Digital Forensic Scientists from Oslo today announced a breakthrough in uncovering our digital past. Using an electron microscope and advanced photographic technics, scientists can now scan the old CRT displays to determine patterns of activation. By interpreting these patterns, crude images can be recovered to ‘see’ what others were looking at when they surfed the web, watched old TV shows, or checked their AOL email. “We can’t yet recover an entire lifetime of viewing habits, but now we have a new tool to decipher just how these early digital hominids spent their time.” Scientists describe early results as indicating we spent a lot of time watching football and forwarding emails about how our computers were at risk. A gullible lot we were back then indeed.
There is much strong iron in this land, ore mined from under the earth, refined as swords and hinges and fixed to wheels that roll beneath the carts and wagons. Their iron needles prick me and I bleed, iron mallets smash my bones, but most of all I fear the iron inside of them that courses through their veins as blood, enriched by oxygen, bringing them life and the fire in their hearts to scortch me skin.
Lately, like for more than a year now, I’ve been experimenting with coded messages hidden within my posts. I’ve hidden a secret I can’t tell anyone, but if I don’t, I think I’ll die or explode or vaporize. The coded messages aren’t in all the posts, but I can’t tell you which posts to check, or how to unlock the code. I can give you a hint, though, and it isn’t gruesome at all.
So there it is. I’ve done it. I’ve let my secret out, and I can’t say what a relief it is. But you’ll have to find it for yourself, because I promised I wouldn’t tell, so this is the closest I can get to telling the truth after all these years.
Another hint: use the titles. Okay, now I’ve said too much. Seriously, I can’t say any more. Just go look for yourself. You’ll find it, and then you’ll know my secret too. I’ve so wanted to share it with you.
She named herself Ferocity when she turned three, and her parents were loath to disagree. Strong willed could be applied to other children, but defined as an archetype for Ferocity, who once decided to live in a tree for a week, built an igloo in the back yard out of shaved ice one summer, and spread milkweed seeds across the entire neighborhood to support the migration of Monarch Butterflies. Ferocity indeed, with a legacy and heritage to prove it, taking after her grandmother who insists on getting a tattoo every year, distills her own vodka, and as a teenager trekked on foot from the tip of South America to the Arctic Circle in Canada, averaging about 50 miles a day over the course of a year just so she could avoid winter.
I am an ugly troll of a man, if man I be, waking kind folks up with my roaring and smashing of things with my club and all. Of course, they can’t see the Weebies like I can, and if it wasn’t for me, why, these nasty little ones with their spiked hat and propensity for stealing babies would overrun this town and pretty soon the kind folks would move to another town, leaving just the Weebies and unkind folks like myself to tend to the place, and what an awful town that would be? So I wander in the early morning, afore the sun is up, which is when the Weebies are most active, and when I sees one, I smashes it with my bully club.
Incorrigible porridge corroding corridors
Frankincense frankly makes no sense
Tincture of thyme takes time
Supercilious superlatives suppress suppositions
Decided to start randomly saying “Bless you!” like when someone sneezes but without waiting for a sneeze, sort of preemptive, or maybe just to see how people would react, like when I spent the day riding up and down the elevator, greeting everyone as they got on and wishing them a good day when they exited. Mostly people smiled, but some ducked out without looking at me. Eye contact can be awkward. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hold the front door open at the building where I work, or hold up a ‘free hugs’ sign in the lobby.
The car should be here, somewhere around here, I’m sure of it. I remember seeing it parked here before, but how long ago was that? Did I see it someplace else after that? When was that? Is this the right block? Which way do I go on this block? Is that way north or south? Where am I? What am I doing out here in my bathrobe? How did I get here?
“Nice apartment.” She strolled down the hallway to the living room and deposited her jacket in an easy chair. “Not too cluttered, not too sparse. Right in that comfort zone. Not bad, for a guy.”
He tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress a grin as he tousled his hair. “Thanks. Can I get you something to drink?”
“Sure. Something white would be nice.” As he busied himself in the kitchen, she took a closer inspection of the place. A quick glance of the bedroom revealed more of the same functional but coordinated furnishings. Same for the bathroom. Back to the living room, she noticed something that seemed out of place. “What’s with the empty picture frame?”
Handing her a stemless wineglass, he stood, arms crossed which emphasized his biceps, appraising the wall. “That? Oh, see all the other photos are from the past and all good times, but that’s not where I am now. That one is for the future. Hasn’t happened yet.”
Now it was her turn to suppress a smile, unsuccessfully, for she had just imagined a picture of the two of them, standing, arms around each other, and in the picture, they were very happy.
He picked up the shoe, a running shoe with sports branding on the side, a swoosh or swoop or something like that. It felt heavy. Inside the shoe was a foot, bone and flesh exposed, torn from a body that supposedly should be around here somewhere. With a sigh he tossed the shoe and foot into the burlap sack he carried over his back. Seems like this happened every day now. Damn kids come here to tease the monster, and someone gets eviscerated, or eaten. Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe that’s why he can’t find a body. Guess I should feed it more often.
The ring finger on my left hand has started twitching, which isn’t all that unusual at my age, but it keeps tapping out her first initial as I’m working on the computer, and out of habit and muscle memory, the rest of her name soon appears. Susan.
Even after many years, much of her remains with me, from the softness of her lips and hands, to the silage as she walked, or danced, through the room. On rainy days I close my eyes and she arrives from my memory into my world.
I left the ring on that finger for a full year after she left, before I took it off and placed it on top of my dresser. Our dresser, and in some ways it remains ours.
If I knew where to go to find her, I would, and perhaps, even though the twitching finger is annoying, perhaps it knows the way when I do not. Each day I am drawn further down a path of following the finger, of wanting to step with confidence in her direction.
I have forgotten where the milk goes in the refrigerator, which hook holds my keys, what day follows Tuesday, and the words to “Yesterday”, a song I used to sing when I felt sad. I remember feeling sad, and the singing, but not the face which gave me cause to weep. I wonder, does she remember me?