The light on the screen flickers imperceptibly fast, a refresh rate of 60 hertz. Which means a refresh rate of…

Click, clack, click, clack.

.016666 seconds.

Lightning speeds.

Fucking magic.

How does it work?

Chips so small the electrons clatter through them like hurried businessmen, modern businessmen (if our generation isn’t anything but postmodern). Another handful of potato chips in my mouth. Click, clack, click, clack. The keyboard feels greasy, but I don’t care. I stopped caring about such things long ago. On the screen, people, people in words, in pixels, on servers, in rooms far away from me, in optical fiber cables, transmitted as flashes of light. Here I am, a server mod, with some sense of domain over these people, a hubbub of screams for attention, mental disorders, and connections over pieces of media no one else cares about, like that one album by a Connecticut history teacher featuring the death of Jean Paul-Marat as its cover.

One of my favorites, actually.

SteveBannon: God, I hate all the degenerates in today’s society. That’s what anime does to you, you know.

Lolita :3 : degenerate and proud~

xXNabokovXx: Right, you cute little girl. Now get back in the bed. *pats your head* Lolita :3

allenpoe: i just drank like forty herever wahdfgjslakd kgajgvcnbnjbf eternal worms are eating me ag

thomasstearns: I hate my life.

Dostoyevskij: Same, but thank God for the holy trinity.

1nnocentius: you aren’t even Christian you heretic dog

dostoyevskij: I hate Christian, always having to structuralize everything. The pope is a lie, and so was 9/11.

Tommypinchyon: Can’t you guys go one second without talking about religion? Jeez, Lolita’s roleplaying is easier to sit through than this. Golden Mean.

SteveBannon: What?

Narryate-her [MOD]: @Lolita :3 @xXNabokovXx No roleplaying with anyone underage. I don’t want I or Shinji to get visited by the FBI.

Lolita :3 : fiiine~

xXNabokovXx: Hey, she was the one who was coming at me with the tildes.

Tommypinchyon: Don’t try and make your “love life” less pathetic by calling Lolita a “she”.

Allenpoe: dn’t u knw tht ever1 online is a guy

xXNabokovXx: Wait, then who are you @Lolita : 3 ?

Lolita : 3 has changed their name to oskarandwild

thomasstearns: …

SteveBannon: Homosexuals should be zapped in the name of the Lord thy God.

XXNabokovXx: Oscar…

oskarandwild: nothing wrong with a little boi love~

dostoyevskij: Well, if homosexuals repent, they should still be able to get into heaven.

As the chat messages go back and forth, I wonder how someone like “dostoyevskij” even still believes in God, especially so today. Hasn’t he been on the Internet long enough to lose hope? I suppose that goes for everyone in this chat, especially so the nameless twentysomethings that come and talk about video games at five in the morning. I see them sometimes before I have to go to work, chatting over the latest visual novel or strategy game.

Apparently they have no work.

Lucky bastards.

I shift my weight around in the cheap wooden chair which has certainly paid itself back. I haven’t replaced it in five years. Not since Mother said since I loved the computer more than her, I should have something for it.

Well, she wasn’t wrong.

Another handful of chips shoved in my mouth. Am I really missing anything? Not really. My gut hangs over, a paunch that reminds me of memories I’d like to forget. Just keep staring at the screen. Articles on the Battle of Stalingrad. Articles on the presidency. Wikipedia. Google. Everything’s copyrighted these days. Ha.

I play video games. I watch some YouTube videos. Laugh. Shouldn’t be eating this much. Shouldn’t be on the computer. Who cares?

No one, obviously.

I fall asleep at 3:00 in the morning.


In my dreams
Antiochus comes, and smiles with a raven’s beak
“You aren’t even real, you’re the
Castoff dream of someone English
Someone cold and unwanted.”
“Just like you.”
He grins, with that raven’s beak.
“How long do you think you can last
living off of pixels and the transistors in your circuits and your breakers
living off of the plastic and your keys?”
“We’re all just atoms, all just carbon and phosphorous
and piss and guts shoved into a very neat package of a
phospholipid bilayer.”
“Ah, yes, but those bind to form together a unified thing
All you are seeing
Is the transposition
of pixels on your screen
Literally nothing but an arrangement of color
Stored in a hard drive, or a server, gone the next moment you scroll
Or the next conversation or the next summer season show or the next video game
They’ve managed to make a world more impermanent than flesh.”
He smiled a crooked beak-smile, and then he laughed.
“Everyone may be already dead, but at least they’re not dead while conscious.”


I awaken.

It’s 10:30.

Seven hours and thirty minutes is about an hour and a half more than I usually get.

My shift starts at 11:30.

Take a shower, brush my teeth, and get to work.

All. Fucking. Routine.

Cleaning people’s dishes all day, all night.

Always in the back. I’m not attractive enough to serve in the front; red dots, like any defining physical traits of me, were swallowed in a cocoon of fat.

I don’t care anymore.

A sandwich I have to make myself makes up my employee meal, yes.

Think impure thoughts about the waitresses who stop to chat in the kitchen as their “break,” especially the one who comes in every Thursday, that one majoring in Biology, but she’s the kind of girl to look my way and go “creepy” at best, and vomit a little inside her mouth at the worst.

Well, hey: she ain’t wrong.

Working any shift at a menial job isn’t hard; you just have to distract yourself somehow. Or turn off your brain. Personally, I oscillate between the two coping mechanisms. I wake up long enough to achieve enough momentary consciousness to overhear a momentary conversation about marijuana.

If I had friends, I would do more drugs.

Ha, ha.

Annabellee: hey bois~ wanna slide into private message for some fun??

Tommypinchyon: Come on Oscar. Drop the act already. You did it once, now it’s just old.

Annabellee has changed their name to oskarandwild

oskarandwild: i’ve gotten like, so many pics that way though. You should try it.

Tommypinchyon: But I’m not a flaming homosexual.

Shinji: In the literal sense, haha.

1nnocentious: Yeah, you made Nabokov leave the server!

Oskarandwild: your guys’ fault for liking what doesn’t exist online. Really should switch to boys, they’re much better, i swear

SteveBannon: God, I wish one day there’ll be herever to cleanse the earth of people like you.

Allenpoe: so like i got my hands on some lsd

thomasstearns: Don’t you have schizophrenia @allenpoe ? I don’t think it’d be very good for you. Also, anyone else here on antidepressants?

Salivaplath: They aren’t really working tbh

allenpoe: don’t be such a freakin’ narc of the raven and herever , bro. i know what i’m doing
no one’s talking now
but i want you to know
that i love you all
so much
so much

thomasstearns: Can someone check on allen? He went offline…

Nerryate-her [MOD]: @allenpoe No illegal stuff on the general, please.

Salivaplath: He’s offline, you retard.

Nerryate-her [MOD]: I know that, you retard.

Salivaplath: Retard.

SteveBannon: You’re all retarded for not believing in God.

Dostoyevskij: Daily reminder that Catholics are literally the worst.

Thomasstearns: Can you all shut up about God? I need to go meditate. Or have a mental breakdown or something.

Nearly broke my wrist tonight on a particularly nice clip of something. But it’s strong and it’s handled worse. Felt sleepy after. Went to sleep at one in the morning this time.

Good job, me.


Where are you now in my time of need?
Give me the courage to end it.
He smiles. “But I thought you were happy here?”
“Who can be happy with pixels and transistors
And plastic and keys?”
“Several people.” He responds. “But not you.”
“Yes, not me.”
He smiles with that raven beak. “Everyone loves to talk on and on about killing themselves
About going into the end, the shattering of atoms
‘My job is too tough!’ or ‘There is no clear meaning to life!’
But they trudge on and on
They trudge on and on despite the precedence of being replaced by geniuses
Of cloning, of men who have become more than men
Leaving us mortals to enjoy the one thing we have
The one escape
But we cannot enjoy it
For we are afraid, eternally afraid of what we already are
Stepping backwards in a time vertigo for as long as we can, until, we learn, despite our attempts, we are brought to it
To its arms.”
“Save for the immortal ones. For the clones.
And the robots.”
Antiochus looks sad. This is the first time that I’ve seen him so despondent.
“Yes, the immortal ones.
The defiers who travel beyond the shattering of atoms
Who break them down into electrons and neutrons and quarks
And beyond and beyond…they are beyond my grasp. At least I have you.”
“Who am I?”


I wake.

Fuck work.

Fuck those people.

This is more important.

I walk into the street, and then I run. It’s five in the morning. No one is here, the streets are deserted, the masses of concrete killing anything natural, and the town is dead; the town is dead because they are sleeping.

I run out back.

I grab the hatchet.

I find the nearest wooden pole with cords attached to it.

I hate this.

I start hacking away. The hatchet is dull. I hate this. My greasy palms slide along the cheap steel handle. I hate this. But the base of all the technology in our local neighborhood does not budge. The wooden pole seems to laugh at me. The hatchet’s first few blows seem to glance off of the wood, and when the next few finally find their mark, they seem to get swallowed by the telephone pole. After twenty minutes of chipping away at it, and a few obviously distracted drivers passing me by, I give up. I drop the hatchet and kick it.


Why are there tears falling down my face?

Maybe I was a Luddite, and I was born too late: the machines, the Übermensch, the immortals have won, and here we are, the mortals, the meek who were supposed to inherit the Earth, the meek who built the Earth for the strong and got the droppings of it in exchange…for what, exactly?

For what? I scream aloud, hands clutching my head, as if to claw the memories out of my brain. I remember searching up a guide online. It’s almost ironic, then, how the information I will use to bring down the machine, the gnawing transistors, the ever growing synthetic mass, came from the machine.

I fill a glass bottle with some vaguely flammable substance, stuff a rag in the top, and grab a lighter. It lands with a flash I didn’t expect, and I back away, half-expecting me to have caught on fire in the process. It is 5:40 in the morning, and here I am, some overweight twentysomething laughing at the now burning telephone tower. I hear sirens. The machine knows. I have another here in my hand.

“I’m ready to die!” They pull up, guns drawn, the sirens blaring, loudspeaker, the whole shebang. “I’m ready to die!” I shout, and light the here after.

I hear a blast.

Darkness followed.


I awake.

Fuck wor—


The room is nice-smelling, bleached, perfectly white, like one of those sci-fi scenes. I scream.

“Would you calm down? Christ, you’re going to wake other patients. It’s four in the morning.” Some foul-faced nurse gives me the stink eye and I shut up soon enough. It seems I’m alive. A machine beeps, monitoring my heart rate, my pulse, my blood pressure, even my blood oxygen levels. I sigh.

Machines don’t let you die.

They’re too good to let that happen.

“Listen.” I look, and a slightly nicer-looking nurse is giving me a version of the “you’re crazy but I’m too scared to say that you’re crazy” look. “A psych’s going to see you soon, alright? We’re going to get this sorted out.”

She quickly bustles away to help some old fart with his chronic hemorrhoids or something.

It is 7:50. I have kept my mind dead until now.

The doctor, dressed in white, carrying fluoxitene and effexor: he’s coming for me.

He’ll try to make me forget.

But I won’t.