Jellyfish Ears

A Virtual Detour into the Realm of Possibility

The Last Graduate Student – Part 3

Read Part 1, Part 2

***

The next Saturday, I walked to the campus coffee shop in my hoody and sunglasses. I almost lost my nerve as I neared the front doors. The coffee shop was crowded and buzzing with activity in the midday rush. I generally hate crowds – especially those composed of students and fellow professors who might recognize me – but where else could I go for coffee on a Saturday morning? I steeled myself, opened the door, and immediately regretted it.

Harvey was at the coffee shop. He was at a corner table by the cashier, dressed in worn jeans and a flannel shirt, and topped off with a baseball cap. Next to him was a man in a black suit and sunglasses. They were deep in conversation. Harvey was leaning forward across the table, resting on his left arm, his right arm gesticulating furiously. It was the same poise he used when trying to convince me of a point. I wondered what he was trying to convince the man in black. Read More

Quicker Cuts

The movies became more dense. Cuts lasting only seconds. Whole narratives only a few minutes more. The images now reflected in textures, smells, sounds imperceptible to the conscious mind. The normal two-hour movie, having already condensed the experience of days or weeks — pushed further and further the bounds of human cognition. Soon, we expected the two-hour movie to copycat the experience of years.

Why seek immortality, when you have film?

Side effects, once uncommon, grew more frequent. At first, the hours between narratives seemed too long and too short at the same time. Lacking in diversity, moving too slow — boredom overcame the watchers. Listless, they drove themselves to  narcotics or skydiving. Anything to pass the time.

But as the movie became even more dense, a new condition swept in. As the experience of years swung into decades, lovers and enemies became strangers both.

The awakenings were painful. It took time to reacquaint oneself with one’s life.

An equilibrium was reached at last. Today, the average moviegoer spends twenty years between pictures, thereby equalizing his or her first and second (and third and fourth and so on) life experiences respectively. Of course, society maintains movies under strict regulations for the underage. At the end of life, however, the time between movies varies widely and erratically amongst the population. For those still afraid of death, even after the cumulative experiences of four to six lifetimes, the movie is the path to reincarnation, eternal salvation, or damnation – depending on who you speak to. Blackness — that soul-crushing nothingness — that silence — is nothing more than the end credits between double and triple features. The happier ones, in contrast, go to the beach, the farm, the forest glen, or out onto the polar ice. There they relish in the calm. Not a story to be heard.

The Dramelia of Arches National Park

'The Dramelia of Arches National Park' - Background image from Palacemusic/ Wikipedia of sunset at Delicate Arch

‘The Dramelia of Arches National Park’ – Background image from Palacemusic/ Wikipedia of sunset at Delicate Arch

The Dramelia (Gambelia Drastix) of Arches National Park originates from the desert planet of Kepler-186f (also known as “New Saint Moab”). Historic records suggest that the Dramelia arrived on Earth in 2984, as part of the initial wave of fleeing refugees from the unsuccessful First Colonial Mission of New Saint Moab. Read More

Y2K Revisited (The Movie) – Part 2

Read Part 1 Here

***

Frost on a windowpane, its delicate ice pattern weaving and growing on the glass. The ice blurs, the window disappears. A bright crisp blue sky, with not a cloud in sight. A time stamp appears into the bottom right corner of the screen: <<09:00:00>> and ticking. The time runs faster and faster, blurring the seconds and then the minutes in a haze of white.
<<12:21:00>>
<<16:56:23>>

The blue sky brightens, then fades to twilight. Read More

Y2K Revisited (The Movie) – Part 1

A faint melody permeates the theatre, coupled with a tentative and plaintive boy’s voice. It is the new cover of the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields, sung by famed 8-year-old Hollywood protege Jonas Dessin.

Long drawn-out moments of pitch black screen are interspersed with white outlines of famous figures, in poses recognizable to anyone who follows the news. The president seated in the oval office, Dmitri Kederov pulling out his hair in madness, Victor Benson’s profile on a TV set. As each outline fades to black, the pixelated names of big name stars form and dissolve across the screen.

The screen black. The long soulful wail of Jonas continues.

Another voice – low and comforting – rumbles through the hall as if emanating through the floors and walls. As it continues, Jonas’ song drifts into silence.

It is the voice of Jorgan Manfree. His age-worn, craggled words booming in narration:

JORGAN MANFREE (V.O.)
Y2K had all the elements of a Greek tragedy. Hubris, Hemartia, and the inevitable fall before redemption… Read More

The Frostbarus of Yellowstone

'The Frostbarus of Yellowstone National Park' - Background image from the Yellowstone National Park Service's Facebook page.

‘The Frostbarus of Yellowstone National Park’ – Background image from the Yellowstone National Park Service’s Facebook page, showing hoar frost on the frozen surface of Slough Creek.

The Frostbarus of Yellowstone National Park hails from the super-Earth planet of Kepler-296f.  The date of its arrival on Earth is uncertain. Commentators suggest that early 31st-century fur traders of Kepler-296f brought Frostbarus cubs on their ships to curb space rats, but these stories seem unlikely, given the Frostbarus’ unwieldy size and rapid maturity rate (3 months). Read More

The Last Graduate Student – Part 1

Dear Professor,

Thank you for opening my mind to the world of literature. I have saved up enough money now to open up my new bookstore – a holographic wonderland where readers will be able to interact with their favorite characters. Can you believe it?

Just imagine talking to Hal before his big tennis game, help Pi sail across the ocean, or see Colonel Sanders in Japan. This might well change the face of literature. Read More

Sunday Coffee

What if nothing in the future is bitter? Art by Victoria Seimer. See more at http://witchoria.com/.

What if nothing in the future is bitter? Art by Victoria Seimer. See more at http://witchoria.com/.

Sunday, a day of rest. I looked up from my lounge chair at the sunlight streaming in from the windows, and took another sip of my coffee. The faint wisps of steam rose from my dark, bitter brew, and mingled with the pink teardrops of light that showered above.

Damnit! – I thought to myself. They’ve done it again. Improved on something that was already perfect. Lazy afternoon sunbeams should be just that – lazy afternoon sunbeams. Now, my smart window thinks something else will please my family more. That we needed something more wondrous, more exciting than simple, mundane, delicate rays of light. Sunbeams, born in nuclear fire and transported millions of miles to our window, are now refracted and reflected a million times by microscopic chips. The light now flows through my living room like chandelier rosettes. They’re doing a little dance, dipping and scattering in time with my coffee’s steam. Read More

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