Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

The Great Archeologist AI Minds of the 22nd Century Solve Case #9821309 from the Early 21st Digital Archives

by Trent Walters

The following conversation took place on October 8, 2122 at 9:13:23.967 though October 8, 2122 at 9:13:23.973 GMT.

AI #1: Aye-Two, can you make meaning of this sentence:  “Trent wrote on Trent Walters is a Kung Fu Master’s Wall.

AI #2: Aye-One, do you suppose this human named Trent inscribed his body with a bio-graffiti tattoo, reading, “Walters is a Kung Fu Master’s Wall”?

AI #1: No, what makes the sentence curious is the sentence-within-a-sentence structure and its consequent ambiguity.

AI #2: Ah, yes.  Play both illuminates and obfuscates.

AI #1: Precisely.

AI #2: It may mean that he desires to be the wall of a Kung Fu master:  kicked and punched by the best, perhaps, but still standing.  Perhaps context will shed light?

AI #1: Facebook.

AI #2: His face?

AI #1: He has none.

AI #2: Ah, the generic.  No pictures.  The visually-anonymous breed.

AI #1: Note: “Trent Walters is a Kung Fu Master” is the name of a group.

AI #2: Subtitled:  “This is a pointless group whose point is only to lend a faux legitimacy to the notion that Trent Walters is a Kung Fu Master.”  Question:  How does something pointless have a point?

AI #1: Precisely.

AI #2: And if it were truly pointless, would it include this heart-felt plea:  “Yesterday around 8pm CST, we were one of the fastest growing group in all of Facebook from 0 to 2 members! Today, we have no new members. What do we need to do to expand our horizons? Spend millions on an ad campaign? Or should we bring lemon bars and punch to meetings? Discuss options.”?

AI #1: My perusal of the group’s creator shows he was an educator.

AI #2: Of?

AI #1: Some aspect of science.

AI #2: Hazy.

AI #1: Precisely: Uncharacteristic of a scientist.

AI #2: Unless we’re talking quantum.  Moreover, it lists itself as of “Common Interest:  Philosophy.”

AI #1: Science did originate from philosophy.

AI #2: But they diverged, evolved so that they shared less, interbred little.  Perhaps too little?  Separate species?

AI #1: Quote from his personal files:  “I ebayed myself what was billed as a ‘kung fu suit’ to wear to school. It’s from China, so it must be authentic. No misbehavior in my classroom.

AI #2: Ah. An educator of kung-fu science.

AI #1: Science of kung fu or kung fu of science?

AI #2: Perpetual ambiguity.

AI #1: Precisely.

AI #2: Note the last phrase, Aye-One.  Do you suppose this holds the answer to our mystery?

AI #1: Once again, why am I Aye-One and you Aye-Two?  In the 21st century educators required extreme means of self-defense, even resorting to costumes of authority.

AI #2: Case closed.  Next.

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