part 0000: joey and phreak
joey sat on the edge of the low wall that surrounded the park. his hands were almost shaking too much to light his last cigarette. after managing to light half, he puffed the rest of the cherry into existence. he hoped he didn't have long to wait.
$> pulsing lights of shining data swirling past. driving bass drum, insistent like a heartbeat. the world outside the screen melts away. there is only the gibson. the gibson and me. no, i and the gibson are one. i am at war with myself, two halves of an eternal whole, the warrior and nemesis as symbionts. light, so beautiful, information, so revelatory, surrounding us all and itself, the name of god is light, the name of god is all the code in the world, how can a file be garbage when it's a letter in the name of god the name of █
the sound of urethane on concrete snapped joey's head up from his reverie. the phantom phreak rollerbladed up, stopping his approach with a showy hockey stop. joey thought, he always was the flashy one. he unslung his leopard-print messenger bag, dropped it to the ground and skated backwards in a small circle as he talked.
"joey! what's up, man? it's been years!"
"so, what'd you call me for? i'm pretty busy these days. i mean, i always have time for you, man, but i do have things to do."
"dude, i was just wondering if..."
"dude! still with the dude! just say it!"
"do you, like, think you have any work for me? i just could really use a little money right now."
"i mean, guess i could ask at the store, but you're not exactly john varvatos material, you know? it still looks like your momma dressed you."
"my mom, uh, passed, uh, like three years ago."
"oh man, i'm so sorry, joey."
silence only broken by the shuffle of rollerblade wheels. joey flicked an inch of ash from his cigarette, then took another long drag.
"no, i don't mean that kind of work, phreak. i-"
phreak gave joey a meaningful look, then scanned the park, stopping to stare at a police officer on the other side of the fountain who was pointedly looking at them. joey leaned in.
:god the name of god the zero true the one true █
"i need money fast, phreak. i mean a job, a big job. you know, i just keep thinking, all these years later, what if we had rewritten that worm. we could have taken just a fraction of what was being siphoned off and it could have, like, taken care of all of us. i mean we're not all 'zero fucking cool' with multinational corporations knocking down our doors for security contracts. we still would have killed da vinci, i mean, we still would have saved the world, dude, but we could have done something for ourselves, you know?"
"what are you talking about, man? we did the right thing. plus that was like twenty years ago. people grow up. i mean, i have a good job, you know, a boyfriend, an apartment. i don't even fuck with phones like that anymore. it's not like it used to be. crash and burn might not be together anymore but they have two kids! he wears a tie to work. even cereal has the magazine. and anyway, what are you saying? that we should have been black hats? like plague? that fucking scumbag?"
"no, man, i just mean-"
"whatever, joey. next time you call me, just say, like, 'hey ramon, let's get some coffee' or some shit. you know, come over for dinner or something? you should meet aaron. you'd like him. he doesn't care about computers. it's nice."
"look, phreak, i'm really-"
"seriously, joey. don't pull me into this shit again."
"well do you at least have a dollar or something? i mean, i could really use it."
phreak opened his bag, counted five twenty dollar bills from his wallet, and put them in joey's hand. silently, he turned and skated away. joey took a drag from his cigarette. it had gone out. he threw it over his shoulder and stared across the park, tears welling up in his eyes.
:god the name of god the sacred number and now i will never know it again forever locked out of the mainframe for all eternity an echoing dial tone a busy signal a null file like the first man corrupted like so much overwritten data like so much █
part 0001: kate and dade
kate glanced over at dade, then let her eyes travel across the desk to the severe face of Mrs Hyde.
"No, Mrs Hyde, i don't think that is grounds for expulsion at all. that is more like grounds for moving her up a grade. i thought that your job was to foster creativity and curiosity in your students, not to force them to conform to arbitrary rules. you are making her out to be a criminal, for god's sake-":data flowing data free to anybody and everybody but anybody and everybody are one in the same zero in the same █
dade put a hand on kate's knee. she leaned back in her chair and looked away.
"all i am saying, mrs murphy-"
"-ms libby, is that your daughter singlehandedly crashed fifteen hundred and seven school computers in one day. that's the entirety of the computer lab, all of the faculty's personal computers that were on the network, and even a several district administrators who were unlucky enough to have been logged in during the, ah, attack. that is willful destruction of state property. and that kind of...vandalism...has its price."
dade waved his hand as if to brush away what ms hyde's accusation.
"look, it's eve's junior year. there are only two months left in school. you must admit that expulsion is a bit drastic. but what if you were to graduate her early? you know that she's easily smart enough. she'd be out of your hands, you could go back to keeping your school under control, and everybody wins."
kate looked appraisingly at dade, but remained quiet. mrs hyde cleared her throat and smoothed her skirt over her lap.
"mr murphy. even if i made it a habit to give in to...parents'...demands, that still would not solve the issue of restitution. or penalty. eve's lesson will be hard-learned."
kate leaned forward again, gripping the arms of her chair.
"so what you're saying is that you're willing to throw one of your brightest students out in order to, teach her some kind of lesson, about what? knee-jerk reactionism? about authority? she's a genius and you're, you're, you want to hamper that? you want-"
dade moved to calm kate down again, but she brushed his hand away.
"no, dade, you know i'm right. this is eve's future-"
:the same spark of conciousness that flows through us all networking us all the supercomputer of supercomputers king of kings matrices of data vectors of lives the genesis of life of creation of subroutines and of functions and of ascension and assumption the light the cone of light but what a triangle is to a cone the cone is to the light in every direction forever and ever and █
"-that we're talking about!"
"you know what? i think we're done here. let's go, dade."
with that kate stood up and pulled dade by the hand as they storm out of the office to the sputtering objections of Mrs Hyde. on their way out, kate grabbed the hand of a seventeen year old girl in shortalls sitting on a nearby bench.
"mom? how much trouble am i in?"
"that's up to you, eve."
:all the possibilities and probabilities cascading around me and us and everything like beautiful endless snowflakes repeating, branching, never repeating, folding back into themselves opening and closing like █
outside, in the school parking lot, dade opened the driver's door of a silver hatchback, but didn't get in.
"eve, i hope you know that your mother and i love you and lily very much. this isn't a punishment, if anything it's more a reward. you deserve a better education than this-"
he gestured disgustedly at the glass and brick building they had just left.
"-and i think that we and even you, yourself, are in a better position to provide one."
"but what about my friends, dad? what about homework?"
"don't worry, dear, you can see your friends and talk to them all you want. you'll always have the internet."
:something alive and hungry pulsating and feeding and birthing and endless derivatives of endless permutations of entire endless universes right here right now and always if time were a distance it would stretch on forever til it reached its beginning again and be present in the very first stone used to represent a numerical concept in the very first grunt to convey an idea in the very first █
kate opened the passenger's door of her blue sedan.
"okay eve, say goodbye to your dad."
"bye, dad. see you this weekend?"
"see you this weekend. love you."
dade sat at the steering wheel and watched as the two women drove away from the school, away from him.
:meaningful look a primate ever gave another primate and so building in complexity and scale and grandeur until it all comes to a dizzying asymptote of knowledge of supreme knowledge that both is itself and contains itself a self-aware knowledge a name that is everything and describes everything at the same time which is all time and place which is everywhere and everything █
part 0010: cereal killer
deadline for the march issue to go to print was in forty hours. emmanuel couldn't stay seated at his desk. he had to pace, chew his pencil, scratch his head, fret. he picked up his phone and put it back down several times without looking at it. in short, he was a wreck.
there was a knock at his open door.
"mr goldstein? sir?"
"what is it, matthew?"
"it's just, i know you said that you were busy, but i just got an email back from new york air. and they aren't running their ad this month. they said they're 'reallocating their budget to better reflect dynamic synergy in SEO' or some shit like that."
emmanuel didn't respond. he sat down at his desk looked at the laptop which lay closed in front of him.
:and anything but not anymore, now it's closed and separate and other like it never was supposed to be away from me, i am not of it and it is nowhere to be found or maybe i'm nowhere to be found or maybe i just can't find it. i remember how it used to be at the end of every fingertip like lightning like pure energy flowing from pole to pole to synapse to eye to heart to head but now it's like a dirty mirror smoked out smoked up smoky foggy like the original meaning of occult i just can't see it and where is it where did the soul go where does it go when something beautiful dies is it ever really gone or is it just not visible anymore if beauty is unobserved is it still beauty i just don't know how anyone could █
emmanuel gestured at his computer.
"you know, matthew, i used to be able to use these fucking things."
"sir, we're not going to be able to pay for march."
emmanuel sat, fingers steepled.
"sir, what do we do?"
emmanuel spun his phone on his desk.
:not see, not see what was going on all around, like a fish not knowing water or us not knowing anything, anything at all █
he stood up from his chair abruptly.
"matthew, i'm leaving for the day. please adjust my schedule to reflect that."
"but sir, there are less than two days to print and we don't even have our biggest advertiser on board! we're still short two features and i think it'd-"
:but if it's always been there and always will be, then we never left at all, how could we leave when we are just little subsets just microcosms how could a heart leave a body and still live? and it's still alive all i have to do all any of us have to do is just open my eyes our eyes not our actual eyes but if our eyes could see everything even our own eyes themselves then those eyes such perfect lenses not clouded, never smoked, so bright and true like infinite light in every █
emmanuel goldstein walked out of the offices of MAINFRAME INSIDER and into the street.
part 0011: lord nikon