Mad Crab Mojave: Chapter Six

In which Jones can't sleep

That night, Jones tossed around on his couch, unable to sleep. His legs were cramping from the exertion of climbing San Francisco’s hills the day before. For a while, he lay staring at the shadows from the moon streaming through the window blinds. The fan turned, slicing through them. Jones gave up and went to his desk.

First, he wrote out care instructions for his potted plants. Then, he opened up his computer and searched for maps of the Mojave desert. Printing them out, he looked them over and piled them up on his desk. None of it worked. Resting his head on the cool wooden laminate of his desktop, Jones gave in to his memories of his ex-wife.

They had met at Oracle. Jones was an entry level programmer and Melinda was an entry-level business analyst. She had risen in the company much faster than he had. Her moral compass was different. They’d separated seven years ago, shortly after Oracle had fired Jones. The last time he’d seen her was three years ago, when she took him out to lunch and announced that she, too, was leaving the company. She was moving to Tucson to join a trans-humanist group attempting to elevate themselves beyond human limitation. This was, Jones had responded, in line with her character. The lunch had ended before dessert. He had not heard from her since.

Jones tried to imagine how his ex-wife would act as a machine. He could only retrieve antique visions of holograms with perfect hair and melodious voices. Melinda only had a melodious voice when she wanted something she couldn’t get any other way. Could she still talk? Did she still think in the English language? Did she still think? The Federal agents had declined to elaborate on BeyondMelinda’s condition. Jones suspected that they didn’t have any more answers.