FlaKeS: a SeRiaL
by Ron Sukenick
 
 

HiGH CloNiC
(ARGUMENT: When we last left Old Sam Flake he had just discovered that the GIANT
VIRUS he calls Newt-the-Germ, after eating Sam's pet pit bull, had somehow
managed to replicate itself.)
Old Sam Flake chewed on his El Choko and scratched his crotch
now he had two giant viruses where few minutes ago he'd just
had one
what worried
him was where was it going to stop
over time
Newt-the-Germ might clone a whole population of giant viruses
if each virus simply replicated itself they would
propagate in explosive geometrical increments
wipe out the human race
which was maybe not such a bad idea
it's just that
Sam didn't want it to happen on his watch
it was a
problem
but Sam knew instinctively what the solution was
he knew it right away
but he couldn't quite put it
into words
it went something like this:

Sam knew what it looked like but didn't know what it meant
or where it came from
maybe he could find it on
internet
he got out his Toshiba Tecra 720CDT, with
the 133MHz Pentium microprocessor, 16 MB RAM, 1.13 gigabyte hard drive, six-speed
CD ROM, 12.1 high-res display
clicked into Altavista
entered replication branched into
digital
meanwhile behind him
a slight rustling
sound
faint exhalations
noise like a toilet being flushed
a foul odor
vomity garglings
a slimy touch on the
back of his neck
nobody had to tell Sam what it was
it was the viral blob broke loose from the fenced yard where it'd been left


or anyway it was one of them
and it had changed it was longer
and blacker
and he suddenly realized why
because he could make out
through the thing's semitranslucent skin floating around in some kind of dark
jelly
the remnants of Flakey his pit bull
partially dissolved
along with what looked like a pigeon a couple of squirrels and a piglet
and the thing was beginning to
slither around his ankle
he felt a sucking
sensation on his shoe
Sam's mind started working fast
the virus had come up on the end of a rotorooter while he was
plumbing a toilet but where had it come from to begin with
the one unusual feature of
the grasslands region besides the grasslands was those abandoned missile silos
for years they'd garaged nuclear tipped rockets
so it must have been the radiation working on the local microfauna over the
years producing some kind of horrible mutation
he went back to his computer
Newt-the-Germ still sucking tentatively at his cowboy boot
the stench was intolerable
meantime he was clicking through items under replication and as
he did so he began to realize that replication is the source of many an ill
replication was responsible for imitation and imitation was the source of
simulacra which in turn led to spectacle
and the net result was we lived in a virtual
reality in which nothing was itself everything was an analogue of itself
it was enough to
make you disney
nonetheless Old Sam still had enough
of his wits about to see that the giant virus was an analogue
for the process by which virtual
reality was consuming real reality
and to see that
the destruction of Newt-the-Germ could provide a model for rolling back analogue
to virtua1 to spectacle to simulacra to imitation to replication to the real
thing

which didn't exist of course
except as silent electrons buzzing around one another in ever mutable
recombinations

in the vast microscopic emptiness
:in short the solution was--unreplicate
but to do so he had to
unreplicate back through digital language into the genome itself and the root
genetic code
he had to unreplicate till he could replicate the source of replication
once again he glimpsed the
solution

Sam grabbed his computer and went back to his garage where he kept his tools
a desktop with thin
cables leading into vials and flasks of clear liquid
got a replica of a DNA strand on his CRT
shot some electrons down the center of a double helix
this is what Sam was good at
plumbing
before long he had a designer gene
cloned a bunch and siphoned
them into a syringe went back to the house
it was quickly filling up with these huge black worms
Sam went around giving each one a quick shot
with his syringe
nothing happened for a
while
then Newt-the-Germ
or one of them
curled around and joined its two ends and pretty soon one end started
disappearing into the other
Sam lit up his El Choko
he knew he'd done it
the damn thing was crawling up its own ass hole
didn't take long before the fucker had disappeared altogether and it wasn't
just one of them
the same thing was happening to them all
Old Sam was damn proud of himself you can bet
he
knew where he was at
he'd become the unFrankenstein
back to reality
nothing artificial plain
unvarnished brasstack nuts&bolts useful down-to-earth barebone hardfact
the American way
but he took a walk out to the chalk bluff behind the house and there in the
powdery dead soil he noticed:


a carcass in the dust
barebones what was left of it
Sam chewed his El Choko and scratched his crotch
philosophically
back to the drawing board