Back in my Sophomore year of High School, I wrote a silly little short story called "The Machine of Dreams." It was designed to be a thinly veiled satirical piece that would further my attempts at writing humor. It won a minor award, and was generally enjoyed by those that read it. Looking back at it now, it's a terrible piece of prose. I was young and just starting an amateur career in writing, and it certainly was the work of a very unpolished writer. Still, I liked writing it, and I really think the core concept of the story was more than solid. So I'm revisiting it now, and seeing what I can do with it close to nine years later (has it really been nine years? Yikes). And I've decided to revisit this blog to put up the progress of it, in a vain attempt to actually finish something I started. And so, without further ado, here's a quick opening prologue (that'll probably be made longer at a later date)
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I would like you to meet Joe. Under normal circumstances, this would be the time that I introduce you to the intrepid hero of our tale, a man of impeccable moral character and ceaseless wisdom. Or perhaps is could be the antihero, flitting through the world by the seat of his pants, his only defense mechanism a roguish charm and devil may care attitude that more than makes up for his spurious moral compass. Sadly, neither archetype fits the bill for poor Joe. This is a man that was not graced with particularly striking looks or charisma. He is not a brute, nor is he particularly thin or reedy. Indeed, not much stands out about Joe at all. He is the man on the street that you pass with barely a glance or a moment's thought. Other people may catch your attention with the way they dress or their haircut or a certain look in their eye that makes you wonder fleetingly about the events of their lives that led them down the path toward that T-Shirt or that dress or that specifically designed facial hair. It's a mental game, a quizzical flight of fancy. People just have a tendency to look right through him to something more interesting. The mind simply edits Joe out. Do not automatically chalk this up as a negative trait; I'm sure many folks wish they could live their lives in their one way without eliciting accusatory stares or hushed conversation. Still, it can be a lonely situation, floating about the world like some kind of living ghost, completely cordoned off from immediate human interaction.
There is one notable personality trait that can be attributed to Joe, but it's only the sort of thing you learn after interacting with him on a personal level. Joe was not gifted with an overwhelming bounty of intelligence. To use a lay person's term, Joe is a moron. This is not to say that he is mentally retarded or unable to live on a survivalist's instinctual level. He can function, dress himself, and feed himself like any normal human being. In truth, he looks and acts like any run of the mill resident of Milwaukee. Put simply, he doesn't have the intellect to retain knowledge. He can remember some things, but nothing that would be considered important on a massive scale. He could probably tell you almost exactly what he ate for breakfast or bought at the grocery store a week ago, but ask him to synthesize information or recite poetry, and all you'll get is the screwed up brow that is the product of extreme concentration, followed shortly by a bemused look of sad ignorance. He's also a bit of a klutz, but that is neither here nor there. He's a good man, but has a tendency to be infuriatingly obtuse to those around him. He is a genetic joke, and as such has lived a heavily insular life. Am I being harsh in my portrait of this mouse of a man? Perhaps. But I do have my reasons, which will become astoundingly clear as my tale unfolds. Fortunately for Joe, the one spot of luck in his life is his family and more specifically his father, one of the most important, successful and rich businessmen in the world. Because of this, Joe has no need for a career to keep himself afloat. He's a trust fund brat without any sense of what that entails. He is not given true control over his share of the wealth, because the rest of his family does not share his unfortunate genetics. In fact, his parents and three older siblings (one brother and two sisters) are what most people would consider visionaries. They have the kind of mental acumen that makes the opposite sex blush and the less fortunate gristle with admiration and envy. They all love Joe very much, and the feeling is completely mutual, as the power of familial bonds can overcome even the most staggering stupidity. But this story is not about them. It is about a young man named Joe, a wondrous invention, a tragic accident and the folly of inheritance.