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Skip stepped off a stray train of thought whose misplaced tangental nature was so abysmal that it had even strayed away from the well established patterns of misplaced tangential natures Skip was just starting to get used to. Perhaps in searching for patterns in the chaos--for anything that made the slightest bit of sense to him in the events he could barely remember even having--to write about, he'd underestimated the full complexity of Flutonia's uselessness to those seeking structure and theme. Apparently the beginning thoughts on how to make sense of the world and its chaos didn't cover the issue of both of them self-updating as often as often as Java, Quicktime, iTunes, or AOL Instant Messenger.
Because of the tangential stray thought he'd walked off of, he figured he was already late in doing something he probably should have done back on the train. The stray tangent ride unraveled the already tinsy-winsy inlking of a hope that anything around here had an underlying structure and theme under it worth writing about. As far back as he could remember (which wouldn't have been far even if he could remember anything), things had adhered to a certain pattern: some random stuff, then a bunch of philosophically messed up stuff about the first stuff, and then a bunch of stuff that didn't really give a damn but the two former. Something seemed to come fourth, or at least would have, had he remembered what it was, why he'd forgotten it, why it didn't work, or why it now seemed to not fit in even if it had.
He seemed to have lost time, and the structure unraveled in his mind said he could never make up for it. Nothing he could do would re-structure the fabric of space-time and allow himself to get back on the train and think whatever he was supposed to think to maintain the continuity of the vaguely-structured bunch of random !@#$ of the past before it. On the bright side, the fact that the randomness of Flutonia had topped its own bafflingness did seem to adhere to some established plot continuity. In any case, Skip had no choice but to do what he'd been doing as far as he could remember: narrate around with his head cut off in hopes that Nat Geo might buy his evolving documentary on the Tragic Hell of Creating Writing In Flutonia.
" 'Skip looked around. The train station seemed more real and present than Skip could remember remembering. Perhaps Skip's concept of his setting and perception of his environment were returning as his writing skills and memory came back and his amnesia decreased, or perhaps he just wasn't remembering clearly. As if to answer him, the train faded from thought to something that had already left into a fully fleeting shaft of air. The overwhelming feeling that Skip now felt--just about his only one--was that the world needed some sort of character to keep him company. Maybe a friend, or a troublemaker; a gorilla with a moderate SAT score would do at this point. He seemed to remember having a guide or a friend in the past, and if the tangential train had truly upset things, then he would be even further distraught if he didn't even have the repeated pattern of someone else to--' "
"What are you, a nut job?"
" 'In dwelling on his crisis, Skip had barely noticed a faint swirl of air sitting bored on a bench. It was the first living thing--or whatever--Skip had met in a long time, and he'd already seemed to piss it off. Since he had no idea what he could have done and certainly did not want to provoke an argument (since he had no idea what a shaft of air was capable of in a fistfight), he simply shrugged, sat on another bench, and waited for someone more friendly to come along and find him. The annoyed person, in turn--' "
"Would you shut up? Why the hell are you doing that? I know I'm annoyed, I don't need you to tell me I am."
" 'Skip hadn't a clue what the youth was talking about, since Skip hadn't said anything at all as far as he could remember, but he decided agreeability would be the smartest course of action considering he didn't know this shaft of air very well and could easily be part of a subway street gang and ready to kill him if he annoyed him any more, however he was doing it. If it kept up, perhaps intentionally annoying it would have the opposite effect. Skip wasn't ready to--' "
"What the !@#$, dude? Are you like insane or something? Why are you doing that?"
"Alright, now, what do you mean?"
"You're narrating what you're thinking as you think it. What the hell is the point in that? Are you a loony? Just shut up, okay? Thanks."
" 'Skip hadn't even noticed he'd been narating since he decided he should start. He'd figured he should live a little before finding something worth narrating about for his fantastic frwoa he was to write. But apparently he'd almost unconsciously been revealing all his thoughts. He must have had uncanny literary skills indeed if narration indeed simply came like breathing, without even a--' "
"What the hell's a frwoa?"
" 'The shaft of air seemed to either give up arguing with him, or sink deeper into a less obvious ploy to get him to shut the hell up. Either way, Skip simply played polite.' I think it means some type of fractal work of art.
" 'The air frused sans the hostility, shrugged, and elevated a a rubber ball out of its vifa air bag that Skip had just noticed it'd had with him. He had no idea what a shaft of air intended to do with a rubber ball, or how the air could be strong enough to violate gravity, but he supposed he didn't know much about such things, so he simply shrugged again. The air shaft just held the ball blandly in hesitation, perhaps preocupied with Skip's last statement, or the strange encounter in general. He thought about whatever he was thinking about for quite a lot longer than Skip would have imagined a floating shaft of air could. If it had had any sort of face or posture, they would be permuating through dozens of subtle states that demonstrated it was running through a plethora of passing trains of thought, however vague and continuously fleeting.
" 'The air finally sighed, either having shrugged the whole thing off, or thought everything there was to think of it for the moment. (Or, of course, it could still be working on its plan to mute Skip.) It sort of yawned by spinning a bit of its upper body clockwise, did something akin to leaning back on the wall, and began bouncing the ball on the ground in boredom. Gravity seemed to kick in each time it went down, and forget about itself every time it went up. It almost seemed normal a thing to be bouncing a ball, but what didn't seem normal was that a shaft of air was doing it. Finally, it missed an upward catch, and the ball simply floated up indefinitely and in an act of self-survival, vanished in a poof of smoke just before it collided with the ceiling.' "
"What the hell was that? What the !@#-- What just happened?" He looked genuinely freaked, as if it was infinitely normal for a bored gust of wind to be bouncing a ball on the floor, but entirely bizarre for it to poof out of existence entirely. All Skip could do was improvise.
"Don't worry. You're probably dreaming. I'm sure your standard laws of tangible air gravity and solid matter will re-form as soon as you wake up in your bed or home park, or what not."
"So I'm dreaming? Just my luck! Though that would definitely explain quite a bit since the train dropped me off a short while ago. Actually, I think I saw you come off earlier when I was only a couple specs of dust. And come to think of it, another time or two while I got substaniazed just enough to blow that candy bar wrapper over there a half inch. Now I'm this, almost your size, and I really don't think I'll like the boring life of watching myself grow into a full deadly hurricane, then on to whatever lies in old age for bodies of air. Nonexistence I suppose. Maybe I poof into a lack of anything worth being, just where I came from. Yes, I definitely wish I were something other than a whiff of useless air. Maybe something more tangible. More real. Less whimsical. Less useless."
"I think I'm sort of on the same quest. While I can't remember all that much, my memory goes back to just about when you seemed to whiffed into existence. Since then, if memory serves at all, the only thing that's happened is a bunch of random !@#$. I think I'm supposed to be finding some sort of pattern or theme in it all worthy of manifestation into a frwoa topic, but all I've come up with in the last minute is the situational irony of things having gotten much worse since they started making some sense."
"I suppose we could team up or something, not much else to do."
By now, the station did not like where this conversation was heading. It most definitely concretely objected to the presence of those on a search for a tangible corporeality. Maybe it was Skip's imagination, but the station air seemed to sway the hanging "IMAGINATION STATION" sign as a restauraunt owner might to a "NO SMOKING" sign. This seemed to tick off Skip's new acquantance, which, just to be rebelious, grabbed a half-empty bottle of water someone had tossed and splashed it within itself in the farfetched hope it would magically materialize it into something more liquidy.
Somehow, it worked.
Its body gathered moisture; moist drops of a fluid, liquidy material began to appear, then finally the moisture aoushed into a rebelious teenager composed entirely of a blue-clear mass of liquid. The vifa bag had become a soaked nike backpack, and the empty water bottle a skateboard made of powerade. The kid frowned, as if it wasn't the desired effect at all. He almost seemed to frown confused... one might even say "frused", Skip thought.
"Great, I'm a licenseless, acne-prone teenager of water too young to drink. Just great."
"Liquid, liquid everywhere but not a drop of beer."
In response, a stronger gust of wind blonked the sign again like a satisfied teacher who had finally been able to send the roudy student to the principle's office now that he'd entered the school's jurisdiction. The kid would learn his lesson, because now he was stuck with the abundant imagination of youth. (And Skip was stuck in the nostalgia of days when he was more creative and less competent.)
As if to contrast the young duo's loss, an old blind lady approached, stabbing her cane in front of her like Skip figured he and his new friend would be doing spiritually for quite awhile. It dawned on Skip that his new companion would need a name, and said as much as he was swirlshing toward a vending machine to grab a can of soda.
"Oh, I don't know, I feel exponentially heavier than air, like I drank a hundred bottles of kool-aid. So, maybe something about my sudden weight gain."
"I guess it'll do. Though I think that's a random prefix or something, not just a word for weight. That's one of the few things I remembered from science last year in summer school." Kilo was now standing at the vending machine which was proudly blinking its increased price per can, and Skip simply watched the old lady for lack of anything more inspiring. She approached an upward staircase to a light above, then paused and turned backward. She only got as far as the soda machine before heading back for the stairs. Then Kilo mumbled something at the machine while she started walking 360s in a small circle, and Kilo gave her a quick look.
"Oh, come on. That is so ripped from Donnie--Dammit!" Kilo turned back to the machine in frustration. He tried to kick it for some reason Skip couldn't see, but only managed to splash his foot harmlessly on its "Surfbored Do" front logo over a can of bursting soda and a rebelious "DO THE DO" tagline. The machine seemed to smile deceptively as if the free real life advertisement was its plan all along, and now it had a great marketing trick under its belt. It must have worked, because the old lady broke out of her 360s and got in line for a can of soda.
"Come on, Water Boy, let's see what light breaks beyond this mortal Plato's Cave."
"I want my !@#$ing money back." He kicked the machine again but it just smiled again as the old lady got more excited for her drink.
"You can get your fix later. I kind of have a crisis of some sort on my hands, and I get the feeling you'll be in just as must trouble if you don't get up there right now."
"No. I'm not going out there like this."
"Maybe you'll get used to it."
"Nah; I'll just sit right here until I think myself into something more useful than a splash of a rebelious youth without a drop of caffeine or booze."
"You're going outside, Kilo, no argument."
"You're not my father."
"Well, someone has to deal with you. If you don't get out of here I'll just think up some adoption papers and make it official and you'll have to do the same damn thing anyway, except then I'll be mad. And I doubt you want to see a brainwiped novelist with no topic for a book due at the end of the day when he's mad."
"This isn't fair! The other kids' get to be cool elements. Why can't I be a cool element?"
"You are a cool element."
"Not cool like in temperatre, I mean, like you know, an awesome element."
"Like God? That's a little off the chart."
"An element I want to be! One worth being! One that people will look and say, 'God dude, cool, that's an awesome element!' "
"I dunno, a dangerous shifting airy amount of heat and light so powerful that it has to be intensely controlled or it'll break free and cause havoc for quite a number of imaginable ways? Anything but this."
"Guess that's a step up from a splurshy rebelious youth in coolness, but it also seems like a backwards step back into something airy and formless. You'll have to do it yourself, though, I'm not any better at thinking this stuff into reality than you are."
"Dammit, I don't want to be a teenager. This just isn't fair."
"Life isn't fair, Kilo. But you're old enough to work your way towards a more dangerous and satisfying element if you want. It's your life. You're just going to have to work for it. Now come on, I have this intense feeling that there's something that needed doing awhile ago but that's just getting started or something. We have to hurry... I think. We need to find a bar or something. I'm thirsty and I really need a drink."
Kilo stared dead still at Skip like a pillar of implosively angry lava.
"Oh, well, you know what I mean."
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