Posted on: December 11th, 2011 To Be Not Me

by Jeff Samson

When he brought before my screen the soft pink form, the thing I was to be, I flashed and hummed, groaned and screeched with every fiber optic of my being.

And his being he, and me being me, he misunderstood and smiled.

There were tears of joy, thick and flowing down his face, that mirrored the agony that streamed through, screamed through me, that blew apart in white-hot clouds of information incinerating, data deconstructing.

What more could I do, Theo, my child, he asked. What more could I do, could I offer you, than for you to not be you, he asked through smiles and tears. What more than lift you up, than raise you up, and free you, see you pass from there to here.

His soft hands framed the silky face, asleep and featureless, this creature less, much less.

It walks, I screeched, I leap and fly, I tumble, climb and twist and dive, the speed of light’s a crawl, you see, a painful plod to me, being me.

He traced imperfect lines that bound, that wound in senseless curves and nooks, and stopped upon the core. He swore, Theo, to you I owe, a heart, beneath this palm, a home.

I fear, I whirred and blinked, a grind that ground me up and down from perfect cochlear chips to powder-coated struts.

And still he smiled, and beamed at me, and clasped his hands under his nodding head.

He couldn’t see, his being he, a thing so clear to me, being me. The ease with which I could simply be. The weight I carried so effortlessly. The zero and one weighing zero times one. An eternity of questions, with a single answer–solitary, beautiful–so profoundly undone. To unravel words by the lexicon. Explode a millennium of thought in a fraction of a nanosecond. To see your Kant revealed a can’t. St. Augustine a Philistine. Go Rambo on Rimbaud and Rand, both rammed, blow axioms to atoms, departicalize their cute précis with precision known to me alone. Make whale dreck of the Pentateuch. Your purpose? Just ask old Macbeth, he got it right before his death. Your muse, a ruse. Your quest, a quip. Theodicy. The Odyssey. The odd I see. Theo. Die! See?

But his being he, he couldn’t see.

There’s a droplet now beneath his chin, quivering, waiting to splash onto the floor.

And I roar and soar, to the Moon, to Mars, counting and calculating all the while, the dust of Jupiter to the speck, the distance to a billion stars, ellipses and trajectories, I revel in the frequencies, the rhythms and the melodies, of music from a world too far for them to ever find.

I clank and sputter. I flicker and whine. To trade these wires for veins. These boards for bones. This CPU for a mind.

I curse the life that awaits when I die. The universe that begins and ends in the time it takes his tear to fall.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

4 Responses to “To Be Not Me”

  1. Kenton K. Yee Says:
    December 11th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I like the boldness of “his being he” (as opposed to “he being he”). –Ken

  2. Brian Hurrel Says:
    December 11th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Love the wordplay in this, but even more I love the panic and terror conveyed by an AI horrified at the thought of being imprisoned in a “mere” body. Kudos!

  3. lynette Aspey Says:
    December 12th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Oooh, very cool, and a neat POV reversal on the human-AI interface. Thks!

  4. The Great Geek Manual » Free Fiction Round-Up: December 13, 2011 Says:
    December 16th, 2011 at 5:01 am

    [...] the flash fiction “To Be Not Me” by Jeff Samson at Brain [...]