|Xangles > Frangles > Kroffonia > Chapter "Tiz"|
|Frangles Book 5: Kroffonia|
The banana-spikey-haired kid dashed through the maze of cracked mirrors, flicking his head around corners like an accordian-necked roadrunner turned predator who'd resolved to near-fatally wound the coyotee as many times as he'd failed to squish him. The squirtgun-shaped tekica laser gun continuously missed it's targets by the scant margines of an expert sniper just barely off his game due to a slight spiked-punch hangover of 700 proof voka a few nights before. He thrust aside the sliver of protofon in his brain reminding him he was toast if he suffered a direct hit to his head, chest, back, or groin, and took wild risks like the daredevil he was born to be, laughing in the face of potential demise in the lunatic vendetta he was after, all the way up to his de-rezzing about a minute and forty-three seconds into the game: a death about seventy-three seconds away.
He shot at a spiked death orb minding its own business, which wasn't quite illegal but was generally a dumb idea, and cursed when it blinked the two feet to hover point-blank from his face. He birthed a drop of sweat and prayed the orb was too busy to bother with the half-second task of vaporizing him, and twitched in confusion when his hopes were realized. "Idiot," it buzz-lisped, and blinked back to its terminal where it was busy downloading dirty images of porcupine-cantelopes to hang on the newly painted walls of his favorite frat house, of which he remained a member even though his grades in Algebra and Ancient Temporal Nanology 401 were steadily dropping. Although, the situation had the upside of acing Mixed Voka Permutations 609 for the third time his sophmore year.
The plusing, crackling blue-yellow energy bullet of a superior zz-77 pea shooter fwupped by him, then another, then exactly 75 more, all within the span of 77 zizits, which was the entire point of the zz-77 pea shooter. Its obvious downside was that 77% of the time, all seventy-seven energy bullets missed their mark. Since the shooter was well out of sight, and he was blinded temporarily by the bright burst of the weapon solely out of a placebo affect from someone once telling him that it had this affect (magnified by Tiz's idea that even if it wasn't true, then if he was worried about it enough, the worry actually corporealized the paranoia into a tangible reality), and the nearest cover of a small fern was too far away to reach by the time the gun would charge up again, he did what he always did in this situation, and tapped the tiny prototype device that Koby had invented that flashed the niftiest looking 7-D fractaly lights anyone who saw them had ever seen, which had the side effect of freezing the entire space-time continuum within a radius of forty kilomilas. As Tiz was horifically forgetful and this was only the third time he'd used the device, he still hadn't learned the lesson that the prototype also had the unfortunate downside of freezing the person who activated it. His last thought before jolting into his third cryogenic freeze of the week, was that he really should have just left the device at home with Koby.
Koby was a dexterous egg-shaped lump of black-spotted pink-orange clay with stubby arms and feet and trading-card shaped ears, whose coloring was so similar to actual trading cards that he once took a nap at a Xorich competition which he often did at totally random places, where someone had almost yanked off his ear when his friend wasn't looking, having mistaking Koby for the discard pile. It was so strange a mix-up that for a moment the boy thought the game had come to life and he'd inadvertanly summoned the 3/7 pumpkin-efk that he'd previously discarded.
Koby was born as dense as a smart german sheppard but his IQ had tripled so many times during a series of freak disfunctional x-non scans that he could immediately develop systems of math bafflingly above calculus, relativity, and the ridiculous nonsense mathematical system of the ancient Old Old Earth movie "Cube." He was so smart that he once scribbled out the blueprints for a superior x-non machine on the back of a napkin, which when he tested in an begram orb, malfunctioned in a likewise similar but magnified way. The malfunction of the core flutons was caused by a rare isomorphic aligning of the tiny flutons with a far off clique of tiny spinning balls circling a huge glowing orb called the sun by those on one of the tiny spheres circling it, a pattern of matter than he quickly deduced must exist somewhere outisde of the fluton pattern of the x-non device in some corner of the known universe that he immediately named Thworn.
He hadn't, however--and probably never would--publish his blueprints, as he had never even shared any of his deep philosophiscientificky thoughts with anyone in the world other than an odd ghostly voice that poked in his head now and again he'd named "Todd," whom he figured was some bored turbotoy in a nearby dimension who's primary abilities including mind surfing and invading and annoying other people's privacy for his own personal entertainment. Apart from Todd, he could never tell anyone his ideas, because it would run the risk of being locked up and experimented on until he developed the ability--in this case--to move whole plethoras of such tiny flutons or planets, with his mind alone--a situation so significant that the local animal protection group would be extremely challenged to go up against the experimenting scientists on his behalf. Especially if they found out he was the one who let the ferrerets in with the wounded tigegur before he re-realized they couldn't telepeport on Sunderdays.
For the entire first year of Koby's new heightened awareness, he was terribly afraid of an event referred to on Old Old Earth as a Flowers-For-Algernon frwoa twist--which would again leave him dense as the lazily-rolled playdough glob his body and slight pot belly emulated--for the sake of frwoa plot symmetry of anyone anywhere following along with his life like a bad manga novel. Finally he simply figured some things were good enough to last, and that some tales had happy endings and weren't limited to the redundancy of the foci of two predictable cliche plot points. Perhaps he was just lucky and someone was reading the already backwards manga, backwards, confusing the reader to the point where they weren't sure whether anything bad was supposed to happen to Koby in the story. The reader must have got bored and flipped to another page, because Koby's work was suddenly interrupted by a fractaly beeping light-noise on Tiz's desk that he was now thrice familiar with. He frowned and sighed as loudly as his lumpy lungs would allow him to, cursed himself for underestimating Tiz's idiocy and not locking up the fractal ray the moment doing so occured to him the first time, cursed his own idiocy at this thought, and began his tedious bouncy wobble toward the lazer tag entry gate begram. This was gonna take awhile. But there was always lots to do in the head of an enlightened supergenius ball of animated pink-orange playdough.
* * *
Somewhere vaguely within the ballpark of being in the area, two boarding punks named Zipper and Punk zipped back and forth on the plaid half-pipe. There was only one other person there: a slightly drunk elderly man who kept falling off his skateboard, who had either lost his skill in his old age or was trying to teach himself a new trick. Each time he fell he let out a slow groan and touched his hand to his back or his hip. The half-pipe was big enough for the two moderately skilled others to board around him. Zipper spoke up.
"So, you finally broke in your static, ethicless 'gram, eh?" 'Gram' was skater boy slang for 'begram,' which was a thing similar to Earth's computer "programs." Kruffonulania was a realm not too far removed from Earth and hence had a similar language to English--if a different dialect. The term "program" had been instead been coined "begginergram," which was halved by the constant use to "begram," and halved again to a single syllable supposedly by Punk himself, a term Punk claimed he had coined and let ripple out among compsci skater kids and then everyone else (He also claimed that Kroffonian skateboarders had to board in full pipes until his great-great-grandfather suggested sawing them in half; and before that, lead boxes).
Of course, no one knew how far the term spread, because no one knew how large Kroffonulania was. The land appeared totally flat, and it was supposed the ground and sky were either flat and infinite (or maybe a sphere of infinite radius), or limited and round; some huge ball of rock and dirt too large to confirm. Some pondered that Kroffonulania was just their version of all existence, all possible worlds contained within it if you just traveled far enough, even bigger than Earth's "known universe" of many galaxies, but instead of space-time bending around the foci of spherical rocks and balls of gas, Kroffonulania bent around a flat world supporting everything. From a Kroffonulanian frangle, planets could be massive constructed objects floating far above the flat ground, or a tank of tiny marbles with microscopic life.
"Spider's gonna freaking trash Kyle." Punk had the short, always-spiked hair that got him his nickname that re-colored itself about once an hour, a few ear and nose piercings whose metal morphed between copper, platinum, and adamanthium, and had a thin nickel spike driven right through his skull, an organ on Kroffonulania sort of like an extra thought-liver that didn't have much use. Zipper in contrast was clearly more clean cut. He had recently started wearing the denim of twenty-first century Old Old Earth given a bizarre fetish for the period--earning him his recently attained nickname, and a shirt currently in style that looked like swirling grapefruit juice.
"I'll bet yah eighty squeezes of aspercreme I can get Kyle to off himself in a month. And Spider isn't static. He's dynamic." In Kroffonulania, all but a few chemists had perished at a giant convention inconveniently held in a nuclear testing site, which had a bomb testing overbooked on the same day, by the mistake of an overworked and underpaid secretary. Hence, the aspercreme ingredients sucrose, calcium carbonate, corn starch, talc, mineral oil, natural and artificial flavors, adipic acid, sodium polyphosphate, and yellow 6, were mostly hard to come by, and aspercreme had become one of the primary currencies of the planet.
What wasn't noticed was the last known ingredients they thought made up aspercreme were instead the ingredients of Tums, by the mistake of the same underpaid secretary--incidentally (and coincidentally) with the same name as the Springfield High secretary who had misordered the college calculus book--Alice--who had become fed up at the dangers of radioactive testing by the time she had grown her fifth eyeball and switched jobs, which was ironic since she eventually died of calcium overdose, having consumed the Tums excessively as if candy. The reason the error, incidentally--and coincidentally--wasn't noticed, was that all the supposed warehouses for the last remaining supplies of sucrose, calcium carbonate, corn starch, talc, mineral oil, natural and artifical flavors, adipic acid, sodium polyphosphate, and yellow 6, were all mislabeled by Alice's ex-husband, and were actually the respective aspercreme ingredients (except the warehouse for yellow 6 which contained a supply of yellow 4).
"You're on. He's gonna be a friggin' savior by the time the game's finished."
"Saviors get crucified... Anyway, the game's never finished." The game was like a very very very very very advanced version of the Simms, played on the Kroffonian equivalent of computers, which were strange glowing orbs of data and running begrams. Kroffania had an odd mix of what Earthers might consider technology, and magic (a word called "moka" in Kroffonia just for the reason to feign the mild creativity of slight revision of linguistic dialects). These orb servers in particular were exponentially more advanced than Earth's computers, so much so that the entire operating system of many of the relevant Earth-computers in the game were fully contained within the encompassing begrams, as were everyone's brains and everything else. Other Earth computers, such as laptops in local Starbucks' and the CVS centralized prescription data, were just roughly approximated. When one of these was accessed by a relevant Earth-world character, the program would allocate space and program much of its hard drive for temporary use, simulating the PC's processor. Hence when one looked up a drug like viagro-oxy-continent-rilititalin at Walgreens, the system took more time to configure its chemical formulae, consider the person's addictive tendencies, and decide whether there was any in stock.
The game ran 24/7 (or rather 34/8 in Kroffonulania) in real time and the players checked in regularly by remote devices like a laptop connecting to an internet server. The main variables and sub-begrams that were manipulated were the people and the environments surrounding the main character. Part of the game was altering things like school curriculum, gas prices, religion of parents, or whether friends or siblings prefer BBQ fritos or original. One might find a way to give a player's dog cancer, or introduce some transfer student to try to seduce him, who could turn out to be a nice next-door girl or an alien slut from another planet.
"Kyle, Kyle, doomed and vile..." Punk attempted a high 180 and fell hard, slamming his head. Oddly enough, at the same moment, the old man successfully achieved the same maneuver. Punk yelled out in pain.
"I told you to wear a goddamn helmet. You're gonna goddamn kill yourself."
"Just more practice to get Kyle to do the same." At this, Zipper zipped right by Punk--who was getting up--knocking him back down. Punk yelled. "Hey! Don't take your anger that your cyberpet is a suicidal disfunct out on me. Just be happy he's unlikely to be homicidal."
"Not a danger to himself or others, huh?" Punk got back on his board. "Anyway, my dad says they rig the Kyle Kirby Earth program to lean towards your dorky ethical scenarios, so as not to be a nasty influence to us if he goes nuts and offs the planet. A schizophrenic genius can do that stuff, you know."
"Fahh; you're just setting up an excuse to blame when I win. You're just jealous I won the last game."
"The simulation was flawed. My group of monk demonists would never have been converted to by your over-holy Confucianist vulcans' bullcrap logic." It was a reference to the aspects Kyle's culture that had been involved in their last Earth game. All the cultures and history and sciences of Earth were entirely fabricated by the corporations producing the Earth orbs, with extension packs like diving into the details of karaoke engineering for a character who wants to go into the business.
"Elf. He was an elf, you idiot. His ancient magic and wisdom were quite realistic enough to debunk your punk monk hunks' theories. You're just making your lame excuses. I never do that when I lose."
"Nah, you just boast when you win."
"I'm humble, I never boast," Zipper boasted.
The old man had fallen again, and seemed in more pain this time; he didn't even get up. Instead he grasped at his chest, apparently having a heart attack. Zipper and Punk were too distracted by their argument to notice.
"That's 'cuz your excessive winning is boasting enough. And like I said, it's all rigged toward the ethics of a non-pedophile priest. Anyway my monks were just in good physical shape, they weren't hunks. How could they be hunks if there were no whores around." The old man wheezed then fell to the ground, motionless. "Holy crap!" Punk yelled. Zipper yanked out his cell phone which was about the size of a quarter gram of valium (a drug that was always in stock in the Earth CVS's) and called for an ambulance. In the boarding dome, most everything was run by skateboarders, so soon two paramedics zizzed down together on hover boards, with emergency kit backpacks. They examined the old man, determined he wasn't dead, and slapped a small raisin-sized sticky-thing on his shoulder which teleported him to the nearest hospital in a flash of silky, milky waves of liquidated store-brand Irish Spring soap.
* * *
Now that Tiz was safe, Koby levitated the four feet to be level with Tiz's chest and forced himself to tolerate the severe migraine that came with focusing every flutofon of his being into charging up the one-foot teleport blink turbo boost that would crack Tiz's rib bones like a log battering ram to a castle drawbridge. Tiz knew the aura's color by heart now even with perepheal vision and had no need to look up from his slab.
"I'm the only one who knows how to materialize that flarn you're so fond of." The deathly sparkly aura diminished by half and Koby welcomed the immediate aspirin-like effect on his dizzying headache.
"And if you turn into a stray they'll probably catch you in a week and dump you with the dogos or buffakolo or something, 'cause god knows where the hell else to put a freak accident like you." The aura diminished by half again and lost most of its sparkle. When he performed this maneuver Koby often wondered about the liquid stimulant additive Half & Half that as with everything he deduced must exist somewhere, and always spent a moment at this point wondering whether his new talent was the milk or the cream half. This reminded him of the calculations always in the back of his mind for the perfect ratio of mango, kiwi, and voka comprising a shot of mokigo which he'd never even tasted but somehow knew would be his favorite liquid drink.
"And if you're really unlucky, they'll have a shrink designate you smart enough to stand trial, find my notes on your body being made of 88% water, and teleport your molecules a mile under the desert for first degree murder." Half again. "The double-half paradox only applies in math, not to an imperfect dolt lacking the ability to control his unmastered electrostatic build up to infinite precision." Koby struggled to slice off a bit more of the wigglingly energetic aura, but each second of the futile attempt tripled the migraine which threatened to scramble his brain, and finally he relented.
"You no fun." Koby had long mastered the complexities of Kroffonian grammar, but he took the advice of some odd instinct that said continuing to fake the pseudoretardation of a dumb turbopet might have its uses someday. More importantly, he liked Tiz too much to reveal he now dwarfed his smarts. He eased most of the guilt of the constant lie with the following logic. If Tiz was flirting with a hot girl, and unknown to him a mile away his twin was flirting with a clone of the same girl, and one girl was an federal spy sent forward in time from a billenia old government to study and eventually disect him, and the other one was simply the normal ditzy type that Tiz usually dated or at least attempted to date, neither Tiz would know the true situation until it was revealed. So until then, what was the difference between a pseudoretarded dumb turbopet, and someone feigning the aura of a pseudoretarded dumb turbopet?
As with most of his deep thoughts, this branched into logic that elsewhere might have become a full graduate philosophy thesis: If life was a single perception of an undetailed feeling, a piece of art interpretable a thousand ways--about one for every word that it's worth--or an entervid, which was just digital entertainment code converted by a begram to an image, code that could have been pecked bit by bit by a winged datapecker, or recorded from someone's bizarre wet dreams, then you never really had any freaking clue what the hell was going on anywhere, so life is really about whatever the hell you decide life is about. This Tiz had the exact same brain patterns of an identical Tiz in the next room interacting with a dumb Koby, or a begrammed Koby, or a hallucinated Koby while wasted or high. What the hell was the difference? Koby re-re-concluded this for the last final time which quenched his guilt that any x-non scanner designed with an option to detect human decency would come up "Abysmal friend & Pseudoretarded ethical TOA."
As usual, Koby shrugged off the remaining guilt with the honed thought-skill of shrugging off anything he didn't like thinking about, which led him to thinking about how to revise and improve the skill instead. This occupied him for quite a bit, made no less easy by the replacement of the faint lingering guilt, with the piercing mind splinter that the last few images of any manga book he might be being read in, would confuse the reader with as much fractal recursive paradox as he had thought he confused himself with just now, if he indeed did.
* * *
At home, Zipper sped up the stairs to his room, flipped onto his bed, and pulled down Aristotle's Metaphysics from his bookshelf, a printed version from Earth's fabricated history that he'd ordered at the cost of three weeks allowance of aspercreme, as books were expensive. This version's cover was Socrates as the lead singer of a rock band at an unpopulated club with the handful of fans booing and throwing tomatoes and turnips on the stage, denoting "non-musical Socrates."
Zipper had recently introduced a character named Pico to the Kyle Kirby begram--a voice inside Kyle's head quite like Todd in Koby's--that he and Punk had been playing for years, and was hence mostly his to program, like owning major stock in a company, which could always be bought out through various means by Punk. He thought it would be interesting to mix some of Kroffonia's 303rd century philosophy with the current general philosophy of Kyle's society. He often wondered how history would proceed if certain ideas or technologies were introduced earlier or later; like giving homosapians nuclear weapons. Punk had tried that once in a simulation and Zipper was still laughing at the results.
He had seen strong parallels of Aristotle's ideas to the math and symmetric physics of fractologic, the idea that everything was sustained via perfect symmetric opposites; a puppy for every pit-bull, and so on (he often noted that his relationship with Punk thrived on some of these kinds of opposition). The book had influenced Pico's recent quick math lesson to Kyle, fusing the higher dimensional theories of both systems, and Zipper was examining the book in more detail to find more ways to further blend the two. He flipped to a random page and read out loud.
" 'If for each thing there is one direct contrary, one might raise the question how the equal can be the opposite of both the greater and the less...' " This sparked Zipper to consider adding more puppy-pit-bull elements to Kyle's math cocktail.
He flicked on his pentagon and entered a few settings which selected a camera in Kyle's room. Kyle's morning alarm was going off, and he estimated Kyle had hit the snooze button twice by now. He clicked the pentagon off and just stared for awhile at a corner of his room, where he often imagined there was a camera watching him inside a bigger game in which the entire Kirby land was just a tiny side function called ZippersKirbyGame(). He was suddenly sad at the idea that his whole life was some twenty-minute begram run on the laptop of some respectively godly beatnik sipping expresso at Starbucks. At this thought, more than ever before, he felt a little more for Kyle, real or not, and just before falling into a nap, committed just a tad more to helping him out, oblivious to the fact that eventually doing so would require the help of a small hyperintelligent blob of manga-dough.
Punk in contrast was getting puke-sick of the game. Upon getting home he ignored his mother's greeting, her further voiced complaint that he had ignored her greeting, and her usual speech about how it was especially rude to ignore this second comment, and whistled to Spike instead. Spike was a deep-black pit-bull with small pointed bone fragments sticking out of his head and wolf-life teeth. Punk had helped engineer him, bending the dog's uncanny loyalty to himself. Most everyone else stayed outside a good radius.
"Come on, Fuzzy." Spike--who was lying on his favorite striped rug--stood his ears up. His intelligence surpassed an Earth dog's, yet wasn't quite smart enough to grasp Punk's occasional verbal irony. He watched Punk walk out the back yard door then ran after him.
Outside, Punk grabbed a two-by-two rubix cube hanging around that was about the size of a basketball, and tossed it to Spike. He had introduced both Spike and Kyle both to the rubix cube when Kyle was thirteen. Spike's was designed to turn when the dog nudged one of the sides in a certain direction. Kyle's was designed to turn like every single other rubix cube of Old Old Earth. He gave an odd lingering wonder as to which one would solve theirs first, if either. "Look at me, comparing things to a fictional homosapian cyber race. I've been playing this stupid game too much." He left Spike uselessly trying to calculate the algorithms to solve the cube, and flopped into a hammock.
He thought back to his conversation with Zipper--a quite usual and boring one--despite trying not to bother thinking about the game, but his mind soon wandered to the giraffahole. The plot turn was a little unexpected, and he hadn't read much about it in the manuals; they fell short in the details of schizo teenage epiphanies. Punk figured it had a lot to do with Zipper's Pico program, and mentally made a note to begin his hostile takeover of the thing.
Punk pulled out a thin, rectangular viewer, and clicked on the spy cam he had secretly installed in the corner of Zipper's bedroom. Zipper was napping, and Punk was glad it wasn't something he hated clicking in on. Punk pressed a button on the viewer which enlarged itself into a screen and holographic keyboard. He checked in on Kyle via a game that Zipper had written for him which altered Zipper's brain to believe he was controlling Kyle, when in fact he was just watching what Kyle was up to. When he was done, he loaded a very similar game, which might be vaguely manifested in text in something like the following version of an old ASCII text game.
Welcome to the core of the vast VGER-like internal virtual programming of the device known as Koby's Death Scan. Please enter sixteen digit code to self-destruct Koby's device and collapse all nearby orbs, all galactic frwoas, and the other 99% of existence, into the big crunch at the end of the 877 billenia progression of the only known universe anyone has ever known known as Okuaka. An incorrect code will result in the sudden end of any frwoa chapter anyone might be following your story along in.
>Sorry. Try again.
Off by one letter, damn!
I think four tries is enough for today, Punk.
>Go fuck a duck, Crayon.
That's not nice, Punk!
...A game he never got very far in. >>
|Xangles > Frangles > Kroffonia > Chapter "Tiz"|