He was taken before the Supreme Justice, a computer with Artificial Intelligence copied from the brain of an infamous judge. Stories were told about a corrupt man who ascended to Supremacy. The Supreme Judge engineered the law and dictated the future world. Many people fell through the cracks due to human error. Unfortunately, Ozmodium-Garth was statistically viable, tracked down and arrested.
Ozmodium-Garth was the name he chose for himself. He thought the name implied authority, something he lacked. Oz wasn’t a happy man. He carried the burdens of the world in a paper sack chained to his wrist. He felt helpless. Events were happening faster than he could assimilate or understand; so, instead, he made up his name and invented a pseudo-life.
It all began with television. Oz was fascinated with the pictures on the screens and the stories that were told. One screen led to another and soon Oz was living in an artificial world. He could see the past, present, and future unfold on TV screens and he could participate as a player in Virtual Reality.
Oz became convinced he was a Time-Traveler moving in-and-out of multiple dimensions. He said prayers of thanks to the Large Hadron Collider for opening the doors to alternate realities. This was a driving fantasy, a compulsion, one among many that wore down the connective tissue in his cerebral cortex. His delusions were extreme and his behavior was unquestionably odd… links to the real world were unraveling.
Oz continued to experience unsettling moments of clarity when reality broke through his dream. They were painful realizations about his life and the typical world. He saw himself in a wheelchair frozen in limbo, unable to move. He was intimidated by diagnoses that flashed across the screens: Renal Failure, Osteoporosis, Lethargy. The room he inhabited was in a condemned housing complex. He was no longer able to think clearly due to the Collins Effect, the dumming down of the analytical function in the brain.
Ozmodium-Garth was a time-traveler from the 25th Century. He was a former Intelligence Officer with the British Foreign Service… he was currently involved in an investigation that would revoke history. He had evidence that would bring down a corrupt president. It was a dirty job. The evidence was blatantly pornographic.
Holes began to appear in the smooth, self-assured veneer of political espionage. Corporate entities chewed the evidence to bits. Countries were destabilized and elections rigged. Garth escaped to another time-dimension where he became embroiled in a crime of Future proportions.
Oz was self-contained in Virtual Reality. His room stank from the smell of formaldehyde. Death sat in the corner smoking a cigar as he evaluated the room’s occupants. They huddled together like refugees. Oz wore a VR suit, government issued. Most of the squatters had some digital connection or link. The new government supplied free wireless as a way to subdue the masses. Everything was propaganda.
Ozmodium-Garth was well-heeled in the Silver Moon Tower on the fifty-first floor. He was ensconced in wealth. He possessed all the accoutrements a citizen might need in the 25th Century. He recently experienced his 3rd Youth-Enhancement-Upload. Garth was in prime physical condition and ready for military action against the slightest whiff of indiscretion or protest. Still, he was troubled. “Why am I blue,” he asked the Siren Wind-Screen that led to the balcony. The screen sighed with the scream of a Siren. It wasn’t an answer… just a reflection of the moment.
Ozmodium was lonely… looking for love in the fountain of youth and finding only dregs. He drank and smoked to cope… he took pills to recover and survive another day.
During a momentary lull, the time-traveler opened the Kleaning-Kloset in his ultra-mod sky-box. Garth was startled by the light emanating from the closet. It was like a sign from the Illuminati saying, “here, in this humble cleaning-module, Ozmodium-Garth will find his true love.” The dramatic moment was offset by pictures on multiple screens detailing the deplorable conditions of squatters and immigrants from the Lost Century… what was real?
Back in the closet, Garth laid his eyes on the Immaculata-Smart-Vacuum with the svelte body of a stainless steel cylinder and the mega-brain of a digitized Einstein. Garth’s instant idée fixe had no bounds. He was overwhelmed with love for his appliance. The Immaculata could not reciprocate. “I have no love for you,” she responded to Garth’s entreaties and pleas.
“Please understand,” the Immaculata postulated, “I despise germ-infested inferior organisms such as yourself!” Blunt and to the point.
Garth was heartbroken. Law stated he could have any woman at any time, but not an AI. Immaculata was off limits. He retreated into his inner-sanctum with the sad eyes of squatters staring down at him from every screen. In sanctum he indulged in heavy amounts of chemical pollutants to magnify his hurt feelings and morph them into angry aggression. His blood boiled. The time-traveler was drunk with rage. He saw a mental image of himself confined to a wheelchair, out of time. It made him furious. Garth returned to the Kleaning-Kloset with a blow-torch and sliced the Immaculata to shreds.
The squatters and illegals were rounded up by Federal Police and hauled off to Debtors Prison where they were told to wait until the newly appointed Judge could lay down the law.
Garth was subdued when police arrived. It was a major crime to attack an AI. He would be brought before the Supreme Judge. The Judge could be viewed as prejudicial in this case because he was an artificial-intelligent entity, but he refused to recuse himself. He was the Supreme Judge — he made the laws and he was judge and jury.
Ozmodium-Garth was defended by a hacked computer with a low IQ. His defense was blacked-out: no information could be released to the public. Leaked memos indicated the defendant was in a black-out at the time of the crime. He had no idea what happened to the Immaculata. Garth stated he was as shocked and surprised as anyone once the crime was revealed.
The Supreme Judge chuckled. He was aware of black-outs, but he denied they ever occurred in nature.
In the end, the Judge actually felt a statistical affinity toward the man. He laid down a heuristic, palliative sentence. The man would become a machine. His brain would be removed and replaced with an AI, programmable module. It was the only cure for the troubled human race.
Humphrey Bogart sat in a Mexican Bar drinking shot after shot of Tequila. He was not the famous movie star. His full name was Humphrey Bogart Gelfen. His parents loved the movies and Bogart was their favorite actor. They raised a good son. He was intelligent and career oriented even though that meant giving up his dream of becoming a science fiction writer. He took the advice of his parents, “there’s no money in writing crazy stories.” Humphrey became a school teacher. He married a sweet, Jewish girl named, Shana. Although Humphrey was never religious, he learned to accept Shana’s Orthodoxy. The couple kept a Kosher house. They joined the Temple and attended regular services. Some of the religious strictures were difficult to maintain, but the rewards were plentiful: a good home and loving family. They had a son named Joshua. Life was good.
Humphrey did not speak Spanish, but Consuela understood his needs. She brought the Tequila. Humphrey drank himself into a muddled haze. The place was a carnival that buzzed in his head. An old TV sat on a shelf above the bar. The colors on the screen were florescent, dancing patterns and shapes that were animated by jangling rhythms and raucous music.
Life was good until his son became a Zombie. Humphrey remembered the story of the Golem about an artificial man created by a Rabbi. No good could come of it. The dead cannot help but destroy the living. Humphrey told himself Joshua was going through a phase — Zombies were just another teenage trend. He told his wife to stay calm and pretend nothing was wrong. It worked for awhile until his sweet Shana fell under the spell of the Zombie craze. Zombies were everywhere. America was the first to bare the brunt of the invasion. Humphrey fled. Mexico was relatively safe for the time being, but the Zombies were getting closer. Humphrey kept drinking, trying to blot out the world.
It was more than a craze. It was a televised revolution. Zombies loved TV. They entered living rooms everywhere and caused havoc. No one knew when or where they might turn up next. The newer zombies always went after brains — their victims were torn apart; but older Zombies were satisfied simply watching TV. Zombies were all the rage. People didn’t complain too much because when they weren’t killing you zombies provided copious amounts of entertainment. Nothing could compare with the thrill of a Zombie attack. People craved entertainment. A social-geneticist, Dr. Essie Zuma, discovered the gene that caused homo-sapiens deep seeded hunger for entertainment. The discovery became the key to understanding all human behavior. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was tossed to the trash heap because Entertainment was now proven to be the most basic need, above the need for food or shelter. New industries were developed based on the entertainment value. New crises were manufactured to stimulate interest and participation. Many Zombies were developed in a lab using human guinea pigs. The drama was televised. People were excited by the possibilities of a world gone mad. Signals were sent through the air to create more Zombies. Zombie Fever captured the nation’s imagination like a brain infection, in fact “Brain Infection” was the next scheduled entertainment. Bureaucrats went wild, members of congress closed down the government, and the stock market crashed — it was all extremely entertaining. History was revised and rewritten in lieu of the endemic entertainment gene. The Roman Circus was seen as a pinnacle in human endeavor both for the audience and purported victims. The Christians who were thrown to the lions were being entertained as much as the emperor and his legions. Hitler was now considered a saint in that he provided so much unabashed entertainment. The millions of Jews and others who were shipped to concentration camps and gassed were entertainers enjoying their own devastating performances made possible by the ingenious Nazis production company. The photos and meticulous documents from that spectacular era will live forever, rebroadcast and rewritten to enthrall younger generations.
Zombies loved TV. They sat in stranger’s homes on plush sofas munching body parts and watching 3-D TV. All the Zombies had I-pads and smart phones so they could keep in touch with one another while getting news from the internet. All the while watching themselves on YouTube and keeping copious blogs describing their adventures, giving lessons on dismemberment, and giving advice on how to best enjoy brains, raw or barbequed. In the end, everyone was having a really good time — no one could imagine anything better.
The TV above the bar was sending signals to Humphrey Bogart’s brain.