Yesterday morning, Anne and I were walking Marlowe up the street, and both of us noticed a house that we’ve never seen before. This is strange, because we’ve lived here for years, and you’d expect us to know our own neighborhood, but there it was: a house that has clearly been here longer than we have, but that we’d somehow never noticed.
Now, it’s easy to understand why: we’re almost always looking at the house across the street from it when we walk or drive past, because we like the dogs who live there, or we’re looking at the house next door to it because it has a really nice yard with lots of plants and flowers.
But I thought it was way more fun to imagine that we never saw that house until yesterday because it wasn’t there until yesterday. It just showed up, because there was a glitch in the matrix, or because we walked though a membrane that separated two realities and ended up in one where the only difference that we’re aware of was that house … and why we’re even aware of the change, why we retained the memory of it not being there, the memory from the previous universe that should have not made it across the membrane, that’s where I think some kind of cool science fiction story could bloom.
Sometimes my brain does stuff like this, just takes something like “I never noticed that before,” and turns it into … well, that whole complicated thing.
I mean, think about it: I bet every single one of you has seen something that you were positive wasn’t there the day or hour or [unit of time] before, but holy shit there it is and surely it must have been there all along… right?
Or how about when you walk into a room looking for something, you see it, but when you blink and look again it isn’t there. It turns out the cat, which you’re positive looked at you and blinked its eyes and opened its mouth and everything was just a backpack. But that’s weird, because you know you saw the cat.
What’s that in the periphery of your vision? A person? Oh, no, it’s just a shadow or nothing at all. But you’re pretty goddamn sure you saw something, someone there a second ago.
I know that there are totally logical explanations for these things, but isn’t it more fun to imagine?
So with that in mind, keep reading:
A couple of years ago, I came across part of a recording called “Found on the Elevator”. It was just a few minutes of a recording from the future, that was archived on a record in the past. It was supposedly found in an elevator in New York City in 1969.
Here’s the way it was described: “This recording is an “unauthorized experiment” that was made in the year 2058 C.D.S. (Carbon Dating System), a “blue verbal data feed” sent backwards in time to “retro A.D.” by Decker, T. L., index J-3, CMR 00965 of T-Group Roaring Vectors 252, a human cyborg who suffers from a malfunctioning number nine electrode in his head which causes him to have an emotional breakdown as he records this message. It’s a secret message to a past world he has trouble imagining, a world of foreign substances like metal, plastic, animals, soldiers… a world all physical and “impossibly slow.”
It was really fantastic. It reminded me of a lot of the late night Joe Frank broadcasts I listened to in my 20s on KXLU or KCRW when I’d be driving around late at night, because I could.
For months, I scoured the Internet, looking for the rest of the recording, or more information about it. Mostly what I found were blogs and BBS posts form other people who were looking for the same thing, but no leads. I knew it was a work of fiction, a work of art, but I desperately wanted it to be real, so while I searched for the entire recording, I imagined the world that it came from. (I won’t tell you how it lives in my mind, because I don’t want to affect how it lives in yours, should you chose to create it for yourself.)
Eventually, I gave up the search and went back to looking at pictures of cats who want to buy boats, and forgot all about it.
Until last week.
Last week, my friend Mer RT’d a link from William Gibson that led to the entire first side of the record. It is just as amazing and wonderful as I always hoped it would be, and well worth the wait.
Now I just need to find a recording of Side Two…