Waking the Sleeping Integer … 2

2 ~ A Formula, One of Infinite Formulas

“The only people I can work with are women,” she said quietly. 

Marquette caught the look…that squinty, buggy “what did you just say?” look.  It was no mistake that she had caught Marquette’s equally dig-in expression.  She must think that I believe she’s handing me a line, the “other” she thought. 

She’s right to think that…I sure do believe that, she decided.

Amy studied Marquette’s eyes.  Yeah, she could thrown down into a stare down, no problem.  She squinted her eyes as if positive that by narrowing her vision she could actually extend her eyelashes or something out far enough to lift the eyelids that draped like hoods halfway over Marquette’s eyeballs. 

The better to see her with.  Corny as that sounded, the phrase jumped into her head.  Busy place, Amy’s eyes and head.  She tended to think she could actually spot truth behind eyes.  Like she had some kind of secret xray vision that could penetrate anything including people.  Like she was some kind of Super Girl with Super Powers.  Yeah, that’s just kinda how Amy envisioned herself being built.

“Don’t make me explain this to you,” Marquette said quietly, and patiently with no amount of annoyance…which was a good thing.  Because as she spoke, Amy had instinctively lifted her forearms as if readying her BS-deflecting Magic Wristbands.  They were pink wristbands and kind of fuzzy, but who cared.  Yeah…okay.  Super Girly Wonder Girl, then!  she justified her powers to no one but herself, then added to her self-talk:  She think I’ve lived in a cave all of my life!  And indeed if Amy had asked Marquette, Marquette would have shrugged the idea off immediately if for no other reason than to be polite.  But yeah.  She would also have had to admit that she was more than a little surprised that Amy didn’t understand this.  Hence the ensuing lecture.

“Okay,” she sighed the syllables out and called forth the teacher that dwelled somewhere within her.  Pausing, she arranged her class notes in her mind then after mentally shuffling through the presentation, she set about her dissertation. 

“The reason that…” she measured her words carefully, gazing every now and again up from under her hooded eyes to see if her words were registering, “…I can only work with women…” (processing pause) “…is that…” (processing pause and weighting the air with significance) “…as the ideal woman (italics delivered breathily…then her reasoning crashed out), I can’t allow myself to be in a situation where a professional relationship with a male co-worker is compromised.” 

What followed was far more than a pregnant pause.  It was leadened weight.  All of the air had been sucked out of their conversation, leaving Amy and Marquette soldiering the sounds of her explanation on the backs of their eyeballs.  There were a bunch of implications there to be sure.  But the idea that every male could create in a Marquette a drama of potential compromise was either hyperbole or incredibly sexist or just plain Ego Gone Wild.  Amy scrinched her lips, as if the taste of the idea was just more than a bit overdone.  She scrinched her eyes to evaluate the quality of the line that her friend had just tossed out, and to the best of her or her eyeballs’s ability to gauge, she’d have to say that Marquette had just thrown a brick.

“The reason,” she sighed the words out…she had this way of pausing when she did this, a way that Amy could liken only to calling forth a kindergarten teacher…one that apparently also resided somewhere within her because lo and behold the conversation began to morph into something on par with “See Dick Run.” 

“The reason,” she repeated, “that a professional relationship with a male causes complications is because (weighting the air yet again with significance pay attention) there’s always the element of attraction.”

“Always,” Amy asked in the form of a statement, revealing that she found this a bit of an overstatement.

“Always,” Marquette answered in the form of a question, indicating that she found it inconceivable that anyone could doubt her claim.

“How do you know that?”

A rapid head wobble, an opening and overturning of her hands before they were placed by her sides, and then finally, a series of sounds.

“How do I know what?”

“Okay,” she sighed and paused, calling forth the Super Teacher that lived somewhere in her Super Wonder Girl self.  She measured her words and delivered them carefully to be certain that they registered.  “How would you know (pause for good measure)  this to *always* be the case?”

“I mean, come on,” Marquette laughed through a shrug.  “Are you kidding me?  Look at me.”

And so she did.  Amy cast her view all around her, in a rapid three hundred and sixty degree panaromic view.  She zoomed in so closely that she saw inside of her head and counted the strands of brown hair that carpeted the back of her cranium.    She smiled an annoying Cheshire cat smile every time Amy did this.  It was like some weird kind of emotional yo-yo, when she zoomed in, then out, then in then out again.  And Marquette did that cheesey grin, then relaxed, then grinned again.

“Well,” she said more than asked as if to clearly indicate there could be no doubt in the matter of her attractiveness to every man.  “See what I mean?” Marquette added when Amy simply stared back at her.

“Marq…”

“It’s okay.  No, it’s really okay,” she insisted.  “You can say it.”

“Say what?”

“That I’m incredibly attractive!  Really you won’t embarrass me.  You can say it.”  She held her hands up and waved them around her personage.   In doing so, Amy couldn’t help but think that she looked as if she were a host on one of those tv shopping channels who was presenting just an “amazing, amazing” item…”hurry and buy it now now now now now!”  

Ironically that’s just what she saw just a hair beyond Marq’s shoulder.  She smirked at the prim a little ways away, where someone had rezzed the website for one of those tv shopping channels.  An “amazing” item was on display.  She half expected to see Marq’s picture with a price tag above it, then turned her attention back to her friend who seemed to be lit by a powerhouse smile of gleaming white teeth.  Marq’s body hiccupped forward as if it hoped to bug her eyes out.  “I mean,” she said clearly as a statement of the obvious, “it’s unavoidably true.”

“Well, there is that.  I see what you mean.  The thing is…”  Amy paused and shifted her weight slightly in front of her egomaniac friend.  She tossed her gaze randomly onto the prim with the online shopping website.  Each time, she found her mind taking over and automatically cutting and pasting Marq’s form into the item display box.  If she could shiver she would.  There was something a bit disconcerting about what her mind was doing, even to her, and yet she had no control over it.  She was in the fits of a thought-tourettes flare up and couldn’t seem to stop her mind from putting this idealized version of her friend up for sale.

She forced her gaze away and folded her arms tightly against her ribcage.

“The thing is, Marq,” she continued with a calmness that didn’t come naturally at this moment, “your unavoidable truth of attractiveness is unavoidably true for all of us in here.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

She sighed.  “We’re all the ideal form, wouldn’t you say?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”

She tilted her head forward as if to whisper, “You think you’re the only ideal being in here?”

“Oh no!  I didn’t say that.  Not at all!”

“I’m confused, then.”

Marq inhaled just enough to keep her oversized head in check and at the same time used the breath filling her lungs to collect her mental notes.  She reshuffled them a bit, looked for a wild card then dealt out her hand, “This is the great equalizer.  We’re *all* idealized forms in here.  Well, most of us,” she added as if jarred by an unpleasant memory.  “And in that way, it’s wonderful.  A level playing field of what we individually believe the ideal to be.  I mean my GOD,” she rolled his eyes in feigned agony, “would you want to spend hours looking at anything but perfection?  Why would anyone!”

“Yeah…and?” Amy shook her head.  “I’m not following this.  Somehow you have an advantage even with this so-called great equalizer?  Isn’t your having an advantage — which means to say that the rest of us don’t in the world of the equalized — a bit contradictory?”

“Well,” she sputtered incredulously, “there is a difference.  And that difference is that I’m not only an idealized form, but my *idea* of the ideal is, well, *truly* the ideal…AND…(Amy felt exhausted listening) I am also the most attractive in both form, function, and presence.”

Lions and tigers and bears…

“Oh my,” Amy muttered.  She sighed heavily as she sat at her desk facing her computer monitor.  She shook her head and pushed a pile of drafted articles and mockups that were scattered about out of her view, not because they obstructed anything but only because she was exasperated.  Marq – Sonja in the “real” world – was a good friend at work.  And she had just had this very conversation with her, face to face, without aid of any computer or platform or virtual world.  And here they were, immersed in their idealized form with buildings floating in the air and waterfalls from absolutely no source cascading freely and wildly down the side of giant evergreen trees.  Where anything and anyone can happen.  Where they were standing on some parcel someplace with an online tv shopping website broadcasting itself from a prim in the background and they were busy rezzing shapes and linking and connecting them together into a structure that Amy had become completely oblivious to…here they were in the world where everything was possible, where the only limitation was the mind and the imagination and yet here they were continuing the exact same conversation they had had not 2 hours ago face to face.   Sonja can only work with women in the atomic world.  Marquette could only work with women in the virtual world.  Both claims of which were absolutely absurd on so many levels but in the virtual world how would Marq know what gender she was working with at all unless she had this knowledge upfront in the first place.

And more than that.  Much more than that.  Why would any kind of generalization like that be such a fundamental structural mechanism to house her beliefs?  We can’t port our inventories between platforms and worlds, Amy sighed ruefully and continued to settle into her thoughts of protest, casting her gaze yet again on that fucking annoying “buy me now” website on a prim.  But boy we can sure port our belief systems between worlds.  Seamlessly.  Effortlessly.  Transparently.  Unequivocably so?

“I guess whatever works for you,” she said with a smile then bent her mind to the task at hand and listened to the prims as they foomed softly on the wind into existence.   She wondered what atomic biases she had ported inworld with herself.  She wondered if she would even tell herself.  Was there a file folder labeled “Biases” in her inventory?  She raised her eyebrows, then rejoined the conversation with Marq and said, “I’m just not sure exactly how that all works for you, I have to say.”

With a rainbow colored bunny paw, Marquette parted her brown hair and scratched against the base of her multicolored bunny ears.  “Oh come on,” she insisted with a smile.  “It’s just what it is,” she just about sang.  “Don’t overthink this, Amy,” she laughed.  “It’s just what it is.”

Amy’s arms relaxed down to the sides of her ruffled dress.  What the hell, she thought, knowing it was pointless to try to argue.  She let her pink bunny paws drape against the sides of her pink bunny legs.  Idealized tinies, she laughed in her mind…all decked out in ported biases.

She shrugged, wobbled her pink bunny head in a carefree manner and asked, “What are we building again here?”

“Something really different.  Something really amazing,” Marq said enthusiastically.  “A huge castle floating in the air, but the best part, the most amazing part of it all…oh my god, get ready you won’t believe it!…(dramatic pause whose only goal was to bunch up your panties)…inside of the castle is an amazing, amazing, amazing, AMAZING…SHOPPING MALL!  Squee!!”

With a door that invited them in.

Nanowrimo10 total word count: 2,216.  Total wordcount to date:  3,300 of 50,000 (not including this notation)

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