The Myconet, Part 7

Day 64. 161 pages, 58,131 words.

For a moment I was lost in the tableau.

Creepy tended to create tableaux whenever he entered a room, apparently by complete random chance and an innate showmanship that bordered on the instinctive. It was more than just making an entrance, though. It wasn’t the same as creating a scene.

Creepy walked into high-tension situations like he was part of a television show from the ’80s, and had just frozen in place so his character name and actor credit could appear on a non-existent screen.

I glared at him, waiting for the scene to un-freezeframe and the invisible studio audience to stop applauding.

“What have I done?” I repeated.

“Have you seen the street?” he demanded with every sign of completely unfeigned incredulity. “The old Barnsley Prison Yard is seeping back to the surface, along with half of Lake Philip – which has been dry for a three quarters of a century – and about ten thousand dead convict salt miners!”

“I know this,” I said, willing my voice to stay level. “I was down there in the sub-sewer when you picked up that damn trumpet and tooted on it and yelled ‘charge!’.”

“Yes … ” Creepy said, as though talking to a half-wit, “and then instead of showing the respect due a superior officer, you said ‘put that back and stop being a twat’, and then you said something about the writing etched into the wall but by then the damage had already been done, and the wall was already oozing ‑ ”

“It’s a cookhouse trumpet,” I said. “The suitable thing for you to have done would’ve been to toot on it and then serve lunch.”

“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

“Lunch, instead of Prince Philip Street ankle-deep in plague sludge? I should think most people would like that,” I squinted. “Where’s the trumpet now?”

“This isn’t about who blew on which brass instrument to raise the old salt lake and its mass-grave of pickled convicts,” Creepy said loftily, “and it’s certainly not about who sold which brass instrument to the antique dealer on the corner of Collins Square in return for an authentic pair of X-ray specs ‑ ”

Trainee chose this moment to speak up.

“Neither of you should be up here, I’m going to have to inform security, and what’s that you’ve put on the conference table?”

“Trainee, the Myconet,” I introduced without breaking eye-contact with Creepy. “Myconet, Trainee. And I didn’t put her there, she came here on her own. Where are the X-ray specs?” I went on.

“What?” Creepy cast a guilty look at Trainee that was so very fleeting I think only I could possibly have noticed it, then drew himself up. “If you think I’m going to give such a powerful piece of technology to an irresponsible and frankly perverse character like you, Hatboy ‑ ”

“I know they didn’t work,” I said patiently, “or you’d still be wearing them because it’s one of your missions in life to see just how many office building drones actually have sticks up their ‑ ”

“Well naturally I took them off when I realised you were here,” Creepy replied. “Naturally I have no desire to see what – and let’s face it – there’s a horrible chance you might not be wearing under those trackies.”

“That’s a fair point.”

“I also wished to safeguard the purity of this young lady,” Creepy said gallantly. “I mean, she’s only just learning how to be a receptionist ‑ ”

“No, Trainee is actually my name,” Trainee said, “and I’m calling security. Also, X-ray specs? What are you, twelve?”

Creepy huffed. “Twelve dog years, maybe.”

“Creepy, I keep telling you, that’s not the way dog years work,” I said.

“Excuse me,” Creepy huffed some more. “Of the three people and one giant riddle-telling toadstool in this room, which of us have actually been a dog?”

Me,” I said, continuing to keep my voice steady and calm, “because you hid the werewolf’s silver worm tablet in a piece of cheese and ‑ ”

“Objection!” Creepy declared. “Irrelevant.”

I sighed. “Do you still have the X-ray specs or not?”

He squinted. “Why?”

“Because our only chance at this moment is to take them back to the antique dealer and hope he’s okay with backsies,” I said. “And – point of order, by the way, you should stop making trades with people who aren’t okay with backsies.”

“But Hatboy,” Creepy said patiently, “it’s the X-ray specs we need! Have you forgotten why we were down in the sub-sewer in the first place?”

To be honest, I hadn’t forgotten – but it had dropped a few positions on my priority-list since the long-vanished lake started to make its presence known in the middle of the city.

It was … you know, sort of a long story.

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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25 Responses to The Myconet, Part 7

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    I think, uhh, that IS how dog years work…. To make a small number (12) into a bigger number (84, or 70 by another formula, etc.). Right? So if I say what are you, 10? And you make the dog years comment, you’re saying “pssh, I’m much older than that!” Which was the usage here…right?

    • stchucky says:

      12 dog years is 1.71 human years. That’s how dog years work.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        No, it isn’t, my friend. Truly. I knew it wasn’t but still I googled before I commented. 1 dog year is, roughly, 7 human years. I promise. Think about it: the purpose is to take a dog’s lifespan and speak of it in term of a human lifespan. So since the dog lives far shorter, each dog year represents several human years.

        (the 1:7 is actually not what most experts use now, but it’s a good enough rubric).

      • stchucky says:

        Creepy just suggested he was one seventh of the age of a twelve-year-old human. A twelve-dog-years-old dog. A less-than-two-human-years-old human. Or at least this is what the audience could very easily have been expected to see, and just chuckle and move on.

        It’s actually more complicated than that and wasn’t exactly what either Creepy or Hatboy were saying, but if you want me to get into it more, you’ll get your wish. I have yet again overestimated my audience but I’ll make it work for me.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        That’s not how we use the term here but maybe it’s yet another country-based idiom.

        “Since the 1950s, the popular calculation of how old a dog was “in human years” has been that
        1 dog year is the equivalent of 7 human ones. Even though this formula has been around for a
        surprisingly long time, the reality is not so cut-and-dried. That doesn’t stop many people from defaulting to this traditional calculation. “You can’t really kill the seven-year rule,” says Kelly M. Cassidy, a curator of the Charles R. Connor Museum at Washington State University, who compiles studies about longevity in dogs.”

      • stchucky says:

        So a one-calendar-year-old human or dog is seven dog years old.

        So a 1.7-calendar-year-old human or dog is twelve dog years old.

        Again, this isn’t really what Creepy was saying but you’ve forced my hand and it’s probably all for the best. It was just meant to be a throw-away line but like I say, I overestimated my readers. Or underestimated them, not sure. Either way, a better and more extended use for that joke presented itself, thanks to you.

        When Trainee asked if he was twelve, and Creepy said “twelve dog years”, please note the two key facts:

        1) He didn’t say “twelve in dog years”
        2) Hatboy knows Creepy and you do not

        …and please submit your final attempt at wrecking this side-joke in the usual form of a delightfully pointless nitpick.

        I will then provide you with your final score.

      • dreameling says:

        Huh. I didn’t really register it while reading… But Aaron’s right. 1 dog year is 7 human years. A 10-year-old dog equals a 70-year-old human. So when Creepy scoffs that he’s 12 dog years, he’s saying he’s as mature as a 84-year-old human. Or that’s how I read it. I don’t think “in” would make a difference here.

        Not sure why but this is a real brain-twister when you stop to think about it. Clearly my math is not all that.

      • stchucky says:

        See my answers to Aaron. If you want a score too, feel free to offer some sort of pointless closing remark.

      • stchucky says:

        But you guys just gave me a great idea where to go with the story next. You’re probably not going to like it.

      • dreameling says:

        I have a bad feeling about this.

        Aaron, I think he’s going to fictionalize us and metaphorically skull-fuck us.

      • stchucky says:

        No, it’s going to be great. You’ve given me a direction to take this that I never would have thought of before. I want to thank you for that. Never change.

        I mean, shave a nice clean patch in the top of your heads and leave the drill on the table there, but never change.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “See my answers to Aaron. If you want a score too, feel free to offer some sort of pointless closing remark.”

        Wow. I thought for certain if someone else agreed with me you’d give this a bit more thought. But instead you doubled-down on being an asshole. An incorrect asshole: the worst kind.

        There was no word “in” with the phrase “dog years” in the article. It said “dog years into human years”. We don’t NEED to say “12 IN dog years”, and you didn’t say that, nor did the article. We say “12 dog years” and that’s enough. Do you have *any* reference to back up the system you’re operating underneath?

        Dog Year = x, Human year = y

        The article told you 1x = 7y and you didn’t reject that. You seem to think you’ve been using that all along.

        So, 1x = 7y
        12x = 84y
        12 dog years = 84 human years (translating back to words instead of variables)
        You’re saying 12x = 1.7y which is just fucking wrong.

        I don’t know what is up with this “Hatboy is always right and Aaron is always wrong” shit you’ve been pulling lately, but I thank FUCK that only happens on this blog instead of real life, especially at work, where I do shit like the above and FAR MORE COMPLICATED math as well, on a daily basis. This is fucking simple shit, man. I don’t know where you get off not even TRYING to IMAGINE I might be right. What’s more, dreameling is now backing me up, but clearly you aren’t even fucking CONSIDERING it.

        I’m glad here at work my thoughts and facts, yes not my opinions, are respected. Fuck respecting my opinions you aren’t even respecting my FACTS. If I were really as stupid as you seem to think, I couldn’t have this job much less be slated to replace my supervisor next year. So I’m glad this shit is only happening here on this blog, or my family would be in my parents’ basement as I flip burgers at McDonalds. If I can even be trusted to do THAT right.

        And oh yeah, I TRIED to see it your way. I created a hypothesis where 12 dog years = 1.7 human years. I worked on it for over an hour, with the language and the mathematics (and yes, I do have to translate English into math for work, before you suggest they are separate issues). I agree with dreameling: it’s a mind twist. But in the end, you have to use it the exact opposite of how the term is used: to explain how a dog ages relative to a human.

        So a dog AGES 7 human years for every year of its life (again, roughly speaking). Surely you don’t dispute that because a dog lives only 12-15 human years. That means a dog year represents MANY human years, not the other way around as you are somehow coming up with.

        BELIEVE US, goddamnit. Do some fucking research. This is an aside joke to you, but if it doesn’t make any sense to anyone else, what use is it?

        I was going to write a lot more because you said a whole lot of hurtful bullshit and heaped many accusations and insults upon me, but I think I answered most of it, and fuck the rest. IDGAF anymore.

        What I DO care about is you accused me of trying to “wreck” your joke. To “wreck” your writing.

        I have NEVER tried or wanted to wreck any of your writing. Only to improve it. Is that what my editing work has become to you?

        Seriously, what the FUCK is going on here? I’m done with your blog, your arrogance, and editing for you. You need to start paying an editor because no one is going to put up with this bullshit for free.

        Oh and take your “score” and shove it up your ass. You’ll probably fuck up the math on that as well. And try to tell a math major from fucking MIT that he’s got it wrong.

      • stchucky says:

        LOL, sorry, did read but not going to respond. This is massively too trivial for me, especially right now but, you know, basically ever.

      • stchucky says:

        Thanks for the laugh though.

      • dreameling says:

        Please tell me I should be laughing.

      • stchucky says:

        Uh, yeah, I don’t know. I’m laughing, but I’ve been known to laugh at strange things. I think you’re fine. I mean, as long as you were amused by my actual in-story response, then I’m relieved.

      • dreameling says:

        Holy crapballs, dudes, I can no longer tell what’s a joke and what’s not.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Holy crapballs, dudes, I can no longer tell what’s a joke and what’s not.”

        Nothing I have said here has been a joke. HTH.

      • dreameling says:

        That makes me sad.

  2. brknwntr says:

    Dreamling, this is a penguins moment. Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.

  3. brknwntr says:

    I’m at work now. I will address this issue in a few hours. I have good news though. I will respectfully disagree with everybody.

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