As far as she knew Angela was the only patient at the twelve street clinic, which wasn’t in truth a clinic of any kind, more a medical laboratory run out of an old veterinary office. Angie didn’t own a car, so few did, but she walked to her appointment strapped, a classic cult forty five tucked under her armpit. It was cold and she wasn’t looking forward to her meeting with Doctor Rigell, tonight was the start of Bazooka Bobby Lee’s new season, she couldn’t miss it, her social life depended on it.
The clinic was cool and smelt antiseptic, the harsh neon lights made Angie nervous. The only other person in the building was Marry, the doctors assistant. She looked just like your grandmother, or at least the perfect sitcom picture of a grand mother. Angie’s own grandma was sour.
“Where’s the doctor?”
“He’s waiting for you in the lab.” something about Mary had Angie’s skin twitching, something about the squat old woman screamed blue, it came off of her in waves.
“Marry is everything alright? You seem,” she studied the lines of Mary’s face “Blue.”
“What you’re doing is not polite, poking around up here.” she said tapping her temple.
“Um, so, did you catch Shakespeare and the cannibals last night?” trying to change the subject.
“No, and I can’t imagine I missed much.”
With out meaning to Angela burst out laughing remembering the details, “There was this one part where the cannibals cut off Shakespeare’s arms and started feeding them--” she stopped her self noticing that Mary obviously didn‘t think it was funny. “um, I guess I’m gonna go find doctor Rigell.”
“You do that, and remember what I said, no poking around in other people’s business.” Suddenly an image of a sick little collie dog invaded Angela’s Mind, blurred pictures of a man injecting a black ball of quivering fur, life slowly fading away. Then there was Mary, sitting alone for the first time in her cramped one room apartment. Tears. A name. Austin.
“You know there’s this show, Zombie Dog Reunion, you can apply online, maybe--”
“How could you Angela?” Shocked Mary stared at her aghast, tear welling in her eyes. Doctor Rigell entered the room and cleared his throat, taking in his crying assistant and Angela’s down cast eyes.
“What happened Mary?”
“Nothing doctor, nothing.” Angela said before Mary could speak. “Mary was just telling me about her poor sick puppy Austin.” She chanced a sideways glace at Mary. “Right?”
“Just get her out of here.”
“Yeah we should get started, Bazooka Bobby Lee’s new season starts tonight, I cant miss it. Really, doctor I‘m serous I can‘t miss it, everyone’s going to be watching it.”
“What we do here is important work, you waste your time with that garbage.”
“What else would I do doctor? Play scrabble?” a million years ago scrabble was some sort of board game or something Angie didn‘t know. After the second golden age of man it became a slang term, poking fun at those who boycott TV, as if it made any difference, everyone else was watching.
Play scrabble, shampoo the carpet, walk the dog, why bother when you could watch cartoons was what it broke down to. The doctor had made no reply, merely ushered her through the door and into his examine room. With out being told she stripped out of her clothes and slipped into the hospital gown that was waiting for her.
Doctor Rigell attracted sensors to her forehead with sticky tabs, turned on a special camera that recorded her electromagnetic activity. He took a blood sample, and X-rays of her brain, she was used to the retinue. She noticed a tension in the doctor today, an apprehension that was palpable in the air.
With her mind Angela reached out, just like he taught her, reached out and slipped unknown into his mind, but she could not find any difference in him, doctor Rigell remained a mystery. He did not seem like a scientist, or a psychic, but he did have a certain power over her. He was twenty seven, well muscled, with a shocking tan. He had a deep voice that commanded authority, and Angie submit to him every time, with shivers down her spine. She could feel his influence tucked in the back on his skull. If it wasn’t for the handsome doctor and the effect he had on her Angie would have stopped coming to the clinic long ago.
“Are you listening to be Angela?”
“No, I’m sorry doctor I wasn’t. Where do you tan? Your skin, is so, bronze.” She smiled and crossed her legs seductively.
“Ok, now, in this test it’s important that you take as much time as you need, there‘s no rush. I’m going to hold up these cards” he produced a deck and laid them on the table in front of her “and I want you to--”
“circle, star, octopus, dog, clothes iron, and,” she paused focusing on the deck and all the possible out comes “A picture of Bazooka Bobby Lee! Did you put that in for me Doctor? (a beat passed) What are you staring at?” she asked hopefully, she was trying hard to impress the doctor. “ I was supposed to guess right? Like last week?”
“Yes, it’s just, last week you didn’t do very well. That is, not as well, how did you--”
“Get so much better? I practiced at home. It was sort of fun actually, I missed abduct a prostitute though. Are you impressed? I did it for you.”
“Yes, I’m very impressed.” Angie could see the doctors mind working, electricity flowing chemicals being released. She could see the lust in his head, a shimmering red cloud at the back of his mind, she touched it with her fingers, rolled it over her tongue.
“How about you take the night off?” she purred “As a special treat to your favorite lab rat.”
“Now Angela your not--”
“We could go to my place and watch Naked Lunch together? I heard somewhere Wanda young’s going to be on tonight. You do know who Wanda young is, right doctor?” Angie cupped her breasts and laughed, Wanda young was world renown for her giant tits, Angie couldn‘t stop laughing. Flirting with the doctor had become a game to her, well, it wasn’t all a game. Some had to be the winner, and that meant there was a loser too.
He mumbled something about getting the next test and turned to leave, but she could see inside his mind. She could see them entangled, her own head thrown back in passion, the dull glow of her TV their only light, Wanda Young laughing.
“You don’t have to Lie doctor, you go ahead and cool down.” he turned back to her, puzzled and sweating “Cards aren’t the only thing I’m good at.” she didn’t have to read his mind, the shock was plain on his face. Sometime Angie wished she wasn’t so attracted to the doctor. After all she knew very little about him. What kind of person worked at the clinic?
No one ever knew what shows she was talking about, and didn’t seem to want to, obviously they didn’t watch TV. How was she supposed to trust these people to help her when they didn’t even watch Bazooka Bobby Lee? Also it was obvious they didn’t want to help her, they weren’t trying to back space her brain like they claimed, they were trying to coax this strange disorder out of her and that was no way to fit in.
After all Angie had it all. She was blonde, beautiful, and popular, why did she need a brain? Most nights her apartment was packed, she never had to watch TV alone, unless she went to the clinic. Then her friends were on someone else’s couch. Her train of thought was a abruptly broken, something jolted her brain, an electric charge, she looked at the doctor and smiled.
“Maybe we should just continue this next week, you don’t want to miss your show.”
The tension in the room was building, but it wasn’t what she wanted. There was something troubling the doctor, but she couldn’t penetrate the surface he was using focusing all his energy on keeping her out.
“Doctor, I’m sorry, please I want to continue. I‘ll take it seriously, as seriously as I can.” but with her mind and eyes and heart she was saying, I love you, I love you, I would miss a Christmas special for you.
* * *
Mary Brought Doctor Rigell a stiff drink and quietly left his private office. Usually they would have a few and shoot the breeze, but tonight moral was low. Mary would go home, to her small empty room, and try to sleep. What was it Angela had said? Zombie Dog reunion? It was a thought, maybe she’d watch a few episodes, just to see, she missed her Austin so much. That night Mary walked home with a secrete smile.
The doctor stayed late, rethinking his carefully laid plan and his relationship with Angela Morris, the key to his plan. Her fixation with him was starting to get disturbing, no, now that wasn‘t quiet right, he did feel something. Of course he did, she was beautiful, smart and powerful. One of the only ever physics he had ever met, but that complicated things, how could he know if his feelings were real or not. Her mind was so massive, she had power over people on a subconscious. He wrote this in his notes. Her mind was constantly working, striving toward her own personal goals but she was not consciously aware of it.
He thought about her soft features, her long legs and blonde hair. What if he went to her, forgot about all this research and just watched some TV? But it wouldn’t be right, he needed Angela’s mind if he was going to change anything. All this research and training was heading toward one thing, one goal. He finished his drink and closed his computer, who had time for love when a revolution was at hand. Using Angela he would switch off the TV once and for all.
* * *
In between puffs of smoke Angie cursed herself, it was seven forty five and Bazooka Bobby Lee was mostly over. No doubt in a few minutes one of her girl friends would call her, or send a text, talking all about everything that just happened. Bobby Lee was blasting his way through a tidal wave of leather clad women, all scratching and gnashing their teeth. Sure she could catch whatever was on next, but Bazooka Bobby was the hot topic, the conversation piece, the thing that really pushed it to the limit.
She realized this wasn’t really what was bothering her, even if she wouldn‘t have anything to talk about come Monday morning. The world was shifty, her head was spinning, Angie couldn’t concentrate on the television, she was far to high. She would always smoke after visiting the doctor, in an attempt to forget everything she learned, she hit mute and watched the scene unfold, there wasn’t much dialogue anyways.
Before she left the doctor gave her an exercise, something to expand her mind. The doctor was having an influence on her, she switched off the TV and went to the kitchen. She had two fish tanks built into the wall, one oval shaped fish bowl with thirty or forty goldfish. There was a small control panel on the side she pushed the eject button and the tank slid from the wall.
Sometimes she felt bad sacrificing the little fish, but she loved Simon. There was one fish, a little white and black one amongst all the orange that she had taken a liking to. She named him bobby for obvious reasons. With her little net she scooped up a few fish and closed the tank, the five captured fish wriggled and flopped franticly.
The other tank was much larger and expensive, only the best for Simon, she hit the eject button and dumped the suffocating fish in his tank. Simon was a baby octopus and Angie closest friend, everyday she would play with him, take him out of his tank and let him scuttle around. He was also her guide through cyberspace.
Doctor Rigell taught her how to link minds with Simon, and bring him with her into cyberspace. It was common place to have a guide while logged on, most people just bought a program that they would follow, or hired a professional to lead the way. The internet was massive, you could get lost and never find your way out again. Many people boycott the internet just as some boycott the Television for this very reason.
In the doctors exercise he wanted her to manipulate cyberspace, like paint on a canvas, make her own world with out use of code. She slide her hand into Simon’s tank and he wrapped his tentacles around her arm affectionately. She reached out her mind, like reaching out with her hand, and he was there tucked in the back of her mind.
Doctor Rigell told her that the internet was a completely difference experience for her, everyone felt it differently, but he was certain that her mind would feel completely at home in cyberspace. She could believe it to, she could spend hours surfing, high on electricity.
She put on her Ethernet specs and logged on, the drugs in her system helped with the transition. The world slowly started to fade away one pixel at a time, moving from shades of grey to all encompassing darkness. Like always there was a moment of panic, a second of absolute certainty that something had gone wrong and she was stuck forever, but Simon was there to reassure her. Slowly the world rematerialize in brilliant color, in color that she could feel on her skin, taste on her lips, that pounded in her head.
Angie’s net was a perfect copy of her apartment, she did this so Simon wouldn‘t feel to out of place. Simon was her Sigel, an astral body to guide her through the vastness of the internet.
It’s been too long.. He murmured telepathically
No that long, only a day or two
I missed you though, Kreez sent you about a million messages, he stood here for almost a full day going on and on.
Just delete the whole thing, I don’t care.. She pulled Simon close to her and smiled down at him completely in love.. The doctor gave me an Idea today, something I think you’ll like very much.
She extended her arm and Simon unlatched from her floating in the air that was not there. Angie thought about what she wanted, thought about a human body for her Simon. Pixels started swirling around him, forming a hand, a shoulder blade.