We’d saved for millennia for this meal. It took five centuries just to save the reservation fee. Now, finally, we had a table for two at the Restaurant of the Universal Mindscape, the product of the combined spare processing power of every human mind in the galaxy, all jacked into one stunning simulation.
Our table, labelled The Winners, had an uninterrupted view of the Aurora of the Feeble Minds beneath our feet. It was spectacular. The glow of the aurora lit us from below, and we could almost feel the warmth of the dying neurons.
Behind us, the Appellate Nebula promised vindication for the wronged and victimised; however, the more you focus on it, the less you see. The nebula is the last recourse for the frustrated and angry. Just avert your eyes, then kick off into its heart. If your cause is just, you will see the mindscape’s most stunning view, moments before your mind implodes into a raw, uncut diamond back in three dimensional space. If your cause is selfish or misguided, your mind is lost forever, adding its insignificant self to the nebula.
The star of the show, the reason we’re here and why we’d paid for the best table in the house, is the Black Hole of Angst and Hate. This marvel absorbs all negative thoughts and feelings; all you have to do is release them. As the emotions are destroyed, they sparkle and fuse into light, creating rings of colour and unmatched beauty around the centre of the black hole. We stared, speechless.
Eventually, we became aware of another diner. She was seated at a table labelled The Crone, dressed elegantly and using a cultured accent to place her order with the waiter, but her platinum white hair had been butchered into a short, ragged cut, reminiscent of proto Britney Spears on a bad mental health day. The Crone faced the Appellate Nebula. Was the diner poor? Troubled? Was she planning to seek final judgement? Whatever the case, she’d find no judgement in us.
“May I call you Madam?” her waiter asked, bobbing in space next to her table. She nodded. “Has Madam always been a madam? How do you self identify?” the waiter queried. “Chef needs to know for your personalised meal. With Madam’s haircut, the answer is ambiguous.”
The diner glared at the waiter construct, her face reddening. The waiter waited patiently, his smile never faltering. “I have always been a woman,” she said, her voice matching the cold vacuum of space.
“Excellent. And what would Madam like to order?”
“To start, I’d like to try some Empty Threats. For the main, Perjury, and for dessert I’ve heard great things about Frothing At The Mouth.”
“Wise choices, Madam. And to drink?”
“What I’d like is the Blood Of My Clients, but I don’t see that on the menu, so I’ll have a jug of Bitter Tears.”
“Of course, Madam.” The waiter construct faded and sank from view.
Time passed; we’re not sure how much. The music of the spheres flooded our senses as we absorbed the stunning rings looping from the Black Hole of Angst and Hate, extending up over our heads and swirling down to our right and left, striking a brilliant blow at the Aurora of the Feeble Minds before completing a circuit back to the centre of the black hole.
Suddenly, our menus appeared. They shimmered and slowly rippled, drawing our attention. The selection was vast! I must admit, I had come with the notion of ordering Frothing At The Mouth for dessert, just like the diner at The Crone, until I saw the disclaimer:
MAY CAUSE BOGANISM IN BIOLOGICAL MALES
I decided to try a different dessert – I’m not that adventurous. We discussed the menu and marvelled at the range and, the moment our decisions were made, the waiter construct phased into view.
“What would Messrs like to order?” he asked. “Our special today is the Nest Of Narcissists. We’ve had an oversupply, of late.”
“We’d like to share our dishes, please,” I said. “They can all come out at once.” The waiter construct nodded graciously. “Can we please try the Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory, the Grinding Teeth, and the Hurled Abuse?”
“Of course, Sir. And to drink?”
“The jug of Bitter Tears sounds good.”
“My apologies, Sir, but the lady at The Crone has ordered the last one.”
“In that case,” I paused briefly, scanning the menu, “We’ll try the Sweet Taste Of Victory.”
The waiter construct smiled and faded from view, once again exposing the stunning Aurora of the Feeble Minds. We sat in silence, the only sound the sparking of misfiring neurons.
Before long, The Crone’s meal arrived and we gaped with envy. It was remarkable, a crescendo of lights and colours and sounds, dancing in synchronised chaos above her plate. She attacked with gusto, and we turned back to the black hole.
Suddenly, a noise that didn’t belong in the Universal Mindscape captured our attention. The Crone was speaking to herself. Her voice became higher, more shrill, and quite nasal. She lost her cultured accent, and her lip curled into a sneer. We tried not to stare, but it was hard to resist watching someone devolve into a bogan. To complete the transformation, her arms twisted into an unnatural fold, giving her the appearance of an impatient tyrannosaurus rex.
The waiter construct phased into view next to The Crone, bobbing and nodding in a calming manner. “Madam, or should I say Sir, wasn’t completely honest with me,” he observed. What followed next was a string of obscenities and abuse from The Crone’s mouth which would make a 21st century writer blush.
With aplomb, the waiter attempted to soothe the raging bogan; however, she craved release. She kicked off into the Appellate Nebula, seeking final judgement. We turned and tried to follow her progress, hoping for her sake she’d be vindicated and die as a diamond. Unfortunately, she sailed deeper into the nebula and became just another tiny pinprick of light.
“My apologies, Messrs.” The waiter appeared next to us, his transition into substance quite abrupt, this time. “Here is your meal. For your inconvenience, we’ve included free servings of Shut The Fuck Up and Just Do Your Job.”
The food was delicious.
Microfiction for Scifantor. April 2016