I couldn’t really say when or even if I had regained consciousness, but it wasn’t Kansas anymore. I tried to inventory my senses one by one to establish a frame of reference, but aside from a vague feeling of well-being, I had no recognizable context to focus on. What kind of stimuli could Nachron have planned for me in what seemed like a state of suspended animation?
In the ordinary world that I had left, I had always felt somewhat disconnected. Wherever I now existed, I enjoyed a strange feeling of comfort at the orderly, systematic impulses that were growing within me as time passed. I even had what seemed like a visual hallucination, the entirety of which was a matrix of regressive geometric structures, somehow pleasingly parallel. What the hell was I thinking about? I’m not even sure what I was doing was thinking since my feet and arms were nowhere to be found, and the thing I had apparently become was not even vaguely human. It would have been frightening if I did not have full confidence in Nachron’s ability to rescue me from this geometry lesson that was supposed to be a relief from my humdrum duties.
Once I realized that there was no immediate threat to my health or comfort, I started thinking about how to interact in this challenging new setting. At first, I projected simple ideas like “hallooo” and “friend”, which seemed to reverberate away and then back through me. On the return trip, the echoes of my own thoughts were accompanied by question marks or their sensory equivalent. What did that mean? This tepid response emboldened me to experiment further. I started mentally screaming phrases like “ecce homo” and “cogito ergo sum” because I was losing patience with the futility of my efforts.
The only idea which got a different reaction was a clue that I now realized Nachron had given me. I clenched my nonexistent teeth and concentrated on 3.14, which I mentally repeated a number of times. The response to that was a small but detectable tremor that seemed to affect all of my neighbors as it did me. I felt like “the ugly American” whose voice had suddenly become too loud as the other diners looked disapprovingly in my direction. Maybe I would postpone my idea of emitting sequences of prime numbers until I was sure I wasn’t the guest who had overstayed his welcome.
After an indeterminate period, I found myself becoming slowly acclimated to these strange new surroundings. The absolute uniformity of my environment was less tedious then you might assume, as there was also no threat of hostility or discomfort, and the whole community, if that’s what it could be called, was in obvious harmony. Occasionally, a pleasing chill would pass through my structure, enhancing my sense of satisfying communion with my fellows on either side and above and below me.
Just as I was comfortably settling into a total absence of autonomy, something happened that would have floored me if I were still a biped. Through the colorless matrix that extended in every direction, I became aware of a two-dimensional little pink triangle zigzagging erratically toward me. To witness the intrusion of color and movement so suddenly and unexpectedly was disconcerting to say the least, but what happened next filled me with pleasure.
Have you ever walked through a park with a friend and had a butterfly land on you momentarily, slowly beating its wings in the sunlight, living its short life unaware of the nature of the surface upon which it rests? If you remain still enough so as not to frighten it, you can’t help but feel a sense of happiness that you have been given the privilege of offering hospitality to this creature, and that was the sensation I experienced here. In what felt like moments, that lovely pink thing was joined by others with various angular configurations that seemed to arrive from every direction. It was like standing in St. Mark’s Square among a crowd of tourists and having a mob of brightly colored creatures single you out to honor, except in Venice it would be the unpleasant attention of pigeons. You will no doubt recoil at my apparent vanity, but I felt I was as never before the object of veneration.
While this was all happening, I failed to notice that some of my fellow polygons seemed to be slowly retreating. The blissful unitary sensation that I had previously noted was receding as well, and I wondered what the consequences of such a phenomenon would be. Had I unwittingly traded order and satisfaction for the momentary pleasures of a butterfly? Well, I’ve done things like that before, and I’m sure I’m not alone. As long as these playful pink things surrounded me though, I was prepared to bask in their attention just like any common hedonist.
This was seeming more and more like a real vacation. My new existence was happily free of automated marketing solicitations and drive-by shootings, allowing me the leisure to fully appreciate bliss; or so I thought. The tantalizing pink delights couldn’t completely remove the intensifying sensation of isolation as the empty space around me continued to grow. I didn’t have the luxury of too much reflection, because I could feel the now familiar pull of Nachron’s will drawing me back to Fort Lauderdale.
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