Niall:    The night folds down around me. The shallow purple-black sky swirls and flickers, hums like a billion electronic mosquitoes. Moon in absentia, the star light all new and wrong, the void devoid. It feels like a game – a half  life, purblind in twelve billion colours, a sixty four bit facade, mega mana, a metareal subroutine, or a subreal surreal techno-metamorphosis, a dataflow osmosis, a  capitulation to a pixellated postmortal neoelysian Panopticon..

Polly:   Not like that. It couldn’t be, it can’t be.

Niall:    Why not? An implanted interface, a neural modem,  a biouplink, or a cybergene fused with the human DNA.

Polly:   It’s an unrealistic and outlandish vision.

Niall:    [Mumbles to himself ] Unrealistic? No foresight, no intuited presumption. Bound to the malignant technoid tide, but blind to it.

Polly:   Why malignant, anyway? Maybe it’s evolution, a transition. The dawn of a hybrid reality.

Niall:    You’ve just completely altered your argument. You’re coming at me from the opposite direction. It’s a blatant and transparent attack. I’m speculating, not prophesising,  why.. tear me down?

Polly:   I’m not. Or at least not without good reason.  Your speculation is based on a series of unlikely precepts, and narrow assumptions drawn from smutty science fiction literature and cheesy hollywood excursions into marketable fantasy, and dystopian solipcism.

Niall:    Where do you draw the line?

Polly:   What line?

Niall:    If you’re attacking my precepts how do you decide which are false?

Polly:   Oh, I see.  Defending your intuited presumption. Your precocious extrapolation and causal inference. Well, how about memory? True or false?

Niall:     Could be false. An elaborate mental construct to cover for an unbearably frank reality.

Polly:   Or a sinister secretly administered viral logarythmia of  chronic neural delusion.

Niall:    So we can’t trust memory, or rely on remembered previous experience, it’s useless. We must be wary of any association not relating directly to present perception.

Polly:   Perception then. True or false?

Niall:    Careful. The foundations are shaking. Tread with precision, my friend, the fundamental tenets of reality are at stake.

Polly:   Don’t be so melodramatic.

Niall:    You’ll cast us into the void singlehandedly. We’re playing a dangerous game: maybe we don’t want to shatter the illusion.

Polly:   All right then. We’re granted the luxury of perception. At least we can qualify each other.

Niall:    Not necessarily. You might be a part of my illusion.

Polly:   Or you of mine.

Niall:    A blue room. No door. One window, high up and shuttered. A table, a chair, and a sofa. The two of us.

Polly:   A white room, heavy oak door, old. No window. Two chairs, a sofa, and us.

Niall:    Polished floorboards. A naked bulb, dim, hangs from the ceiling. Two glasses and a bottle on the table.

Polly:   Worn carpet. A lamp on the floor. Two glasses and a bottle beside the lamp.

Niall:    We’re not getting anywhere.

[The door opens and Gribble enters.]

Polly:   That proves the door.

Niall:    Where did he come from?

Gribble:  Is it just the two of you in here?

Niall:    Are there others?

Polly:   Are there steps outside?

Niall:    What colour is the sky?

Polly:   Wait. Why should we trust him? He’s  using memory now, just like us.

[To Gribble]  Tell us what you see. Objects, colours, everything.

Gribble: I’m blind. Besides, why should I confirm or deny your vague suppositions? It sounds to me suspiciously as though you are crude and transient characters created solely for the purpose of this argument. The dialogue is your praxis – all else is embellishment.

Niall:    I’m surprised. I had at first taken you for a fool.

Polly:   Have you got a match? [She waves her cigarette under Gribble’s nose. ]

Niall:    It’s cold.


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