Journey to the Centre of the Couch, Part 7

“You blaspheme an amusing amount, considering the last guy who came in here,” I remarked. Suity looked at me flatly. “Um, what are you getting zero of? I have to say, it just looks like you’re taking photos. And you’re using portrait format and holding the phone backwards, which makes them look like selfies.”

“I’m not taking selfies,” Suity said. “My name is Agent Wesson, and this device was designed by the CSIRO for-”

“Wait, are you a CSIRO agent? I didn’t even know they had agents. You look more like a Man In Black to me,” Suity – or Agent Wesson, I suppose, although that was less fun – looked at me flatly again. I wondered if flat was his normal look, and whether he might look at me foamily or fizzily or puffily once he got annoyed. “I’m just saying. I’m pretty sure you need some sort of warrant to go around scanning our stuff, and as much as I appreciate the help and don’t have anything to hide – I did invite you in, after all – it occurs to me that you already knew someone had fallen into our couch, and you came directly to it just now-”

“Do you always talk this much?”

“No,” I admitted, “I’m sort of filling in the blanks that my sidekick would normally put noise into.”

“Is he in there too?”

“He went in to get Michael back,” I paused, then scowled. “In where?”

“According to this,” Wesson held up his probably-only-incidentally-also-a-phone, “your whole living room here is registering at about a one-point-four on the pattern density register. It’s an atomic mass index that measures … not solidity, not density, but the … coherence of matter.”

“If you want to say ‘the very fabric of reality itself’, just go ahead,” I said. “You’re among friends.”

“I don’t know that I’d have said ‘itself’,” Wesson demurred, “that seems a bit … you know, super-villainy.”

“The theatre is in my blood,” I looked around. “So our living room is a one-point four,” I said, “and the normal very-fabric-of-reality-itself’s at a … what? Ten? Hundred?”

“Technically, infinite,” Wesson said apologetically. “This is still just theory, you understand. Even the device is only a prototype, and opportunities for testing it are rare. The register only becomes measurable when there’s a destabilisation in the,” he glanced at me guiltily, then went for it, “in the very fabric of reality,” he paused again.

“Go on,” I said. “You only live once.”


“Feels good, right?”

Wesson grunted. “In laboratory conditions, we’ve been able to synthesise environments that generated measurements we could express in terms of Graham’s number. And only for a split-second.”

“Graham, huh?”


“And our couch reads zero.”


“And you can tell this by scanning it on your phone.”

Agent Wesson looked smug. “There’s an app.”

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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2 Responses to Journey to the Centre of the Couch, Part 7

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Great interaction here, I love this one, itself =D


    • stchucky says:

      Hee, thanks. I just re-watched the Who double-episode with Davros, and his fantastically hammy DESTROY REALITY ITSELF villain-monologue. Plus, there are so many fun “Agent” characters throughout pop culture, this practically wrote itself. Also a fun experiment in managing some sort of interaction without Creepy in the room.

      Agent Wesson could almost get his own spin-off. I think a CSIRO series is long overdue.

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