Chapter 6: Rei II
“What I was lacking was any kind of cogency of narrative, or writing acumen, and then I realized that the majority of the novel’s bandwidth should be spent focusing on the righteousness of Moira and then deconstructing it, because the thing that humans can take the most pride in is a desire to be good, and the thing that is most pitiable about them is the total inability to actually do so.”
-Journal of Aleph Atom Severe
1 March 1989: The Present
Atom Severe now focused both on the re-imagining of his novel and the double-century overdue book. The book, which he has now read several times, attempting to both glean some kind of writerly knowledge from Signore Dante, and also to get into the mindset of whoever checked it out, and furthermore for his own personal intellectual growth, itself now on a staggering curve even without the book.
He also regularly chuckles about the whole Paradise Lofts thing, and chuckles further at the fact that he is only just now chuckling. Things that make intelligent people laugh now make Aleph Atom Severe laugh, and the things that intelligent people dislike are now things that Aleph Atom Severe dislikes. One of those things is his old novel in progress, which he has scrapped in favor of a new project.
His new intelligence views the fact that he is still primarily concerned with writing fiction as a possible redemption for his older, foolish self. The fact that (even in his own thoroughly deplorable way, to be clear) his stupid self had a concern that his newly intelligent self can be similarly concerned with means that his older self was misguided and stupid, certainly, but at least his heart was in the right place, or some such.
And so he is keeping the basic frameworks: Moira finds a fiddle in post-apocalyptic Celtish (he has tweaked the society slightly, dealing with some land-parceling and border issues that could conceivably arise in an alien-overlord situation, dealing with some realistic social issues that might arise, dealing with perhaps the way currency would work and what a class structure would look like, taking his cues from both Ancient Rome and the heyday of the British Empire) which is essentially the good old U.K.
We’re still dealing with the 31st century here as well, so the whole music having fallen out of the human race thing is still very much evident, except for Moira, whose ability to play, process etc. the fiddle is left ambiguous in a much lighter, more artful kind of way. And the romantic lead is gone, and the fact that the romantic lead is gone is itself an almost radioactively self-evident and foregrounded plot point, that the only way that Moira can be this savior of mankind is to completely alienate herself from all of them for fear of using the weapon that she’s using to defend them near themselves, for the risk. So this involuntary but noble post-modern Knights Templar chastity that he’s playing with deals really heavily into her righteousness shtick, which now he’s confronted with how exactly she’s going to die, because she has to die for the novel to work, symbolically.
There is still a character called Laser Wolf.
He is ashamed of the chapter he sent to that journal whose name rhymes with Flew Florker, and feels now that they had every right to just not respond to him, not knowing the truth about that still, fearsome though his intellect has become.
So when there’s a second knock on his door, he’s both aware of the fact that in this neighborhood it’d be a good idea to install a peep hole, and he’s afraid that it might be the handsome man coming to steal back his brain, recognizing his mistake. It is, instead, the old man with the older walking stick, who has words for Monsieur Severe, the first of them being:
“Surely an intellect of your new, particular tonnage can see the at least glimmering possibility that you’ve been tricked.”
“I see the glimmering of all possibilities now, which is pretty nifty, if I’m using the abrasive parlance of our times.”
“I imagine it would be.”
“I hope it won’t disappoint you to find out that you’re only the second-oddest human being that I’ve found on my doorstep of late.”
“You’ll find out that that statement is pretty inaccurate.”
“What are you selling?”
“I’m trying to give. But I’m too late, I guess. Or I’m on time and I’m supposed to think that I’m too late, which makes more sense. But one of the side effects of your current enhancement is the fact that you think you’re too smart to believe strangers right off the bat. That’s one way that your former self was superior to you as you are now. So I can tell that you’ll need a visit from someone else, or more accurately I know that you’re the one who that visit will be to. I had hoped that it would be me somehow, that I’d play a part in it, but I think I see now, that I’m paving the way to you, that my part is one of those glamourless integral parts of things that no one knows about but assure success. You’ll have to forgive my self-important pity, but I’m only human.”
“Where are you supposed to be right now?”
“Exactly right here, but not for the reason that I thought.”
“Is there someone you maybe want me to call?”
“You are being called. I am not being called but to inform you that you are the one who will be called. So don’t leave this apartment for a while. Stay in paradise. Do what we can’t do as humans. That was a joke.”
“I need you to answer my questions.”
“No you don’t. You’re just too damn smart to know that you don’t. We’ll see each other again. Sorry it took me so long to return that book, by the way. I just couldn’t put it down.”
“From such smarts, such ignorance. This was the trick, I think. This was the price you paid.”
“I think you’d better leave.”
“I know you do. And you should think less.”
“Don’t tell me what to do.”
Adam treks through the impossible garden time and time again, and the old cliché would be to say that each time is better than the last, but that isn’t true, because each time it’s just as good as the last time, which is to say that each time is equally breathtaking, resplendent, staggering, outrageous, freakishly beautiful, etc. etc. and it’s all he’s ever known, lucky him.
And then along comes his wife, who’s convinced him that the pair will get more work done in the garden if they split up every once in a while. She is beautiful and has no concept of ugliness, she is wonderful and has no concept of otherwise.
Adam countered that the point of the garden is to enjoy the garden, and the wife countered the counter by saying that their time apart would make their reunion better, and they, not knowing how to argue agreed.
Adam spent the day weaving her headwear from plants, not having a concept of what it would be like to be inconsiderate.
The wife is carrying some fruit, it looks like, and Adam immediately concerns himself with what to name it, which is his favorite thing to do in the whole small world that they inhabit.
They do not need to have sex all the time because they have conversations, but when they do his issue is like that of a horse and they orgasm simultaneously and to the glorification of themselves and everything around them.
The old ball and chain concerns herself with offering Adam the fruit, which he resolves to bite if she’s bitten of it, and to sin if she’s bitten of that as well, himself being unwilling to part from her, not know
Nature Groans, Decay is introduced to the Earth: Time is invented as such
ing if he can spare another rib for the process, which wasn’t painful the first time, not that he had a concept of pain, though he does now as he is standing on a pine cone. He is suddenly aware that his penis is showing, and is also aware that the expanse of the Earth goes beyond the impossible garden, which is a revelation forced on him and the wife. The two wander at first, no longer naked but still very concerned with the fact that they were naked, the ground hurting their feet and the sun scorching their backs, themselves now aging normally to the point of death, Adam blaming the wife, the wife blaming both Adam and the serpent in turns, the serpent elsewhere, the spirit formerly in the serpent having left it.  Though of course it’s not called that anymore, and the irony that only in extreme situations of oppression is the former U.K. which is now called Celtish can truly be united is one of the major themes that Severe is foregrounding in the novel, but he’s trying to toe the line and not be super drum-beaty about it.
 Which A.A. Severe is acutely aware is lifted from some of the comics he read as a kid, particularly a character whose voice was so powerful in the creating of concussive waves that he couldn’t use his power at all, really, let alone near anyone else. And when he did use it it caused this massive destruction, which makes Severe slightly more predisposed towards comics as an intellectual art form than he was even just a few days ago.
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