Where were we now? Some food had been lost, but the news was unreliable – the truth was obscured with tricks and aliases. All the gardens seemed full of growing but then this was summer. Autumn was on the periphery. People were counting things. So many had died, so many were dead, some were pretending.
Nothing joyful happened, everyone was still and inscrutable. This had been a period of aggressive utopias, everyone in these fresh little villages with their own identities but no history, like places put on a witness protection program. It wasn’t the best, or it might have been the worst.
At night there were more than a hundred dreams, and in the morning everyone spoke to one another and said, “last night,” they said to each other, and they all responded, “ooh yes, last night,” agreeing, but no one elaborated, they just said it again. “Last night.”
You were too easily distracted from difficult things. You wanted to be seated as comfortably as possible. But you felt there was a small gap between the edges of you and the feel of the air. You tried to join in with the conversations, but you had to stop before you reached the end of a sentence because at that point you started to think about how you actually form words without thinking about the formation of each individual word.
Everybody knew that if a thing was broken, you could buy something to fix it, it was just a case of thinking until you knew what was needed, and then walking around until you found the right place to buy it. You were currently looking for a number of items, each of which triggered some vital task too difficult to explain. It would take you days but less than weeks. You spoke to people whilst you were out, attempting casual.
They were praising the machine. “Very good,” they said, as if just good were not enough but some more interesting superlative was not merited. Apparently the machine was intelligent. It had been set up to run all of this, but now the machine didn’t have to do anything. We were all doing everything it needed, and it was just on automatic. They said that somewhere in the machine, it was thinking about the fact that something was happening in the machine. But nobody knew.
You were curious about not being curious. For example, you asked someone what colour the machine was, and they told you, “a normal colour.” This was when you were out counting things, looking for things. You asked someone else what shape it was, and they looked puzzled and said, “its a shape that is not like the shape of a hole. Like an opposite of that.” You told them you had a dream about car parks. “Last night!”
We were tired. We couldn’t remember when we started collecting these banal, vague sentences, things that didn’t mean anything. Or when it seemed like the way to make things more real was to keep repeating them over and over until they became something we made. But that was where we were. That was where we were now.