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If the limit of your ambition is paying less taxes, you’re going to die of cancer.  Have fun with that. My ambition is to live forever, have super powers, and fuck everybody.  The first two require major science funding.  

  • Mr. Popularity

 

7 Hours Later

Wake up.  Hurt. Nope.  Can't live like this.  Go back to sleep.

Wake up again.  Feeling a bit better.  Strong but weak. Like a poorly fed monster.  Holy shit, I made an ass of myself last night.  Oh well.

I grab my phone. I have a few messages from Doc-Danger. Crap, what did I say to him? Nothing, apparently. Well, that's not great, but probably better than drunken lunacy.

I scavenge the mini bar for breakfast, and eat $30 worth of nuts before I realize the hotel’s 5 star restaurant will be cheaper.

I go to the hotel bar. Hey! I found the old people! May have overshot a little. It's like heaven's fucking waiting room. I order some food. It's great.

A big guy approaches. “Hello, I'm Isaiah. The concierge mentioned you were traveling alone and might like some company. Are you here on business?”

“Not really. I just got divorced and I'm looking for a good time.”

He laughs. “I love a good time. We should have a good time together.” He writes a cell number and a room number on my receipt. “I live at the hotel. I'm off at 11 tonight, and all day tomorrow. Please call at anytime. I’ll show you the city.”

I watch him leave. He looks like he loves a good time. He looks like he’s in a battle to the death with a good time and is losing with style. Holy fuck, I have a date!

My confidence somewhat restored, I’m ready for Doc-Danger's messages.

D - Hey! You made an astral projection app? Looks cool. I don't have glasses tho…

Of course he doesn't, no one does.

D - Let me see if I can get it to work on my projector.

D - Okay, I got glasses. Way easier than inventing a 3D projector.

D - Holy mother of fuck! This is amazing!

D - Okay, I'm going to be playing with these all night. Let me know if you want to meet some virtual somewhere.

That's not too bad. He thinks I'm an amazing inventor and didn't get butthurt when I ignored him. I think I can fix this with grovelling and filthy sex.

M - Hi! So sorry for bailing last night. I had a beer miscalculation and fell asleep on my face. It's a standard mistake after inventing. Really sorry, I'm free all today, please let's try again.

And now I wait.

D - No problem, that's what I do too. I'm at work till 11, but I can text.

Okay, that was a 30 second wait. Damn. Now I'm double booked for 11. Still, better than last night.

M - Awesome! Use the app to find me after work. I'll try to find you something fun to watch.

Like, maybe a virtual threesome with a large waiter. No, better not. Honesty has been working for me, but that's crazy greedy.

I spend the day walking the city, browsing bookstores, drinking coffee and texting with Doc-Danger. It’s delightful. We decide to call my app AsPro, and fuck the haters. We debate realism in comic books. Asset or liability? Is it even possible?

M - The Punisher has a fucked up realism that makes sense on it’s own, but is stupid in the world he lives in. He’s more powerful than half the superheroes just by having a gun and a working brain, but he’s too busy shooting drug dealers to bother with alien invasions.

D - Yeah! And, why are all superheros emotional wrecks? You can fly! Get some confidence! Conversely, if your power is kind of shitty, you don’t need to fight crime. Be an accountant who can levitate. No one should expect more of you. Also, why don’t we have Iron Man armor yet.

M - Bulletproof is mathematically impossible

D - Show your work.

M - Armor is about resisting and dispersing force. Any technological breakthrough that makes stronger armor will also make stronger pokey thing to bust through it.

D - What about black hole armor?

M - If you are in armor that completely immobilizes you for infinity, I will leave you alone.

D - What if I spray you with Hawking radiation?

M - I’ll put on sunscreen.

D - Ha!

M - Seriously, as long as power can be brought to a point, anonymity is the only armor.

I share my desire for esoteric knowledge. He shares how he learns complicated physics.

D - Pick a crazy ass goal, like time travel. Then when you read physics you can sort the information as either relevant to time travel or not relevant. Sorting ideas makes you think about them, let's you know if you understand them yet. Without a goal, none of the information is relevant and good luck remembering that.

M - I think I understand. You have a time machine.

D - Baby, I am fucking close.

We discuss the dearth of non-violent science fiction.

M - We tell stories to share knowledge. First the problem, then the solution - it’s the format for every story ever. But with sci-fi, the format becomes: something weird happens, then we kill each other. How did violence become the go to solution? It’s fucking useless.

D - That’s awesome. You’re awesome. Also, I have an idea for a Superman movie starring Samuel L. Jackson.

M - You have my attention.

D - The first act is Kingdom Come, the second act is All Star Superman. A bitter Superman tries to fix the world by force, fails, makes everything worse, forgives the world, forgives himself, saves the world, saves his enemies, and dies.

M - You’re awesome too.

We talk about how fucked up the economy is getting.

M - Smartphones are hellaciously complicated microtech that we give away for free. Houses are piles of clay and sticks that cost millions. How the fuck does that make sense?

D - Yeah, and why don’t rich people pay taxes? Are we too stupid to figure this out? Like, if you’re charging billions, and somehow never make a profit, can’t the IRS call bullshit?

M - If corporations are people, can they die with dignity? News agencies should stop selling their souls to live another day, and decide what they want to do with the time they have left.

We get into foreign policy.

D - We should decide what want done if we’re blown up, before we get blown up.

M - Like, planning your own funeral so your kids don’t spend too much.

D - Yeah, like, find the guys who killed me and fuck them up. But, don’t blow up a whole country. That’s too much.

Then we get metaphysical.

M: If we are a simulation, can we be the A.I. that runs amok.

D: What if we’re already the A.I. that ran amok?

M: Exactly.

It was an awesome date.

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Doctor Zero

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