If you missed it on Tuesday, the Patrick Troughton volume of TARDIS Eruditorum is part of Storybundle’s new Doctor Who-themed bundle of ebooks. You can set your own price to get it, Barry Letts’s Who and Me, Nick Griffiths’s Dalek I Loved You, and Chris-Rachel Oseland’s Dining with the Doctor. Paying over $10 also gets you Earl Green’s VWORP! and The Best of TARDIS Eruditorum, a collection of this blog’s best posts with short introductions exclusive to the volume. The Best Of book is exclusive to Storybundle, and I have no plans to offer it for sale again this year. Head over to Storybundle to check it out. It’s a terribly neat deal. Meanwhile, a bit of flash fiction I scraped up off the bottom of my hard drive:
Marguerite-Charlotte David’s dress sublimates into the guttural crackle of mid-90s Japanese noise music. The shimmer of her dress curls in the informational fire consuming her, the crackle of the fire becoming a kaleidoscopic backbeat, its combusting edges measured precisely as they decay to form the outline of the resulting waveform. Her dress peels off her breasts, which, constructed out of imagination instead of memory, lack the mottling of digitized oil paint. They are instead porcelain polished with the damp shine of hardcore pornography, oil posing as sweat.
Ultradave14 has been caught out – he’s using junk data, a cache of some archive or another preserved during the final hours of the mycosis, after the mushroom cloud had finally noticed the gap in its original preservation plan. He’d gone packrat when the archives got closed out, grabbing an almost random assortment of texts and images that, predictably, he’s done next to nothing with. He’d never even looked at the painting enough to formulate a detailed imaginary layer, and when he was forced to fill in Marguerite-Charlotte’s breasts he had nothing prepared, and so subbed in something on what was, in hindsight, rather embarrassing instinct.
His sex partner, who identifies as Izu in this interaction, makes her displeasure known, quickly shredding the breasts into a stuttering Eurotrash pop jungle beat that’s emasculating in its groove. She’s only in it for the sake of making new kinds of sound, picked him because early 19th century neoclassical French painting was material she’d not mulched before. She’s running hundreds of these at once, taking memories and force-converting them to sound. The overwhelming majority will be crap, but that’s not the point of the operation. The point is the fleeting moments of truly new forms of noise.
Her use of generic sound is the equivalent of throwing a drink in his face, and he knows it. He’s caught off-guard, remembering rejection at a middle school dance. He’d been terrified all dance to ask the object of his crush, hung to the wall, not realizing until three years later how much that made him come off as creepy, and that she’d have said yes if he’d only asked her an hour earlier. Before he can get a handle on the memory it’s bled into the datastream, and Izu has turned it into a four second hiss punctuated by staccato inserts of a wet, hollow squelching sound. The memory of the memory hangs for a moment like phantom limb pain as he refocuses.
Izu is flaying Marguerite-Charlotte’s face, peeling the color layers off one by one and crumpling them into bursts of chirping engine noise that reverberate for a moment before fading like the redness of her nose, and, ultimately, like her nose itself, gone up in a puff of shriek and shudder. Within another minute, she’s consumed completely, reduced to a mere gap in the data, an empty space to be filled. There are no awkward goodbyes – Izu sends polite thanks and a mashup of female orgasms she keeps as a business card, and within thirty seconds retasks that thread of consciousness to the mulching of indigenous Venezuelan poetry.
Within the week Ultradave14 has filled the space that used to be Marguerite-Charlotte with a proof sheet of leaf shapes from the forests of western Denmark, from which he generates imaginary confetti for a party held in a cubist reconstruction of 1970s Nairobi. The noise data that once was the last copy of Marguerite-Charlotte David’s portrait remains in Izu’s cache for a month before she jettisons most of it. Only the shadow cast by one of Marguerite-Charlotte’s curls remains, transformed into a chime pitched just above an E flat, so pure and clear you can remember the sky in it.