[20] Coding Humans: Dr. Quasar’s Nightmare; Unit 6140

CODING HUMANS
CODING HUMANS
[20] Coding Humans: Dr. Quasar’s Nightmare; Unit 6140
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Sometime in the future

“Hey Steve, I think you should come over here.” “Where you at, kid?” “Back—back in the bedroom here—by the closet.” “Alright, I’m a come-in. What’s hap-nin back here?” “Look at this. Is this a swastika?” “I think that there is a sauwastika kid.” “Yea, that’s what I said- swa-sti-ka.” “Nah, kid: Sauvastika. It’s that left face-in gnat-z one, you know, clockwise turned one. It’s a Buddhist symbol or some-en—I think. See them dots there in the centers. Hindu garbage.” “Look: they are everywhere. All up and down the wall.” “Put yer flashlight up there to the ceil-in, kid.” “Jesus. Is that blood?” “Nahhhh. It’s just some deep red paint pigments. Blood don’t stay bright like that long after hitten oxygen. This fella sure did a number on this here place.” “How do you know so much about this stuff?” “Oh, you know, just hearing things here and there—you know how people are. They love to talk, and talk bout stuff they know bout. You just get dem going like start-en a lawnmower, and they won’t stop run-in they mouths till they run out ah gas. Easy way to gain someone’s trust too—just let them talk their little hearts out. Also, an easy way to learn who not to trust. See. There I go blab-in on just like-em. But really, I heard mostly from the history channel. You ought-ah try watch-en some-in educational every once while kid. You’d be surprised how enrichen knowledge can be.” “Wait. What do you mean about ‘not to trust?’ How’s that?” “Well, people that don’t wanna talk, dey usually try-in to control the conversation. Dat way, dey get some-in out of it. Well, not the shy ones but the strategic ones. You ever find yourself talk-in someone that keeps ask-in questions, and you just keep talk-in and talk-in more and more?” “Ahhhh, Yeah.” “Hand me a light bulb here, kid, so I can screw it up in the closet get some photons go-en in here.” “60 watts good?” “That oughtta be fine. Anywho, you are likely be-in manipulated for their own personal gain of some sort. Keep an eye out for question-askers. Easy way to spot-em is when you find yerself blab-en on and on, and in the middle of yer blab-in, you think to yerself ‘Wow. This person really likes me and is interested in me.’, they ain’t. No one in they right mind gives a hoot bout what anyone else has to say less they married and wife-E is trying to nag some-in outa ya.” “Wise words, Steve – wise words.” “Yeah, but the wise are lonely, kid. Very lonely. Best to tuck yer pride deep up yer butt less you want to lose dat pretty young gal you always toat-in round. Arrogance will get you nothing but a bottle of lotion. Just remember: Whenever, and I mean whenever you is having a conversation with a woman, you are always wrong—especially when yer right. This why ain’t nobody wants a woman in office—they is prone to communism—got to control everything.” “So, what’s the deal with this place?” “Oh, some old professor lived here. Physics, I think. No one knows where he went off to. He actually had some help in the design of this building—I think, back when he was still working at the campus. They say he lost his marbles and then went looking for them.” “Alright, then. What do you want me to get started on then?” “Suppose we should replace this drywall here first and then put new drywall up on the bare studs. We gonna have to rewire the whole place too. We’ll have to get the maintenance to turn off the power for the build-in fore we do that. Kid, why don’t-cha run on down the lobby and ask that pretty little brunette—what’s her name again? Lay-Na?” “Lena, I think.” “Yea, Lena—that’s it. She ain’t gots the best for look-in, but her back ends like a crisp apple. Go on down there and ask her to get them to shut the power off for this unit. Also, tell her to tell the maintenance fella I may need the whole build-in or neighbors units shut off too. We aughts fix up the electrical first while the walls are all exposed, and I gotta figure out where the currents come-in from.” “Anything else?” “No. I think that should be about it for now. I’ll start pull-in down this here closets walls—get rid of all these back-faced gnat-Z mark-ins fore someone gets the wrong idea. You gets all these scraps off the floor and sweep up good after you get the electrical shut off—if it ain’t been already. Hard to tell- the way olé professor here reworked everything. He has some backup flow of electricity come-in from somewhere in these here walls all up along the studs. Weird looking studs, though—never seen anything quite like it outside of this building. I have to locate the source fore we fry ourselves.” “Sounds good, Steve.” “Okay, Billy. Let’s get to it then.” 

Steve and Billy walk away from the closet, and Billy heads to the condo’s front door. He then props the door open using a loose brick, which seems out of place amongst the rest of the material. He then heads out of the apartment, into the hallways, and off to the lobby. Steve stays in the unit kicking aside broken pieces of drywall to clear a path along the walls’ base. He then begins inspecting the wiring lined up and down the metal studs and feels the sudden urge to remind Billy of something- “OH HEY KID” “YEAH STEVE?” shouts Billy from down the hall. “GRAB THAT BARREL from the TRUCK while you down there. THAT GREEN ONE.” “GOT IT.”

Steve continues to inspect the wires throughout the unit. At the same time, Billy gets to work cleaning up the chunks of wall scattered about the concrete floor. He picks them up and tosses them into the barrel while still holding one, then shouts across the room, “Hey Steve, what is this, you think?” “Kid, you got something to show me; bring it on over here.” “Alright. It’s just some crazy drawing. Here what do you think this is?” Billy hands Steve the piece of the broken-up drywall half dusted in powered rock. Steve blows on the piece to clear the picture up, then rubs it along his thigh and takes a look. “That there – is a Toroid.” “Toroid? What’s a Toroid?” Steve looks at Billy confused, points to the image, and says sternly, “Kid – this is a Toroid.”. He then hands it back to him. “You think some of this stuff might be worth money, Steve?” “Hell if I know Kid. I did see a cracker that looked like Elvis sell for five-grand once. I met the guy when he moved in here. Odd duck that one. I couldn’t tell if he was a genius or just plain full of it. I wasn’t convinced he even had an education; that was until I saw a documentary on the History channel mention his textbook. Hypothetically Physics – no Hyper Physics – no no—it was—yup, Hypothetical Physics. I remember because they explained the difference between theoretical and hypothetical. It was pretty interest-in stuff. I didn’t understand a lick of it, but still interest-in. I can see how someone could lose their mind spend-in a lifetime think-in about that crazy voodoo.” “Maybe I’ll hold on to some of these drawings. Never know, we could be sitting on a lottery ticket.” “Sure thing, Kid. Maybe get back to work now?” 

Steve goes back to fidgeting with some wires in the wall. Then, out of nowhere, he frustratedly says without turning around, “Kid – you got any more questions, use that phone of yours yer always playing with. I’m get-in paid to work here, not teach. You wanna learn some-thin, go up the street to the university, hand them a hundred-grand, and someone with a fancy pants attitude will give you a really big book to read.” 

Billy stops talking after feeling a bit offended by Steve’s sharp comment. After that, some time goes by, and the floor becomes clean. Billy then feels the urge to start asking Steve more questions. Just before he opens his mouth, a light tap on the open front door is heard. “Hello. Anyone here.” Steve talks loudly from the other side of the condo, “Hey there – we back here in the bedroom.” “Okay then – I am coming in. Heading down the hall to the bedroom.” “Come on in. We ain’t gonna bite ya.” “Hi there. I’m John, one of the building maintenance. I understand you are having some troubles with the electrical?” “Hey there, John – we’ve met before on a few occasions.” “Oh. Yes. You were up here a few years back.” “Well, it seems olé professor here went on and tapped into someone else’s electrical.” “Hmmm. How’s that?” “I ain’t quite sure as of yet. I was hope-in you may shine some light on it. We have shut the power off for the unit’s breaker box so that we ain’t got no electrical flowing in, but here on every other wire or so, I am getting a reading that they have currents.” “I see. Well, there isn’t any way he could have tapped into a neighboring unit without disrupting their electricity.” “How do you figure these wires are getting current then? See, they all run to this unit’s breaker box, but without taking the whole thing out, I won’t be able to see where they go to. You can check all the lights and outlets in here – they are not getting a charge.” “Hmmm. Let me check the box.”

John goes on over to the wall where the breaker box is and inspects it. After a few minutes, while Steve stands patiently waiting, John says, “Well, you shouldn’t be getting any electricity in here, so yea, it is all turned off.” “Yes. I know this, but where is the current in these other wires coming from?” “There shouldn’t be any flow going through here; the breaker box is turned off.” “Yes. I am aware, but when I put my voltage detector up on the wires here, we get a clear signal of current.” “I don’t see how you could be; the breaker is shut off, and also the power to the breaker has been shut off from the building’s main breaker.” “John: You are not hearing me. The man has linked this place up to another unit or some other source of electricity. I can’t fix any of this here electrical until I find the source.” “I don’t see how he could do that. Each of the other units are directly connected to the main breaker – it would have disrupted the electricity.” “Alright. Okay. I understand that, but look. When I put my voltage detector up against the wires here, we have a clear current flowing in and out, so where is that coming from?” “There wouldn’t be any electricity in here; the breaker is off along with the source from the main breaker. Is there anything else you need? I have another tenant I need to get to shortly.” “Are you hearing what I am saying, John?” “Well, if you have any more issues, let me know – I have to run now.” 

Geez. Is that fella just messing with me, or what the heck.” 

“Billy, you understand that guy?” “Nah. He sounds like a religious person being explained science.” “Some-thin, I guess. Alright then. Since he is as useless as a polished turd, let’s try and figure this out ourselves. I am gonna try out all the switches and test every wire mark-in em for hot and not hot. Don’t you go touch-in none of them. And I need you to go back down to the lobby and get the main breaker flipped on and then off again. Alright, Kid?” “Yea, Steve, I got it.” “I also need you to call me up here on the phone while you down with apple bottom flip-in the switch.” “Sounds good.” “But, let’s get all this here drywall off the floor first.” “Sounds good.”

After Billy and Steve got the place cleaned up nice, all that is left is to tear down the closet’s drywall—which was oddly untouched by the tenant.

“Now, Billy, don’t forget to give me a call on the phone before you have them turn any electrical back on. I don’t want you come-in up here find-in a french fry.” “I will, Steve.” 

Steve positions himself inside the small walk-in closet, and then shuts the door behind him to get access to all the walls. This leaves him tucked in a dark box with little room to move around. While he stands just barely rubbing elbows to the wall, he pulls his phone out of his back pocket and turns the flashlight on. He then rests it at an angle on the floor, so he can illuminate the room. Once he has vision, he looks for the light switch and toggles it back and forth to check for any electrical flow. Still, nothing happens—the room just continues to remain lit by Steve’s phone. Steve then notices that there is more writing on the back of the door, so he moves the phone to another wall and angles it to illuminate the door’s backside.

Steve examines the writings on the wall:

2 2

3 3 3

4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5

6 6 6 6 6 6

7 7 7 7 7 7 7

8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

The same amount of numbers, of which number there is in a row, is how many numbers there are in the row.

3 + 3 + 3 = 9          3 + 6 = 9

3(1 + 1 + 1) = 9             WHAT DID HE MEAN!!! 3-6-9

(1 + 1 + 1) + (1 + 1 + 1) + (1 + 1 + 1) = 9

9 – 6 = 3     9/3 = 3     6/3 = 2    2(3) = 6     6/2=3   (3)(3)=9

6 + 3 = 9          1, 2, 3    3 is the first non-prime number after the first prime number. 6 is the first non-prime number after the second prime number. 9 is the second prime number after the 3rd prime number. 2 times 3 is 6, and 6 plus 3 is 9, but why? 

Steve continues to stand in the half-lit closet, looking at the writings. He ponders to himself what must have been going through the man’s head when he scribbled gibberish about 3, 6, and 9 on the door. As Steve continues to contemplate various fits of insanity, a sudden “POP!” and “sizzle!” sound startles him, and he about jumps through the ceiling. The lightbulb just above his head blew out, leaving a blinding string of filament fizzling in a spherical ball of half charred glass. “Yowzah! I’m awake now! Damm Kid was supposed to call me before they flipped the switch.” As Steve’s heart settles back to a regular beat, he looks up to see the snapped filament fading into nothingness. He watches as the last bit of red-hot glow dwindles away to a burnt up lightless thread of tungsten. When the filament completely goes out, so does the light from his phone. 

Geez. Stupid technology always failing on ya at the worst times.” 

Steve turns around in the small closet, searching for the doorknob but cannot figure out which wall he is facing. The room suddenly seems a tad roomier as well. Steve’s elbows are now free to move outward without hitting the walls. He moves his hands up and down the walls, methodically inspecting every square inch as he searches for a doorknob but cannot find it. He thinks to himself, “This doesn’t feel like drywall.” as he goes in circles, trying to find his way to the handle. “It feels like cold cement.” 

Before he starts to get scared like a child locked in a public bathroom screaming for their mother, he takes a deep breath and says, “Alright. Maybe there wasn’t a doorknob, but how did I pull the door shut then. Just wait for the kid to come back and open the door. Where’s my phone anyway.” 

Steve has all but lost his compass of the closet, not knowing which wall is which. He kneels down and slides his hands across the floor, leading to the baseboard, and then moves in a counter-clockwise motion, never breaking contact with the wall’s base, but he never hits his phone. Steve makes another pass but still cannot find it. He begins frantically scouring the floor in the pitch-black room for his phone. He then realizes that he should be able to see the light at the base of the closet door through the crack between it and the floor, but there is zero light—he might as well be blind. 

Is this a hexagon shape? I swear I have hit six walls go-in round. Where the hecks my phone at? I must have kicked it. This room isn’t that small, I should be able to find it if I just check every part of the floor. Where is the wall now? I cannot even find the wall. Is the room get-in larger, or am I go-en crazy here? Alright, Steve. Just relax, fella. Just sit back and wait for Billy. You are get-in flustered and are start-in see, or well not see things in here. Imagine-in things is what I mean.

Billy gets back up to the unit and yells out, “Hey Steve! I got them to shut the power off, but you weren’t answering the phone. You wanna get started on the wiring of the place then? Steve?” 

“KID! Open this dang door for me.” 

“Hey, Steve, where you at?” 

“In the closet, Kid. Damit, open the fuck-in thing! I cannot get out.” 

“Steve?” 

“Kid. You better not be playing with me. I don’t think I will have room for you on the team anymore if you are. Kid?!” 

Billy heads down the hall and back to the bedroom and sees the closet door is shut. He walks up to it and says, “Hey Steve, you in there?” but gets no response, so he grabs the doorknob of the closet, turns it to the right, and tries to pull it open, but it won’t. “The hell. Dam-It” He pulls on it a few more times, thumping it back-and-forth until he sees the hinges and realizes that it opens inward, not outward. “Idiot. He gets the door open and sees all the reversed swastika symbols painted up against the wall being illuminated by Steve’s phone, but the closet is empty. “Huh. Wonder where he went off to.” “Hey, Steve. You in the bathroom or something?” Says Billy getting no response. “He must’ve gone out to the hall or something. Forgot his phone. I’ll get going on the scraps till he gets back. Maybe he had the runs or some-in.

Knock-Knock-Knock “Someone at the door?” 

He walks over to the front door but doesn’t see anyone standing at it. Billy walks up to the opening and pops his head into the hall but doesn’t see anyone. “Weird.” 

When he goes back to the bedroom where the closet is, he notices that the door is shut. 

“Steve, you in there? You messing with me, man?” Billy grabs the doorknob and pushes the door open. He sees Steve’s phone is still resting against the base of the floor and wall with the flashlight on. This time Billy picks it up and turns the light off, and the half-lit closet goes dark. He instinctively flips the light switch in the closet as if he were at home—despite the electricity being shut off—but the light switch had been in the on position when he went to flick it up, so he taps it down and then, without reason, flips it back on. When he pushes it back up, the broken filament fizzles for an instant, and Steve suddenly appears in front of him, dangling from the ceiling choked by his own belt. His dead half popped out eyes gaze right into Billy’s, and Steve’s face is almost close enough to be kissing. Billy jumps back out of the closet, turning pale white. He flies back, trying to keep his balance while Steve sways back-and-forth. Billy then slips on a piece of dusty drywall left in the closet and falls to the ground right on his tailbone.  Billy watches the bulb slowly fade, and Steve’s body becomes transparently in sync with it, also fading away. Within seconds Steve’s body disappears just as the light flickers, its last spark of illuminance leaving the closet empty and dark.

Billy sits on the floor, holding himself up with his palms on the cement, and stares into the empty dark closet – speechless – waiting for something to happen. It’s as if he can sense whatever is going on is not over. Suddenly, oddly cylindrical and uniform looking lightning bolts fill the closet scattered about, jolting from wall to wall. Each strike illuminates the closet, and the room looks different every time—first, rectangular, then a hexagon shape. 

Between flashes of light, a body comes into view. “Steh-Sta stash Steve – is that ya ya you?” 

The room then goes completely lightless as if it became a black hole and no light could escape it, making it appear to be void in space. While Billy sits on the ground looking into a vast nothingness, a body begins to materialize into a tall thin man. The man then steps out of the closet dressed in a flannel jacket with Kneehigh snow boots and a winter skullcap flattening down his shoulder-length hair. The man steps forward, crunching into broken pieces of sheetrock, and notices Billy on the floor in front of him. He asks, “What room is this?” “Whah-huh?” The man walks further out of the closet and then steps over Billy. He says under his breath, “six thousand something. must be” “Kid.” “What year is it?” Billy doesn’t respond. “The year Kid, what year is it.” Billy is in a sort of state of shock but manages to stutter out, “twen-tee-tee twenty.” 

“Hmmm. Looks like the Dr. isn’t here anymore.” The mysterious man takes a vial out of his pocket that has a brush attached to the lid. He carefully pulls it out, making sure to scrape off the thick liquid from the stem of the brush onto the container’s inner walls using the lips of the small bottle. He then turns around and shuts the closet door. Billy watches him draw a bright-red straight line and another connecting it on the outside of the door. While the man is taking his time making the lines straight and even, Billy comes to his senses, thinking this has to be a gimmick, and pushes himself up off the floor and says, “Hey. What’s going on here. Where is Steve?” The man doesn’t reply; he just continues drawing until he completes a nonagon and leaves it to let the red liquid drip down. “Hey Kid- you know what the day is?” 

Billy doesn’t want to comply with the stranger, but he feels not doing so may be worse, so he responds, “Monday, the 23rd – October.” “2028?” “Yea.” “Alright, then.”  

The tall thin man slips the vial back in his pocket, turns around, and heads to the hallway. He stops on his way past the propped open door, puts his fingers almost romantically on the gold-plated unit number under the peephole, and reads out loud, “Sixty – one – forty, 6-1-4-0 – 10-23-28 and 6140. It has been a long time, my friend.” He drags his fingers slowly over nametag under the door knocker, and then walks off and disappears into the hallway. 

Billy gets up off the floor and runs into the halls to catch the guy, but he is already gone.  He stands at the door opening, still holding Steve’s iPhone in his hand, wondering what just happened and where Steve could be.

the end

(or beginning?)

 

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