The Secret Lives of Emails.docx

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The Secret Lives of Emails

by A.J. Ramsey

 

Text Copyright © 2014 A.J. Ramsey

All Rights Reserved.

The secret lives of emails

First Edition

Cover Design by Melody Simmons of eBookindiecovers

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

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~

A naked man tumbled out of a portal and onto a cobblestone street.

He was briefly illuminated by a bright white light that poured from the opening until the portal slammed shut behind him. Mostly darkness descended on the naked man. The street wasn’t remarkable in any way. Just your standard damp, slightly moldy, slightly smelly cobbled street.

The naked man wasn’t remarkable in any way either. It was just a standard completely unclothed man stumbling onto a standard cobblestone street. You wouldn’t even have given him a second glance, partly because the naked man was so unremarkable, as far as naked men go, but mainly because seeing naked people stumble in the street is just awkward for everyone involved and staring is rude.

What you might find remarkable is that, like the proverbial Adam, this particular naked man wasn’t aware he was naked. He, therefore, felt no shame for his bold nakedness and made no attempt to cover up the parts one normally covers in these circumstances. Please be aware, however, that he wasn’t making one of those grand social statements that people like to make in this enlightened age—trying to prove they are proud of their naked bodies by forcing you to watch them protest something completely unrelated to nudist pride. What I am emphasizing here is that he had nothing to prove, protest, or brag about in regards to his nakedness. Knowing the man as I do, had he been aware he was naked and that someone was watching, he would’ve been terribly embarrassed and made at least an attempt to cover up.

Just to be even clearer though, don’t think it was like he had accidentally lived the collective nightmare of stepping out the front door having forgotten to put on pants. Nope, this man didn’t have any clothes on because he wasn’t aware that he was supposed to be wearing any. These social conventions of the more evolved primates, and certain toy poodles, were not something his brain was familiar with. In fact, his brain had nothing rooting around it at all. He had no memories, no thoughts, no hopes, and no dreams. None of these things were necessary for what he was supposed to do. I guess you could say he was like Jason Bourne. That is, if Jason Bourne didn’t know how to fight like a ninja, how to speak multiple languages, or how to work on a fishing boat. He was like Bourne in the sense that he could run a mile flat out and not even lose his breath.

This naked man had one thing firing through his synapses.

Run!

Now, don’t think his singleness of mind was the result of a new Zen thinking technique. The naked man didn’t know any thinking techniques. Not even the one that reportedly will allow you to obtain fancy cars, enormous houses, and really cool bathrooms—the types of bathrooms with showers that people always want to take pictures of and post on their social media. Nothing is quite as motivating as looking at other people’s bathrooms. Just know that the only thing this naked man was capable of thinking was “run.”

After his clumsy entrance, the man got to his feet, narrowly missing hitting his head on the ceiling. Perhaps it was a lie to tell you earlier that he had stumbled into a street because if he were capable of glancing around his surroundings, he would have noticed that this street had a ceiling, something highly unusual for a street to have. The ceiling was only about six feet tall, and it also had rounded walls that were close enough he could touch both sides simultaneously by stretching out his arms. I suppose telling you he had tumbled into a tube would have been a more accurate description, but I didn’t like how that sounded as the first sentence of this tale.

The naked man shamelessly started running down the length of the lonely tube, bare feet slapping on the dirty cobblestone floor and body parts flapping in the breeze. We’ll stop the description of the man there. Exactly what he looked like, running naked, is not a description you really want. If you are not already aware of this, you should avoid watching someone run in the nude and doubly avoid descriptions of such. It’s not the naked body’s best hour.

Traffic in this tiny tube would’ve been a nightmare if there had been more people, but he was the only one out in the mostly-darkness. The cobblestone that his feet were pounding was beginning to crumble in places from age, and it was slick in spots from moisture dripping from somewhere above. He expertly avoided, albeit unconsciously, these dangers as best he could in the narrow confines, continuing to dash down the path. The walls were covered with a green slime that emitted a peculiar odor. You wouldn’t have been able to place it in your memory bank of smells. This green slime was a very particular type that grew in very particular places; places that you have never been.

The only light was creeping down from a short distance away, and the man was to its source in moments. He exited this tube, took a sharp left, and began running down a slightly wider and slightly taller tube. As the naked man ran down this street, no longer cobblestone, but concrete if you care to know, he passed other tube openings every few dozen feet. Most of the openings he passed had no doors, just open space. Here, they were all narrow, but some were rounded like a hobbit hole while others were rectangular like a doorway. Some of the tubes had little signs above their entrances or welcome mats on the ground. One of the signs above a tube read “127.0.0.1,” while another warned of a dachshund patrol. A few tubes had fenced gates topped with vicious barbed wire—as if there is any other kind. Whatever it was though, each of these tubes was unique in some way.

At the sudden and disturbing presence of the naked man running past these tubes, dogs, including a small pack of dachshunds, came running to the gates in defense of their precious territory. They continued barking long after the man was gone because now more dogs were sounding off in the distance. Each of them soon couldn’t remember why they had started, but they all felt they shouldn’t be the one to give in and stop first. So they barked at each other until one by one they got bored, or sore throats, and laid back down with huffs of satisfaction, confident they had each shown everyone on their block they weren’t to be messed with.

Unaware and unafraid of the dachshund patrol, the man rushed on through the tubes. Soon he reached an intersection and without hesitation took a right down the arched pathway. This tube was again a little wider, a little brighter, and a little busier than the last. We would have noticed the large groups of people coming in the opposite direction, but he continued on his unsuspecting way until meeting another intersection where he unwittingly took another turn. Had he been aware, he would have noticed other people, some naked like himself and others clothed, joining him from other tube entrances and making their way down the same path. He might have also noticed that all the openings now were similarly generic and, sadly, contained no dachshunds.

After some twisting and turning through increasingly larger tubes, he soon came to a central tube that all local traffic was being routed through. This main route was wide, tall, straight, and very busy. About halfway down the length of the path, a large sign, not unlike a highway sign, hung from the ceiling. This one was dotted with hundreds of tiny lights that blinked on and off in a seemingly random pattern. A red light blinked rapidly in response to his passing, and a program in the sign checked for, and received, information from him he didn’t even know he possessed. Beyond the sign, the tube opened up five times wider, revealing multiple lanes that branched off in all directions. Faced with the daunting choice of dozens of routes, we might have frozen in panic. Too many choices can cause even the best of us to seize up in terror. The naked man, though, went into a tube second from the right as he was, unknowingly, directed.

He continued making turns with what might have appeared to be confidence, leading to ever brighter, ever bigger, and ever more crowded tubes. He passed more signs that sent him further and further away from where he began, until he came to a halt right before his tube ended in open air. He leaned forward and peered out.

The wall across from him was pockmarked like a honeycomb, with thousands of openings like his. He didn’t register or appreciate the vastness of what lay before him. Countless people jumped from their openings to a massive thoroughfare below. Had he paused long enough, he would’ve been privilege to an amazing light show. He would have noticed that everyone was actually incandescent. Some glowed white and others blue, some red, and some green. The hues trailed people as they jumped into the crowd below, leaving contrails of crisscrossing color in the air. The effect was constant as people above the highway dropped to the surface and joined the barrage of traffic. It was a fantastic show to rival our deep sea or Northern lights. We might have called the alien landscape beautiful, taking thousands of pictures so we could force other people, using the previously mentioned social media, to look at them later. If you could have sat perched above this, you might have watched the display all day as it waxed and waned in intensity.

The naked man had no thoughts about the light show and took no pictures.

Our naked man unknowingly continued to pause for another second, finding an opening in the sea of bodies. Had he been conscious, he might have been pausing out of nervousness before jumping so far below into a thick crowd of running people. However, in his current state, nervousness was not an emotion he was familiar with. It was something he would learn though.

He jumped without a sound.

Landing on one knee and one hand as the ground absorbed his momentum, he was quickly swept into the flow. He was in his element now, even if he wasn’t aware he had an element. He jostled with other people whose expressions were as blank as his own, and he ran with the wind in his hairs. He whisked past thousands of other openings that led to this thoroughfare, joined by hundreds of thousands of other people just as unaware as he was. He might have been happy had he been capable of such emotion—happy, like a person who thought they had learned what they were meant to do in life. This common delusion, suffered mainly by young people, was not something he was afflicted with. Yet.

Another thing the naked man didn’t register was the danger of these crowds. He didn’t notice the occasional people who accidentally got bumped off the superhighway. Every few moments the traffic would surge one way or the other like a drunken conga line, and an unsuspecting person too close to the edge would get spit out of the crowd. These unlucky ones would wordlessly fly out of the mass of people, thudding against the wall—occasionally they’d splat. They might thrash around in death throes for a while before their light blinked out, or they might just go out in an instant. The dead would remain there until the piles built up enough to slow traffic and someone, or something, noticed. You shouldn’t worry about their fate though; this is not their story.

After running for a few hundred miles without needing to suck for air—Jason Bourne would’ve been proud—traffic started to slow down imperceptibly. Lines started to form automatically, and he was forced along into a lane. When he finally got to the front, which took a fraction of a second, he stepped onto a round platform that stood a few inches higher than the highway. Had he been aware . . . have I mentioned he isn’t conscious at this time? . . . He might have noticed a green light surround him and scan him from head to toe. Without so much as a beep, he was suddenly shot straight in the air past dozens of more tube openings and then jettisoned sideways.

He spun out like tumbleweed in a desert wind but quickly righted himself as he merged from a ramp onto another superhighway. Silently, he kept pace with his fellow mute running mates. If you could have listened in, you would have only heard the constant pattering on the ground. To you though, this pattering of feet would sound like a constant buzzing noise. You wouldn’t want to listen for too long.

Eventually, our traveler was forced into another line and was scanned again according to a protocol he knew nothing about. He was immediately sent off, but this time the path was different than the one originally planned. The scanner had received information that traffic was backed up because of an incident involving an orangutan and a sloth eating popcorn together while watching
Twilight
. Those two creatures were creating all sorts of havoc today in the tubes.

He zigged. He zagged. He twisted and then he turned. It would all have been quite dizzying if you could’ve seen it. If he could think, he might have believed he was getting close to his destination, or he might have been ready to puke. You might be thinking the same things by now. The naked man was directed out of the larger tubes and back into smaller ones; he passed signs and more signs hanging from ceilings and traveled through generic tube after generic tube.

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