“In utilising the audio-visual-spatial ability it is possible to affect a trance through which the cognitive restructuring takes place, leading to almost infinite modes of perception and expression. However, it is important to work with human nature rather than against it, and to practice patience, discipline and trial and error.”— Danica Klossner, New Frontiers in the Practice of Psychology
I was attempting to write the definitive article when some kinda energy association happened. Must’ve been my carnivorous soul recalibrating the diagnostic entrances.
The Entertrainment Consultancy had formed a general consensus that gave superficial material power to the survival of functions via the use value of the names of things but not their meanings. The tyranny of the obvious had made organic substance, being, thought and objects serve the separate illusions of free choice. People and things were representations of functions rather than vessels of imagination.
Time was distorted. In the reflection zone, artificial parallels were engendered between communications, making them appear to correlate with each other to the extent that they matched almost exactly and therefore cancelled each other out.
Nasrul sneezed, feeling hopeful for no apparent reason. He was the last human. On this day, his chosen semantic organ was a copy of The Times. After dutifully imbibing a few soundbites and spin, he cursed the economy, voted for political reforms, clowned about in front of the telly for a while, and altered the course of events. He had become a parody of himself, like a global brand name.
Twenty or so pigeons waddled about beside three men in suits whose shiny ties were sandwiched between slices of sponge cake. As the men stood on the corner, bound to imitation and squawking into their smart phones, they shooed away the pigeons.
“We control the narrative.”
Identity was reduced to both a continuous function and a discrete type.
It could be said that in speaking of the human race to the top of the food chain, the Commissioner for the Entertrainment Consultancy was voicing the economic interests of his class. While it could be argued that with his aristocratic background, he was liable to say whatever would help maintain the high status afforded to him by his breeding pool, but he was just a stereotype with nothing but the obvious to say.
“Politics should be more scientific.”
Demographics sunk into primordial slime as celebrities spread out in all twelve directions of the Zodiac, having fully self-actualised at peak condition for no less than $10,000 for a personal appearance.
Time was broken down by the overwhelming weight of cognitive angst produced by the superstitions of TechNoLogic that dominated life in the reflection zone. Time had fallen in on itself, and reincarnated as the immediate present, as persons, their perceptions, and descriptions of experiences. The present had become a subjective, self-referential trap that reverberated aimlessly in the form of the appearances of persons, their perceptions, and descriptions of experiences.
By summoning the solemnity of doubt, N had accidentally unfrozen the sense-machine of Earth. Triangular stones with rainbow markings were externalised from the zero-core. Justice and fortitude shone forth in splendour.
Nobody knew who or what their growls and barks were for, but without the dog-gods the noise of the silence would have been deafening.
“There is a way.”
I was writing with my left hand. The official line was grim, the colour palette mind-numbing. Then a light fell across the page and I found myself writing with my other hand. I was lucky to have been born ambidextrous.
Lakshmi strolled past the swimming pool and lay down on a sunbed next to N as he stared into the pool. She wasn’t just anyone. She tended to talk in abstract-baroque poems, not dissimilar to this plate of literary characters that glistened like divinatory jewels. L described how she had been unable to awaken from a dream, a dream in which she dreamed she was dreaming a dream from which she was unable to awaken. Yet there she was: Calypso, daggered eyes, the fount of Paradise. N opened the chrome canister.
The other guests at the hotel looked like extras who had wandered off a cowboy movie set. There were in the habit of making elaborate empty gestures. Managerial or firm, slippery or moist, their handshakes were fantastically sensuous. There was nothing unholy in their speech, but hidden meanings could not be uncovered, which could not be said about the controversial threads from which this plate is woven coincidentally with your life, for example.
To show you have been reduced to bodies of scientific data, in his books Laws of Natural Ascent (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1955) and The Desires of Nations (New York: Thornhill & Lawrence, 1943), the so-called “philosopher”, Anthony Kade-Trent (1901-1979) discussed the movement of special diagrams across vast swathes of progressive optimal expressions that emerged from a “phenomenally astute” observation of human passions as they impinged upon the historical measurements of social tendencies ruminated upon by the author. He considered the “inherently war-like” Japanese the scourge of humanity, Anglo-Saxons the arbiters of good taste, and had engaged in an affair with his secretary for twenty years while proclaiming “marital fidelity the key to full possession of a moral sensibility”.
N took the 0H8412 from its snakeskin holder. He admired the sleek chrome design and chuckled slyly to himself. The inhuman effect would be tremendous. He and L were on course for psychological genocide. But first they would have to contend with more bullshit information that, despite its origin in false identities, functioned in a manner that was identical to identity theft.
Satan was in the Big Brother House, in Eschaton, in Stillstand. The closer to strawberries, the closer to Heaven. The arrows shot above the shadow of the river. A serpent of burning thistle took root in obsidian ears. Among the goats and ravens, the heavy mountain air uplifted hearts and minds. At the first snow or flame that shrivelled in the carvings, an embrace encircled the leaves that covered the floor of the space station. A cluster of lips passed trails of bronze light across the slowest of distances. If it could, the unstifled silence would have blossomed the unbidden, where audible hallucinations were mute and voiced at once.
All Hell had broken loose to liberate Paradise.
N and L would conduct a ceremony to initiate a new form of communication that would be conducted outside the impassable hall of mirrors which had been built by order of the Entertrainment Consultancy.
“Is that American?”
N and L had discovered that the illusions of the reflection zone were being pumped out from a grey dilapidated building with a trough outside and a satellite dish, which was the Entertrainment Consultancy headquarters. Their refuge away from there was the purple starlit expanse of valueless abstract poetry, and no words could describe that sanctuary. I can still see now the metal plate with the Urim and Thummim N handed to L before they ate their broth.
The rebels that gathered in the mountains were expert hackers and software engineers. Chroniclers took note and expected to be taken at their word, but their words were heeded only because they were reliable indicators of when the rebels should strike.
It had been decreed from the highest echelons on Reality TV. Viewers were to keep their hands on their remotes. Either they were evil or billed as primordial knowledge. Yet the adored and chosen evil yearned for by the upper echelons was their own dissimulation and undoing. Non-existence was incomprehensible to them.
N. had caught sight of an unfolding miracle. At least that is what his gut told him. In the sharpness of the outlines of buildings and cars, in the appearance of sane individuals, the miraculous was taking shape at an exhilarating rate, except the miracle was yet to occur. N knew he had the wherewithal to accommodate it, and was prepared for its arrival, but was yet to discover what form it would take. As you know, he looked like he’d been painted by Rubens (1577-1646) and was on the run from himself.
In a play enacted by the body it believed it was in love, full of feeling relayed via the heart and tongue. Assigned to the body was no signal. It were sold on truth. But it was a lie. Negated deletions / surveillance mods, synonyms, my love, all make it true.
“Put your phone on silent when you’re in church.”
When we were young children we said we would make a painting and later see it again from another angle.
Faced with the counterfeit truth, the face of the dog-god assumed the false appearance of the very thing it was not: itself. Embracing the thing brought destruction. The dog-god tended to speculate upon survival via out-of-control forces of heredity combined with the promise of carnality, material form and content.
N, however, was the last human. So, he escaped deduction because he lacked any mode of reasoning and had no story left to tell.
The past existed only as dead images. The future was a promise broken before it had been made and full of regret. It was nigh on impossible to time travel anymore, but this made for a perfect opportunity for the timeless to intervene, to agitate broken time and coax it with aromas to come to its senses, to restore its ebb and flow beyond the artificial parallels of the reflection zone.
The stark increase in citizens possessing psychic powers which was such that in 1999 there were approximately 100 people in this country identified as possessing psychic powers and in 2000 this figure jumped to 2000 and steadily increased every year until, in the present day, the last recorded figure was 300,000. No-one with psychic powers belonged to the regime, even if they thought they did.
As the pioneering ray of the miracle attracted N to draw closer, he asked his other self how he ever got the chance to flow into it.
No-one was getting any accurate news. Journalists had been ousted by the chroniclers of the regime. The military-industrial hex performed by the bullshit information superhighway became increasingly automated. Regime critics were hunted down and executed without trial. Until recently, most news had been obtained by radio, but radios were now subject to registration with the Entertrainment Consultancy and anyone found in possession of unregistered items was liable to be jailed.
Magdalena squirmed in the manner to which she had become accustomed. She had regained more of her strength now, but knew that when the arrivals started pouring in, she would be the first to go. She sank back into the dirty mattress to hatch a new plot.
Later, small injuries and humiliating punishments for Magdalena’s sisters: bones broken, but no murder. Attempted poisonings on shooting expedition after-parties, but no murder. A wild animal, Magdalena bit into hands and heads, and twisted slop from the floor, remains of roadkill and human waste, into the mouths of her oppressors.
N glanced over at the brightly coloured outfits of the police. Despite existing outside the laws of nature they had given up trying to control the rebels. Many inhabitants of the public sphere showed admiration, and some even called the rebels heroes, including some of the cops.
“The world is not your toy.”
Meanwhile, the pornographisation of career roles continued apace. Families of watchers fawned over imitations of themselves as if they were real people doing ordinary things. Terpsichore on a well-kept lawn bathed in the smooth glow of a chamber orchestra as it wheeled in cow dung to stimulate a mermaid torpor over the astral plane. Speeches were broadcast from cars in an intelligent lengthening of horsebacks mounted at an angle of youthful nonchalance, intoning a vibrant thrill upon the napes of necks. The words to the speakers were jerky and inhuman, incorporeal tones, wire tracks elevated to the supersensorial, echoes exquisite as the whispering of trampolines.
Desperately clinging to reality as if it were real, like an orphan child, a voice of hardening bronze spoke of embryos and carcasses. The clock howled at the scarlet drapery, its hands parting to let a ship sail between the two ports. The engraved combustibles of the clock’s tongue bore the footprints of phosphorescent Gothic castles armoured with scaffolding that the fingers thrilled to build with crackling flames.
Speaking from inside a numb foreboding to awaken the units, N decided to make the golden choice again and go with grace. He gave up on superstitions which meant letting others believe in them. The regime had been proven to veil a face behind it with no eyes, nose, ears or mouth. He grabbed the cloud buster and headed outside.
To N’s tools and instruments, the reader was integral, and to his wanderings in the general vicinity. They felt it in their bones. N’s nervous system lit up like a Xmas tree. If it were not for the imminent arrival of the miracle, broken time might have been a barrier. But N was also the reader.
Pulsing at the magnetic peak, hooves and waves collided, spurred on by a forehead of longboats which sailed towards a pressed flower between blank pages. At the edge of the banned radios was the unhesitant speech of vineyards and morning dew. The flags of eyelids were unfurling in honour of a harmless small foundling cradled by the roots of a tree on porous ground, splaying outward, agape.
When things went wrong or right, we were trapped in a pastiche of relationships. But at least the fashion icons, the sex machines and video games gave off something more than the scent of propaganda.
“Pay here or be fined.”
Recalled one night at the Milkhouse where Scary Jack “Smack” Tompkins and Hilary Freyer, the barmaid at the Top O’ the Mornin’ ten months earlier had done a shady deal with Shark “Nefarious” of Club Ninety on the Avenue, and it had spilled out into the gutter press, The Echo or The Herald, I forgot, but the press barons were out of a job anyway and that was a long time ago.
The dark and forbidding chamber smelled of goats’ faeces. Peering out, the emperor cowered behind a column. On the floor was a small pile of sand that glittered blue specks of the firmament. It had to appear realistic, so the chamber was daubed with incomprehensible calligraphy and splattered with slave blood. Beauty’s strange thrashing sounds mouthed by the vultures would eventually propel the emperor from his lair, and out into the open air to be sacrificed to them, and Magdalena would finally be freed.
N followed L down the stairs to the execution chamber. The polarity of good and bad made the happy medium lose ground, relegated as it was to the desert of broken time. (This was no accident, but a relative subtlety to reconsider.)
SCENE 41: INT. THE GARDNERS’ LIVING ROOM.
Mr Gardner was looking for you, by the way.
I’m not saying anything.
No, no, don’t worry, he doesn’t know anything about last night.
Trust me, if he had he wouldn’t just be lolling about in the conservatory right now.
Surely not? For Chrissakes.
Where are you going? Aren’t you having this orange?
Stop me then.
SUZANNE storms through the hall towards the conservatory.
You won’t like it, Suzanne, I promise.
You can’t stop me.
SUZANNE enters the conservatory and finds it empty except for the Breuer chair.
He’s playing tricks on us again, Brett.
Fuck off, I don’t believe it. He told me—
He told you what, Geoff?
CUT TO: Mr Gardner rifling through the cabinet in the study while nervously grappling with a glass and a bottle of Tequila.
Satan’s false imaginings were absorbed into an unimaginable inconsequentiality that reeked of hedonism. At least the termite factories were still buzzing. The resus monkeys, the cobras, the lice on the antelopes, wild cats multiplied on the feeding planet.
Recuperating from a slight measure of fatigue, N sat on a footstool and contemplated the magnificently skeletal black night. He looked out on to the ocean and contemplated the sea-borne craft. He would not be human anymore if his mouth became consubstantial with diamonds.
Genius savants sifted through the emperor’s old clothes and found in their sad pockets, high on rotting cameras, the emblems of disgrace.
N and L rose to the fading sounds of the crickets as they vowed to pursue their outcome at the crack of Dawn.
Not that it was a matter of life and death, but the reflection zone was a binary trap in which no contradictions could be tolerated, only opposed with resolution. Paradoxes were anomalies, strange exceptions to the arbitrary rules of narrative ploys designed to explicate reason for profit. All identity could do was perform a social function. A function was despite identity, but its signifiers were unremarkable facts and could easily be made into incendiary memes.
The rogue capitalist was a numbers guy. In his opinion, the proposed solution to make science more economical lay in the ability to control outcomes.
The Consultancy was assigned the task of replacing N with a dumbed down version in order to offset his subversive tendencies. But they had taken on an impossible task. They could not replace him with someone else, not when the replacement would have no idea who or what they were supposed to be other than the seeming character of N’s self. The Consultancy were placing the replacement under an indescribable social and emotional pressure. When the replacement was punished, they were blamed for something unreal, which was confusing. The simulation of the psychograph of N had its talking head failing to acknowledge that the object of its worship was a phantom. A rude exorcism would get them with the programme. With no salient point to unburden, N accepted the Valentine present of a new electronic device from his failed replacement.
In case you were wondering, there was no-one home. They went to the otherworld, my love, from where there is no return.
The Conversations 17 | The Entertrainment Consultancy | text & image © A. A. Walker