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[P]
Someone Like Me

By SocratesGhost in Fiction
Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)
Hardware

First entry: I'm writing in here because I think that I might be losing my mind--my wits may be the only thing that can keep me alive now. I don't want to be like that guy in the movie who talks to a volleyball.


Second Entry: I'm having a hard time staying awake but I want to get some thoughts down before I forget them. I think this all started two weeks ago. I woke up aching from head to toe. It felt like I had been through a car accident but all I can remember is going to the club, meeting a cute guy, and having a few drinks too many--he was probably trying to get me drunk. When I woke up the next morning, my entire body felt as though it had been through a meat grinder. It's so tiring to write. And painful. I'm lying down for a bit.



Third Entry: OK, I've really got to get this down before I forget all of it. I have this feeling that there is so much I should be remembering but now I know that I've forgotten it. It still hurts to write. Hurts isn't the right word. Exhausting? Like after a marathon? Close enough.

Somehow, I woke up here. I couldn't even open my eyes to see if I was in the hospital or something. My legs and arms had a hard time working and so I just fell back asleep. Anyway, I couldn't sleep very well either. I'd sleep, wake up, be unable to move, and then I'd fall back asleep. This kept happening over and over so much that I just wanted to cry and even though I was doing my best to cry nothing happened. Even my face wasn't responding. I couldn't even feel my eyes tear up. I wanted to cry so bad but then I'd fall asleep again.

I think that was the first day but it got stranger. It seemed like a day at least. I don't remember the night. When I finally got up, the aching wasn't as strong and I tried to walk around. My vision was still pretty cloudy. To keep from falling, I'd put my hand on the wall or the bed and brace myself a bit but I swear to God that when I put my hands on the back of that chair there, that it went right through it. That was a rough day, waking up in this strange apartment. At first, I thought it belonged to the guy from the club, but there aren't any signs of anyone living here-- no clothes, no books, not even a TV. Just the bed, a chair and a nightstand in the bedroom. There's a sofa and coffee table in the living room. All of it is white. The lighting in this place is weird--it seems like daylight most of the time and then when I fall asleep I might wake up for a while and it'll be night. I started to panic for a bit when I noticed that there was no door or windows but then something seemed to tell me to relax and go to sleep and I would do that. This seemed to happen for what seemed a few weeks but I eventually got used to the fact that this place is all lit up without windows or lamps. I know that I'm trapped but I can't figure out how or why.

Just yesterday, something really fucked up happened. There was a new piece of furniture: a desk with a chair. On the desk was this blank journal and a pen. So, it seems that You want me to write. So I write.

I don't know what I did wrong or why I am here, but if You're reading this can you please paint the walls some other color than white? If I'm dead, I don't want everything to remind me of it.



Fourth Entry January 1--I think it's important to keep track of time since I don't have a clock or calendar. Thank you for painting the walls last night. I didn't even wake up when you were here and how did you know that powdered blue was my favorite color? I think that I wrote that last entry about a week ago so that would make it sometime in December... Thirty days hath September, April, June, and... 31-7=24. Oh, actually, it would be December 25. Christmas. And then this all started I'm going to guess about two and a half weeks before that. But it was June when I went out clubbing. Anyway, no big deal. There's no way to tell time in here so it may as well be January 1.

Any chance I can have a cat? In fact, I'm going to go to bed right now and when I wake up, there damn well better be a cat or something.



January 2-- No cat. I guess You want me to get bored? How about a TV? Some books? If I promise to be good, may I have a cell with a window, Mr. Warden?



January 5--Well, I played with the ball you gave me. That's all I've been doing for the last few days. By the way, are You feeding me intraveneously or something? I haven't gotten hungry yet and it's been weeks. Anyway, I'd like some duck a l'orange and a nice brandy please. Anyway, I'm going to go back to throwing the ball. Hopefully, I can get it to stick in the corner.

(later) You guys sure made some solid walls.

(later) I was hoping for some better service around here. Is bread the best you got? It doesn't even taste like a bread.



January 8--I'm sorry. I'm really very sorry. I promise that I won't ask for anything else. I'm really at your mercy. Just please, don't erase any more entries. please. Oh, God, please. Thank you for the ball, thank you for the bread, thank you for the bed, and the fact that I'm never hungry. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please, I promise to be good.



January 8--Thank you for keeping the last entry. I'll make sure to keep my side of the bargain. If there's anything you want from me, please let me know and I'll try to do it. Just make an entry in here. You can do that, can't you?

Yes.



January 13--I've tried talking to you but I don't think you can hear me.

We can hear you. We just can't talk to you.



January 16--May I say something as long as you don't write anything just yet? I'm really not used to this. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you're talking to me. I would like to do some more of that but... I'm really not used to this. I'd like to write down a few questions and if you would like to write an answer, can you please do that after I've closed the book? I'm sure you've seen me crying in bed. Words don't just appear on the page like that. Anyway, here goes:

Are you God? I'm sorry for being disrepectful. Please forgive me.
Am I dead and is this heaven or someplace else?
Is this how it will always be?

Thank you, Lord, and thank you for sparing a sinner like me. Amen.

Am I doing this correctly?



January 17--
  • No, we are not God. For now, that's all we're going to say. Believe us--believe me, we're doing this for your own benefit.
  • You are not dead.
  • No. Things will change but this is new for everyone and these things take time.
  • You're doing just fine. We're trying to do some things for you to improve your quality of life. But please be patient with us.
I kept opening the book yesterday hoping that you'd reply but I started to give up after a while. You cannot imagine how relieved I was to see you write all of that. I'm not sure why you can't tell me things but I can only trust you.



January 18--Merry Christmas
Oh my God, I don't know how to thank you! The sky is so beautiful. I'm just going to lie down and stare up through the window for a while.

That's some glass you have on that window. Even the ball won't break it. ;)

(later)If you can, may I have an astrology book? Hell, any book, really. Even a book on the ball. But now that I've seen these stars---they're so beautiful--I just want to know what I'm looking at.



January 20--When I woke up this morning, I knew it was going to be a good day. I could smell it even before I went out into the living room. And there it was! On a handsome plate with a card. Thank you! Thank you! And more thank you!



January 22--Oh, please, keep the food coming. I'm just making a little piggie of myself. At first, it tasted kind of funny but it kept getting better with each and every bite. Now, if you really want to make a girl happy, you'd let me have my own dining room with candles and flowers and James Dean in the kitchen.



January 23--No James? Oh well, a girl can dream.

Thanks for the trash can. I was beginning to wonder what to do with all of this stuff. Some paper towels might also be nice. Oh, and while you're at the store, I need a quart of milk, some Haagen-Dazs ice cream (Vanilla Swiss Almond, preferably), some paper cups, a jar of peanut butter...



February 3--I'm not sure what's going on. It's scaring me. I'm going to have to leave this diary alone for a while.



February 6--Some days there are entries saying all kinds of freaky shit and then the messages get erased right in front of my eyes. Why did you write in here if you had no intention of keeping them.



A NEW DOOR! Oh, February 19. I think. I have a door! I have a door! What's behind it? I'm so excited. Should I look? Oh... who am I kidding. I've got to check it out! Be right back...

Wow! Wow! Just simply... WOW! OK, on the one hand, it's really kind of weird. On the other hand, I like it! I never really tried racquetball before. And I already have a ball! Time to get sweaty!

OK, I don't perspire in this strange world I am in.



March 8--I don't remember taking any drugs but that's the only thing I can conclude after all this strange trip that I've been experiencing. Last night, I kept waking up covered in sweat. Sometimes I'd be cold and sweating at the same time. I'm still cold. Come to think of it, I don't remember this place having a temperature before. I have the blankets wrapped up around me and it doesn't seem to do any good. I can't see my breath, though. God, this is weird.

And to make matters more bizarre, I could have sworn I heard voices and every now and then I think I see people. It's all like some sort of dream. Wait. Why am I warm now? Are you guys doing something because I feel warm. And now I'm cold. What's going on guys?



March 10--Things seem to have settled out, so if I should thank you, well, thank you. I was hoping you guys would reply. No luck.



March 11--You must be planning something. I can tell.



March 28 or 29--If you're there, I'd really like to talk. Please don't reply while I'm looking at the page though, please. It's some time in the evening now and I guess I'm feeling lonely and I just want someone to talk to. How long have I been here? About four months, right? What should I call you? I'm sorry but there's a part of you that just really scares me and I"ve been afraid to ask but..., well, I mean, you say you're not God but you control everything. And I think you mean well because you keep trying to do

Katie, you can call me Kevin. You've been here a long time, much longer than you realize.

I swear, you are scary sometimes. I turn the page and find that you're writing on the back of the page that I'm writing on. But that means that you're watching me write this. I'll close the book now and if you want to say something, please do.

I can tell when you close the book. You don't have to write that. Please, don't be

nervous.

Sorry, I didn't realize you were still writing. Kevin, what IS this place?

I'm not supposed to say. In fact, I'm not supposed to be writing to you so I'm going to erase this after you go to sleep. It's probably best if you don't bring up this conversation.

No! Please don't. Please. I promise I won't turn back to this page again, just please don't make it go away.

I can't. It really might cause a lot of problems. But I won't get rid of it entirely. I'll save this off and if I can find some way to safely re-insert it, I will.

Why are you doing this?

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry. I knew I shouldn't have said anything. I'm going to get in trouble now. Please don't bring this up again.

Kevin, can you do me a favor?

If I can.

I don't want to live like this anymore. Can you kill me?

I'm not going to do that.

What's going to happen to me?

You will live.

And what if I don't want to live?

Katie, I want to be a friend to you from the outside. But you know that you can't do anything to kill yourself. We've seen you try.

How come I can't?

I thought you didn't want to see me writing?

I don't care anymore. Why can't I kill myself?

I'll tell you but then we have to cut this short. We can talk some more tomorrow and I'll try to figure out how much I can tell you. I suspect you already know, anyway. You can't kill yourself because your world isn't designed to allow any harm to come to you. We didn't want you to die when we brought you here. We still don't. I still don't. I know it's hard for

You don't know what it's like.

you. Katie, I really have to stop this conversation soon. My shift is almost over and I still have to wipe this. Please don't bring this up again. I'll give you a sign when I'm around again and we can talk more. Is that OK?

Fuck you. Fuck all of you.



March 29--Please stop doing me any favors.



March 30--Katie?



March 31--Hi



April 1--Please talk, I have some news.



April 2--Hello?

Who is this?

Kevin

When did you put all these messages here?

I told you that I was going to try to find a way of saving the conversations. Now, they'll only be in the book when I'm around. I have some news for you. Turn around. Ta-da!

Very funny.

seriously, try it.

Where does it go?

Something we're working on for you.

A bathroom? What do I need a bathroom for. I don't really need it.

It's just the beginning. We started working on this first but there's a whole bunch of other rooms that are in the works.

Yes, but why? What's the point?

So you can live a normal life.

What's normal about this life? Now I can take a piss, big deal.

That's one way to look at it. But it's a start. You said you wanted a cat, I can't really promise that but I can show you this for right now.

What the hell is that thing?

Eventually, it will be a cat.

It needs some work.

Yeah, I've been telling Scott that.

Do I look the same? There's no mirrors here or anything that reflects.

Yeah, we have that. I'm going to put that in the court. I don't want to load things like this in your line of sight.

You could take the book with you.

I look the same.

And you always will.

Will I ever look old?

Perhaps. Eventually, you'll be able to decide.

Will I die naturally, then?

Hopefully not.

Can you tell me what happened?

When?

When I was brought here?

It was a pretty bad accident, Katie. Your friend didn't make it. I'm sorry.

Friend?

Yeah, the guy you were with.

I don't even remember getting in his car.

The ambulance took you to the nearest hospital and they took some pretty extreme measures to try to save you but your body was going into complete failure. Do you want me stop?

No, it's hard but... no, go on.

I don't know how much you want to know, but the doctors had to make a decision about what to do with, um, all of you. You had that donor sticker on your license and. well. That's when you came here.

How much is there left of me?

I'm going to change the subject now because I don't know if I can take it.

How much?

Did you know there's talk of you being the next Eve? The beginning of a new human consciousness?

How much?

They say we can be immortal.

How much?

There won't be any illness. We can conquer all diseases and even correct the mistakes of our genetics.

How much?

We can't really measure it. It's not really intact.

Kevin?

Yes

Fuck off and die.



April 3--Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin spoke to me. Kevin...



April 4--Kevin, and I'm not just talking to you Kevin but to all of you Kevins--I just want you all to know how much I hate you all.

Oh God, what did I do? Kevin? If you're there, please talk to me again. I'm sorry. I was angry. Please forgive me. It's nighttime, Kevin. Why aren't you here? The stars are out, I never told you before how beautiful they are. I'm so sleepy but I'll stay up hoping that you can still talk to me.



April 5--So sleepy.



April 6--Knock knock

Who's there?

Kevin

I'm so sorry, Kevin. I'm so sorry.

That's ok. It's my fault. I did something stupid.

No, it wasn't stupid. Talking to me and telling me the truth, telling me what I asked you to tell me, telling me everything that was important for me to know. None of that is stupid. Oh, God, Kevin! I can't believe I did that. I'm so sorry.

They're worried about you. They've had to sedate you a lot lately because your stats were going off the chart. They thought they were going to lose you and so they brought me in to see if I could help out.

So I didn't get you in trouble?

Oh, I got into trouble all right.

What do you mean?

I mean I took your advice.

I'm still not following.

You told me to fuck off and die. Well, after that shift was over, I knew I was going to be fired for letting it get so out of hand so I went out to an all night bar and drank about twice my weight in gin. I don't want to get into too many details, but let's just say that I'm an organ donor, too.

Oh God, have I killed you?

No, Katie, no. It's better this way. I kept an eye on you ever since you arrived and you've been here for years. I did the night shift and so I really was alone with you more than anyone else. Perhaps you can say I became fond of you. I know that makes me creepy but I just loved watching you throw that ball at the skylight to try to break it, and loving how fascinated you became with new things, exploring what you can and can not do with it. When you tried to harm yourself, I wanted to reach out but I didn't know how. But it's better this way. You can hate me, fine. I hate myself some days--I'm not God and how could I presume to act that way around you when I'm not. I just got tired of seeing you suffer as you were for the last

I was lonely.

month and wanted to reach out.

I know.

Will I eventually see you?

I'm still trying to get a handle on this, myself.

Well, when you do come over, if they can make you look like James Dean, that'd be ok by me.

Hey now. You're not exactly my type either. I generally date a woman for her body not her brains.

Too premature to joke that way?

Yeah. A bit.

But when you do come over, can you bring some racquetballs? Preferably red. I'm fucking sick of blue.

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Someone Like Me | 55 comments (23 topical, 32 editorial, 0 hidden)
Are you absolutely certain that you are not a cat? (2.87 / 8) (#2)
by daani on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 12:41:09 AM EST

Because you sound like a cat.


I knew someone would mention Bonita /nt (none / 0) (#47)
by A Bore on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 10:50:22 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Well (none / 1) (#3)
by ShooterNeo on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:58:28 AM EST

Like 99% of K5 fiction, you don't finish the short story, or even bring it to some kind of denoument.  Basically, you don't address the obvious : does Kevin being stuck in a virtual environment as well make her any happier?  

They also don't explain the hardware, or how her brain is kept alive and what limitations there are on the process.  Why can't they bring in feeds from outside, in the real world?  

yes and no (none / 0) (#4)
by Entendre Entendre on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:35:29 AM EST

It always bugs me when a story doesn't have a destination.

This one was a fun journey though, so I'll let that pass.

It would be a mistake to go into the details of the hardware/medicine/biology/technology that created her situation. That might appeal to geeks but it would only distract from the story itself.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

...and it would irritate neurobiology geeks (none / 1) (#9)
by alexboko on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:39:10 AM EST

if you went into a lot of technical detail because almost all science fiction stories screw up the science. Might as well be vague but plausible and let the specialists in the audience fill in their own details.


Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.
[ Parent ]
maybe it's unclear (none / 1) (#6)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:03:18 AM EST

she's not upset about being a brain in the vat. that's traumatic for her but she can take it. She's upset about being alone. She even says so explicity and that's why she attempts to commit suicide.

I'm not sure what kind of denouement you would want if taking someone to the brink of suicide and then satsifying the cause for her attempts doesn't count. I don't lay it out like a typical denouement because we're seeing this from the perspective of her diary but I think it's in there. I don't want to beat the readers over the head with it though, that's not how life goes.

As for the hardware, does it help the story to describe it? I just don't see how. I've always preferred science fiction when the emphasis is more on the fiction than the science.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
The opening paragraph made me think "Oh no... (2.50 / 2) (#10)
by alexboko on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:41:32 AM EST

...another Natalee Holloway story". Congrats on resisting that temptation.


Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.
part 2 (2.90 / 10) (#13)
by Zombie Stanislaw Lem on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:55:43 PM EST

April 8--Hi Katie

Kevin, is that you?

No... actually, its Tom

???

Yeah, sorry about that mixup in the Birthing Center. We weren't able to save you, or the baby.

What the HELL??? Why are you telling me this NOW?

Shh, please, you know you're not supposed to make any noises during this process, even if, uh, you're a brain in a jar

Like Hell.

Well, at least, I thought I'd give you the good news.

Huh? You mean there's actually something Good to come of all this?!

Well... yes. If you're ready for it. If you're able to be ready for it.

Uh. Will I ever get any more ready?

The good news, Katie, is... you're clear.
No more engrams. No more false memories, fears, worries, distractions, disruptions...

Uh huh. You're serious, right?

Yes, Katie. Congratulations. You are now an Operant Thetan!

finis

[note, any moderation or posts made on or after 01/04/2007 were probably made by the jerk/s who stole my account after I left.]

have you been reading Shadows lately?$ (none / 1) (#19)
by IncubatedVitamin on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:49:25 PM EST



a science fiction love story? (2.50 / 2) (#21)
by wampswillion on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:46:32 PM EST

how often do you see that?

anyway, that's what i thought this was.  old kevin- he falls in love with her and all.  wants to ease her pain.  (lonliness)

there is one detail that confuses me.  who is scott?  why did you name him?  

casual-style banter (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:55:19 PM EST

thanks for reading.

My intention was this: he was showing her things that the organization had no intention of letting her see until it was complete, concerned that she might go insane at the casual treatment of her condition. However, he wants to impress her and is showing her all of these prematurely in an attempt both to impress her as well as to comfort her and give her hope. In fact, I see him kind of casually sitting back in his boss's chair trying to ooze a confidence and importance that he doesn't really have. "Oh, yeah, that's just Scott, I'll have some words with him in the morning."

He is, after all, only the night shift and just tries to keep the system from crashing until the real workers arrive in the morning.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
i think that line (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by wampswillion on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:02:33 PM EST

"He is, after all, only the night shift and just tries to keep the system from crashing until the real workers arrive in the morning."

just made me cry.  

anyway, i liked your story.  

sadly,  i don't think she'll end up loving him back.   i don't think she'll be capable.  


[ Parent ]

As a night shift worker (none / 0) (#55)
by ptraci on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 12:31:18 AM EST

I have to take issue with that last statement.  More work gets done at night in many places, because management isn't there to get in the way.

[ Parent ]
That's all that Connie Willis writes. (none / 0) (#25)
by Spendocrat on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 01:51:16 AM EST



[ Parent ]
not familiar with (none / 0) (#28)
by wampswillion on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 08:18:55 AM EST

connie willis.  about the closest i've come to sci-fi before is kurt vonnegut.  but then i've never really thought of most of his stuff as sci fi in the first place.  

[ Parent ]
A question for you! (1.36 / 11) (#24)
by indubitable on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 12:30:50 AM EST

Have you ever tried bending over really, really hard and sucking your own dick?

What kind of sick fuck doesn't want to roger some dude wearing a bear suit?

hasn't everyone? (none / 1) (#27)
by my gold bling shines on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 06:59:24 AM EST




Stop your blubbering prima donna - BottleRocket
[ Parent ]
basically a localroger ripoff (none / 1) (#29)
by mfeltman on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 08:43:46 AM EST

which is why it's being voted up I guess, but I still liked it so I guess I'm a sucker, too.


whisper.


How dare you! (none / 0) (#33)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 12:43:52 PM EST

I was ripping off the Matrix.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#52)
by ishark on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 08:13:19 AM EST

....more like Greg Egan's "Permutation City", which starts in a similar way.

[ Parent ]
what next? (none / 0) (#32)
by yonyonson on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 11:52:02 AM EST

my imagination is craning forward and i was wondering what you had in mind; if anything?  The direction definitely does not feel like that of a short story, but more like the first chapters or even preface of a longer story, indeed.  i liked it.  Thanx.

Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
thanks, I enjoyed reading that! [n/t] (none / 0) (#53)
by tx on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 02:53:39 PM EST

tx, kur0n

it's bohemian rhapsody (none / 0) (#54)
by taste on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 10:14:56 PM EST

Is this the real life-
Is this just fantasy-
Caught in a landslide-
No escape from reality-
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see-
I’m just a poor boy,i need no sympathy-
Because I’m easy come,easy go,
A little high,little low,
Anyway the wind blows,doesn’t really matter to me,
To me

Mama,just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger,now he’s dead,
Mama,life had just begun,
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away-
Mama ooo,
Didn’t mean to make you cry-
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow-
Carry on,carry on,as if nothing really matters-

Too late,my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine-
Body’s aching all the time,
Goodbye everybody-I’ve got to go-
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth-
Mama ooo- (any way the wind blows)
I don’t want to die,
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all-

I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche,scaramouche will you do the fandango-
Thunderbolt and lightning-very very frightening me-
Galileo,galileo,
Galileo galileo
Galileo figaro-magnifico-
But I’m just a poor boy and nobody loves me-
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family-
Spare him his life from this monstrosity-
Easy come easy go-,will you let me go-
Bismillah! no-,we will not let you go-let him go-
Bismillah! we will not let you go-let him go
Bismillah! we will not let you go-let me go
Will not let you go-let me go
Will not let you go let me go
No,no,no,no,no,no,no-
Mama mia,mama mia,mama mia let me go-
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me,for me,for me-

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye-
So you think you can love me and leave me to die-
Oh baby-can’t do this to me baby-
Just gotta get out-just gotta get right outta here-

Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters-,nothing really matters to me,

Any way the wind blows....

Someone Like Me | 55 comments (23 topical, 32 editorial, 0 hidden)
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