Infinite Mirror by Matias Viegener
They are our spooky friends, the drones. You think they’re coming but they’re already here. You know that movie Poltergeist? Back then they still needed to come through our TV sets. Now they’re much smarter. There might be one under your bed right now. Two years ago I decided to prepare myself. I bought one. I bought my own drone. Then I brought it home took it out of the box and flew it around my street. It’s hard to control, as if it has a mind of its own though of course that’s an illusion, right? Drones are made for the video game generation and that’s not me. My first love was fountain pens. So now I have a drone of my own. It’s like a fancy boy’s toy sort of a rich kid’s toy which really means a young adult male toy. It’s a camera with propellers and it does more tricks than most cameras. I like to show it to people. I like when they touch it. You wanna touch my drone, I ask. The first thing I did was take it up to my window and look inside my living room. To the left is David, my boyfriend, stretched on the sofa and watching TV. Straight ahead is the kitchen, with a bowl of heirloom tomatoes I’d just picked. But why limit ourselves to just looking from outside. I take the drone in the window. David was gone already, making something to eat, so we poke around the living room where there’s some weird art, most of it leaning against the walls rather than hanging up. Are the people who live here transient we wondered. Or maybe they’re indecisive. It’s nice to look around inside. There’s a mirrored wall and the drone can see itself looking around. It’s tempting to wonder if it has self-awareness irresistible even. It’s as if we want it to have self-awareness so as to be more uncanny. If you haven’t seen it my drone is about the size of a big casserole and it weighs about the same as a puppy. Or a chicken. That’s a better analogy. Chickens are birds and birds fly, though like drones chickens are more interested in what’s on the ground than what’s in the air. Once we got bored in the living room we peeked into the powder room. Not much there though. Why do they call it powder room when there’s never any powder. We saw David’s back in the kitchen but then he was gone. Those heirloom tomatoes boy they look great. All those colors, they have character unlike those supermarket tomatoes. There’s an opening to the dining room a pass-through they call it, everything’s really open here, it’s California after all nothing to hide lots of windows etc. My laptop is in the dining room it’s my office now. It was once upstairs but I wanted to be closer to the kitchen the heart of the house somehow, the hearth the heart the stomach the center of the home. The laptop is open to my email and my drone is very interested in it. Who am I emailing and what’s that bill on the table and all these other papers. There’s some roses they look stumpy sorta homegrown in a little vase, but we’re distracted by the paper shredder. What’s there to shred. Why are people so obsessed with privacy anyway. If you do research you know nothing is private, not one bit of email phone call or text message. Anything you buy any web site you visit. If you have a cell phone they track you with it plus it can listen in on you or hear you like at night when you sleep in case you say things in your dreams. They’re listening. It’s not even people. The programs are listening and they hear better than we do. They hear things but then they hear things in things and more things in those things until they know us better than we know ourselves. The paper shredder is blinking as if it’s jammed. David came through the kitchen got his spaghetti and tomato sauce and cheese and went upstairs where he eats in bed while he works on his laptop. Sometimes he eats in the living room while he watches TV and other times in the bedroom mostly dinner downstairs and lunch upstairs. I had a triple nightmare last night: some kind of hippie family invaded my home from the hill above, threatened to sue me when I asked them to leave. I escaped them in my car but noticed the brakes completely stopped working, so I coasted through the lights which miraculously each turned green until I came to a stop on a hill. Then all these drivers started yelling at me to get my car out of the street. Things started to get ugly until we all got distracted by a giant rocket flying low around the city. We realized it was a nuclear missile and waited for the detonation. Everything got silent. But I look up at the hill at my house one last time and the hippie family was gone. The paper shredder is blinking it’s jammed. As if someone was in a hurry, too many papers to shred. We like the blinking lights. There’s some kind of code to them like Morse code. Yes no no yes yes yes yes yes. Behind us is the dining table and the roses. They are very fragrant. Though the drone has no sense of smell it’s not stupid. It must know they were cut from the hill above by the person who lives here. It’s only logical. You can see the hill out the back patio door beyond the dining table that’s now mostly a desk. I only planted light colored fragrant roses. White pink cream lavender coral even yellowish. Lavender is often the sweetest. It’s a certain kind of person who will plant lavender roses a certain type, girlish maybe. We make another pass around the roses maybe there’s more to learn. Drones are getting smaller all the time. Some are already the size of flies and soon they will be smaller still. They’ll be so tiny they can pass through window screens through cracks in the house. Every building has cracks somewhere even the Pentagon. They can fly in hordes too like bees, and in formation like fighter jets or alien ships in science fiction movies. They can do tricks you can’t even imagine. Among the roses are smaller flowers, butterfly weed, long white spires like little rockets fragrant too in their own way enough to attract butterflies from afar. Before I loved fountain pens I flirted with feather pens: with quills, bird feathers cut at an angle. I thought it was so quaint so romantic to write with them like people from another time like Shakespeare or Ben Franklin. He discovered electricity by flying a kite with a key on the string. When lightning struck he caught the lightning in a jar he threw over the key. Why do we pay for electricity today I don’t know. Feather quills worked well though you had to dip them in the ink a lot. But at least you could write down what you were thinking. You could send people letters and even write them by candlelight because there were no electric lights. Plus the feather quills came from birds and what could be more romantic more adventuresome than that. Who hasn’t dreamed of flying. It’s like being an angel. So when you write with a feather quill the words seem to come from above, from God if you believe in him. The words float out on ink onto paper from your fingers from the birds from the sky and beyond wherever that is, the universe. The sky is a great metaphor it has no end and no beginning. It’s endless more like the universe than the ocean because it kind of blends into outer space until you’re in the solar system and then the galaxy. God, this is my first drone story and I’ve got to finish it and not get distracted by every little thing. It’s hard sometimes not to think that everything has a meaning or might have a meaning if you look at it long enough. It’s a problem I’ve had since I was a kid. So there’s the drone looking at the roses and by the way there’s also some feathery silver leaves, really magical. They catch the light they shimmer. The drone gets too close and knocks the flowers over, the water gushes across the table and into the papers trickles down onto the floor. There’s rose petals everywhere and a dripping sound. The drone turns around to look. As if it feels guilt. Then it turns back to the glass door and goes out into the patio and up to the sky above the house gets smaller you see the city the sky goes white.
“Drone Meditation” Documentation from 4/20/2014