe just on the other side of the half-wall divide twitched. Much like the cocking of his head had been, his tensed muscles twitched imperceptibly so. He somehow held all the noise around him at bay and zeroed in on the table where Pat began to lean forward, staring wide-eyed into Emily’s pools. He listened so hard that his veins began to pulse around his temples. Nobody really paid attention to this. Nobody really saw this. The process most certainly did because if it hadn’t, it wouldn’t exist. If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around, does it make a sound? It does in my imagination even if I’m not there to hear it. It might even be singing as it falls head over heels, swooning.
“No, no,” Forge urged Emily, “don’t be distracted. Stay with this. Look into Pat’s eyes, as corny as that sounds. Just do it.”
Pat tilted her head softly, as if to signify apology to Emily, although Emily had no idea why Pat would need to indicate apology or what exactly Pat had to do with anything regarding Forge. For all that Emily knew, Pat genuinely didn’t like the man. She couldn’t imagine the two having conversations of any length that would result in Pat providing an example at Forge’s request. No matter what the example was of.
Emily leaned forward into Pat’s leaning and stared into her friend’s eyes, not knowing what she could possibly expect to see besides the brilliant blue speckled with flecks of silver. And then it happened. Emily jumped.
“Whaaaa…t?” she gasped as compulsively as she had gasped when she had been transported to that possible most probable future state where she was looking into a room with a bed on which Pat lay dying and over which a strange man hovered only to turn and latch his gaze onto Emily’s eyes, revealing some mechanism inside of his head through which he watched things that were normally seen on a computer screen. Or a television. But instead they were in his head. Behind his eyes. And his eyes had glinted. Just like Pat’s did just a few seconds ago, Emily gasped in a silent completely confused rush inside her mind. Both of their eyes had flashed the same way…like muscle memory, she chanted deliriously inside of her thoughts, the same way but in separate people but with the same reaction the same outcome. They had flashed every so subtlely and in the flashing at just the right angle for some reason that Pat couldn’t even begin to explain — she leaves the explanations up to Forge and his team of phsyicians (what else coudl they be?!?) — Pat gave Emily an inside view at the images that played across the back of Pat’s mind (or was it the front of her mind? maybe th efront of Pat’s mind)…all of which were pouring out in a wildy unreal stream from within the very center of Pat’s inner eye.
“How…wwww? Whaaa…t? Wwww..wwwwww…wwah?”
A small stream poured itself forth from Emily then but it wasn’t from her eyes and it wasn’t as elegantly amazing as what she was witnessing from the inside of Pat’s head. Instead that stream of shock erupted from her mouth steeped in incoherence and pushed out by herky jerky breaths. Could any of this make any sense someplace? It certainly didn’t to her. She actually found herself looking around the cafe, as if in hopes of finding someone who could explain what she was seeing, but nobody would and nobody could because they either didn’ tknow or they were all absorbed in their own cocooning, the major difference being that if they used any technology for their own customized view of ht eworld, they were generally holding the devices and not somehow accessing the devices from something that had been implanted into their bodies. Much less behind their eyeballs. How in the world can Pat even function? Okay, Emily answered herself in a fit of hysterics not even really attempting to make sense just powering through this as much as should make herself free fall with it, flailing her arms and legs wildly as she plummeted through this process without a net without a parachute without an up or a down or an all around. So Pat is the queen of multitasking, fine! She said emphatically. There is that! Still how in the hell does the woman even begin to actually SEE.
“Howwwwww…www!!!!!” she huffed for no reason other than it reminded her that she wasn’t dreaming then puffed, “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” with her own eyeballs pummelling Pat and Forge back into the upright of their settee recline. Up was down and down was up and global was incredibly shockingly increasingly sometimes pervertedly intimate — not that it was perverted just that what IS intimacy when the message the messenger the medium collided violently onto each other to broadcast-connect-join-feel-be-cirlces within circles within circles at the center at the edges rotating transporting traversing around the whole — around billions and billions of people and around the one, connected individually connected to all…connected to and at once being the entire planet.
The slight woman couldn’t help but observe and somehow her insides twisted a little. This was not an easy process, this freefall, but it was genuine. She had held herself back from climbing into Emily’s head even while Emily climbed into Pat’s head and Forge sat silently watching, even without realizing he wasn’t alone in the silence of that fully bodied watch. There was quite an auidence watching. The whole world in Pat’s head, although if you asked Pat she would say that she watched the entire world and not the other way around. While the slight woman watched the interactions of these souls and tried to hold herself back from any attempts at scripting it out.
Which was entirely the opposite intention held by the slight man, whose own eyes narrowed and whose lips pressed down into the tightest thin line possible.
NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter: 2,210; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 12,180.