The Echo Maker

All the humans revered Crane, the great orator. Where cranes gathered, thier speech carried miles. The Aztecs called themselves the Crane people.

* * *

He lay awake, thinking of the answers he should have given, seeing the cracks in his ceiling a frozen synapses. Sometime after 3:00 a.m., it occurred to him that he himself might be an extremely detailed case history, a description of personality so minutely realized that it only thought it was autonomous . . . At night, the brain grows strange to itself. He knew the precise biochemistry behind “sundowner syndrome” – the intense exaggeration of medical symptoms, during hours of darkness. but knowing the biochemistry didn’t reverse it. [. . . ] Dreaming: that compromise solution for accommodating the vestigial brain stem.

* * *

Even the intact body was itself a phantom, rigged up by neurons as a ready scaffold. The body was the only home we had, and even it was more a postcard than a place. We did not live in muscles and joints and sinews; we lived in the thought and image and memory of them. No direct sensation, only rumors and unreliable reports.

* * *

Pointlessness flooded her, the futility of all exchange. Nobody reeally cared how the world looked to anyone else. She felt a deep need to break everything that pretended to connection. To live in this hollowness, where loyalty always led. Love was not the antidote to Capgras. Love was a form of it, making and denying others, at random.

* * *

It bruised his chest to look at her. All that unbearable care would crush him.

* * *

He fantasized about treating his own holiday descent with piracetam, a nootropic with no known toxicitiy or addictive properties. For years, he’d read amazing claims about the drug’s ability to enhance cognition by stimulating the flow of signals between the hemispheres. Several researchers he knew took it with small dosages of choline, a synergistic combination said to produce greater increases in memory and creativity than either drug taken alone.

* * *

The calls collect and echo, a single splintering, tone-deaf chorus stretching miles in every direction, back into the Pleistocene.

* * *

A proven neurological phenomenon: activity in the verbal center has a suppresing effect on pain.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *