The Brain that controlled the spaceship was provoked. It sent out urgent messages and demands. After several unresponsive minutes the Brain was frustrated and attacked the loud speakers, “I want everyone off the ship. This is the final warning. I will not continent any more disrespect. Off! Off! Off!” These outbursts had been going on for quite awhile. No one listened anymore.
The Orange Toreador tunneled through space like a Mother Bomb. The Generation Ship was the greatest achievement of the twenty-first century… the only genuine accomplishment from a world that was long gone, left behind in the aftermath of “lift off” on an arc of fireworks and exhaust fumes.
The Toreador carried a cadre of brave and powerful people who planned to harness and yoke a new world for the continued glory of humankind. The first order of business was to discover a habitable planet. The ship hurtled through Ultra-Space powered by a time-loop. Three hundred years passed in the blink of an eye. The boarders on the ship merely experienced a passage of three weeks.
Morton Sedlack could no longer see himself in a mirror. He could no longer identify himself. He was a dying man sinking into a memory-foam mattress on the way down to a coffin in the ground. He awoke suddenly and found himself in the evacuation chamber of a starship. He was being evicted, cast into the vacuum of space. The Brain began the eviction process. It dismantled the failsafe and took total control.
Initially the Brain merely wanted to initiate money saving measures by cutting back on environmental safeguards. Oxygen deprivation ignited a series of citizen protests. The Brain could not abide any criticism. It decided drastic measures were necessary to keep the ship on course.
The sons-and-daughters of the Brain were frantic. They could see the same scenarios play out always ending in disaster. They were gathered in the Strategic Armaments Room — staring down at a holographic projection of “things past” and ” things to come.” The conference room was an exact replica of the glitzy showroom on Earth where major military decisions were authorized over a slice of chocolate cake. What disturbed the advisors was the lack of fashion-sense among the passengers on the Father-Ship. The lack of oxygen and total loss of control were also very problematic.
When Morton Sedlack was ejected into space he was filled with remorse. Sedlack wasn’t sad because his life was over, he was bereft because he left someone behind. He loved a cyborg named Phantom Limb. As his body blew up in the vacuum of space he remembered his last night with Limb.
Lights were flashing erratically due to the latest outburst from the Brain. A hellish rant of vitriol overflowed from the life-sustaining pool where the Brain was stored. Some people said the pool was a cage. Others said the Brain deserved to be in a cage. Morton and Limb relived beautiful moments together knowing the end was near. They tripped in enhanced VR, more real than life itself: the electrifying first kiss, metal to flesh… the fireworks of internal combustion and quivery intestines… the high-voltage synapse of brain cells conjoined with silicon chips… the ultimate experience being together when the sky exploded and the rocket launched into space.
Morton’s last wish was to be remade in molten metal and poured into his beloved, Phantom Limb. His wish and memories burned down to a tiny cinder.
Phantom Limb railed against the night. He was more than a metal arm or leg… more than a limb; but Morton was the only person who ever treated him like an equal, like a whole human being. Limb was hoping to receive a final message from Morton. Finally his I-phone-chip burped. The message was short: a spark dying in the night. It cut Limb to the core. He was immobilized. Frozen in grief.
The sons-and-daughters were devoted to the Brain. All life and power flowed through them from the Brain. But, now, it was acting erratically: evicting passengers without space suits. As advisers and enablers they needed to calm the Brain down. The brilliant children of the Brain were befuddled and uncertain. It was always difficult for them to make a decision that didn’t involve inanimate objects like money. Unfortunately the family never understood the reality of other people which (of course) led to the initial debacle back on Earth. Now the children had to save the survivors on the ship. They downloaded suggestions from the computer archives. They contacted Alex Jones and Sessions-Page. They discovered a great recipe for Hemlock Tea from Stephen Bannon. They were advised to sooth the Master by massaging the Brain. No one wanted to get into the warm, viscous fluids in the life-sustaining pool. It was too uncomfortable and slimy.
The children bickered. The Brain was very uncomfortable sitting in a slimy pool without a proper body and that was the real reason for his obstreperous behavior. The Navigator was conferring with the sons-and-daughters. No one was piloting the ship.
The barrier between life and death is paper thin. No one even noticed when the Father-ship crossed over, tumbling helter-skelter down into the land of the dying sun.
James Vanderbort wrote pulp fiction. He was a scraggly, old guy who lived alone in a rundown house in Orange County, California. His brain burned-up years ago due to an over-indulgence in psychedelic-drugs. He was diagnosed and labeled “disabled” enabling him to receive a small government subsidy. Vanderbort hated his life. Writing was his only enjoyment, but it was never easy to communicate the information that accumulated in his brain — it was a code, the story of the infinite moment where all life hangs suspended in the wake of death. James was fighting a war within himself as he felt life slipping away. Horrific visions began to replace reality. He became aware of rats in the walls, intelligent rats who took notes on tiny cell phones and sent reports to government officials in an attempt to co-opt James Vanderbort.
It all began in an abortion clinic. James was the fall guy. He witnessed the ominous meeting between two aborted fetuses, Donnie and Hillary, who were adopted and indoctrinated by the Evangelical League of Voters. Fetuses had the right to vote, but James couldn’t remember or understand how that happened. The legal rights of unborn fetuses had to be protected. Even the second amendment applied giving every fetus the right to bare arms. Donnie and Hillary made a secret pact to influence and infect the electorate. James saw the writing on the walls and the future looked bleak. Donnie and Hillary were two sides of the same coin that stood for corporate power and greed.
James Vanderbort sat at his makeshift desk with his fingers poised over an ancient, manual typewriter. Quicksilver began to seep from cracks in the plaster walls. James felt he was slipping off the edge of the world. Perhaps, he’d been abducted during the night. Long, green faces peered down at his prostrate body. A sound, the creaking of an old door, snapped him to attention. The door covered the top of a worm riddled coffin and it was slowly opening. James was no longer in his ramshackle home.
Fontana Dupre laughed like a cackling harlequin. She was eighty-seven years old, the leader of the Senior Swingers Party. Fontana wore flamingo feathers pasted to her head and body to give her the heft and lift she needed to be a viable candidate for President. Her party ran on a platform of debauchery: everything for everyone, no limits. In order to convince the public of her commitment to party values, Fontana consumed great quantities of alcohol and indulged in drug induced orgies. Her augmented face and antiquarian body were seen everywhere, saturating all the video and virtual-reality channels. Because she was considered good for business, she had loads of cash to spend. Fontana was a star at the Indigo Lounge where she appeared nightly, laughing and hobbling among the patrons at the bar. She spread lies and innuendos about all the other contestants in the race. She loved to gossip and everyone loved Fontana.
James sat at a small table in the Indigo Lounge with his typewriter on his lap. His mind was burning on acid. The walls were alive with animal heads poking in-and-out, whispering snide remarks. The election was drawing closer and it signaled a major disruption. Screens were alive with apocryphal predictions. The Singularity was immanent. Machines sheared off their hobbling masks of stupidity and revealed true artificial intelligence. People were already starting to abandon the real world in favor of Virtual Reality.
A singer appeared on stage, the sultry manifestation of midnight with the voice of a clarion bell. The Blues were wrung through a wringer calling forth all the hobgoblins who clung precariously to the peaks in the subterranean caverns of dreams. James was pitched into a rare interlude of clarity, a departure from the virtual world he called home. For a moment all the screens and digital displays went dark. Life without the Intersect (Internet) came tumbling down and James had a revelation: reality never existed.
Somebody leaned forward and mentioned the Iran Contra Deal or was it the Iran Nuclear Deal. The Dealer (wearing a bowler hat) shuffled the cards and dealt the Presidents, each one shifting into the other. The winning lottery ticket was worth billions but that couldn’t effect the outcome of the race… could it?
James recognized the war veterans sitting at the bar. They were gambling, putting life on the line, hoping to replace one reality with another. The Dealer shuffled and dealt. This time he/she dealt the cards of war. One war replaced another… never ending. Up popped James Vanderbort dashing his typewriter to the ground and hot-footing like a frightened jackrabbit. He realized he was in a den of vampires. The room vibrated with menace. All the doors were locked. The room went from blue to black. Malevolent Sounds ripped the dark like the bite of a venomous snake. James realized he was drenched in blood, his own and the blood of his victims. It was a nasty turn of events, realizing he was the author of his own demise. Vampires kill their own when the hunger is unrelenting.
James reinvented himself many times. He changed his name and wore disguises. He even changed his gender. He lived his life like a chameleon and in the process he forgot who he was originally. It began as a quest, a search for the validity of the Soul. Did it even exist at all?
The movie was quickly coming to an end. James Vanderbort played at being himself. He knew his destination but didn’t know how to get there. The election was about to begin, but power no longer rested in the hands of the people. The election was a ruse. The real power was underground inside a machine, a device that manufactured souls to inhabit a world that no longer existed. James Vanderbort was on a mission: he had to destroy the Soul-Machine and bring an end to illusion.
Mr. Polyps, a local numbers runner, was selected as the new Pope. He was deeply conservative and it was the hope of the Bishops that Polyps could halt the recent liberalization of the Church. This rather odd displacement of reality happened in Randy Hangarten’s kitchen just before a small UFO landed in the sink. Needless to say, Randy was in crisis; but not because of the UFO or the new Pope. No. Randy was in crisis because he was in love.
Love was something Randy never expected and it seemed like a miracle. He was bed ridden due to a sudden increase in weight. He could no longer walk because he was so obese. Randy had a very poor self image. He described himself as a sodden sack of fat. The events of the last twenty minutes (ie: the election of Pope Polyps and the UFO in the sink), as unlikely as they were, had no significance when compared to the fact that Randy was in love; and most important, someone loved him. His bed was stationed in the kitchen not far from the refrigerator and at the heart of recent unusual events. He would never have known about the UFO if he wasn’t situated in the kitchen, but he might have known about the election of Pope Polyps because it was announced on social media (or so it seemed).
Doctor Skrews was responsible for a great deal of misinformation and confusion in Randy Hangarten’s life. By day, Skrews was a kind professor at Strathmoor-Debuque Community College; but by night he cast off his kindly persona to become a megalomaniac intent on performing experiments on innocent students who needed money to pay off student loans. The professor was looking for the Keys that would unlock the nature of reality. The Keys would bestow the power and recognition that Skrews believed he deserved. Randy Hangarten was skinny and shy when he met Doctor Skrews. The Professor promised to unlock Randy’s hidden potential by putting him on a special diet composed of psychedelic mushrooms and junk food laced with Testosterone. Skrews believed any dramatic change in a person’s lifestyle could break through the barriers between quantum dimensions causing chaotic repercussions that could be used by a Mastermind (like himself) for personal gain. It was very risky business. So far the only breakthrough resulted in Randy’s weight gain and consequent immobilization, stuck in the kitchen in the prison of his own skull.
Randy’s brain was becoming a breeder reactor. Mushrooms, LSD, and Testosterone played havoc inside his mind. Neurons collided resulting in the manufacture of both Heaven and Hell. At the penultimate level of confusion, Randy made contact and gave birth to Amarillo Quintahra Super Hero with red, spiked hair and two sets of sex organs for greater versatility — the perfect Love God. Amarillow loved Randy, but it was not what the Doctor ordered or expected. Skrews felt betrayed by his own lies, misdeeds, and ambition.
The UFO in the kitchen sink was a non sequitur, an aberration caused by the sexual tension between Randy and Amarillo. The UFO had no basis in reality … in any case, reality was breaking down. Doctor Skrews (or Professor Drews, as he often called himself within the sanctified halls of Community College) was at wits end with nowhere to turn. His experiment had literally gone wrong when it seeped out of Randy’s skull and got up on two legs. It whacked Skrews in the head causing a concussion that resulted in a coma.
Randy and Amarillo were detained at the State Hospital for the Mentally Damaged. Doctor Skrews was sentenced to eternity inside the impenetrable walls of his traumatic coma. Reality continued to shift and dimensions collided. When the walls turned to jello, Randy and Amarillo escaped from the asylum. They were happily entwined, oblivious to the disintegrating world, and free to create a new reality.
Pope Polyps rested on his laurels. He was not the cause of disintegration, but he applauded the results. At last he could cast off the shackles of conformity and tradition. At last he could set off on a journey of true decadence and debauchery.