A weblog by Hao Lian.
A terrible secret guarded by golems.
A note that thanks you for being born, all those years ago.
A man walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender pulls out a gun and points it at him. The man says, “Thank you,” and walks out.
In this answer, everybody dies.
Charles rushed into the nearest bar. He looked at the bartender, straight in the eyes, and rattled off a long list of words that constituted a fancy drink served, traditionally, as part of a week-long celebration of sexuality in some Eastern European duchies. He hurriedly drank it and tried to leave.
“Not so fast, Charles,” said the bartender who, while saying this, pulled out a gun, which was dozing peacefully between the bourbon and the vodka.
“That’s a cat, Simone. But thanks anyway.” He walked out.
The bartender cursed, but it was too late. Charles had made his escape. The bartender threw the cat (Dr. Whiskers) away and leapt well over the counter, hitting the floor running.
They ran through the city night, passing by an old woman who unbeknownst to her was about to die of old age peacefully, 20 years from now. The old woman fed the pigeons because her children never called. She glanced at Charles and Simone as they ran by.
They ran through the city night, passing by the statue of Wilhelm, the city founder. Wilhelm, who had imbibed an immortality portion to prevent death only to have his political enemies bronze him to a supposed death, heard the pit-pat-puts of the footsteps on the cobbles. He sighed and re-derived the Grand Unified Theory for the 1.48e18th time.
“How’s it going, Wilhelm?” said the old woman, tottering past the man with the golden body.
“Fine. You, Agnes?” said Wilhelm.
“My back’s acting up real bad.” The old woman grunted and shuffled away.
Wilhelm loved Agnes. She was funny, and he knew she was beautiful because her voice was beautiful and even if she wasn’t he would still never stop looking at her, and if this wasn’t love what was? Wilhelm tried to send all his love to her. His love, honed by not having felt anything else inside the statue for all these years, was so strong it caused Agnes back to chronically ache. Agnes, feeling the pain every time she walked near the statue, eventually stopped frequenting Wilhelm at all in a twist of cruel, Pavlovian fate. Their love—for it was mutual—drove them apart.
Say “I love you,” goddamnit, Wilhelm thought to himself. But the embarrassment would be too much, even for a man trapped behind bronze. And so his love, like him, sat pure, cold, and untouched.
They ran through the city night, entering into a dead-end. Simone cornered Charles into an alley. “Why did you run?” she screamed at him, somewhat incoherently. “You know I need the money. I trusted you. I trusted you!”
Simone waggled the gun at him.
“Careful. Careful. You’ve never shot anybody before.” Charles tried to project a soothing tone of absolute care.
“I shot a man once, just to see what the police would do,” Simone said.
“What did they do?”
“Bleed, mostly.” But that’s not what her heart said. Her heart said this: “I love you.”
“I’M NOT HAPPY,” Charles screamed, incoherently. His heart said the same. And his hypothalamus agreed and added, “Why must I always be defined by whom I am below?”
Charles, a deer in the headlights, stared at Simone—a beautiful shaking woman with auburn hair and a gun in her hand pointed at him, shaking because she wished she had a bronze mask, shaking because it was cold inside and outside her, shaking because she knew why he was unhappy—, Charles being a man who only had the thoughts of Eastern European Carnivale running through his head, but a man, a man who had lived alone ever since his family died in the fire and he had found misshaped love in auburn elsewhere, a broken man with big brown eyes.
I made a mistake, I woke up, it’s all the same now in the shadow of the city. My friend tells me that waking up is a series of complex chemical reactions that rescued you from the unconscious state of innocence. A lot of potassium and sodium ions flow to the right places at the right times to get you to wake up. Each ion is doing the right thing with good intentions and inevitably lead to one colossal mistake. My friend also said, before we found his body, that the road to perdition was paved with good intentions. I never learned why you would want to travel to this placed called perdition, which sounded awfully close to a convention of dentists. (I’ve been to one of those, and they ramble on forever without plaques or women or plot.) And paving with good intentions, which seemed terribly abstract. I have a lot of paver friends, and I think they’d be angry to learn that somebody was paving with a material not sanctioned by the Paver Union. What, is this perdition person too good for brick? And, if so many people went to perdition each today, there’d be a bureau of transportation somewhere. And they’d see to it that there’d be a road paved with asphalt, and why wouldn’t you want to travel on that? It all comes down to trust sometimes. I figure people who travel on the intentions road must be really stubborn, and they probably deserve what they get for making such poor decisions.
The room I’m in is gently rising and gently falling. You can tell me to go outside, but I know where I am. All around me is water because I can hear it and I can hear the seagulls, white and pure and innocent. And the water isn’t the cheerful type that cheerfully sparkles its cheerful blueness every time you cheerfully look at it. The water is probably gray and sullen; somebody had told to water to go up to its bedroom and stay there until dinner, and the water was not very happy about it. I can tell. It’s that kind of day. I don’t even know where I am. The water is choppy too, but there’s no good analogy to describe choppy because I’ve tried many times and each time my brain hurts and I end up writing a romance novel instead about dentists and their perdition.
J. stood outside his room, staring at the faux oak paneling. He nestled his toes in the brittle gray carpet, which was last cleaned—by accident—back when the only hole the Antarctic had was The Sinkhole. The Sinkhole was and perhaps is still a grungy bar where rugged marine biologists, made cynics by the twin demons of academia and government, chugged down a few beers in between tackling polar bears and ice demons, both external and internal. J. knew none of this. If he had, his thoughts would’ve been quickly drowned out by the thumping bass music playing in the room across the hallway from the time J. tried to fall asleep to the time J. tried to fall awake. To understand J., we must first understand the brain.
The brain is a large biological machine run by God’s chemicals, things with a bunch of carbon in them usually. God likes carbon because he likes the number 12. Jesus once petitioned the people of Aramaia to convert to base 12 with no luck. The mathematic world, faced with this vacuum, chose base 10. By sheer coincidence, base 10 is Satan’s favorite number. Base 10 is Satan’s greatest achievement.
In 2003, U.S. scientists demonstrated that D. radiodurans could be
used as a means of information storage that might survive a nuclear
catastrophe. They translated the song It’s a Small World into a
series of DNA segments 150 base pairs long, inserted these into the
bacteria, and were able to retrieve them without errors 100
“Deinococcus radiodurans”, Wikipedia
Puzzle: Assume we’re talking about a complete dominance, non-pleiotrophic, non-epistatic, single gene. Let’s say you have two boxes of flies. One box has 100% red males. The other has 100% blue females. You mate the two boxes. They produce children. All the male children are 100% blue. All the female children are 100% red. You now mate all the children. Now the males are 50% blue and 50% red. The females are also 50% blue and 50% red. What the hell?
Solution: Red is a sex-linked dominant allele. (Remember that males are XY and females are XX.) In the original population, all the males were X(r)Y and all the females are X(b)X(b) where X(_) means _ is a linked to the X chromosome. When you cross X(r)Y and X(b)X(b), you get four equally possible choices: X(r)X(b) twice and X(b)Y twice. Hence, all the females are red because red is dominant and all the males are blue because it only takes one recessive allele on the X chromosome to express the recessive phenotype. That’s because the Y chromosome is completely neutral with regards to this whole fracas.
When you mate X(r)X(b) and X(b)Y, you get four equally possible choices: X(r)X(b), X(r)Y, X(b)X(b), and X(b)Y. Therefore, 50% red and 50% blue for males and females.