rewound world 4: i’m okay

Ada, Deirdre, John P, Paulo, and I were crossing the Nullarbor plain when the internet’s voracious cables rose from the underworld and embroiled us in serpentine data. Episode one is here.

I cleared my throat.

I’m okay, Paulo said.

Deirdre swatted at a social media invite.

This gloomy internet knows that it’s alive,
but it doesn’t understand the counterweight
of living: the partial sum of life, its passing.

It needs to know then.
Ada snatched a Bluetooth mike from a gaggle
of peripherals pecking at her head,
and messaged in a whisper, speech-to-text.

She spoke of thermodynamics, of death’s unbalance
and the decrement of time, of the unavoidable
aftermath of maths, when every demi-truth
would face the furnace flames.

Close to Ada, an insignificant network node was listening.
It was little more than a knee-jerk midnight post,
with a trilobite of static memory in a used-to-be-smart
device. But it understood, and knew that it was
neither more nor less than a two-times table
discarded by a child long ago.

Thanks to the ancient manuscripts,
the apocryphal user agreements soul-signed for the devil,
Ada’s private message radiated at the speed
of confidentiality to every crevice
of the multiplicitous undernet.

I’m okay, Paulo repeated, nothing touches me,
I’m made of steam and vapor.

With undeniable knowledge of its own mortality,
the internet’s tentacles shattered into data fragments
that, in succession, shattered—a geometric sequence
with exponent less than one, until they were
no longer nouns but insubstantial stand-ins,
melancholy adjectives, adverbs clinging
to the motion of their emptiness.
And the sorry remnants of the web were gone.

I was always fine, Paulo commented,
an unnecessary iteration that left no doubt
of his insincerity.

to continue

trilobite: unit of storage used in the Cambrian Period.

Adventurous tourists often wish to travel between the realms. The how-to video above shows leaving Diurnia, the Land of Light, to travel to Nocturnia, the Land of Night. Another video shows how to make the journey in the reverse direction.

These short initial concept videos (without soundtrack) are part of the ongoing collaborative project with wonder artist Guy Morgan (insta).


16 thoughts on “rewound world 4: i’m okay

    • Thank you, Nikita, and for noticing the “confidentiality.” I don’t have a wonderful opinion of the internet in that regard.

      I have to admit that I have some sympathy for the ghost. I hope that nothing too bad happens to him. 😸

      And thank you for the feedback on the video. The project with Guy still very open, and we’ll be making some plans in the coming weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Fascinating video’s on the last two, Steve,
    “This gloomy internet knows that it’s alive,
    but it doesn’t understand the counterweight
    of living: the partial sum of life, its passing.”
    So much in this….read it numerous times and I’m starting to feel the counterweight…JIM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jim. Glad you singled out that verse, I was pleased with it. The counterweight is unavoidable, but as I see it, it is what makes being alive, being human, what it is. To be more confusing (I’m sure I can), you can look at life as a container which holds time, or time as a container which holds life. I think the second is true: being confined by time makes life life.


    • Thank you. I know how important the Internet is, but it does have its dark side. I think that the mega companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook only care about doing the right thing when bad publicity affects their income. They rely on automated systems rather than any kind of moral judgement, so we don’t need Skynet or the Terminator .


  2. There’s something so compelling and hypnotizing about this piece that I keep reading it over and over.
    These days, traveling at the speed of light seems more achievable than conveying a message at the speed of confidentiality.
    Paulo doth protest too much… but I’d be protesting too if the internet died. Why oh why did Ada have to precipitate its demise?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Magarisa, I take it as a good sign that the piece held your interest. I agree, confidentiality is a rare commodity on the internet these days. I have to admit that when the cable internet has an outage and I am forced to use my phone, I am not very happy about it, even though I always have plenty of other stuff to do. I suppose the piece reflects my ambivalence: you come to rely on technology and when it fails you resent it. Anyway, we’ll see what happens (I hope) in the world and in the story. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

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