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Telepathic Shopping for Postsingular

I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from blogging.

Meanwhile here’s something I wrote for Postsingular this weekend, taking off from that outline material I posted last week.

The clothes on display were funkier than at home, each item unique, and everything very colorful. Things weren’t so industrialized here. The leathers and wools, in particular, were individually tweaked by craftspeople called coaxers. Some coaxers got into close telepathic synch with an animal so as to influence the colors and textures of the creature’s skin or hair. Other coaxers worked at affecting the tints in plant fibers such as cottons and linens. As well as affecting the physical qualities of natural materials, coaxers also worked at getting animals and plants to imbue their substances with certain psychic properties.

One shop, for instance, had developed a way to deal with the nosers and pervs who liked to teep inside your clothes. They’d developed silk underwear that emanated unsettling angry-silkworm vibes whenever a mind delved inside. And then they’d leapfrogged the notion to produce undies whose denunciations were in fact designed to position the wearer as forbidden — and therefore alluring — fruit.

Down the block, some well-dressed Highbraners were enjoying a late lunch in a cozy restaurant. Their meals contained huge amounts of information. Each plateful of food was teep-tagged with the history of how the ingredients had been produced, with images of the chef’s preparation process, and with annotations on the order of : “Especially crisp and lemony right here;” “Pry here to get a nice nugget of meat;” or “Be sure to dip this in the sauce.”

Next door was a bar, but Thuy couldn’t teep inside. For the protection of the drinkers, their vibes were screened off by aggressive mental stylings being broadcast by a dazzler. The dazzler was visible in the doorway, a black swami with a shaved head, sitting with muscular arms crossed, and wearing a calfskin coaxed to resemble a leopard pelt. He was like a living internet hub, sending your attention off into contact with the most interesting minds of the nonce. You never made it past him to the interior of the bar.

Thuy noticed a hooker exiting the bar with her john. Teeping in, she picked up the hooker’s name: Balla. Balla’s vibes were an education in themselves; she’d honed the skill of offering her short-term partners the emotional sense of intimacy and shared history — magically divorced from empathy and commitment. Just seeing Balla slowly brush her hair, Thuy had the brief impression that she knew Balla really well, and that Balla was very fond of her — though of course the illusion was as thin as the skin of a balloon.

Deeper abstractions of emotionality were on offer in an art gallery across the street from the auto clinic. Teeping in, Thuy saw some physically non-descript roundish sculptures that were teep-tagged to project the most remarkable states: sense of wonder, raw transcendence, sensual pleasure, the presence of infinity. They were like smooth rocks bearing with them the vibes of years in the bed of a woodland stream, although here the flowing waters were the currents of the gifted artists’ minds.

Near the spot where Metotem Metabooks had stood was something like a bookshop. But it held no reams of paper filled with printed words. Although the telepathic Highbraners could use spoken speech, they seemed never to trouble themselves with writing things out in phonetic form. Highbrane authors were something like cartoonists, blocking out networks of somewhat self-contained mental states. Their books were networks of teep-tag glyphs; and the tags were embedded not in pages, but in plants, stones, scraps of cloth, medallions and pottery cups.

Picking up on Thuy’s vibe, the owner, who actually looked a bit like a giant Darlene, stepped slowly from of the store. “You’re fresh from the Lowbrane?” she boomed, then switched to teeping. “I’m Durga. And you’re a novelist? Would you like to record something for me to sell?”

“Go ahead, Thuy,” urged Ond. “Show Durga what you showed us. It was beautiful. And it’ll enhance understanding between the braneworlds.”

“If we come in, will you give us a snack?” Chu asked Durga.

Durga gave them mugs of tea and enormous spice cookies. Nibbling her cookie, Thuy picked up the vibes of the far-flung islands where the tea and spices had grown. Taking a few minutes to get it right, she arranged her mental representation of Wheenk along the seemingly endless spike of memory that the curious topology of Highbrane space had given her. And then she teeped the images and emotions across to Durga and onto, of all things, five potted cactuses on Durga’s window sill.

“If I sell off all these cactuses, I can make second-impressions,” said Durga. “Or if you’re still around, you can make fresh first-impression ones. But I have a feeling you’ll be going soon.”


One Response to “Telepathic Shopping for Postsingular

  1. Steve H Says:

    Rudy, teep-tags make it sound as if a Highbrane men’s room would be a good place to avoid. Also, Highbrane would be a bad place to try that coffee that’s made from beans picked out of civet cat dung (little teep-tags saying ??? and WTF? as you drink).
    How close is the parallelism between the two branes? Is it a coincidence that a bookstore and the bookshop are in the ‘same’ location? Did the Highbrane have an Elvis, and is his Graceland where ours is? How about Mt Rushmore? Would PKD be one of the faces, or Turing? Maybe Zappa?
    Did the Highbrane have a really tall Zappa? What was his guitar like? Did it really want to kill his mama? What did they rebel against in the Sixties, and was there a Haight-Ashbrane?
    If language and print exist in the Highbrane, they must have been necessary at one time. Did they gradually become telepathic? Or was language something they theorized but didn’t have, like telepathy for us?
    So you DO get a second chance to make a first impression? At least on cactus? Shouldn’t the dazzler be called a bouncer, since he bounces your attention away?
    Questions, questions, questions, flooding into the mind of the concerned person today….

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