Preamble: This the seventh chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, and Chapter 6)
by Cheeseburger Brown
PART I, Chapter 7.
Okay, so it's prolly pretty obvious what goed down next. I mean, wouldn't you have done the same if you were a paranoid valley bastard Hellbended on eating our babbies and defiling our files? Of course you would.
Just as the mayoralty was worried about those valley bastards learning anti-founderite secrets to smite us with, it turned out the valley bastards were worried the anti-founderites were arming us to raze them to ash and squat on their lush bastardly real estate holdings.
Little wars burned daily.
Plus suddenly we keeped finding spies in us, and every few days after being professionally interviewed by the intelligence warriors they would be messifully dispatched at a public ceremony with songs and dances and banner waving. Sometimes I attended behind the untouchables screen to show some patriotism but normally I didn't. I guess in part cause if you've seen one spy splatted you've seen them all, but also in part cause standing behind the untouchables screen was starting to make me feel weird in a weird way.
No matter how thoroughly I cleaned myself inside and out, aspects of anti-founderite hacking remained insidious and fruitful inside me. I simply could not dung hard enough to rid myself of the suspicion that a lot of it tunk well.
I was aware that the ultra-new tinks were busting me, but lo, that is the very role of a douche: to dirty myself for the sake of the larger society.
I worried if the douche babby I was now carrying inside my sex oven would be born pre-poisoned by the exposure. I worried if she might be born errant. What kind of future could she have if even the untouchables wouldn't touch her?
A worse thing to wonder: what kind of future was there for anyone, pious or bastard alike, if the whole planet-world was eaten by a blood-hungry sun? It was nightmarish to tink on.
Verily was I abjectly fucked up in the emotions about it, but I fighted to keep a lid on things, but still anyway one day I ended up blurting out to Captain Gateway: "How am I supposed to know which tinks are ideaful and which are just fellatio raisoning? They all weigh the same -- nothing."
The captain squinted at me, cocking his head. "If I follow you right, Jolly, you need to member not just to tink tinking, but to tink about tinking. How we come to tink things -- or faith we tink things -- is key."
"Cause some statements are truer than others, and you need a way to measure the likelihood of that."
"At the douchery they taught us with lashes, so we would always member that bad tinks hurt. You can knock it but you can't say it didn't work. To this day I can recite hundreds of stanzas of truth and near-truth, and distinguish between them with only a quick mental wince."
The captain shaked his head. "Let's scroll back a bit. You tink well some numbering, right?"
"Of course I do. That's what douchebaggery is all about, captain."
"So what's the difference between saying two and two is four, and saying two and two is five?"
"One is a lie."
"Two and two aren't five."
"Do you know that cause of lashes?"
He paused and frowned. "Could you tell it to someone else? Um, without whipping them?"
"Obviously. Sums can be shown with fingers."
I showed him two fingers on one hand and touched each of them to the tip of my nose. "One, two," I sayed. Then I showed him two fingers on the other hand. "One, two." I held up both sets of fingers together and touched the tip of each to my nose. "One, two, three, four."
The captain smirked. He raised his own hand and emulated me, touched the tip of each finger to his nose. "One, two," he sayed from behind his left hand, and then, "One, two," he sayed from behind his right. He holded up both sets of fingers and counted each of his four fingers and then the grouping itself, totalling five things with names.
I snorted. "But that's wrong."
He raised a brow. "You know this from lashes?"
"No. Nobody ever did anything that derpy as an example."
"What makes it derpy?"
"Cause if that's how counting goed it would mean one and one are three. But I only have two hands, if I count them or if I don't. One hand and another hand doesn't make three hands. The counting and the counted are different things, and don't match together."
"But what if I am a poor counter? What if I have mistinked the rules of counting, and count in a special way? Doesn't that make for different sums?"
"The sums wouldn't have anything to do with the world, captain. They would be the mark of the counter, not of the numbers. It would be totally easy to show -- using pebbles or fingers or any things that stay the same -- how their numberings failed to predict the correct amount in a group of things. Counting one by one would show how the numbering was giving breaked answers."
He nodded. "Congratulations, Jolly. You just tinked something about tinking."
I cocked my head. "I don't want to seem gay, but I don't even tink what I'm supposed to have tunk."
"No matter what different peeps may say, the facts stay the same. And, if you tink tinkfully, you can show if a procedure appears to tell results that match with the facts." He smiled and added, "Without any lashing."
"But why would anybody want to prove how two and two are four? It's way obvious."
"Start there," he advised, "and work yourself up to how it is the sun's kersploding."
I furrowed my brow. "Doi?"
"You don't have to take anybody's word for anything, Jolly. You can re-step in each step of the tinkology and see if it appears factually autocorrect. Test each test for yourself. All you have to do is give up being...inerrant. You tink well what books are, don't you?"
"You insult me, captain. My life is books! You dig?"
"I do. So I'm assigning you a liaison and granting you access to the library. There's more books represented in there than you can possibly imagine."
Again I scoffed. "I doubt that, yo! I am a way experienced douche. Not only do I own over ninety books of my own, but -- to date -- I have read from over three hundred volumes. That's right: three hundred. That's ten multiplied by thirty, if you're too masculine to number it."
Captain Gateway smirked but sayed nothing.
I fumed. "You are a smug, snotty little child!" I yelled. "Why did anyone ever make a schoolboy the boss of anything?"
He seemed genuinely confused. "A schoolboy?"
"You have the face of a babby. I don't care how tall you are, you can't be a man yet."
"I'm forty-four years old, Jolly."
"That's retarded. No you're not. Forty-four is an unpossible age. It's a lie. Like two and two are five. How many summers have you seen? Truth me."
"I swear: forty-four summers. Your Earth is harsh to you. War is paradise -- if a doomed one." He paused, then stepped closer, looking around my face. "Jolly, can I ask? How many summers have you seen?"
I raised my chin. "Fifteen. Fifteen factual summers. That's right, liar boy. Suck it."
So what if I exaggerated by a year? What did a kid like him know?