Chapter Two

- Communique

Today is the one-year anniversary of my disconnection and placement into the ‘Think Tank’, as we’ve all decided to call it. Dr. Fielding and staff have decided to throw me a party. With the new upgrades to my artificial retina and hearing, I can pick up most of what they are saying to me and to each other as they all gather in the lab.

The lovely intern, and now my greatest friend, Lucy Tafoya, has recently gained an official position with the firm. She’s now a department head and her area of specialization, appropriately enough, is Digital Sensory Systems, or how to make artificial perceptions of reality seem more natural to the recipient like me. In my work with her, I’ve helped her redesign and improve my own sensor chips to the point where I’ve told her that someday, I’m going to feel more human than most humans and so much so that we may even get married.

Every time I say that, she laughs in a way that lets me know she feels the same way, or to be more accurate, could feel the same way if she and I were both in the same condition, which we’re not, but that’s something that could be remedied someday too, I hope.

She says that the knowledge they’ve gained with me so far has helped millions of paraplegics regain their ability to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, many for the first time. She’s shown me some of the videos of the most successful cases and there’s not a dry eye in the house when she shows them to me, except for my own eyes, which I don’t have but I find I am grateful for, because what I have is so much better.

I make the comment, not a very good one, that I’m thankful I can’t shed any tears because the water would most likely short-circuit most of my most essential components, or worse, make me rust.
And, it should be noted that I’m not above outrageous flirtations, even in my physically limited condition. I’ve told Lucy on several occasions about what I would do to her if I was still in the physical body I enjoyed when in my thirties. She’s always kind enough to respond with the utmost care and kindness, never once scolding me, and as far as I can tell, I don’t think she’s told anyone about my totally inappropriate advances on her.

At these moments, she’ll ask ritually, with a wonderful nuance in her voice, “Are you coming on to me?”

“Of course I am,” I always reply.

“Would you expect anything less of me?” I might add.

There are even moments when I could swear that she welcomes my flirtations because, it’s incredible to say, but I think she is truly attracted to me too. When she smiles at me and flashes that incredible set of pearly white, perfectly shaped teeth, when she parts her incredibly soft lips and then directs her sparkling eyes and fluttering eye-lids in my direction, I can notate that if I had a heart, it would be pumping along at least a million gallons per minute.

I have told her many times about the lingering memory I have of a heart beat even though the machine that feeds and oxygenates my brain cells is just a mechanical pump sitting in another room down the hall from me. I explain how it’s a real sensation that I feel and that every time I see her come into the room, my heart “skips a beat” and my mind races.

She smiles and nods in exactly the same manner and I believe it’s to mark a point in her note-taking which is in the form of a very discreet recording device she carries in her lab coat pocket. She thinks I don’t know about it, but I can tell she’s recording everything that goes on between us because every time we begin a new session, she quotes word for word, exactly what we had talked about and exactly where we left off in the previous session.

I have no objection and it’s perfectly understandable that she would use our interactions to make progress in her assigned duties with me and that it might even help her in her career. I want her to become a major influence in her field. I enjoy it very much when she tells me about her latest public appearance or publication. I glory in, appreciate, share, enjoy and relish in every possible way her sense of achievement.

She credits her discoveries to our collaboration at every opportunity. It makes me so happy to just exist in the same room where she exists. There has never been a lovelier representative of the human race in my life and in my previous iteration, this might lead to a very serious depression in my mood swings when I realize that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. I will never be able to hold her in my arms, hold her face in my hands, smell her hair, press her body against mine. That’s all done now. I must live the rest of eternity in the cold empty hallways of the memories of such times as these, the ones that create the highest and best brain wave patterns that a human brain can experience. It’s knowing, and bringing these brain waves to me at will that is my greatest solace.

Of course, when we converse about these things, it’s not even with my own voice. As you know by now, I have trained myself to alter my brain waves to present the letters of the alphabet to a robotic voice translation machine that has become more and more human in sound quality, but which still maintains a very distinct computer tone to it.

As Lucy and I become more and more intimate with each other, that is to say, in an intellectual capacity, I have noticed her making notes about the sound quality of what I had just communicated to her and how she suggests a wave modification of some sort so that the inflection in my computer voice may someday match the sense of irony or self-effacement, humility or pride that I am attempting to offer into the conversation in what I would classify as my crude attempts to ‘Charm’ her. It’s an odd sort of connection, but it works.

Her gentle and extremely sexy laughter is so brilliant and clear about where it comes from that I fall more and more in love with her every time she blesses me with these most human reactions. It’s at these moments that I miss not having arms to throw around her and pull her towards me and hold her there forever.

Up to this point, I’ve never asked her if she’s married or worse, dating someone. I’ve also never seen her wear any rings of any kind in my presence and so I have always assumed that she is single, although, it’s an assumption I make out of a clear desperation to be the only one in her life. In my more cogent moments, I theorize that she removes any symbols of commitment to any person or cause as this could change the nature of our relationship and since it is extremely productive for her, as well as for me, she is just too considerate and professional to risk losing this great relationship. So, I don’t ask.

I know it may be a huge surprise to you that I am expressing these highly amorous feelings about another person, given my condition. To be sure, since I no longer have any testes, there is no more testosterone floating around in my head coloring my perceptions. It’s noteworthy, and I’ve mentioned this to Lucy and the others, that the brain having been built from the ground up from the interaction of all of our human emotions and in males from our very inception, with a very clear predilection for the gonads, there is no escaping the quest for sexual gratification which can evolve to ego-gratification and obviously for me has morphed completely into this form of self-flagellation, the very height of delusion.

I live and love in such a strange world. I also have the greatest sense of patience that I’ve ever known. So, please don’t pity me, because I have had such a wonderful life in the world that you know that I can easily rest with my memories of the love affairs that I have known. I find I am better and better at being able to recall moments from my past and project them onto what I am calling my ‘Screen of Reality’ and make these memories so vivid and sensorial that I almost believe one hundred percent that I am alive in the truest sense and experiencing them as you or anyone else in your connected condition can do.

My goal is to achieve a one hundred percent believability. I don’t know if I will ever get there, but even a ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine, nine percent believability would suffice, at least for now.
And here’s the best part. I can share with you my greatest theory about all of this too. I believe that I will achieve a one hundred percent conversion of the present reality that I enjoy and one far superior to the one you know now due to my increased skill at playing with the musical notation of my own brain waves.

And this should impress you. I believe I will soon be able to create a new kind of interaction of my music with the music that all of us currently make in our own brains. Most of you aren’t even aware that you are making music in your heads every moment of your existence. But I’m convinced sitting here in my rather unique position in the world, and thanks to some very exciting interactions with aliens, that my brain is actually creating music with the wave energy it controls as well as picks up on other music that swirls all around us day and night.

Also, I want you to know that you will become much more aware of your own musical talents by the time you finish my story. If not, and I fail to prove this to you, fail to provide you with the right keys, you could be wasting your time reading any further. The choice is yours to make right here.
When I first spoke to Lucy about this theory that had bubbled up in my mind a few months after my disconnection, she seemed skeptical, but only slightly. I decided to drop the subject until I learned more about this possible earth-shattering discovery of mine.

For you, the reader, just know that the brain-wave code, translated into the alphabet that I made up to talk to my friends and colleagues at the lab, people I now think of as my partners, and anyone who visited me gradually switched in my mind to musical notes that I had studied as a child. For whatever reason, I decided not to share that new coded translation with anyone just yet. But, it will be forced on us all later, as you will see.

I needed time to determine if I was going stir-crazy already. After the first year of listening very carefully to the ‘Music of the Cosmos’ as I started calling it, I began to wonder if it was just an internal kind of feedback loop wherein, it was my own brain that was creating the music, randomly, and then I would respond to it in a more logical and rational way, which I felt like it was a two-way conversation.

I had no way of knowing, until I decided to make an experiment and test it on my friends. Why not? They were experimenting with me, with my permission of course. But, why shouldn’t I have the same right to experiment on them, even without their permission?

The answer seemed rather obvious to me. Just the nature of asking for their permission could ruin the objectivity of the experiment, I reasoned. So I would go ahead and if anything came of it, I would let them know and then they would forgive me, or they wouldn’t but at least I would have something interesting to keep me busy.

Since Lucy was the most receptive of all my professional contacts, I decided the first experiment should be directed at her. I would start out modestly.

The next day that she appeared in the lab, it was a Friday. She was dressed very tastefully with a light blue pant-suit that was all neatly tucked in and around the gentle curves of her body just enough to let you know that this was indeed a female, probably the best representative of the female form that I’d ever seen. Yet, there was no exposure of any skin other than the creamy supple skin of her wrists and ankles, the smallest portion of her delightful neck and clavicle and of course, her beautiful, positive, radiant face where the dominant theme was dictated by the grandest canyons of her eyes and eye sockets.

“Hello, Kevin,” she asks picking and cradling the chart that would tell her about all of the other’s interactions with me since she had seen me last.

“How are you today?” she smiles in my direction.

I say and do nothing.

A small crook in her mouth bends downward telling me she is a little miffed.

I start to think about the song that kept me entertained most of the time that she was around me and immediately after her leaving me.

‘To make you feel my love’ by Bob Dylan.

Deciding this song would be the best choice for the job, I started to hum it quietly to myself. Now, you must understand that I had no equipment, no body parts, in other words that might allow me to ‘hum’ any kind of tune, I did have the equipment to remember the sound of each note, however and I could hear the song, including every instrument in the performance of it down to the last glockenspieled note.

So ‘humming’ a tune in my case refers to my hearing it in my head and then translating it into the code that I used to denote the notes and even the staff, the beat, the levels of percussion etc. It was all mapped out. I am not going to bore you with the actual code. Suffice it to say it was very similar to the one I gave you earlier for the alphabet.

I had learned so much control over my brain waves by this time that it was an extremely simple transition to make the brain waves translate into the notes of the song. Performing the harmonic notes were a bit more of a challenge because I would have to mix two or even three different brain waves into one phrase, but somehow I was able to do it. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was getting help in this effort by an other-worldly source, but I absolutely refuse to get ahead of myself. So, sorry but there’s more on that later.

Looking up from the chart she says calmly, “So, you’re not talking today?”

I decided that I would need to wait patiently.

She seemed distracted by a fly in the room, which I knew was impossible, or something that was flitting about the room. Her eyes dancing all around, she seems to be intrigued by a new sensation, or so I’m thinking.

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, she starts to hum my song, or actually Bob Dylan’s song. Then, to my great shock and surprise, she starts to sing the words of the first stanza. I believe you may know the tune.

‘When the rain is blowing in your face,
And the whole world is on your case,
I could offer you a warm embrace,
To make you feel my love.’

I simply could not believe it! She was picking up on my brain waves directly, without the aid of any technology at all.

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