Melissa Destiny

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Chapter 1.2

“Okay, square up Suky,” Melissa said, at which point the little robot tucked his legs together, one above the other, to form the bottom of a little box, and wrapped his arms around his head so that his elbows formed the top two corners of the box. Most of his hand was sucked into the box, except his little eyes peeked out and his ears extended and clicked together to form a handle. Picking up Suitcase, Melissa left the car and started looking for an elevator.

They were on the Eleventh Floor, in the Green C section of the Parking Structure. Why should the C be green, Melissa wondered. The adjoining sections were Blue B and Red D, and Melissa could see Purple F in the distance up a ramp.

“Elevator’s that way,” said Suky.

“So you already know the floor plan of the building.”

“Most of it. The upper floors are secret.”

“Really? Why?”

“That’s part of the secret,” Suky said.

“Does that make sense?” Melissa replied. “If those are places that are publicly known to be secret, doesn’t that make them conspicuous? Wouldn’t it make more sense to file floorplans publicly, but just not file the real ones? Then, if anyone meant to do anything bad, they would base their plan on the false floorplan and wind up messing everything up because their plan would fail because they wouldn’t know the real one.”

“But Melissa, people who just were in the building would become disoriented by such an arrangement. Anyway, it’s good to let the public know where it is they are not allowed to go. If they don’t know where they shouldn’t go, some of them will go there accidentally.”

“Huh,” said Melissa. “What’s the name of this guy we’re going to see?”

“Mr. Camhurst. Joel Camhurst. Call him Mr. Camhurst. Probably. Maybe you can call him Joel if he seems quite casually dressed.”


Melissa and Suky had been in California yesterday, when Melissa’s alarm clock, which took the form of a beautiful floating blue bird hologram that sang louder and louder beautiful songs to her, had suddenly turned into an ugly face and jumped at Melissa and bitten her. Specifically, it shocked her at the moment when its open mouth reached her shoulder. Luckily Suky destroyed the alarm immediately, by stabbing it with a butter-knife that Melissa had left by her bedside the previous night, after making toast.

“I never knew you were so strong, Suky,” Melissa said. “You drove a dull knife right through the alarm yesterday.”

“I put my weight behind it,” Suky said.

“But you only weigh twelve pounds!”

“By latching my feet to a surface, I can create a powerful lever effect. Also, I let the movement begin in my ankles and pass upward through my whole body, sort of like when a really good basketball player makes a jump shot.”

“Huh,” said Melissa.

“Twelve pounds is a lot,” Suky said. “You just carry it easily because you work out on those arm machines. . .”

“Hmm,” said Melissa.

It turns out Suky had recorded an image of the ugly face that appeared and shocked Melissa. He then Googled the face through GoogleImageMatcher and found that it was the face of this Houston dude, Camhurst. Camhurst ran a company in Houston that specialized in creating experimental animals that could process nutrients very effectively. The weird thing about these animals is that they rarely ate and they rarely shat; they could live on very little food. The bad thing was after awhile they would die of liver or kidney failure or other byproducts of toxic buildups caused by the fact that they tried to retain and process materials that they ultimately couldn’t process. Camhurst hoped ultimately to move past these liver-failing prototypes and create grazing animals that could live on minimal amounts of grain and yet nevertheless become big and fat. These animals of the future would be slaughtered for food, thereby increasing the resource efficiency of meatfood. Normal meat consumed nutrients equivalent to ten servings of grainfood for each serving of meatfood final output; whereas Camhurst’s hypothetical animals would consume only one to two servings of grainfood for each serving of meatfood output. However, Camhurst had apparently been trying to defer the costs of his research in a naughty way; recent scandals suggested that Camhurst had been selling some of his experimental animals “under the table” to slaughterhouses. The problem with this was that these prototypes were full of toxins. . . It was suspected that individuals eating Beefaroo (a popular canned meat-and-tomato meal to be warmed in a pot, popular mainly with low-income people) had been getting sick because Camhurst animals had been ground into the mix.

Melissa had no idea why her alarm-clock had turned into Camhurst’s face and attacked her. Since she worked at home, on a completely flexible schedule, she had seen no reason not to spend a day popping over to Houston to find out. She loved driving anyway. She had passed many areas along the way that lacked any sort of development by humans. Melissa found total lack of development incredibly beautiful, in a way that made her kind of sad and frightened. As if there was no reason for human beings to exist. . .

Perhaps the reason Americans don’t want to develop more advanced states of consciousness, Melissa thought, is that we are secretly afraid that if we became wise, we would see no more reason to desire to exist. . .

“Well I’m not wise Suky,” Melissa said. “I’m not wise at all.”

“I don’t know anything about it,” Suky said. “Everything I say is just a pre-programmed response.”

The elevator opened at Camhurst’s floor (his office was a whole floor) which was full of wolf-like animals licking their paws and birds sort of like storks strolling around on skinny legs.



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