You go to hell. Or: hell comes to you. You are unemployed, pursuing work, any sort. You submit a cover letter so typo-ridden it breaks the Internet. The Internet, of course, is what braces the laws of thermodynamics. So now there’s a temperature colder than absolute zero. Though scientists keep that discovery quiet.
Initially it isn’t too bad, an indefinite shift, your coffee tasting like wine, your hair growing too fast, inert objects gleaming with raw and terrible life. In fact, it might just be you: you were always half-certain you’d lose your grip on things one day, and if not now, when? But reality is what’s unraveling—one can’t ignore the neighbor’s habit of standing on her porch in the mornings and sniffing each page of the newspaper, wincing at the smoky scent of information.
At some point, there is a justified panic. Mobs hurl rocks harmlessly through store windows, discovering that the planet’s glass evaporated overnight. A national emergency is declared over the semantics particular to the phrase “national emergency.” No god ever existed, but because the collapse of quantum mechanics has left causality a two-way street, faith creates one. It personally raptures eight or ten people before it is gunned down outside a Miami nightclub. You wonder where she or he goes after that, because it’s around then that entropy really stretches its mismatched wings.
A fortune cookie informs you that your state will be invaded by a neighboring state, but 40% of all fortune cookies are wrong, and instead you’re on the invading side. Your weapons are slingshots and citrus-smelling spheres that the fourteen-year-old general refers to as “coma fruit.” While on a sabotage mission behind enemy lines, you are captured by lizard people and whisked to a room whose walls glitter with instruments of torture. The reptoids tickle you till you piss.
You go home with a dishonorable discharge for pissing under interrogation. You know that the origami of the universe is in an advanced stage of regress, because the magnetic fields at your place are a little iffy—every piece of silverware is stuck together in a ball. Plus, in your underwear drawer, you discover an epic poem you wrote about the subprime mortgage crisis, and that can’t be right. The clothes in your closet aren’t clothes that you own; they’re the vague, baggy costumes you wear in remote memories. And really, this is what the world has begun to feel like: a remembrance cobbled together by some entity that has vaulted into the next consciousness.
The year drags on, then speeds up, then repeats July four more times, then does March backwards, then skips to the end. You are drinking a lot of beer, or at least trying to (it’s difficult to bridge the desire and the act these days). You find it hard to believe you took nature for granted—nature meaning the balanced books of energy, the long division with no remainder. Of course there was a flaw at the center, because the center has not held. The system was built on a hairline fracture, a fudged ratio.
You can’t be sure how you’ll die, or if dying is even a viable outcome, what with the basis for death a biophysical conceit. Perhaps this is no more than passing flux, and a new set of rules are to follow. A geocentric model. Masses won’t attract. You’ll stare down, not up, at the clouds. And free will will make more sense. None of the dissonance of thoughts like “I was always going to have done that.” Should you not be grateful for this accident? Might another permutation of matter and its opposite yield better results? All you can do is wait on the roof, which drifts out above the burning city, a city that is wave and particle and a third thing also, where numbers and letters are fighting over taxis, and a plaid mist is settling on the inside-out skyscrapers. You can wait, and be gathered into another scheme.
You went to hell. Hell came to you. It is hell, leaving this earth behind. But it’s probably for the best.
Miles Klee is looking forward to it.