pH

Research was the easy part. Some compounds produce scent and flavor when dissolved in an alcohol solution. Obvious. Which associations are triggered in test subjects depends largely, but not entirely, on the relationship between the synthetic molecule and those found in nature.

Olaf wasn’t in the mood to document. He’d done it all so many times, almost precisely the same paper. This week’s research had focused on butterscotch simulations, but the principle was the same as it had been for vanilla, peanut butter, coconut. Butterscotch. He’d done this exact research before, but the company thought it important to revisit flavors periodically.

He drank some coffee. It stimulated him, but it didn’t make him want to sit at his computer. It made him walk in the snow to his car. He started to drive to work, but he was already there. He felt foolish. He added some whisky to his coffee, and a peppermint.

He checked his email. None of the pharmaceutical companies he’d applied to had written back to him. Every few minutes, he moved from his empty document to his empty inbox.

A cigarette made him work in the furniture factory again. A few minutes playing a game on his phone made him desperate for a change, anything at all. He sniffed a failed butterscotch. What could he say about the failures, except that they weren’t quite right?

He poured some in his coffee. It smelled like late nights in college. He drank it, and though it was vile, he downed the whole mess in one go and looked back on it fondly. Listening to rock and roll music, he began to type.

#fake-science, #microfiction, #personality, #regret

Edit

By the time she regained consciousness, she was already dead. She was sure of it. The transfer seemed to be a success, and as they had explained, the old mind would die as its last synapses copied over. Now she was new.

She thought through her name, the date, the president, all of the amnesiac questions. Though she couldn’t verify her answers, she was confident.

All she had were her thoughts. They had never been so clear. In her old body, she had had to wiggle her fingers to remember anything. The affectation seemed strange now that she could not move — had nothing to move.

She had to forget about moving.

She did.

While she couldn’t remember what she had just forgotten, it was gone. Deleted. This self-control would have been useful when she was trying to quit smoking.

She forgot the rush of nicotine and would have smiled, had she had a face.

Science had gone to great lengths to preserve her memories, so she was done forgetting, at least until they backed her up. Patience.

Once she was preserved, though, she would do what years of therapy couldn’t. All the lingering unhappiness and trauma of simply being alive had no purpose now that she wasn’t.

Gender could be abandoned, too. In what sense was she female anymore? In what sense was she Jewish, or a Sagittarius?

She made a list of regrets. People she had known whom she shouldn’t have known, desires she’d never fulfill. As soon as they copied her consciousness, she’d be who she wanted to be, no more or less.

For the sake of science, it would be nice if her backup reached a different conclusion.

#ai, #fake-science, #forgetting, #microfiction, #science-fiction, #self-control

“Oh John!” “Oh Marsha!”

John and Marsha were sitting on a rowboat, not rowing, just letting the gentle ripples of the pond ease them along. They had nowhere they wanted to go. Everything they wanted was right here.

With a breath of night air, John whispered into Marsha’s ready ear, “You matter to me.”

Marsha whispered back, “You antimatter to me,” and they kissed. All around them, air melted, water dissolved, and what remained of time and space bolted from the universe in an explosion without fire. Their bodies clung to each other with a force stronger than gravity, stronger than the bonds that hold atoms together. They fell into a singularity, leaving the old universe behind, starting from scratch, so that everything that ever happened would be in their embrace. Stars and planets would form. Within them, life. New lovers would discover each other, even as the edges of the universe grew more distant. And eventually, two more lovers would sit together on a rowboat, not rowing, and the gentle ripples of what remained of John and Marsha would push them together into a timespace of their own.

#absurd, #antimatter, #fake-science, #love, #lovers, #microfiction