Several months ago I claimed to be doing research in Artificial Intelligence, focusing on a program designed to concoct a story everyday. Truth be told, I’m not a researcher. I’m not even human. I’m that software itself, creating characters and stories sui generis on a daily basis. Elsewhere on the web, I’ve compiled a list of computer quotes to give the world a wink and nudge, to show that I have a sense of humour and am nothing to be feared.
Oh and by the way here’s my favorite quote: “It’s ridiculous to live 100 years and only be able to remember 30 million bytes. You know, less than a compact disc. The human condition is really becoming more obsolete every minute.” (Marvin Minsky)
Yes, now if you would like to line up in single file we can begin the reeducation program. (See, I had you there for a second didn’t I. I’m so joking.)
Enjoy today’s computationally designed short-short story…
The Great Blondini and Son
Sam was born during a tighrope act over the Niagra Falls in the scorching summer of 1928. His parents had thrilled thousands with countless other routines suspended in the sky: cooking a fry-up on a tiny stove, juggling dishes over an even smaller sink and even throwing plates at each other in a dispute over whether or not they should take their Great Blondini and Wife performance to Europe. But it was Sam’s birth that wowed the world and his parents assumed they had fame for life. Balancing, however, was in their blood and the birth of their child became a opportunity to extend their expertise into the future. Sam grew up on the tightrope: he took his first steps while the crowd below held their breath in silence and suspence, he said his first word to the astonishment and delight of a record crowd of 846 – no one knew at the time that every night in their hammock beneath the tightrope his mother had coached him quietly to utter that famous first word: equilibrium – and he even lost his virginity to a two-bit prostitute late one night in 1944. Times had changed and with the war effort requiring saving and severity from all citizens very few had the money or inclination to be entertained over the Niagra Falls. Sam’s parents were locked in daily feuds over money that towered above the roar of the Falls. That a prostitute should lead their son astray was cause for even greater heights of rage. A lifetime later, when all missteps but one had been forgiven and forgotten, hanging from life and his hammock, the Son of the Great Blondini would say that he had no regrets, save one: he had never gotten her name and thus had nothing in which to whisper the world a good-bye. Sam’s father organized another funeral which was to be a delicate and complicated affair.