Mixed Doubles

by John Schoneboom

Nice Julian arrived on the beautiful island paradise with only a bongo drum and visions of utopia. He paddled a kayak to the cabin where he'd be staying and cautiously entered. But which Helen would be there?

A window suddenly blew open and emitted one of the possible Helens. Julian gave her the once over, twice, and and made an awkward smile.

"Welcome," she said -- was that a true note in her voice?

"Hullo," rejoined Julian, but secretly he thought about whether he had brought enough socks.

Helen paused, feeling somehow like an impostor.

"Care for a cup of tea?" she asked.

Well, thought Julian, she seems nice. Was she the real Helen, he wondered, or some sort of simulacrum?

Oh, he tried, our Julian, Lord knows he tried to tell the true from the projected. Never could he quite shake the solipsistic notion that he himself was just a brain in the jar, raising only the question of who or what was stimulating him.

Pushing aside his nagging fears about computer simulations, he confessed his hopes as well as his doubts and most heartfelt desires to this Helen. Unfortunately, she lacked the personal authenticity to receive the information nobly, and held up her hand in the universal "please stop" symbol. Eventually, of course, everyone died and others were born.
Nice Julian arrived on the beautiful island paradise with only a bongo drum and visions of utopia. He paddled a kayak to the cabin where he'd be staying and cautiously entered. But which Helen would be there?

A window suddenly blew open and emitted one of the possible Helens. Julian gave her the once over, twice, and and made an awkward smile.

"Welcome," she said -- was that a true note in her voice?

"Hullo," rejoined Julian, but secretly he thought about whether he had brought enough socks.

Helen paused, feeling somehow like an impostor.

"Care for a cup of tea?" she asked.

Well, thought Julian, she seems nice. Was she the real Helen, he wondered, or some sort of simulacrum?

Oh, he tried, our Julian, Lord knows he tried to tell the true from the projected. Never could he quite shake the solipsistic notion that he himself was just a brain in the jar, raising only the question of who or what was stimulating him.

Pushing aside his nagging fears about computer simulations, he confessed his hopes as well as his doubts and most heartfelt desires to this Helen. Unfortunately, she lacked the personal authenticity to receive the information nobly, and held up her hand in the universal "please stop" symbol. Eventually, of course, everyone died and others were born.
please wait...remixing in progress...