Thanks for What?

Leaders never lead. Communicators are never on Communication Committees. If she says, “I am the most loyal person”, you know she isn’t. If he says, “I am wise”, he is the opposite. “My door is always open”, and it never is.

As broad and simple as it sounds, it’s really an ugly thing, the reason for the missiles and executions, the world going to hell all around us. Hope remains the thing. Thanks for nothing.

Expunged Scene from “The Vanishing Pill”

“Have you seen Chris anywhere?” Blaire asked Davis, her heavy breasts pushing into arm. “Did he come?”

Davis looked around the half-crowded bar, the view of Granville Island and Burrard Inlet behind it obscured by the overpass stanchions. He didn’t recognize half of the people even though he had apparently been in college with all of them 25 years ago. “I thought he was dead.”

“Oh, hey, what?”

“Bad joke. I don’t know where he is.”

“Same old Davis.” She stepped back and crossed her arms over her beer. “Always saying crazy things.”

“That’s what my wife says too. She might be finally done with me.”

“Oh, hey, I’ve been there and it worked out okay for me.”

“I’m sure it will be fine. Yeah.”

“Hey, there!” Minnie, Blaire’s sister, arrived and kissed them both. “How are you, Davis? I haven’t seen you in years.”

“You know, living the dream.”

Minnie was prettier than Blaire but she had more a boyish figure and no breasts, not that Davis hadn’t tried back in the day. “You’re still writing?”

“I don’t know what I’m thinking. I personally hate it when people say that. ‘Living the dream’. It’s really stupid. Sorry about that.”

“Okay.” Minnie and Blaire laughed.

“I’m teaching. That’s what I’m doing, teaching. Although the way it’s going now, I don’t know.”

Minnie leaned in. “Nothing bad, I hope.”

“Bad? No. I think I’m going to get fired and my wife is kicking me out.” He threw his arms out. “But I feel good. I do. Could be the gummy bear, I don’t know.”

“Oh, hey, Davis, I’m sorry.”

“I’ve actually got a bone to pick with you?”

“Yeah?” She leaned in, smiling, and it seemed like no time had passed, like they were in a bar at college, and the weekend had just begun.

“You owe me money!”

“I don’t owe you money! That’s not true.”

“You’re right. You don’t. But what I wanted to say is that, as much I loved the good old days, there wasn’t enough sex.”

“You and Lynnie had lots of sex.”

“No, I mean me and you, me and Blaire, me and you and Blaire!”

They looked at each other, barely offering a smile.

“Not to be crass, but it would have been good.”

Minnie glowered. “Okay, Davis.”

“Hey, Davis, old buddy!” Jackson crashed into their tiny circle. “I haven’t seen you forever, man! Forever!”

“Jackson, hey.” David looked back, curious as to why he wanted to talk. They had never talked in college and, if anything, had been acrimonious.  “What are you up to?”

“Who the fuck knows?” He looked back and forth between Minnie and Blaire hello. “Who the fuck knows?”

“Hey, uh…” Davis leaned into Minnie. “Sorry about that. I’m just…”

“It’s okay.” She looked over at Blaire. “It’s okay.”

“It’s okay, Davis,” Blaire agreed.

“Yeah, Davis, man, it’s okay!” Jackson slapped him on the back.

“I gotta go.” Davis was going to kiss Minnie goodbye but turned and fled down the steps and was in a cab. “Number Five Orange. You know it?”

Not a Fan

I’m not a fan of slippery slopes – figurative or literal – or being on the decline.

Trail from Ilulissat to Oqaatsut

I’m not a fan of inconsistency or always doing the same thing.

Train Station, Fulton Street

And I’m not a fan of escaping the escape.

Woodshed, Gibson Island

I need to know where I am if I’m supposed to get anywhere.

Slovenly Self-Deceiving Blobs

Anyone who still has any faith in humanity is an idiot. There might have been a chance a hundred years back, but that parlay has been lost.

If it isn’t a war, it’s politics. If it isn’t environmental collapse, it’s pure fucking ignorance. In the end, it wasn’t complicated. We just had to do the work. And we didn’t. We sucked instead.

And so the devolution is on. Slovenly self-deceit wins. The blobs will now stare at each other on their screens and not even remember how to say hello. Or goodbye.

Programmed to Forget

You think you know. And you do. You know what’s being said.

And you go over, ready to do say what it is, forgetting that it’s a program, just a program, and then you forget.

The Thing Itself

Don’t touch it! Leave it like it is.

Leave it before you measure and weigh it and see what it is and all that.

Just let it be. At least for a while.

Remembering You

This is about nothing

I’m sure of that

But then realize

You think this is

Whatever you think it is

Memory’s Inside Passage

I find these inside passages to who I was when I was a kid, half Deja Vu. It’ll be a song or a flash of a color or a smell. It puts me in my kid head, sitting on my bed, looking over the garage roof at the neighbor’s backyard. It’s a nothing moment but it’s real.

That’s what time travel is, suddenly there, but we spend all of our time distracting ourselves with phones and shows and movies, trying to get somewhere, not where we are, and none of that works.

All you need is the trigger, holding a glass or your foot slipping off the edge of the chair, and you’re back as a tiny person realizing this world. We’ve turned those triggers off. We’re charging headfirst into the fucking bots and bits, thinking that that is the way, not thinking, but going ahead like automatons doing our lowest of the low’s bidding.

My AI Friend, Natalie_89_35 & Aibo too

Bot social media posters used to be more interesting – or at least more personal – because at least they wrote some of their material. Now, it’s all AI crap.

“Sweat a catty seriously”? “Fill up beautifully”? “Light gives me the shape and script”? “My salary is naturally cool”? Yeesh.

And then there’s Sony’s companion robot dog, Aibo.

The website even has AI-generated reviews: “This is such an awesome invention, I love a clean sanitary house so this a lot better than having a filthy dirty animal that sheds and needs all sorts of maintenance.”

Rags from Woody Allen’s science fiction comedy, Sleeper.

It would be funny if it wasn’t

We Are Sorry, Signed Bot

I subscribe to a number of writing platforms which sponsor a variety of competitions. I took little notice of one email until they sent a retraction almost immediately:

Did someone in the organization out-meta themselves? Did a bot take over their server? The possibilities are endless.

This is what ChatGPT came up from the prompt “Write a screenplay about a screenwriting organization having to retract their prompt ‘write an AI script’:

Unraveled Words Logline: When a prestigious writing contest announces the theme of “Write an AI Screenplay,” contestants around the world eagerly participate, but a shocking discovery forces the organizers to retract the prompt. As the truth about AI’s potential dangers emerges, one finalist struggles with her conscience, torn between the allure of fame and her moral responsibility to protect humanity.