Just a perfect day

I’m not a fan of Bob Dylan. I do know some of his songs, specially “Perfect Day” due to Trainspotting. The movie kind of marked me in some way, since I was around Scotland at the moment of its release. So what’s a perfect day? I’m gonna share it with you.

After the morning coffee I quickly head out with my little son. The sun is shining, but it’s not hot. We take our bikes to check the new bike road, still unfinished, and we ride until the next village, four kilometers away. There we get lost on their streets, if something like that is possible, and end up finding an old church and some interesting houses before, as planned, reaching the green domes of the natural gas factory, a milestone on the way back home. I chat with him during the whole trip, about what he will do when he’s old, about the country, about what kind of car he will buy, what is to buy and what is to rent, and another hundred things. My son learned biking literally a couple of months ago, and he’s good, but he is not yet aware of how much he can bike. So an encouragement is needed, just a little, and I find it on a closeby italian ice cream shop, a Gelateria Italiana, where he takes a Nutella ice cone and I take a small beer. And it’s getting hot.

The last five hundred meters are not at all complicated after that break. The plan we agreed was, at home, to move out to our terrace the brand new electric grill and grill some things: chicken filets, chorizo, bacon, asparagus, sweet potatoes…mama and his brother will join. And that we do. And everything is fine, and delicious. In  the meantime, it’s getting hotter, and I’m getting sleepy after the last beer. What now? Mama propose to lay on the grass, just outside the building, just outside the terrace. I will stay on the balcony, reading, acting as a connection with the inside. Both brothers happily join, and they bring books and toys. A lovely picnic after the barbecue.

The day is anyway very long, and there’s nothing else to do, so after the siesta we all take our bikes and ride on the opposite direction I biked in the morning. There are parks after parks, and the light is having the komorebi quality most of the time. But where do we go now? How about having dinner in that restaurant close to where mama was living when she was single? Yes, the restaurant that changed the name. How was it called before? It doesn’t matter, what matters is that is far enough, and we will be hungry when we arrive. There is a risk: the risk that the place is full. Today is a first of May, after all, and it’s a holiday and it’s in the middle of a working week. But it’s OK, we are lucky and the food is exquisite. Also the conversation. We speak about that time in Milano where we ate in a restaurant where the lemoncello was literally for free… and I ate that very delicious dish, spaghetti with ricci di mare. A place to come back. Ten years ago. I can’t believe nothing is going wrong today. Or is it me only?

I wrote it down because I almost took no pictures today, and I somehow wanted to remember it. Just a perfect day.

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Battle mode – post mortem

– I can’t believe I’ve been killed by a rogue AI!  – I remove my VR gear with a false anger. I can’t destroy the borrowed equipment, so I limit my movements. In front of me, the Colonel, dressed in the uniform of the Company, monitor my moves.

– Yeah, what can I say. No pain no gain. Or how did it say it? “No real no deal”. That was a good one . – He chuckles. I frown. – On your favour, I must say your death was very spectacular. Your attitude in general was very sportive, you are quite a character. Our beta viewers rated you quite high, and they want you back. Good news for you!
– Is it possible? I don’t have credit. I spent more than I should on that plasma PPT. What I should have bought is an AI filter. Damn it! – I feel a little bit ridiculous on my underwear, but I can’t find an uniform around. I hesitate to ask the Colonel about.

– Don’t worry about it. The viewers already collected credit for your new shell. – I smile. I’m going back! The Colonel gives me his back, looking at the other empty tanks. – I think we may have a star here! Who knows, maybe you’re the new Star Duke!
– No, I will never reach the level of the Star Duke. I’ve grown watching his videos! I think I can imitate every voice he made before the end. “Die red bastard die” and so on. He was using it on the “Red Planet” games. Do you remember? I’m not sure he was popular here…

The Colonel comes to me. It seems he was looking to his hand display, not to the tanks. He shows me the display that reveals my profile and some numbers. One of them, my credit, highlighted in green, is much higher than what I was expecting after such a sudden, stupid, innocent, death.

– He was popular, my son. Here in this business, we walk indeed on the shoulders of giants, but this should not cloud your view. You need to find your own character if you want to be a VR star. Today’s viewers have very little in common with your childhood. They may not look for heroes but for soldiers they can relate, people they can imitate. Son, I don’t know anymore what they are with their implants, their fashion, and so on. – The Colonel smiles. I smile back. – But I don’t care if they pay me. And you should do the same. Now, clean yourself, have a snack, and please go back there! Show me what you have, show them what you are!

Battle mode

– To your right! – After the shout, I shoot my head plasma PPT. The alien explodes into a feast of light and viscosities. My field gets dark of blood for a second and a half, until the alien body parts slip down my armor visor.
– That was a close one! – Once I’m free of meat, I look back to find the canyons of Bigguns about to fire in my direction.
– Just in case! –  I can imagine his smile inside his helmet. But I can’t imagine his face. I’m not sure even he’s a male. We communicate over voice, and a distorted, featureless one. There is no need to be distracted by his or her beauty, neither to change the natural balance, based in our equipment and experience, in one direction or another.

– You know, Bigguns, you should have gotten the points of this one. – I point to the corpse of our enemy. – Aren’t you looking forward to clear this level?
– Are you crazy? I like this! – His canyons point to the sky, where the Five Suns rotate their eternal love dance. Azure is now low, so maybe soon we will have our well deserved downtime.
– I do want to leave. I feel like I’ve been fighting forever. And I have one of these beta tester contracts that force me to either cover some territory, get a hundred gems or kill a thousand molebirds. – We dubbed these aliens molebirds since they tended to surprise us from underground or from the sky. – What is your deal with them, Bigguns?
– No real, no deal!
– What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Bigguns was the last of my Penta brigade, the squad we are forced to assemble to play. I already lost the other three. Two novas, one self-declared AI. Luckily I was not attached to any of them. I look once more to Bigguns armor. Who’s inside? Is he from Earth? Is he from the Company?

– Around us! At three, six, nine! – Definitely what is clear is that his sensors are more acute. I activate the automatic guns on my hip, and try to follow the trackers. Three more molebirds, these ones coming from underground. Again Bigguns was the first on detecting them, again I see no enthusiasms on getting the reward. Is he playing at all? Another one at nine, this one coming from above, falls over me. Not being able to dodge it, I stumble and get the damage of a pointy stone or something puncturing my armor on one of the soft spots in my back. I shoot to it. Bang bang bang. But the molebird is faster, and it manages to immobilize me with four of his claws. I see my powerbar going to the half while the mouth of the molebird peels off his foldable lips over my helmet. Where were his eyes? How the hell these monsters see the world?

– Bigguns! Help me please! – I have five blinking lights on my display. Only one is green and static. Bigguns. What the hell is he doing? Fighting the other ones? – Bigguns! Do you know where are the eyes of these guys? – My plasma PPT is finally fully loaded again, so I point it down and I shoot it like if shooting my feet, in the hope of vaporizing most of the molebird. Splotch! There it goes!

– Yuhuuuu! – The light of Bigguns still doesn’t move. Is he alive? If I see his green light, he must be. The red lights, oddly enough, don’t move anymore. Maybe they are agonizing. Maybe they are not dead but they can’t move. I call my Penta mate. – Bigguns? Everything alright there?

– Everything alright mate. I have run out of fuel. I am reloading. Can you please come to help me? – His metallic voice is calmed, as calmed as an elevator music. I stand up, remove the claws of the last molebird, still attached to my armor and head back in his direction. He’s only fifty meters away. But we are on an enemy land. I cover the distance slowly (I don’t want to be surprised again) while I admire my progress bar. Almost full. I can’t avoid to shout out my happiness.

– I’m almost done on points, my friend! One more to go! – I tell him.

– I know. You’re then ready to be collected. – To my surprise, he has again all his canyons pointing to me. I check my sensors, looking for new red lights. No, nothing in my back this time.

The last thing I see is the fire of his plasma PPT.

 

Intermezzo

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That is not dead which can eternal lie. 
And with strange aeons even death may die.

In other words, I’m still here (Quote from the Necronomicon).  And I didn’t move to Italy or something. I’m just really pissed off with this year -2019- without any apparent reason but that it’s already March and I’m not able to achieve anything so far (was it different last year?) and the problems around me grow and grow big. In the meantime, I’m afraid I’m wandering around more than usual, distracted by TV shows, books, or new gadgets. I’m now in addition to an Impostor, a believer of one of the New Gods, the Big Procrastinator. That is a great title for an el Bosco-style paint. Pity that I’m not an artist.

Impostor Syndrome

I heard about it on the movies, I read about it. Positioned in front of my mirror is not the same free spirit that started studying Physics, but a businessman pater familias. This is what I have become, little by little, step by step. I’m going through the (in)famous midlife crisis! My spark is lost, the joy is gone. I should be happy because I almost reached my goals, so why am I not? I have an office only for me, a more-or-less respected position on a top research institute, and a lot of ideas. But is this what I wanted to achieve?

Probably yes. So where is the catch? Why am I complaining right now? Maybe I should analyze what is missing on this moon that I managed to land on. Acknowledgement, I get from time to time. Not daily, that would be excessive, but it is not rare. Friends I have. Not as close as I’d like to, not as many, but I have. Freetime? I could make time, I have responsibilities of course but I could arrange it so that I make it if needed. What it is then? Envy maybe? The lack of clear goals, of clear challenges? Is it the fact that I’m not advancing on my career? I will say all of it, and none of them. Because I’m sure I can set up my goals, like learning quantum computation, and I will not be satisfied. And maybe that’s OK, that means I’m still human after all. The problem is, I believe, that I can’t digest what I became. Therefore the impostor syndrome. I still think of myself as a free spirit. Not an adult, with rules and tasks and a public image. I’m a cyborg but that’s OK 😀

Coinreruf (IX)

Trying to avoid to look at her or her cleavage directly, I extend my empty masu. Coinreruf fills it up, and I gulp it down while thinking about my next move. The alcohol is making me dizzy, but I know it will sleep my manly instincts. I’m not scared of women, I’m just scared of losing my honour on a stupid way. For me, words are not just flying away after being said, they stay carved in my mind. That’s why I am who I am, that’s why I’ve been charged with this mission.

– Woman, your King needs you. – She drops her masu. The transparent liquid splits around her scarce clothes. I stand back a little, although I’m not as surprised as she is, of course. Her eyes are open wide. She seems to be out of place, and she hesitates if to bow to the floor as she should after hearing the military call or stand up to clean herself. Finally she does bow, just to go to her knees in a quick and inexperienced sequence.

– I’m honoured. I thought you simply wanted my help to relieve you. – She smiles on a crooked way. I do want you to relieve me, but I can’t let you do it. If you do so, the wall that I’ve been building between us will crumble to pieces. – May I ask, what does our King want from his humble servant? Probably he is not calling me up to relieve him. – It’s my time to give her a crooked smile. Despite I’m please with the view of her in her knees in front of me, I gesture her on a official way to stand up, so my manhood doesn’t get more affected by my imagination.

– I do not know why our King is calling you. I’m just his messenger. – I walk around her room. There, on the wall, I see a very elaborate map of the Seven Kingdoms. I try to localize the peninsula we are, but it’s quite hard in this light to read the intricate signs covering the hanging skin. I’m tempted to grab it for a later look, but I abandon my idea and I face her again. – You are asked to pack your belongings and come with me to the Court. When do you think you can be ready?

(NOTE: It’s not that I don’t write, it’s that I don’t publish it. My muse is weak. My dreams are blurry. Maybe when the winter is over, maybe the time is not right. Sorry…)

Coinreruf (VIII)

(You can refresh your memory reading Coinreruf VII, or you can start from the first one)

– Have a seat, my lord. Do you have something for me? – I hand the girl the shell I got from Rokugan. She takes it like a person in need, practically stealing it from my fingers. – Fantastic. – She plays with it, rotating it, admiring it in front of the lamp. – You see this little purple seams here? They tell me you got this one from Shell Bay. Probably Rokugan gave it to you. He’s one of my best providers. What did you promise him in exchange?

– That I will teach him to speak. – Coinreruf laughs. Her voice gives me the creeps. I’m not sure if it’s because of her pitch or because of the way she does it. I look at the silhouette of her body against the light of a lamp. The light goes through her skirt, and I can admire the perfection of the triangle between her legs, even from her back. It matches the light, and it matches the round shape at the end of her back. Yes indeed I could give her the half of my house if she let me watch her dance. But I know what is at stake.

– You got my attention, kingsman. Sorry but Rokugan is not precisely a poet, isn’t him? – She comes to me with two masu, both beautifully decorated, produced out of nowhere. My shell probably is already in her chest. I take one masu while she seems to disappear in the shadows, just to reappear with a go of sake. I look for a place to sit, I find a leather cushion, and I sit on it. I need to act as the person in charge, even if I’m not sure I am.

– Do you know everybody in the village? – She serves me the sake and I can’t avoid looking at her cleavage, but I quickly avert my gaze. Our eyes lock. Her malice is gone, the one her laughs let me glimpse. Or maybe I am not being fair. Is it wrong that a woman uses her charms to get what she wants?

– Yes. – She takes a sit in front of me, over the carpet. My position allows me to feel me superior to her, and I can again admire her cleavage. I wonder how casual is this. – I mean, they are not so many, aren’t they? You know that probably better than me, being a man of the King. And men are quite happy to please me. It’s… how those travellers called it… a symbiotic relation. Like a flower and a bee. But I’m the flower, of course! – We both laugh, loudly and artificially.

(EDIT: it’s taking me quite some time to digest 2019. In addition to 2019, I feel a little bit dry of ideas… sorry guys, I’ll do my best to post daily, as I’d like to!)