Monday, November 13, 2006

The Standard Substandard

"The chilling voice boomed from the sky again. 'Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training. This will result in your eventual elimination."
--pg. 67

Ah yes-- The Standard Substandard. So much better than The Nonstandard Substandard. "Wow-- this training sets a new standard in substandard standards!" There are Standard Standards and there are Substandard Standards and there are Standard Substandards. We must make sure your substandard training meets our substandard standards. "His training is deviating from our standards. Quick, lower the bar. Ah, that's better. Now that's substandard! Substandard enough to meet our standards."

Saturday, November 11, 2006


"The walls were marked with giant numerals, strange ciphers, and symbols unintelligible to Flynn, in varieties and combinations of gleaming colors."
--pg. 83

Walking dizzy down the alley, dried blood on the lapel of your suit jacket-- yours? You press your hands against your throbbing head. Blood roaring in your ears. A man walks by hand in hand with a young child. The man reaches out, concern in his eyes, and plucks your head from your shoulders. Your hands pat the air around your now-absent head. Your body flails its arms in the air.

In the man's arms, you blink. You are staring up at the face of the child. A young boy, you decide, or a girl in a baseball cap. The kid has coal-smeared cheeks and a green crust of snot in the right nostril. Behind you your body crashes blindly into a row of garbage cans. Stay down, you think. Duck and Cover. Stop Drop and Roll.

The man holds your head up to the child's ear. "See, Jenny?" The man smiles. "You can hear the ocean." Jenny nods, solemn and wide-eyed. Her baseball cap says 'Elb.' You don't understand. You open your mouth to speak. No sound escapes your mouth. A massive headache explodes behind your eyes like a starburst.

You close your eyes.

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