On the Eve of the Apocalypse

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, March 2017

“I know that you claim you didn’t vote in favor of the Elasporians’ imminent occupation of Earth. But you couldn’t have fought very hard against it.”

Dear Patriarchal Genetic Progenitor,

In spite of my requests that you leave me alone, I find notifications and messages from you, little traces of your electronic existence, in every aspect of the virtual world whenever I dare to tread in it.  Generally, I ignore your unwanted advances toward a relationship that I gave up long ago.  But tonight, knowing that the Elasporians will descend to Earth tomorrow, I find that the idea of reaching out to you and your myriad tiny abuses is less painful and frightening than the reality that all flesh-bodied humans will face tomorrow.

So I’m writing you this missive.  You’re probably reading it as I write, your electronically quickened mind now able to flit from one corner of the net to the other faster than I can blink one of my mundanely physical eyes.  I know — you think I should upload my mind to the net too.  You probably think you were being generous in offering to pay for it.  But I don’t want your money.  I don’t want to be uploaded.  You never have respected my choices or beliefs — the way that I feel my physical body is a true and necessary part of who I am.

I know that you claim you didn’t vote in favor of the Elasporians’ imminent occupation of Earth.  But you couldn’t have fought very hard against it.  You and your uploaded cronies have nothing to lose when the sinuous snake-like reptiles from Antares come to wrap their venom-oozing bodies around the fleshy humans left on Earth, digesting and dissolving us from the outside in.  It will be horrific.  But you won’t have to see it — you can level a new warlock class character in World of Lifecraft to 60 and simultaneously read the epic poems of Davi D., the new avant-garde AI, all while composing your own memoir about how your daughter wronged you by being too stubborn to give up her body and become code floating through the computers of the world.

I would unplug those computers if I could.  Don’t doubt that.  If the great halls where the computers are housed weren’t surrounded by killer robots, I wouldn’t be the only one.  We’d come to unplug them en masse — all our fleshy hands pawing obscenely at the electronic veins of your mechanical hearts and brains.

But tomorrow, I’ll watch my fleshy friends, one by one, be captured and eaten as delicacies by space snakes that you invited here, because they could make your computer world run a little faster.  Technicians, who only asked that you let them eat the vestigial physical bodies you’d left behind.  Even if some of them hadn’t been left behind — some of those bodies still have people inside them.  Like me.

I don’t expect to live long once the Elasporians descend from the metal space saucers, so this will likely be our last communication.  I have to admit, you taught me three things before you abandoned me for your virtual world.

  1. How to peel a grapefruit properly, removing all the bitter membranes and leaving only the sweet.
  2. And this one’s really ironic — some excellent video game strategies, back when you were a real person in a real physical body.  I guess, for you now, those video game strategies would count as actual life lessons. Your entire life is a video game.  But not for me.  For me, it was a way to while away a few useless hours.
  3. How it feels to be disrespected — and as a consequence, to never allow anyone to disrespect me.

So thank you for those lessons.  I don’t think the first two will serve much of a purpose any longer.  But as the Elasporian venom melts my flesh tomorrow, I will hate the insidious space snake that’s eating me alive with every fiber of my being — every fiber of my hatred for you.

Goodbye Father.

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