Through the Looking Glass, and What Calvin Saw There

[This is a cut-paste from a doc, and I was not kind enough to fix the formatting errors, nor even check for any. And so I apologize if the formatting distracts or detracts from this piece, if it does at all. Love –dbm]

His closed eyelids were a molten orange, pain recovered the latticework of his nervous system. Since the person had no ability to think, who can say why it howled and struggled against pain and restraints and the sweaty, sticky things — none of which could be escaped.

    The following immediately reminded him of his humanity:

    “Shut the fuck up kid. Elt;/p>

    Something cold touched his skull, then there was nothing.


    “It is this: A person has retained coherence if they know the other place is not reality, though they would be insane if they did not prefer to exist in not-reality. Elt;/p>

    “Good, Calvin. Elt;/p>

    “Do you like being plugged in Calvin? Elt;/p>

    “Yes. I do like it. Elt;/p>

    “Why do you– Elt;/p>

    “It’s not real though. Though things are more real there. Elt;/p>

    “The interface stimulates your nerves and brain and spinal cord as warranted. Elt;/p>

    “It smells better there. Like electricity. Elt;/p>

    “Calvin, how do you feel when you are not plugged in? Elt;/p>

    “I want to be plugged in. Elt;/p>

    “You’d soon die, in reality, from dehydration. Elt;/p>

    “Why the fuck would you let me die? Elt;/p>

    “No! No, Calvin, it’s not like that! …You have to remember your real body when you’re in that fake place — that you have to come back to it and maintain it. Elt;/p>

    “Fuck all everything and give me an interface and a fucking ButlerBot! –Done! Plug me in, I’ll arrange the Bot, please close the door on your way out! Elt;/p>

    “Calvin– Elt;/p>

    “There’s no reason I have to be here! Put me the fuck back inside! Elt;/p>

    “Any family members abuse substances, Calvin? Elt;/p>

    “Their bodies. Elt;/p>

    “I thought– Wha — sorry? Elt;/p>

    “By keeping them alive. Elt;/p>

    “No history of depression. Elt;/p>

    “This place is all wrong for animals that evolved as we did. Jesus! Habitat destruction looked funny when it happened to lemurs, but this fucking shit… Elt;/p>

    “One factor. Elt;/p>

    “Was that an attempt at humor, Calvin? Elt;/p>

    “Calvin, are we real? Elt;/p>

    “Unless you like metaphysics my answers would be the exact answers you expect from insane subjects. Because the crazy ones are just stupid people who can’t live with the truth of how little it is possible to truly know. It is perfectly reasonable for me to believe there is a ten percent chance that I am still plugged in. And a smaller chance, but most definitely a chance nevertheless, that we are all plugged in but are unaware of it. And so on and on and on. Elt;/p>

    “So if you can’t know reality, how do you know being unplugged isn’t, instead, its opposite? Elt;/p>

    “Because the plugging-in thing jolts me like immediate acute fatal botulism. Elt;/p>

    “Can feelings be trusted? Elt;/p>

    “Makes no sense. Elt;/p>

    “I’m just saying the truth of any matter isn’t knowable. What I’m doing is — I take things as they seem. And so if plugging in feels like it does, then I get plugged in when you say I do. Jacked into a reality so much more than reality but not reality. Elt;/p>

    “You’re a weird little fucker, aren’t you? Elt;/p>

“Guy on the far right, you talk so much like a total asshole who’s only ever barely awake. Busy tonight? Elt;/p>

    “Narcissistic Personality Dis– Elt;/p>

    “Problems with authority, seek other sociopathic characteristics. Elt;/p>

    “I was checked out in every way before this shit. …So you think this study could make me go apeshit, then. Elt;/p>

    “Yes Calvin, of course that is a concern. Elt;/p>

    “One man can’t inhabit two realities. Elt;/p>

    “Not evolved for it. Elt;/p>

    “Wrong. In society each individual functions in different ways according to his/her role. In this study, I tend to like being antagonistic. Left alone, I read and avoid confrontation. Elt;/p>

    “And how do you behave in the Other Place? Elt;/p>

    “Where I can do anything I imagine? Elt;/p>

    “Yes. What do you do? Elt;/p>

    “It’s only been a week, so I’ve not been imaginative in the least, I’m afraid. Elt;/p>

    “I don’t want to hear this… Elt;/p>

    “But, I’ve been having sex with terribly hot women. Fake women. A lot. And a lot with the lot of them. Elt;/p>

    “Exactly what OV was designed for… Elt;/p>

    “Fucking ape… Elt;/p>

     E..justify this goddam expense… Elt;/p>

    “Ummmm… Someone in the back row mentioned evolution a while back. So lemme ask: What does the DNA of all things command of all things? Elt;/p>

“Can you get a program pregnant? Elt;/p>

 E-Fuck’s sake… Elt;/p>

“Maybe he’s almost making sense, finally. Elt;/p>

“He mentioned evolution, shithead! Elt;/p>

“When given any chance, a guy is gonna try to have sex,

whether procreative or not. We know this from … well, all recorded friggin Ehistory. Elt;/p>

“Ah fuck! Elt;/p>

“Adjourned. Elt;/p>

“Satisfied? Elt;/p>

“What about future sessions? Elt;/p>

“Keep smiling, Cal. Elt;/p>

“It’s Calvin, Labcoat. Elt;/p>

“Shut the fuck up, kid. Elt;/p>