Full Spectrum Creativity
I Will Create Despite Uncle Sam

Out of the Box and Into Infinity

“…and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Anais Nin

Once, a boy met a steel machine. It was made of guns and things. This machine rotated and whirred; senseless it seemed to the boy, but the machine convinced many others of its logic and excellence. Indeed, it was logical, and it handed the boy a box. “Take it or leave it,” the machine blurted in mechanical crackles, boring its machine-gun eyes into the boy’s skin. Armies were amassed all around the machine. Economies, too. Big businesses built up chrome buildings in the city streets all around, and the boy shrugged, inhaling deeply the perfume of pollution, for indeed, there was something beautiful about it all anyway, despite the smut, despite the firecracker existence and pace of running from here to there to make money.

Opening the box, the boy was very disappointed. In it, he found an identity card, stamped with a picture of him in one of the business suits. Somehow the picture had been taken in the future, when he was much older. In the picture, he wore an insincere smile. His eyes looked like dead glass and his arms had the rigidity of steel skyscrapers. The boy frowned and wrinkled his brow, for inside the box was also a small suit, just his size.

“Wear it,” menaced the machine, and the crowds behind him cheered. Or was that more like jeering? The whole assemblage seemed to sneer at him as the boy hesitated. He opened his mouth, but no words could form. Everything seemed incoherent, unclear.

“Wear it!!” boomed the machine. The crowds rattled and hissed, made chunklet sounds as if they were machines themselves: kerchunk, whir, bzzzzt, kerchunk. The boy sighed and choked. Hostile feelings swirled under his loose clothes, which he slowly took off, and he stood before them all naked.

“WEAR IT!!! WEAR IT!!!” The entire assemblage of machines was now menacing and shouting. Debased, the boy looked around him for someone familiar, sane, someone who felt as he did, who might offer companionship or at least empathy. There were none. Behind him, the ground seemed to fall away. He thought about jumping, naked, into the abyss.

And then he did. But not for long.

“WEAR IT!!! WEAR IT!!! WEAR IT!!!” The machines caught him violently with regimented, segmented machine arms and hands: graspers, grabbers, forks, tongs. The machine-speech was deafening, bleating, metallic, grainy, too loud: “WEAR IT!!! WEAR IT!!! WEAR IT!!!” And under that demand, the threat: “If you do not wear it, We will dress you in it.”

And so the boy put on the grey suit. As he did so, his teal skin lost its fantastic hue, merged into the drabness of the suit. His eyes began, in that moment, to turn to glass, his freckles faded and somewhere, deep inside his growing body, testosterone levels were increased: plans for a deeper voice, for body hair, for facial hair, were drawn up in blueprints and schematics. The boy began to cough, felt tired.

“You may rest now,” intoned the machines. “Work is at 8 am.”

But the boy could not rest, although he slept. Decades passed, and all through them the boy felt dead inside, empty and full of machine parts. He felt infected by a computer virus. He coughed and his legs ached, he complained of insomnia at times, and depression. The machines, which over the years grew sleeker and more refined, prescribed pharmaceuticals, which the boy, now a man, took. Still, the cough persisted, as well as the aches, the melancholy, the empty and lonely feelings.

Then came the day when the machine was raving at him, angry about a missed calculation, about the man’s being late for work, about falling profits in the fourth quarter, about the loss of a football game. In the background, angry music blared as well as advertisements. The man was encircled by televisions, emanating radiation, while the machine growled and gnashed its gear-like teeth about unsatisfactory performance and results.

“You know what?” the boy-man asked softly. The machine blinked, waiting for the man to speak. “Fuck you,” said the boy-man. The machine stood silent. The boy-man took off the business suit and left, and the machine didn’t bother him anymore.

In the days and years ahead, his skin began to gain complexity, complexion, and hue. Flowers began to wake up around him. He met some divine witches who, laughing at his nakedness and his new, tentative smile, made him a set of loose clothes, similar to the ones he wore as a child, yet more colorful. The man-child began to smile and play and laugh. In the distance, the robots and machines fretted and whirred. The man-child sometimes noticed, and felt sad for them in his heart.

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