Flash Friday #6 : The Professor’s Machine

Thursday Sep 22 2011

Well now, that was an interesting experience for sure, in two days I managed to cobble this together for first time in a long time, a very long time that I actually wrote something 😉
At 1032 words this is more of an experiment in writing styles and its not really meant to be taken that seriously, if you read it, I would be delighted to hear your thoughts both on the style and indeed the content if you wish to comment, and please excuse me about the rough nature of it, I’ve ran out of time to go through and properly edit it. So, without further adieu – I present:

The Professor’s Machine


“Mumble mumble….”
“…hmph…, so this is what it comes to, does it? putting the tweaks to my Syncrotron is taking so much longer than I had ever anticipated…. “
“mumble mumble…”
Tweak….Fiddle, Clatter, Click…

*Pfffft* *Phut*

“Fangnammit, this is giving me a headache….”
“Machines, what have they ever done for me huh?”
“All they seem to do is break down when I’m around.”
“…… hrm….. what if…. “

Twiddle, Click, Fiddle….

*Hummmmmmm*

“AHA!!!!”
“Now, what have I done – have I made what I wanted to, or have I just made this the worlds most complicated machine ever for producing a hum? ”

Out from the speaker came a voice that sounded like a strangled cat trying to speak…. “That depends *crackle* on what the fra…..*bleep* ….me of reference is….*blip*”
“What?”
*crackle* *fizz* *bleep*
*Twiddle*, *Twiddle*, *Click*
“What?”
“Well, it depends *crackle* on your perspective on things, *blip* doesn’t it?”
“You didn’t just talk to me, did you?”
“*crackle* yes, it did.”
“This is not possible…. your not meant to be that sort of machine!!!!”
“*Blip* Really, why did you link it up to your head then?”
“Its supposed to link to my thoughts as a storage for memories…. and why on earth am I talking to you?”
“*Cracle* You’ve been talking to yourself for years, why should today be any different?”
“What? I mean, eh? … huh?”
“*Blip* Perhaps the machine is working differently than you hoped for, and linked to more than thoughts and memories?”
“Maybe, but hey, didn’t I just think that?”
“*Blip* Yes I think I did”

Surprised, the professor takes off the probes attached to his head and walked away pondering, just what exactly was going on, what had he created?
was it a mind-reader?
a manifestation of thought, a delusion?
or was his machine doing what it was supposed to do in a different way than he intended, an external representation of an internal voice?

“This needs more experimentation – it could be amazing!” the professor proclaimed, to thin-air. Then, grabbing that all-important coffee and returning to the machine, he re-attached the probes to his head.
“*blip* Incredible!”
“Ack, I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hang of this….”
“*Crackle* sure you will, it’ll just take some time to get used to!”

The professor visibly shuddered just before the machine uttered:
“*Blip* This is unnerving.”
“Your telling me, or is it…. I am telling me….”
“*Click* Ick…this is really headache country.”
“Okay, Okay, focus… lets try testing this thing.”
“*blip* yes, yes I hear you – what can we do to explore this”
“*whir* internal dialogue is spoken aloud from the machine”
“*blip* does it matter if I talk or not?”
“It seems that just after the internal dialogue – I hear its expression through the speaker.”
“*click* evidently this is true.”
“So, if my internal dialog is presented here, can I converse with it?”
“*blip* yes, so why don’t you ask a question?”
“It is often thought that hearing things aloud somehow makes the context clearer, so what shall we ask….”
“*crackle* I have no idea what I want to ask.”
“What is my fondest memory?”
“*blip* Heck, start with the easy ones why don’t you?”
“*crackle* I guess, all I can remember right now, is the first time I met my best friend Sal”
*blip* It was a warm sunny day…”
“Go easy on the cliche’s huh?”
“*Crackle* It was a warm day, I remember because I had to dive for the nearest shade after walking for about 3 mins. That’s when I bumped into Sal, literally.”

An image flashed into the professor’s mind, such clarity and presence that it almost overwhelmed him with its realism. In fact, he could swear he was in that moment right there. He felt the sudden and unexpected impact of Sal’s chest and felt his face go flush in crimson.
“…..Oh, um…. pardon me, Miss”

Her face, also crimson, laughed nervously and had a smile to match – “heh, oh, um, its alright I guess, I wasn’t looking where I was going…”
“It wasn’t you, it was me, I was careless.”
“Uhuh… hrm….” her eyes darted around looking for a change in subject to hit her in the face,
“Oh, well, um… I’m going that way….. “
“Oh, right, “ he cleared his throat, “and I’m…. uh going this way…”
“Ok.” she paused, “Erm, see you.”
He responded… “right, right, yes – must get going. Sorry.”
“uhuh…”

With that, she left, and after a time, the room around the professor came back into view.
“Well, that was something…. never remembered with such clarity before….”
“*blip* indeed not, now…. what can we do with this…”
“This power….”
“*crackle* yes, power”
“Well, theoretically, anything really if this has actually got the depth I suspect it has…”
“*blip* yes…. limitless possibilities…. but where to start….”

Well, the professor mused again… if that happened with a relatively clear memory, what would happen if we try it with a relatively vague memory….

“Okay, how about……. Can I remember the first day I went to school?”
“*blip* Only very vaguely, but that is what we are testing isn’t it?”

Again, the images seeped into his head from what he thought was the edges of his perception, until, like before, the images surrounded him, sinking him into the moment. All around him were blurry shapes and faceless forms that were dark and muggy. Upon focusing though, the professor tried to think the forms into place using the memories that he had a clearer recognition of in order that the shapeless forms might gain some substance and perhaps familiarity. In the shapeless vision before him, he realised he was holding someone’s hand, it was his mothers. With that realisation, he remembered her face and with that, the shapeless form morphed and became that of his mother wearing a red dress she had been fond of, almost by magic then the surroundings began to come alive as thoughts linked to memories and memories linked to visions.

*FIZZLE* *CRACK* *POP*

The images wavered and were gone, the machine apparently blew a fuse…..or something…
“Dang it!”

Clearly, he had pushed the machine too hard and needed to go back to fixing it…. until the next time.

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