DEFEAT. 020 (II) – Visions at 88 MPH

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

8-Bit didn’t wait to ask Riff how it went. We walked right past his friend, eager to get his own turn at gazing towards the future. His yearning to the watch the lion tamer had completely subsided when he saw those clowns in mid-coitus, and that previous excitement was now wholly invested in having his fortune read. Any other night, 8-Bit would have disregarded this sort of psychic endeavor as a base attempt to rip off the simpleminded.

But tonight was a night for celebration. A night for trying new things.

Inside the small tent, 8-Bit removed his huge glasses and frantically rubbed the lenses with the bottom of his t-shirt. The glasses were put back on, met with disapproval, and then removed for another scrubbing. With the spectacles back on, 8-Bit realized that they weren’t the source of visual impairment. It was all of the damn smoke.

“Lady, you might want to think about conjuring up some ventilation. I’m not even smoking that stuff, but I feel like I could use an iron lung. I’m cancer-bound for sure.”

Laughing, Rimina gave a sample of her talents. “8-Bit, you’re not going to get cancer from the smoke in here. If you do get cancer, it will be a brain tumor. And it will kill you on your ninety-third birthday. So don’t blame my incense. Or my recreational use of tobacco.”

Sobered by both her words and the nonchalance with which she spoke them, 8-Bit was ready to listen. “Can you…can you tell me more?”

“Of course. That’s why I get paid the big bucks.” Rimina’s cigarette, the fourth since her meeting with Riff, was brought to her dark lips. As before, an inhalation was coupled with the grasping of handsand followed by a hearty exhalation…

Exploration. Lots of exploration, all over… the world. The worlds. In a (not-too-distant) future, the teen with coke-bottle glasses turns into the man with coke-bottle glasses, and for the first time in this existence the look actually helps him fit in. It is the realm of academia — real academia, not just the optional four-year layover before going to work. There are schools and professors and textbooks stacked higher than one might think they should be. That’s dangerous he thinks they could very well fall over. Of course, worrying even now, during a glimpse past the present circumstances and into the future. Stop worrying the female voice, communicating without speaking, reminds him. Seemingly endless work is piling up, but the academic does not cave into the pitfalls of frustration. For this man, defeat is not an option, for the knowledge-seeking of the vision bearer is not a matter of being worthwhile in its own right — it is a deliberate attempt to construct a means to an end. There is a goal. Of discovery. Of impossibility? Many think so. But not the scholar. For he is atypical. He turns to the unconventional, the dangerous, and even the manipulation of the mind through use of the illicit.

But now, the future has slipped away and it is 1986 again. It is yesterday, before school. It is yesterday, at the arcade. It is today? At the circus? Now, is this the end of the week? The pep rally? Is this now or later? Both? It is unknown, but there are feelings of success and gratitude and love and accomplishment. There is work to be done.

“Heed my words — this is but one of the many, a mere sliver of a broken shard from the entire mirror of existence, whose inward reflections of itself far outnumber the outward. This fate has been neither determined nor surrendered. If it pleases you, think of it with cautious optimism. If it displeases you, change yourself so that you may best fit within this world.”

[to be continued]