When horse eight died in the middle of the night we were asleep, and it was later than usual when we awoke and heard the news: horse eight was dead.
We went down to the commune for breakfast and chose the quick option because it was important that we got on with the work on horse eight as soon as possible. It was not a day for the bacon banquet and film of the day, nor did we have time for the hazeled nut wall and political debate. We plumped for the juniper cereal with milk accompanied with a simple Scottish jigsaw. This should have made for a speedy breakfast but Scotland was causing us untold troubles and we were struggling to put the map together, trying to decide where the Tay came and went exactly and where in the North Sea to put the Shetlands. With milk dripping across Skye we finished and finally made our way out to the stables to check on dead horse eight.
Horse eight was as dead as a dead horse. And stable eight was already busy with a multitude of people fussing around him – the butchers hacking at his impressive rump and the reproductive biologists working on the safe removal of his prolific testicles. They seemed to watch us with suspicion as we arrived late to the pickersnitching of horse eight, carrying our slicer and our dicer and our cranial scanning equipment, we cursed our protracted breakfast with the jigsaw and got to work. Once we had removed horse eight’s head from his large equine neck we found a quiet corner of the stable and gently set up our workspace, hoping to get most of his thoughts filed before lunch.
This was the process: first we extracted horse eight’s brain from horse eight’s skull and, second, dried it in a special piece of vacuum apparatus. When all the moisture had left his brain and we had checked for any brief ideas which had seeped out at the last minute we began to operate. Third, it did not take us very many minutes to change horse eight’s brain from being one large lumpy thing into being many tiny slithers like carpaccio of brain. This happened with the use of sharp implements and an efficiency which had deserted us when faced with a jigsaw map of Scotland.
Once we had reduced horse eight’s brain to a rubbly pile of carpaccio slithers we began the task of scanning him into the machine so that horse eight may be reborn and live in his thoughts and dreams and digital memories. Just as the butchers bring him to life in steak and the biologists keep him running in the future foals through the ages, so we the brain people keep him and his thoughts in hay.
But lunch was fast approaching. And there would be a number of choices today at the commune. Pickled sandwich eggs and sausage broth. Carpaccio of beef probably. Back to the job at hand. If we could get a few carpaccio horse eight memories on file before we stopped to eat…
The first slither of horse eight’s brain that we scanned was an interesting one and contained an idea that horse eight had of a museum all about museums, with a full and proper debate on the preservation of history. Is it good to be mired in constant nostalgia? But if we don’t learn from the past then what can we learn from? And horse eight thinking: is it necessary to keep everything?
We moved on to the next piece. They were all in a jumbled carpaccio order. It was five minutes til lunch. “Let’s do one more,” I said. “We might be late for lunch. There might be sausage broth.” “Yeah, I suppose.” “Sod it, let’s do one more.”
All of the pieces of horse eight’s brain looked the same from the outside and I said, “choose one.”
We scanned the next piece in and examined it on the machine. This part of horse eight was his dying embers, his stallion calm when he knew where he was going in the dead of night. It was black and still as the ocean at the end of time. Horse eight slipping away and knowing that everything would be fine.