The Machine That Knew Everything [excerpt]

Here’s an excerpt from a story I’m currently writing. It takes a few twists and turns from this fairly civilized opening to explore domestic violence and the trauma of ‘knowing’.

Matted brushes press against grey membranes. Two round gaseous orbs resembling eyes suggest that alterity is endured. A wheezing comes through its little twisted voice tube.

It isn’t geometric or uniform. It is hard only where solid forms place pressure on pliable surfaces. And its components (if they can be delineated at all) are contradictory. Nothing is replaceable or exchangeable. Should Leibniz’s imagined traveller be able to walk inside the conscious workings of this machine, as if it were a mill, they would discover that everything was singular.

Its power is such that the air tingles with black specs where (perhaps) normality struggles to maintain a strangle hold. And the solidity of the linoleum floor has given way to an obstinate stickiness near its base (should we infer that solidity is not proximate to understanding?).

It protrudes. It folds.

It wobbles and it yields.

It is ugly in both its outward appearance and its unmistakable fetor.

It is an abomination to us Moderns. Yet it is remarkable, the machine that knows everything.

For three weeks after abiding its completion the machine screamed continuously. Convention prompts me to say that it sounded like hell. But of course, I now know that hell does not exist. One of the first things that even, or especially, the most ardent atheists ask is, “Is there a God?” To which the machine spat, “of course there fucking isn’t, you twat!”



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