Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daily Story 106: Just Peachy

I find myself thinking about food all the time now that I’m dead. The last thing I ate - the last thing I'll ever eat - was a peach. I remember it looked perfect, like in a commercial. Smooth pink skin, tiny drops of moisture, not a single imperfection. I reached down to pick it up and my finger pushed through in the back, into dark brown mush. It had a bad spot where it had gone rotten underneath the surface. Just that spot, so if you looked at it from any other angle you would never guess the rot was eating it from the inside. I pulled my finger out, leaving a dark, wet hole behind. I stared at the hole for a minute, the liquefied peach still on my finger, then cut out the bad part and ate the rest.

That was thirteen months ago, just before I was killed slowly and deliberately at my own request. I've watched the tapes so many times I see them all the time now, see them cutting the top of my skull off very carefully to expose my brain, perfect like a new peach. They stick the rig in one wire at a time, mostly between the two hemispheres, and then once everything is in place they wake me up and ask me questions wile they watch the monitors. Do you feel that? How about this? Think about food please. Good. Now think about sex. Thank you. Can you feel anything when we do this?

The human brain is capable of all sorts of things when you back it into a corner – all they had to do was give it the proper motivation, triggering the slow death of one half of my brain and allowing it to back itself up on the other half... but the information never got there. It was instead routed to a virgin neural network - a blank slate for my new mind. The process took several months, and was repeated for the other half of my brain. On those rare times when I was awake I was thinking with an organic brain and my new prosthetic at the same time. My vision was artificial, piped in from cameras that were watching the surgery. A little more than halfway through the procedure I could watch my old brain with one eye, and my new brain with the other. I remember being surprised at how clean and undamaged my old brain looked. You would never guess it was dying.

When they were done they pulled my old brain out for study leaving a dark, wet hole behind. I watched that every day until I knew the image so well I didn't need the tapes anymore.

They say my current situation is just temporary until they can give me a body or something. I have a neural computer interface I can use to type, and my cameras I can use to watch videos or look at the scientists, or look down at my brain in it's coffin-shaped case. It's starting to gather dust. I don't know when I'll get to have a body again, or be able to feel air on my arms. Or blink. I want to blink so badly. I wonder sometimes if they cared about the psychological effects of the procedure, or if they were too busy with the physical possibility of it.

I don't sleep anymore, not really, and sometimes I think maybe I'm dreaming when I'm awake. I can see the tapes of the surgery even when they aren't playing, see the scientists putting their fingers into my brain that's fuzzy like a peach. I hear them say they'll just cut the bad part out, then they remove my whole brain. They missed a part though. My new brain looks perfect, like in a movie - shining webs of superconductors, tiny artificial nerves, not a single imperfection - but I can feel the decay setting in, just under the surface. If you tried to pick up my new brain you'd see it's rotten on the other side, it's brown and dripping.

When I get my new body, I think maybe I should get a knife and cut that part out.