darklight 4: the transpotato portal

Previously on Darklight: a human and a bird were on their way to the moon when the human fell asleep. He found himself in a damp and dreamless reality, where everything was exactly as it seemed. Because of a dead rat, he chose to worship logic. Episode one is here.

I had no destination, but on I went,
along shallow walkway creeks,
up cascading staircase waterfalls,
and at the building’s very top,
I came upon a cavernous laboratory.

Ancient relics from the long-forgotten
steampunk age were everywhere,
and all was still and quiet,
except for the endless patter of the rain,
the occasional scurry of a rat,
and other sounds, too numerous to mention,
until a stranger in a lab coat waved to me.

I’m glad you’re here.
The Ghost of Sundays Yet to Come
told me to expect you.

He was adding decorative asparagi
to racks of standardised potatoes,
and he showed me one.

Asparagi are similar to asparagus,
but more scientific.

I decided to play along.

Fascinating, I didn’t know that. 

Encouraged, he explained his apparatus.

The potatoes are wired together
in a series-parallel combination.
They supply the power
to my transdimensional portal,
which resembles a widescreen television.

My new-found rationality was being tested,
and he sensed my scepticism

It works on the well-known principle
of reverse electrophoretic osmosis.

I nodded slowly, hoping to look knowledgeable.

He discarded an unsatisfactory
asparagus, and addressed the next one
with a sigh and a soliloquy.

I invented radio vision, entirely wireless,
and the telenovela, potato-powered of course,
but no one paid attention. 

The portal will be my triumph.
Although it hasn’t worked to date,
the storm outside will add the sci-fi wildcard:
a random megavolt or two.

Right on cue, thunder shook the walls,
sparks flew from insulating towers,
and the inventor began throwing switches.

I should have mentioned that I’m future you,
that is how the Ghost of Sundays works
If you remember later on, you might purchase
shares in a potato farm.

There was a sudden smell of Sunday dinner
—baked potatoes with asparagus garnishing—
and in a sizzle and a flash, the TV screen exploded.

All that remained was a smoking frame,
with ghostly images flickering within.

The inventor put a persuasive arm around my shoulders.

I’m thinking you could be the first:
the first to travel in the transdimensions.
You’d be as famous as a cat,
with countless followers
reading every twoot and tweet. 

I was weary, tired of wet and plotless wandering,
and I clambered through the frame.

to continue


transpotato portals, another short youtube video testing ALISA, adaptive layered image synthesis and automation. Best viewed full screen/4K (still blurred on youtube).

21 thoughts on “darklight 4: the transpotato portal

    • My pleasure, Peter. I wanted to post a link to the cartoon, but I couldn’t find an image that didn’t infringe copyright. It has drawings of “a cumbersome apparatus” and “cucumbers and asparagus.” This is what is more than a coincidence. Obviously.


  1. ‘I had no destination but on I went’, ‘potatoes wired together’. ‘Surrounded by reminders of everything I’m not’, Days lived by a stranger who never knew whose life it was’. All this is so thought provoking Steve. Thank you for the illumination of your fantastic imagination. What is a cuirass? It is great that in these bleak times, you carry on writing. I’m sure that like all your followers we value your poems immensely!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Margaret, glad you enjoyed. A cuirass is a piece of armour consisting of a breastplate and a backplate. I have sort of kept up writing, but I owe you an explanation (if you look at the piece now, you’ll see).

      I was in a hurry yesterday, and that meant I didn’t edit properly. For me, editing is one thing: cutting away inessential material, and this very long sub-story lost its plot in the foliage. Unfortunately, that meant pruning some of my favourite bits, which you referred to. (This is normal in short-story writing.) In any case, they are not lost forever, they are waiting to be recycled from my mulch heap of thoughts. I do apologise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your imaginary worlds have countless permutations, yet I haven’t yet encountered any without your understated wit. 🙂 “Because of a dead rat, he chose to worship logic.” That’s perfectly logical. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Magarisa. It seemed logical at the time. 😸 In the days of the c-virus plague with its memento mori, we may be inspired to reassess our directions in life. The protagonist’s choice was logic. My personal choice is the contrary direction.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, That our minds are not locked down can be a blessing or a curse, I think. I tend to oscillate (as well as vacillate), but I try to accept whatever comes in dreams or reminiscing. Within general audience ratings. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, glad you liked the visual. It’s a new thing I’m trying to progress while I’m enduring c-virus isolation. It’s going slowly but your feedback is encouraging. With the movie, I’m flattered, thank you again.


    • Thank you, Nikita. I was a bit noir myself as I wrote it. I think the detail came about because of all the time I’ve spent doing experimental work that wasn’t really much different. Your life’s story: yep, I can relate.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Given that it is a tenet of time travel stories that changes in the past alter the future, the scientist is taking a risk advising the narrator to take an action which presumably he had not done. Maybe that is what really caused the explosion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point. Yes, I’d say we have the usual time travel paradox here, and you don’t need a time travel machine, only supposedly *reliable* information coming from the future to the past.

      For example, in “A Christmas Carol,” once Scrooge mended his ways, the unhappy future shown by the Ghost did not happen, so Scrooge didn’t mend his ways. I don’t know whether Dickens left an out, mind you, eg, the Ghost might have described it as a *possible* future.

      I don’t agree with the philosophical argument that the paradox prevents time travel (or information from future to past), and my own calculations suggest something else happens. An explosion is good. 😸

      It’s interesting today as well. If someone guarantees they are showing you the future in a crystal ball or whatever, you might think twice before believing them, unless something very odd happens with reality.


  4. One of your best Steve, a paean to the power of the potato and Sunday dinner, a hint of The Hichhiker to it too.
    Asparagus is an under rated vegetable and where would we be without reverse electrophoretic osmosis. JIM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jim. The Hitchhiker brings back fond memories. And speaking of, rev electro osmosis (REO) recalls the early 80’s and the archetypical Speedwagon. I was no big fan of theirs in particular, but good times …


    • These days I’m not posting very often. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing and arting, it’s about finding the time. Knowing there are people who get some pleasure from it keeps me going, thank you very much.


  5. I understand. I think after all these years of threatening that I am depressed, I finally know what it feels like. Ugggghh. I am a few chapters away from finishing my magnum opus of a novel but I am stalling. Can’t even blog much. I love your words. Time is precious.

    Liked by 1 person

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