Friday, July 2, 2010

William Broussard

Broussard was dreaming, the same dream he'd had, for as long as he could remember being a man. A lighthouse, at night, surrounded by a narrow margin of island, and then he was inside, somehow, at the bottom, in a small room with a mirror. So often he had tried to decipher the dream; he'd decided that it must be a washroom. In the dream, he was alone, looking into the mirror, thinking the same thing every time: Now I'm really in trouble.

He jerked awake and realized he'd had the same vision again. His re-entry into conscious self awareness from the persistent illusion was always that way--as though he was being pulled from some danger, saved from drowning.

He pushed back from his desk, pitched backward in his chair and stretched, feeling the air cool the places where the sweat remained. He rose and walked to the wet bar, his aging joints cracking all the way. He flicked the lid from the ice bucket and plunged his hands inside, then pulled them out and quickly brought them to his face.

This time seemed different, somehow. The images in the dream had seemed sharper and more distinct. He had started to believe that the recurring dream was a portent, and that he would find himself in that small room enacting the scene one day in waking reality.

"Fuck it," he said aloud, then, literally shrugging off the introspection. "Just a dream," he continued, feeling strength and sureness as he spoke aloud. As the ice cubes clinked into the highball glass, he reached without looking for the solution to his anxiety: Old, expensive Scotch.

"Just," he announced, stretching the word as he poured from, then capped the bottle.

"... Bullshit. Don't have time for bullshit."

He drained the glass in a single pull and felt the bracing chill turn to comforting warmth.

The Machine dutifully recorded this, then realized that it was again at 90% of its capacity. It requisitioned twenty more terabytes of storage and began to encrypt this and the other recordings it had made over the past hour, even as it opened filespace for the next hour of recording and analyzed the efficiency of recording and encrypting in one hour cycles for the ten thousandth time that day.

Copyright © 2010 by Brad Morrison

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