Wargasm Contents

Copyright Ben Goertzel 1996


    A Sexual Fantasy in Thirty Realities

    and Seven Thousand Verses

    Ben Goertzel

    A certain position of the mind from where life and

    death, the real and the imaginary, the past and the future...

    cease to be perceived in a contradictory sense.

                            -- Andre' Breton

    In a morbid condition of the brain, dreams often have a singular actuality, vividness and extraordinary semblance of reality. At times monstrous images are created, but the setting and the whole picture are so truthlike and filled with details so delicate, so unexpected, but so artistically consistent, that the dreamer, were he an artist like Pushkin or Turgenev even, could never have invented them in the waking state. Such dreams always remain long in the memory and make a powerful impression on the overwrought and deranged nervous system.

                            -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

The anonymous faces,

the changeable names,

the inevitable act.

The dream is always the same.


Sitting erect, his gaze intent on the computer screen, his fingers caress the keys. He wishes he were playing the piano. But whenever he plays the piano, visions of stacks of floppy disks swoop dizzily toward him, sweep the music from his mind. He feels his penis coursing through the stacks of disks; the data gradually corrupted by the sweaty pulsing motion of his flesh. All that information gone; replaced by nothingness. The data all dissolved into his flesh. The dream will starve itself eventually, he says, wishing he were sucking on his girlfriend's breasts. Till then the vicious circle is mine. I drink the end of time.

    This is just delusion, he tells himself. I have forty cold sores in my mouth; my stomach is pounding with ulcers -- these fantasies are my escape from reality. I am possessed by acid flashbacks. I am twenty years old and trying to finish my Ph.D. in a field I don't care about. My girlfriend hallucinates; her instability infects me. I must bite back, ignore these messages, get back to the real and solid world.

    But the stodgy voice of reason soon finds itself muffled by a wet, pulsing clitoris. Everything is data, information, pornography; cryptic and perfectly clear. Every scent, word, person, object, contains secret realities. The voices of these hidden realities sing out to us constantly, if we only have ears for them. The computer is a woman, if we are willing to ignore a few hundred years of time.

    In the future the body will not exist; we will all be data -- traveling on cables, exciting each other, creating new elements and worlds.

    The body does not exist anyway.

    The body is the only reality. Her body is my only reality. I find my existence in the soft curves of her legs, stomach, breasts, cunt, ass.

    The axis of time is an illusory rotation. There is only one big fluid moment.

    This is a love poem for three women. My wife, who is also my girlfriend, if one ignores the fallacious order of time. My Shadow-Lover, who does not exist, or may exist, or may have existed. And myself, who is not a woman.

    This is a love poem for three women.

    This is not a poem at all.

    This is a love.

    There must be situations, characters. But these are inessential. Names, places come and go. Realities subdivide and mutate, mate and murder, live and love. There is a fire at the center, a spark at the center with patterns dancing all around. I am here, she is here. I am there, she is there. We dive in and out of each other, creating motion and emotion. The dances of creation, carefully choreographed to give the illusion of definite objects. But the illusory objects melt when you assume the right position of mind. Everything becomes simultaneously violent and perfect. An orgasm of torture, perfection of dissolving, cunnilingus of delirious conscious tongues.

    Of course this is madness. But that doesn't matter. It is also something else, something beyond.

    We can begin with Jake. Why not begin with Jake? Let Jake exist for a while. Soon he will disappear. Everyone will disappear. The spark and the dancing of patterns live on. I am alive in her mysterious flesh.

    I keep moving on.


Jake Smale smiles tenderly as the tail of the plane almost imperceptibly whispers through the cloudy jagged seam of the

loaded, bagpiped, intoxicated, hornrimmed, fucklivered, dillywhackered, ornamental, cuntslurping, tigerjawed horizon....


     -- it's hardly a tail anymore, he reminds himself;

only a disparate blur which my neural circuits have been

trained to associate with the airplane.

    The plane into which I, just a meremost ten minutes ago, saw my Josie walk away.

    They don't exist. So it doesn't matter. Nothing exists, therefore nothing matters. The very concept of mattering is just a part of the web of illusion.

    It's all corned beef on rye.

But it really does. It really does matter. A soulmate, a lover in body and soul. Nothing should stand in the way of that.

    Assuming the posture and the facial expressions of a young Humphrey Bogart, he remembered the night they first met. She was a young eighteen, a jazz-ridden melody, paisley and bandannas, teeth flashing everywhere, zip short-cut into his small intestines, cock standing up peering out through his underwear like a supernormal periscope. Some sweaty New York demonstration, he never knew what for. Brochure in her hand. The queer banality, reality, sexuality, cosmococcality, endocrinality of it all, it all, it all, it all.

    Watching the airplane. Watching the airplane. The motherfucking airplane.

    "Information about the Revolutionary Communist Party?"

"Oh, a party??! When?! Where?!"

"If that's what it takes to get you to listen, maybe it can be arranged."

"Free beer?"

"It's a deal."

"I think Max Roach is playing tonight, over at the Blue Note. You into jazz?"

A piece of old dog crap stares wearily up at her; she sinks into a cosmos of moist shit. A cockroach crawls up her leg andwinks at her gelatinously.

"Not really."

She laughed, not knowing why, flinging her mouth about wildly like a Chinese coolie in the throes of an epileptic seizure and in the process sputtering saliva on a passing drug dealer.

    "What you need sister, what you need??? Ay, fuck you, bitch."     "What's that??!! Spitting in the face of the proletariat?"

    He lost track of what she was saying, not to mention what he was saying, in the flurry of drumclouds and fuckpedals and swimjammers and scurrying saxophone sexual singalongs and cellophane eyeballs and miscellaneous beads of peppermint and cinnamon schnapps, and she was leaning towards him and her breasts sat on the table pointing up at him like rays of soft invisible light, and her tiny lips were extending into the void of his mouth as it attempted to form the word "stochastic." He groaned involuntarily and the sheer spontaneity of it all made her tingle in the backs of her feminine knees, yes they were feminine knees, everyone said they were feminine knees.

    After the show they returned to her run-down apartment out on Delancey Street.


    "You can't look for salvation there or anywhere else."

    "Uh huh."

    "Enlightenment -- what is it? Answer the question and you haven't answered it. Enlightenment is escaping the web of concepts which harnesses our thought, escaping the habits which control us ... location is just one of these habits. So how can you think that Enlightenment is confined to one particular location, to the contents of one national boundary?"

"Why must you try to analyze everything? I just can't find what I'm looking for on my own. I need to find a guru to help me."

"Remember Siddhartha ... He turned down the chance to study with Buddha, even realizing that Buddha was Enlightened. Which is more than you can say for all these money-hungry Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh clones with lice in their beards!"

"The moral of Siddhartha's story, if I recall correctly, was that everyone must find their own way. I'm looking for my way, Jake, and I'm looking for someone to help me find it. You can come with me or not."

    "I'm not leaving my job and my life to run off to India. Fuck it...."

    "Attachment," she smiled. "Worldly attachment."

    "Love is a worldly attachment, yeah. Fuck it. I like my worldly attachments."

    "I do too, hon. Everyone does. But they're just not enough."

    "Can't you see the whole system is contradictory? They preach universal love and compassion, but they tell you love is a wordly attachment and must be gotten rid of. You can't avoid these contradictions by going to a foreign country."

"You're trying to get me tangled up in words. But I don't care what you say. I'm going with Bradley and Arnold tomorrow and that's all there is to it. End of discussion. I've reserved a ticket for you if you want to come. Come one, make love to me."

    So what, he thought gleerious, whigmaleeriously, mysteriously; so what if all my memories could have been programmed into my brain five seconds ago by an evil scientist with a neuron-control device? Today, this evening, watching the smooth satanic plane fuck through the psychspasmic horizon, every four or five thoughts in my brain is the thought that all thoughts are just bullshit. I suppose when it's once every one thought, that's Enlightenment.

    But then again the brain is a parallel processor -- I can have many thoughts at once. Maybe this thought, the recognition of bullshit is supposed to be always there in the background.

    In fact it is always there in the background. It is the background.

    Fuck. All this, parallelism, brain, bla bla bla -- these are just concepts, and they could have been programmed too into my

brain by an evil scientist....

His eyes caress the ocean and its vaginal flowers with a passion reserved previously for Josie, for her face, her eyes, her breasts, her ass, her legs, her inner thighs, her essential undulating enervating scintillating womanflesh experienced with all five senses and, it often seemed, a sixth, seventh and eighth

as well. Whorls within whorls within whorls within whorls, the pattern of invisible re-entry by which each level is equivalent to each other level, swimming softly, warm-dreamily through him like a cocksucking melody -- not quite visual, not quite audible, not quite soft like the clash of her flesh on him; swimming in circles, spiraling sparkles, laughing a frictionless demoncunt laugh....

    And then, into this empty, pure beautiful flesh dream there creeps a voice, a definite voice, a solid piece of stone universe.

    "Huh? Huh? What?"

Jake answers the voice without even thinking. "Nothing."

    He clears his throat and feels strange currents course through him. "I am naught; I'm even naughter. I speak in syllables of water."

The voice replies instantaneously. "Hee hee hee."

    Feminine. Definitely feminine. Definitely overtones of soft caresses, kisses, cuntly love, warm nipples...

"I love," he whispers, beyond motive or consciousness. What, why, where, whom....

"But what or who? You are whats or whos. You are not nothingness. You are love. You are not love. You are love love not love...."

But what the fuck....

"Sea sea sea sea sea."

    He emerges from the trance to find himself encaked

in sweat as thick as wax, as thick as the crust on a woman's underwear caused by the double effect of menstruation and yeast infection, as thick as the heads of the millions of retards wandering through the streets of Lower Manhatten on a typicalsummer day at 5:00 PM, encrusted in untreated sludge and doubting his sanity however not caring, wondering what the fuck he had been listening to, and most of all wanting to hear her again -- not his Josie but the sea-voice, the all-embracing evanescence, the perfect soft femininity, the warm wambling love....

    That was just a construction of my desperate mind, a ruse to distract me from Josie!!

    But who cares ... nothing matters ....

    No, it wasn't! She is real and I know it, as much as I know anything

    ... which is not at all ...

    I don't care; doesn't matter; what the fucking hell...

    Then suddenly he hears another voice: not the same soft feminine coo, but the crackling laugh of an old man, at least nine hundred years old, maybe a million, maybe a googolplex -- a voice from before the Big Bang, a voice that has lived through many universes....

    "I am the outsider's outsider. I am the Nowhere Man. I am the square-root-of-negative-one'th coming of the Messiah; I am the Mathematax Collector, sucking up the universal tariff of Absolute Infinity from the musty, thrusty backrooms of your eturnally bloodstained souls; unplanned; I am the universe undressed; I am the (light) too tightly twound tongue that licks the Cosmic Cunt clean; I am that this sentence is all bulldlyshit. I am the set of all sets which don't belong to themselves. I am the reductio ad absurdum of all logics and all thinks. I am the end of, among other things, all the endings and begins that decay youniverse. I am unflavoring in my deauty to the seeing sea -- I refuse to be buyassed or souled. God is dead, yes, but I am that which doesn't lug around his carrion luggage. I am immyoun to my self -- and there, fore, (eye) dew not ex-is-t ... I am the outsider's outsider; I am the Nowhere Man; I am the Freeee -- I am paradox given eyes to scan illusion with and balls and a cock to pound it with and a cunt to trembling suck it with and arms and hands to mold it with and cranium to construct it. I construct. I am Create-if Force. In the beginning, there was no crane, E, um, there was no N, E, thing, there was no chance, but there was chance, there was no soul, but there was soul. Was not even beginning ... And then I invented it. Sole spouted forth soul."

    The voice stops just as suddenly as it started.

    He knows that he will remember the first voice but not the second, and as he begins to wonder why, he finds himself wondering what it was he was wondering about. Already the memory of the second voice is gone.

He notices his binoculars in the sand. Must've dropped 'em after the plane went by. Insane futility, racing to the beach. Insanity all of it ... Think! Nirvana in India! What do they think, it's stored in a vault beneath the gonads of stone Buddha in the temple of some malnourished Sikh village? What the fucking sucking hell....

Walking away from the shore, he distracts his mind with thoughts of the solutions of general hyperbolic partialdifferential equations with coefficients in spaces of Frechet spaces. His mind wanders to the interview he has tomorrow morning, for one of the 350 berths on the spaceship Fracton. The very first interstellar flight! Exciting, tremendulous!

    And then it hits him: before, you were an excellent candidate! You would have passed all their psychological tests with flying colors. Now you've been hearing goddamn voices.... You're a nutcase: you'll never get on board!


Maria farts, then looks around to see if anyone else in the cafe has noticed. She smiles at herself nervously and laughs.

It's just a crepitation, a flatulation, a passage of wind or gas, she tells herself airily. Don't you realize it's a natural function?

    "I haven't been up this early in ages," she says to the waiter. "I don't see how you can handle it."

"It's easy. You just kind of have to say goodbye to your social life, that's all." He waves his hand dramatically and homosexually. "Bye bye."

She's thinking about her future on the Fracton. That perfect spaceship fucking feeling: that burst and thrust out of the atmosphere; the fire, the heat, the twinkling magic, the passage to another world.

    She's wondering if she could fuck her way onto the ship. Probably more likely I'd get eliminated trying, she concludes sadly.

    Jake arrives at the cafe and immediately spots a beautiful woman eating alone to the right of the door. He's never felt so compellingly alive -- alive and swimming!

    He saunters over toward her, secretly smiling what he thinks is his most seductive smile, which most women actually find repulsive; he is hypnotized, mesmerized and energized by the surreal luminosity of her spray-on skintight red dress. Her nipples are quite erect.

    "May I join you?" he asks, momentarily puzzled by his tone of voice...

    "Oh ... sure," she says

    ... and he recognizes his tone of voice as that of the Mad Scientist, the Mathematax Collector ... the Nowhere Man -- that voice! that voice! that voice? But he immediately forgets the voice again, absorbed in the vivid contours of her face.

    "So what are you doing up at this ungodly hour?" asks Maria.

    "Ungodly? You mean God's not on duty in the middle of the night?"

"Very funny ... I'm sorry; I didn't mean to pry...."

"Oh, pry away, by all means. Just remember that everything I say is a lie!"

"Including that, right?"

"Gorgeous and clever too."

"Actually, the reason I'm up this early is that I have anappointment with NASA at six. I'm being considered for the Fracton." He tries not to sound like he's bragging, but on the other hand he does want to impress her....

"Oh, really???! That's so funny!"

    Funny? "What do you mean?"

    "I am too!"

"Are you serious?!"

"Don't look so taken aback! Yes, I'm serious -- what, don't I look like interstellar material? I've got an appointment at six

too -- 3016 World Trade II?"

He nods. "If they judge by looks you're

definitely interstellar material. But then again, if they judged

by looks, I wouldn't have passed the last seven rounds of


She blushes. "How many more rounds are there?

I'm so goddamned sick of those neural-response tests! I really

don't like being hooked up to a computer, you know ... that's one

of the earthly things I'd like to get away from...."

"But just don't tell them that. Escapism is not a desirable quality from their point of view. Remember, they run things here ... they're the ones who've set everything up the way it is."

"Four hundred out of how many?"

"Three hundred and fifty out of an initial pool of around seventeen million applicants. But all but a few hundred thousand were eliminated in the first round, after a simple check of everyone's InterBase record."

"Yes, I know, I know ... I'm just babbling. Nervous habit."

"No nervous habits either. We must be perfectly balanced human beings. Ideal homo sapiens sapiens."

"Sounds awfully boring."

"Well, once we're actually out there we can revert to our normal psychotic selves. But who knows actually what they're looking for anyway. Probably not even they do."

"I have a slight advantage in that respect, being a psychologist, but..."

"I've looked at the literature -- Higgens, Wslaw and Zhao, and so on. It's all so goddamned vague, that's all. The transition from their theories to their tests is what bugs me. i mean...."

"Yeah, well, adaptibility is the main thing everyone agrees upon. And how can you measure that in a test?"

"Good question. I guess you can't. The best thing as far as pure adaptivity goes would be to pick those who adapted best to this world, I guess. Though of course that's not perfect either -- there are certain skills which are valuable here but would be useless on an untamed planet."

"I guess so -- like ass-kissing."

"No, that would come in handy anywhere. Even a hermit has to kiss up to himself!"

    "Sounds sinful to me..."

    "Hmmm ... I don't know if a dirty mind like yours is considered desirable or not -- certainly, a healthy will to reproduction...."


Jake feel it when he enters the room, some kind of drug wafting through the air. Some kind of truth serum, most probably. He feels it wriggling through his mind, a huge pink train with a name like Ruth, a spiraling eyeball looking out of everywhere, looking out at everything.

    He's sitting there in front of this Mr. Jacobs, this grave-looking interviewer individual, and answering what is asked of him and he hardly knows it.

    He lets his mind relax, instinctually, and opens himself to the flow of the ocean. The mist is still there, but he can see and hear through it now.

    "Is there anyone you truly hate?"

"No. I've never really understood the concept of hatred. There have been people I've hoped never to have to deal with again ... but I've never wished revenge on anyone."

"Could you kill if necessary?"

"I imagine under certain circumstances I could. But it would

depend upon a list of factors so long I couldn't possibly

enumerate it for you. In certain circumstances I would die first."

    "You're not applying for the job of assassin. I'm prying into this only because I'm very impressed by your Ethical Quotient. Very unusual for a person of your conceptual fluidity to maintain such a strict intuition for one solid ethical code."

Well, it's not as if I believe in ethics, I just sort of follow them by accident.

    "It's not as if I haven't explored alternate modes of behavior on the intellectual plane. I'm a very imaginative person, and I often experiment in my head instead of in the real world. I guess that comes from being a theoretical scientist. Although, of course, my work has had many practical applications...."

"Yes, believe it or not, I studied your work in graduate school. At NYU we had a seminar on the mathematics of chaos, and we covered your work in the last week. Very impressive, I must say -- the only really deep theorems in the whole course."

    "Funny to have that stuff taught at NYU, considering I was virtually run out of there when I was working on the stuff."

"Did you hate them then?" Jacobs asks quietly. "Did you hate Professor Shandling?"

"I didn't hate him, no. I certainly thought him a mediocre mathematician and an incompetent administrator. At that point it made me angry. Since that point I've become a bit mellower, I suppose largely due to a flirtation with Buddhism. I was in love with a woman who in the time that she knew me went from devout Marxism to devout Buddhism. She just left for India to look for a guru. She wanted me to come along...."

"Why didn't you?"

"Oh, I wanted to just to stay with her...." He shrugged.

"You sound a bit bitter."

"It was an amicable departure. But, yes, I wish it hadn't happened. She knew how I felt, and she felt she had to go anyway. Anyway, this was just last night, so it's right on the tip of my mind right now."

"Quite understandably. Just a few more routine questions, then you can go. Have you ever committed a crime?"

"Yes ... jaywalking all the time, spitting in the subways -- once or twice I've even littered."

Fucking goddamn truth serum.

"Have you ever had any experience that could reasonably be

classified as psychotic or neurotic?"

"I don't think so."


"No, I guess not. Well, sometimes when I'm thinking very hard about some technical problem it seems like I can actually see the functions and operations under consideration, like they're actually in the room with me. But that's hardly psychotic; it's actually quite effective."

"No, that's not quite what we're looking for."

"Have you ever considered suicide?"

"Intellectually, yes, I've thought about it. I've wondered if the world would go on without me and so on -- the same old things everyone wonders about, I guess. But no, I've never had any desire to kill myself. On the other hand, my life hasn't been that hard. The worst thing that ever happened to me was at NYU when they wouldn't listen to my ideas, when they called me a crackpot. It's not like I'm living in Bangladesh, you know ... it's possible I might be suicidal in such a situation."

And so on -- more and more...

"You've got a berth."

    A week to tie up personal affairs, then off to training camp with the other three hundred and fifty nine space voyagers.

"Six months of extremely intensive training. We want to get this program going. Physical training, exobiology, exozoology, mechanical and electrical engineering, et cetera et cetera et cetera. You'll probably learn more in half a year than you have

in the rest of your life combined -- and I know that's saying a lot given how smart you all are.

"You have the next week to back out, you understand. After the next week, there will be no more contact with anyone but the three sixty."

"Hey man, my woman just left me for some crackpot quest to India! I've got nothing!"


     Jake opens the door to find Maria right outside it ... "I made it, Jake! I did it!"

"Me too," he says; she flings her arms around her shoulders and drifts a passionate hint of a kiss across his face. "So what are you doing for the next week?"

"No plans. How about you?"

"I suppose we should blow all the money we've got saved up, sell everything and go on a no-holds-barred jaunt around the world. See all we can of Earth before we bid farewell!"

"Sounds good to me," he says, and kisses her. "This is too good to be true -- just twelve hours ago I was crying on the beach watching Josie fly away to India, wondering how I'd keep my life from feeling empty ... and now I've got a beautiful woman to keep me company as I prepare to take part in the crowning achievement of the human race."




"Why go to Antarctica? Just to look at a bunch of penguins?!!"

"I don't know ... I guess just to get away from all the people."

"This isn't the twentieth century, you know -- there's nearly half a billion people there!"

"Still, there're hectares and hectares of land just free, open, nothing there but..."

"Ice and penguins and coal shafts, right? I'll gladly go anywhere with you, but if it's up to me I'd rather go somewhere where I'll be surrounded with people, preferably stupid ones. We'll be locked up with three hundred sixty geniuses for the rest of our lives!"

"Yeah, good point. We can do that after we go to Antarctica."

"Fine," he grins, and lifts her dizzily. "But first to liquidate. You know where I'd really like to go -- ."

"Where? To India? To laugh in your old love's face?? That doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me, frankly." Her frame grows stiff in his arms. "I can see it now -- the long embrace, the tearful reunion...."

"I'm sure she's taken up with someone else by now. I can't see her going without sex for more than a day."

"Oh," Maria giggles, "so we have something in common, huh?"

"Hopefully not too much," he replies darkly. "Come on, let's go. I won't even pack a bag, I'll just buy new clothes or wear the same ones. I'm ready to catch the noon flight to Roosevelt Island!"

"It's not quite so simple for me ... I don't have a lot of money, hardly any actually, but I do have some real estate I inherited from my grandparents...."

"Look, just give Century 22 the key and tell them to sell it

and take off with me -- I'll pay for you, no problem ... I've got loads of cashflow. More than we could possibly spend in ten years of disgusting overindulgence."

    She frowns for a moment, watching his eyes rove her body. "You're comparing me to her, aren't you?"

    He shrugs. Why deny it. "You've got a much better body than her," he says, surveying every swiveling curve of her, marveling at the seamless bright adhesiveness of her dress, the way it never wrinkles, not even where her skin folds under her breasts. "And you certainly do advertise it!"

"You don't like spray-ons?"

"I think you might as well be naked!"

"That's illegal though. They'll arrest you on the spot -- I tried it in Los Angeles."

"Did you tell the interviewer?"

"Yeah ... civil disobedience, you know. Anyway, they dropped the charges after we promised we'd be good. Of course I told them -- you can't exactly lie with that disgusting truth goop sticking up your mind...."

"Oh, I don't know about that...."

"I suppose I shouldn't tell you. You might turn me in."

"Oh, don't be silly! Come on, Jake, did you?!"

    He pauses. "Sure."

    "How'd you do it??!"

"Well ... I don't know if I can explain it. Mind control, I guess. Years and years of meditation. Mainly, I guess, I just don't believe in anything, so it was easy to kind of channel all this disbelief toward the truth vapor, and just to make it disappear...."

"Sounds easy to me.... Come on now, you've exposed yourself, you might as well tell me what!"

"I'm a loon," he says, against the implorings of

his sensible component.

"You lied when they asked you about episodes of insanity."

"Or something like that ... experiences which could reasonably be interpreted as psychotic or neurotic or something. I think I did a good job -- I gave a technical reply like you always see people doing under the scop, you know ... like when they asked me about crime I automatically mentioned jaywalking and littering. Yeah, so when they asked me about psychotic experiences and so on I said well, you know, when I think really hard about something I sometimes see the functions involved in front of me, as if they're actually in the room with me, or something like that, is that what you mean? By the way, where are we going?"

"To my place. We're almost there. I'm not so bohemian as you; I want to pack. Also I might as well deal with the realtor. Though I don't know what I'll do with the money once it's sold. Give it to charity I guess."


Three hours later they emerge from her apartment.

    "I've never had such good exercise in my life!" she giggles as she dances down the stairs.

"Whaddayou mean, you getting exercise! Who was on top ninety percent of the time!??!"

"All right, all right, let's not get pornographic! At least not in public.... Do you like this skirt?"

"It's hardly a skirt! In fact it's hardly even a pair of

underwear. Who's getting pornographic here?"

"Don't be such a prude -- it's fucking August out here!"

"And what is it in there, May?"

"Yeah. So ... penguin time?"

"Right. So long as you promise we can do it in the snow."

"You never told me what you were covering up in that interview."

"No and I don't plan to -- not till we're light years from home."

"Come on ... tell me!!" she squealed.

"What will you give me in return?"

"I'll be your sexual slave for the next week!"

"You were going to do that anyway!"

"Not if you don't tell me I won't!"

"That's blackmail!"

"That's correct."

"Fine. I murdered my daughter. And ate her eyeballs out of the corpse. I killed her by hanging her by her intestines."

"Eeuw. That's gross. No, come on, really! You don't even have a daughter!"

"Not anymore...."

She slaps him playfully: "Come on...."


"They used to think," Jake yelled, above the screaming of the wind, "that rockets would have to be launched from Antarctica, because only above Antarctica is there a hole in the van Allen belt."

"What's that -- just a layer of radiation, right?"

"Exactly. Or, I've always thought, a repository for dead souls. A sheet of pure mentality blanketing the earth. A sort of electromagnetic analogue of Heaven."

"You should write science fiction!"

"I've got enough goddamn projects already. I've got two half-completed novels on the shelf, a design for an intelligent dildo and several big theorems stated but not completely proved. I stretch myself too thin as it is ... I've always thought I should restrict myself to just one thing. Or to just no things, while I'm at it."

"An intelligent dildo??! What do you mean?"

"Just what it sounds like. I've got it under consideration at a manufacturer right now -- it's already patented, but several details could stand perfection. It modifies its response pattern according to behaviorist stimulus-response training ... in other words, it keeps track of what seems to make the woman lubricate andmove around more and so on, and then just does that in the future."

"That's more than most men do, I guess..."


Never before has he performed cunnulingus on a woman spreadeagled between two horizontally forking branches of a

hybrid pine/baobab tree.

    Never before has anyone eaten snow out of her menstruating pussy.

    Never before has either of them seen four sickeningly sentimental holo romances featuring green-haired women with pierced tongues and labia in one single day.

    The old rules of life are suspended. The confines of personality are nil.

    The earth is a playground, no longer a medium for the execution of life but a protracted sloppy kiss goodbye, a laugh that slaps in the face of reality, a dirty joke or wet dream.

    Skydiving into the viscous womb of the South Pacific.

    Making faces back at Easter Island idols.

    Once upon a time there were two tribes there, the Long-ears and the Short-ears. The Long-ears had ears up to half a meter in length, due to incredibly heavy earrings which they wore from birth. Particularly attractive women were hidden in caves from birth and delivered food through lightproof winding tunnels, so as to keep their skin absolutely white.

    Mellifluous combat at the Barrier Reef -- Kangaroos the shade of parched earth ...

    making love is the same thing in Venice and Rome and in Beijing and Tokyo, Scott City, Easter Island, Himalaya, Leningrad, Gorbachevgrad, Stalingrad, Petrograd, Moskva, Tehran, Andorra, nestled in the cuntlips of the Pyrenees, best known for foot-long cigar butts and mile-long erections....

Arriving in London with two days to go. Holding hands, giggling, prancing down the street nibbling each others' earlobes and talking about rock bands of the late 1960s when who should they run across but....

    "You found salvation mighty quickly!"

"Just knock it the fuck off, Jake!"

    I'm not in love with her anymore. I'm not in love with her anymore. I'm not in love with her anymore.

    "It looks like you found something interesting anyway. Aren't you going to introduce us?"

"Josie, this is Maria Rodriguez. Maria, this is the infamous Josie Lynn."

"Are you drunk or what, Jake?"

"I'm happy, that's all. We've been accepted for the Fracton mission! Training starts on Monday, then we're off in six months, assuming all goes according to schedule."

"That's great.... Great. So I guess it's just as well I ran off anyway, huh? You'll have no outside contact during training,right? To make sure you can handle the loneliness or whatever."

"No outside contact. But anyway, what happened in India?"

"Oh, just what you said. Two days on the ashram and the master tries to rape me. After I kick him in the nuts he says he was just trying to shock me into enlightenment, you know? Like how the old Zen monks used to hit their disciples with sticks???!"

"You can't condemn a whole way of thought just because

there's one asshole involved in it."

"Of course not ... why do you always do that? Whatever someone says to you, you always have to say the opposite!"

"I'm trying to maintain balance in the universe.... I consider it my cosmic responsibility."

"Ha ha ha. I can see I'm not going to get any help from you."

"You really invested everything in this mysticism kick, didn't you. Every last ounce."

"Listen," says Maria, "why don't you come with us? It's all right with me; I'm not the possessive sort. You'll at least have companionship for the next couple days; maybe by then you'll look at things differently...."


"I want to have your baby," whispers Josie as they sit at the base of pseudo-Stonehenge, quietly savoring their sandwiches and chips.

"The funny thing about this pseudo-Stonehenge," Jake was in the middle of saying, "is that, being indoors, it's completely irrelevant to the astronomical purpose of the original Stonehenge.... Of course, to duplicate...."

    He wonders if he could possibly have heard her correctly. "That sounds like a very bad idea."

    "To have something outside myself, that was inside myself. To give life. To the universe. Something original. Something uniquely mine ... oh, I don't know! You've had all your theories and your novels and your flute and so on ... I've just had other people's stuff: politics and religion, all demagoguery, all bullshit, always someone else's, something else..."

"And what if your baby doesn't fill this metaphysical gap in your mind, huh? then what? How will you feel toward it then? Give it up for adoption?"

"Everyone else who has a child, what kind of motives do you think they have, huh? Pure altruism? Everyone wants everything for themselves, one way or the other. Jake honey, you're leaving! You're never coming back! You've got to leave me with something!"

"I don't think her desire is all that crazy," injects Maria. "Look, I know I'm a newcomer to both of your lives. I have nothing to do with this. But, I mean... it's all right with me, Jake...."

"Well," says Josie, trying desperately to sound cheerful, "you have a little while to make up your mind, anyway. So, guys, wanna catch a flick?"

"Actually," Maria says," there was one I kind of wanted tosee, though I feel kind of stupid about it since there are bound to be plenty of opportunities to watch holovision in training.... A trip through the mind of a schizophrenic -- no, no, not that ... a multiple personality."

"That's interesting," says Josie. "I'd like to see that. But you don't remember the name...."

"Uh ... wait, we just have to find a vid. There must be one around here, right?"

"Probably out by the entrance," mutters Jake.

"Well, anyway, this is London," says Maria -- "there's

one on every corner. Even more civilized than New York."

"There's one on every street corner in Manhattan."

"But not in Queens," says Josie. "Once I had to walk five blocks for one."

"Oh horror of all horrors!"

    "There's a vid."

"Holovis. Current?"


"Surrealist. Multiple personality?"


"Title: 'A Heard of Paradoxen.' Heard spelled h-e-a-r-d.

Author and producer: Aglaia. Just one name. Nearest realie which is playing it?"

    "We don't know the area, so we'll need directions. Give us time of show too."

"Well there's one two blocks from here but it started ten minutes ago. There's one a mile straight north which starts in fifteen. You go right out the door and turn left and keep walking for half a block and there's an entrance to the ramp right after a McDonald's."

"Thank you," says Maria. "Come on," she gestures to Jake, and takes his hand...

The holo starts with a disembodied voice. They are surrounded by the desert -- the smell, the feel, the taste of it. A grainy wind whisks across their heads. The stench of decomposing bodies fills the air. "This seems like it'll cheer me up," whispers Josie sarcastically. Maria clenches her hand warmly, not understanding why she feels so much empathy for the ex-girlfriend of the man she loves. Someone grumbles at them from across the small theater: "Why don't you shut the fuck up!"

The voice intones: "Beware! Be where? O gaspasp not in the throws of pure suregasm -- you instead may beclasping at whoregasm, perhaps finally rasping at WARGASM -- wargasm, thick clotted blood red and purple pulsing through fresh severed veins, oozing consciousness. But relax, let me not Czarathustra of Rush-ya. It's a sknow job! a con-cert of never-no-nothingness, it's a laugh except -- well no, enupha that, look it down in your unabridged contradictionary. Hee, let me freee about the everbrighting lustre, the shyning lustar of the twilight of allfrightingness -- the lunaughtic of paradoxen, possessed by anomalust (the overpowering will to fuck the extraordinary, or rather greater-than-or-equal-ibrium. Don't be a whys guy, muthafucka! Let's be scumpassionate. Or, rather, come-passionate. Or, well well, perhaps be just a epitaph on the decaying gray depravestone of red consciousness. In-tree-going, isn't it????!! I'm talking passionaught! Passiontradiction! I'm talking to you, Jake Smale, and Maria Rodriguez. You must be Passionauts -- Passionaughts! -- Passiontradictionariousish ... you must open the doorgasm to wargasm to whoregasm to WARGASM to WARGASM to WAR! Listen: you void and you void and still you're voying, but it's simply not enough, you voyeurs, no, not unless it consumes you! Beware-- be where? Beware -- be where? Be whery!"

The voice fades, and there appears a little girl lying in a field next to her dress. She puts a hand to her tiny hairless cunt and starts to rub on it. She sticks a finger in and shoves till it turns red. "I didn't know we were going to see kiddie porn," whispers Josie, wondering if her face is red. Her voice extracts Jake from an ocean of semi-hypnotic reverie ... "Did you hear that?" he breathed insistently -- "Did you hear our names?"

"Your name? What? I didn't hear anything like that, no Jake, what are you talking about?" replies Josie.

"Will you shut up!!!"

"I heard it," says Maria. "Jake Smale and Maria Rodriguez, beware, be where -- be whery."

"And I thought I was cracking up," says Josie distantly.

"You really didn't hear anything?" urges Maria, dazed... her voice is muted by a frightening slurping sound and smell of sopping grass as the girl takes a garden hose and directs it into herself. Surrounded by a closeup, they cringe: the entire theater appears to be consumed by the throbbing young girl's vagina, the air by the gush of the hose and her "Oh! oh! oh! oh!"

    "This isn't porn, this is criminal," gasps Josie.

"No it isn't," begins Jake, but in the midst of framing a devastatingly logical response he is himself devastated by confusion as a barrage of high electronic whinings spiral his eyes down the girl's vagina ... "Inside the Cosmic Cunt," announces a voice -- not quite the same one as before -- this one, he soon realizes, is the lunatic scientist from his previous dream, his crazy vision on the seaside.... Suddenly textures cascade by and a grotesque guttural snorting sound and they realize they're being given a snot's-eye view of nose-blowing. Entangled hairs lash across their faces; the taste of salt wafts through their noses. "I've never seen anything like this," gasps Josie. Actually, what? No longer a nose but a jutting-forth penis, not a snot but a jissom-grunt -- love? The penis towers before them, around them, and from the multicolored orgasmic effusions form -- humans? A confusion of humans, silently orbiting one another -- sound flows, gradually, to the amazingly precise accompaniment of a flock of dancing yellow spheres with rings like Saturn's ...

    "It's like I'm seeing music," gasps Maria; Jake kisses her, "yeah."

There is a grizzled and grinning old man with a saxophone, strutting about on a shout of purple haziness. "I love," the sax croons -- in the voice Jake heard by the sea! the sweet woman'svoice! love! "I am the sea, I'm in the sea, I love the sea, I love. What are you that is not the sea? What are youey?"

"Stop babbling you incoherent old Injun," scowls a young blonde beauty, about seventeen; as she peels her right nipple off a small explosion surrounds it. The child returns as the smoke disappears. "None of you exist," scowls a young man, long curly hair, thick glasses ... "I created you! You're all just characters in a novel which I'm presently writing. And, Jake, Maria, I'm warning you even though I know you won't, can't listen, understand me -- Beware! Be where? Be whery!"

"Oviparous red egg manure," says the old man. "My trees, my trees, my love where are you now? You are invigorating!" In a flash a grove of animate poplar trees surround him, each one with a sickly-sweet grinning mouth beneath each bark-shedding branch

and a huge cunt at the bottom where the roots should be. "Trees,

please," says the young man. Suddenly the audience is covered with sap. They touch themselves and feel it -- yet they know it isn't so. Tactile holography, new to commercial visima, still possesses the power of shock ... A clone of the young man appears, and another woman (who's hitherto been a vague clouding) is now clear: a sensuous beauty, okay well maybe not a beauty but so damn sensuous anyway, and suddenly one of the clones gains a striking attractiveness whereas the other just looks weird, and orgiastic glee surrounds them ... suddenly all the bodies, arguing, agreeing, babbling, discussing profoundly in so many simultaneous permutations that no one can follow them, turn pliant and grey -- mold into the wet cerebral layers of a young girl who's not quite any of them, who looks most like the child from the beginning scene grown up -- who is sitting in a doctor's office. "Why do you say I'm insane," says the young man through her -- the overwhelmingly attractive one. "Ear glear weary biggle bunny," says the old man through her. "Just cause I'm a little weird?" asks the child. "What if I wrap you up in my nether item?" asks the sensuous woman. "What if we fuck you till you scream for bloody murder of the charade of reality which keeps you penned up inside certain habitually motivated concepts which inherently not in their nature but in their very habituation prevent you from experiencing such boundless sparkling joy, such tremendous all-pervasive metaphysical physical unclassifiable ineffably concrete orgasm -- all the time. To declare war on time? It is unthinkable, isn't it?" The blonde continues: "What? No reply?!" The psychiatrist sits there, just sits there and listens. She is silent. Then she pulls fourteen spears from her nose and quickly pins the psychiatrist down to the desk that sits between them. "You're destroying my papers!" he yells. "Now I'll have to write them all over again!" He is oblivious to the blood that spurts from twenty-eight holes around his body. She rips his fly off, takes his erect dick in her mouth and looks to the audience -- "Should I bite it off? Nah." She lets it go, and tiny rivulets of semen dribble out, glistening foreshadowings of orgasm -- She peels open the minuscule hole at the end, quickly enlarged and placed in front of the audience all five square meters pulsating tremendously -- She peels it open and(she was never enlarged) climbs inside. Involuntarily Jake reaches out to hold her back -- but she isn't quite there; he grabs the girl in front of him, who cries out. She dives in... THE END.

"What was the point?" says Josie dizzily as they exit. Every face leaving the theater has the same enraptured, angry and seduced look glued across it -- as if some primal force had been aroused from deep within but not allowed to be fulfilled. "I'd thought there'd be more of a story."

"Listen, Josie," says Maria calmly, although she is burning inside with curiosity, disgust, lust and confusion-spawned pain, "you didn't hear any of the characters mention my name or Jake's, not even once?"

"No. Of course not. Definitely not."

"Something very weird is going on here," whispers Jake. "Listen, Maria, remember what I told you about being a lunatic, about lying on the interview."

"Yeah?" she asks rapidly, eagerly.

"Well, that has to do with this. What happened was that that night after Josie left me I whizzed down to the beach real quick to see the plane leave the continent and I got into a really weird reverie and heard these voices -- one of them just like the voice that said 'Inside the Cosmic Cunt', one of them just like the voice of that weird old man's saxophone -- not the old man -- which said all those things about the sea. Those are the same sort of things it was saying to me before. And that weird speech at the beginning, all those strange unearthly puns, that was very much like what the first voice I heard that night was like -- not so much in tone but I mean in content, all kinds of mad poetic ramblings about itself...."

"So what the hell is going on here??!" asks Maria; Jake just shrugs.

    All of a sudden Josie is overwhelmed with tears.


    "O Brittle Slender One, O Daughter of Refined Malleability, Descendant of the Infinitely Inimitable Seeker of An Overflow

of Warm Squeals -- O tell me why do you so behave so very

strangely? O tell me, what is it you're doing in the sand?"

"I'm making hard."

A supple laugh: "Hard is already made, O You Silly One!"

"But hard can change just like soft can, One of Great Many Cycles."

"Hard can change, it is true, but it is its hardness that it cannot change as much as soft."

"Over many cycles, what you're thinking is correct. But look -- I can change the formulation of the underhard with this."

"What is it?"

"I believe it's a bone."

"You hold it in your mouth and move it?"

"And where the underhard is soft it changes the patterns, yes. It's nothing revolutionary. But it's much more than can be done with our natural shapes."

"But why? What is the purpose? How does it guide you towards perfection?"

"I don't know how. Maybe it doesn't. Probably it doesn't. I don't care."

"What do you mean, you're indifferent to the task of perfecting yourself? Do you seriously propose to become a dissonant influence, a destructive component of the Field?"

"I don't propose anything. I like to make hard, that's all. I just have to look where the hard is soft and flow in it. I can make my soft hard. I could make your soft hard too, if I tried hard enough."

"But that's ridiculous! Soft is soft! The point is to make it softer, more malleable, until it infinitely freely flows. Why would you want to desecrate this beauty by confusing it with the inanimate or at best merely animal, the grievous, grievous

nonfluidity of the hard?"

"But hard is soft, O Splendid One of Many Cycles -- many times you've told me that yourself. So what's the difference?"

"Hard is fundamentally soft, yes, Little One, but in order to understand this unity we must make ourselves much softer,

tend towards infinitely softness -- we must thus distance ourselves from the hard, not confuse ourselves, meld ourselves with it."

"Well I don't see anything wrong with it, so I'll keep on doing as I wish. And if the field develops dissonance, too bad for it! It's been getting awfully boring anyway. Sometimes I wish something would go wrong -- that everyone's softness would just stiffen up, that we could go backwards and forget about

everything and just maybe focus our lives on the hard for a


"Focus our lives on the hard??!!! What is this you're spouting?! The words don't even make sense -- you might as well propose to eat through your ass! What differentiates us from the animals is that our lives are not at all focused on the hard, that we only deal with the hard insofar as our imperfection requires us to -- that we focus our lives on the infinite beauty of soft. To live as you say is to live like the animals."

"It is true that animals have no soft. But why does it follow that soft should completely absorb us? I have no desire to become an animal. But I also have no desire to devote my entire life to increasing my softness. I'm quite happy with my softness as it is -- and I'll use it as I want. Sometimes I'll turn it in on itself and maybe make myself a little softer, as according to you I'm supposed to do; sometimes I'll turn it out to the hard world and make it a little soft."

"But the Overflow is infinitely soft, O Brittle Precious One! So by softening ourselves with continual diligence, we are bringing ourselves closer to the Overflow which contains us all."

"First of all I don't see why that is necessarily so desirable. And anyway, the Overflow is itself a part of the hard, you know, dearest One of Many Cycles."

"Why do you say that?"

"Why, when we rise for gulps of emptiness do we not sometimes

see hard on top of the Overflow, or beside it? Is it not apparent that there is an Overhard beyond the Overflow itself? "Or does the Overhard surround the hardness?"

"That's irrelevant. Another thing I've been wondering about is how we know the Overflow is soft. Is it not perhaps just an extremely complex sort of animal or something -- a form of hardness?"

"We can feel it there. You know that."

"We feel something. Maybe we feel it because we want to feel it. I've noticed that if many others feel something, soon I come to feel it as reality. That's a disadvantage of softness, I suppose -- things imprint on you too easily. As opposed to hard, on which it takes great effort to imprint."

"A disadvantage of softness??! Really, Dear One, I don't know why I go on talking to you. I'm afraid you're becoming as hard as the bone which you seem to think can replace the Field."

"The Field will be there whether I want it to be or not. What I wonder about is the strange animals which bring the Overhard, the hard which floats on the Overflow. I think they may be soft like we are."

"What??! What in all the Field would lead you to think that???!"

"I sometimes get feelings from them like from the Field. My feelings from them are stronger than my feelings from the Ocean."

"And that, my dear, is precisely because you have been wasting your time with hard instead of softening yourself into communion with the Overflow which is all."

"But you just admitted that the Overflow is not everything, except in the sense of infinite softness that everything is everything else."

"You are becoming increasingly difficult, Little One."

"Can you feel them, O Splendid One of Many Cycles? -- I feel them more and more as I bring myself closer to the world of hard."

"A tremendously bad sign, my poor Dear Brittle Slender Young One." -- in a tone which indicates he is about to abandon her, one of the most promising Young Ones he has ever felt, to

the world of ossification which she seems to somehow love. "I

would advise you to devote the remainder of this cycle to

especially intense softening, so as to bring yourself back into harmony with the Field and the ultimate softness of the Overflow which underlies the Field, and away from these illusions of the hard."

"But how can there be illusions of the Hard, O Great One? It seems to me that Illusion is itself a part of Softness, no?

"You think a bit too much, my Dear, when you should be softening into communion. Now leave these bones alone and come back with me to the rest of the family where we can help ease you into peace."

"You see -- the closer we are the more we can feel eachother, right? A very slight effect, of no importance in the course ofordinary life, but in unusual cases it may be meaningful. For example, this could explain our general failure to feel the soft animals which float hard upon the Overflow."

"Stop speculating about hard, my dear! Rather turn your soft powers inward! You were born softer than the rest, my dear; it is a terrible, terrible shame to waste your softness trying to make the hard soft -- attempting the impossible --..."

"I AM NOT TRYING TO MAKE THE HARD SOFT, O Great Old One! I am merely trying to put my softness into certain limited portions of the hard world. What the ultimate limitations of the process are I don't know."

"But why? Why do you bother, Little One, Softest One, poor lost Child?"

"Good bye."

The Frail One scoots off into a cloud of mud; once out of sight she grabs another hard object -- this one's not a bone but an artifact alien to Overflow, which she recognizes only as a fragment of the hardnesses that the soft animals use to float on Overflow.... She grabs it in her mouth and tries to trace the shape of a rock in the muck. The soft animals, she's observed, have extra parts just made for holding things. They have no parts to move through Overflow with, that's why they stay on top in their hardnesses, but they have strange multitentacled organs sort of where their motion instruments should be. But I, she thinks to

herself resolutely, I have to make do with my consumption orifice. At least I don't have to breathe through my consumption port as

they apparently do -- now that would be truly disgusting, to

breathe what you eat! How unclean!

An animal drifts into the outline she's traced. She pokes

around for it, then spies it escaping the perimeter -- she can

see it there because it's all cleared out. She lunges and grabs

it. Interesting ... once it's in there, it can't really get out -- if it does I've got it! Just like one of the Puzzles of Old, like a child's game -- "this message does not say what it says because whatever it says it says whatever it did not say because everything is contained within the Overflow" -- No escape! I ... no ... but ... maybe that's how those strange things dropped from some of the floating hardnesses work! Those tangles of long thin ... you get in, and then you can't get out, but they can move you because they're attatched to the tangle at one end ... Very simple indeed! if you think about it the right kind of way.... We have confines of softness, into which one paradoxes herself and goes around in circles and hence cannot progress toward the infinitely soft -- but they have confines of hardness -- Is there an infinitely hard?

So Brittle Slender Young One spends a long long time collecting various fragments of Overflow-floating hardnesses and positioning them so as to close off a small area of Overflow -- like a cave! she marvels gleefully -- except that I made it! She floats and waits for an animal to drift in, then she swoops toward the entrance and snaps it out. Her strange contrivance makes her feel special, gives her a satisfaction maybe not better than, but delicious for its absolute difference from, what she gets from

pursuing greater softness as the Field eternally implicitly urges

her to do.

But she gets lonely. The Field is there, yes, but it's nice to hear others too and even to see them; sometimes it's even nice to touch. Although she identifies it only vaguely, she feels the need to reproduce. Her own family is gone; she can sense it veering southward, having abandoned her as lost to an incomprehensible aberration toward hardness. She attempts to communicate with a nearby school; she calls them to herself and shows them her inventions. "But why? Didn't you have enough to eat?"

"Yes," she thinks in response. "But what if I voyaged to regions of Overflow where there was not enough food?"

"Then you could retreat to warmer regions."

"But what if I encountered someone who was disabled? With this I could have food to give to them too."

"Why wouldn't the rest of the family join in and help?"

"Look -- isn't it neat? Isn't it interesting? Isn't it fun?!!!"

"What do you mean? How does it make you softer? How does it increase your unity with the Overflow, with the Field?"

"What if it doesn't?!"

"I don't understand."

"Did you ever think that the animals who float things on top of Overflow might be soft like us? Or maybe softer?"

"No. Of course not. How could there be softness outside of the ultimately soft which is the Overflow and the Field?"

"But can't you feel them? In particular, I can feel one of them... who seems to be more like us. Not that he's softer than the others, although maybe ... more that he's more concerned with

increasing his softness, perhaps...."

"I don't understand. You are disrupting my voyage toward Overflow. Goodbye."

"Good bye."


So soft is soft and hard is hard but hard can be softened at least temporarily in certain locations with great effort of one's softness and this irrelevantly to the indubitable hypothesis that hard is soft fundamentally. But who are you that calls to me in the hardest times? Are you indeed of the hardness-floating animal race which my intuition tells me must be soft? Are you in fact more like us than the rest of your hard soft race, just as I am more like you than the softness-obsessed families which form my

folk? Yes, I'm beginning to hear you again: "Who are you?" you ask me, fearfully, expectantly, tremblingly.

"I am of Overflow. I am Small Frail Slender One."

"But where are you, physically?"

"I am of Overflow..."

    "Are you unique?"

"I am an aberration. I am, as far as I know, uniquely oriented towards the hard. This may be why I am capable of communicating with a hard-soft such as you -- though why such a connection would exist I cannot tell you."

"Do you communicate like this always?"

"Like what?"

"Like we are now -- directly, from mind to mind."

"I ... don't understand."

"Sounds. Do you communicate by sounds?"

"Sounds?? Sounds are for messages about hard. Sounds are for animals. We are not animals, for we have the Field which is our softness, and we can feel eachother softing through the Field."

"What is this Field? The thought is alien to me."

"The Field is ... is the Field ... it's always there, that's all. The Overflow is it; everyone is in it. Animals are not in it, except to an almost imperceptibly small degree."

"And am I in it?"

"Now you are in it by virtue of your contact with me. Your race is a source of much perplexment to me. To me you seem soft yet your softness appears to be focused on the hard rather than on climbing toward infinite softness. I cannot feel much Field associated with your existence, yet something tells me you are as soft as we are."

"I sense that what you say is right, but I can't quite understand it, detail by detail...."

"What? Hard-soft, where are you!!?? Oh, please come back to me!!!"

"I am here. I want to find you. How can I locate you?"

"You want to see me."

"Yes. This ... this Field is not usual for me. I think the way we ordinarily communicate is what you would call hard. We utilize sounds or certain marks on certain substances...."

"How very strange! O so much softness, yet no Field?"

"I believe the Field is what we would call telepathy."

"Yes, there is resonance between these images...."

"Listen: I must go now. We must find some way to find eachother ... but wait, one thing I have to ask you."

    "Why can't I communicate with others like you? Why only you?"


"You are like us. You are concerned with softening."

"I don't understand."

"I fear I feel you fading, Love. For now, goodbye." Hardsoft HardSofthardSofthardsoftHardSofthardsoftHardSofthardsoftHardSoft


Converted by Andrew Scriven