Author : Ryan Somma

“You’re angry.”

“I’m not angry, I’m frustrated.”

“If you’re frustrated, that usually means you’re about to learn something.”

“Don’t quote Philo to me. You know I hate it when you quote Philo.”

“I’m just trying to think this through like he would do. This was his project, and now we’re responsible for it.”

“You think you’re so smart, but you’re not.”

“Obviously, I’m still here aren’t I?”

Dodd huffed back into his chair, folding his arms across his chest. I took advantage of his impromptu pout-break to nab Philo’s old Rubik’s Cube off the desk. Dodd moaned his displeasure at this, but knew better than to say anything. I was consistently solving the puzzle in under five minutes now.

It was almost a year since Philo vanished, along with a significant minority of city-dwellers, half of University Campuses, and all of Mensa International. Where did they go? Was it the fabled “Singularity” the old websites talk about? The “Rapture for Nerds?” Who knows, the people who came up with that idea had all disappeared as well.

So here we were, Dawson, I, and the rest of humanity’s dimbulbs left on Earth, playing with the toys the smart kids had left behind, trying to figure them out. Keeping faith in the supposed plasticity of our minds. We were muddling through understanding the brainiacs’ artifacts one by one.

I put the Rubik’s Cube, solved, down on the desk, thinking toward my lunch break, when I would resume tackling chess problems, and I had an epiphany–my new word of the week, and said, “Remember Dawson? She worked on an application just like this at her new job. I remember Philo giving her phone support on it all the time. They even set up an online forum to collaborate… before they–you know–transcended. I bet we can–”

“Dawson?” Dodd cut me off. “You mean Chelsea Dawson? The girl we fired from Help Desk? She went to egghead heaven too?” Dodd’s eyes rolled up into his head, frowning, “Oh, that’s more than I can bare.’

“I know,” I shook my head ruefully, “I’m feeling a little insulted too.”

Dodd was immersed in his self-loathing again, his very existence offending him. I popped a fish-oil pill and resumed squinting at Philo’s impenetrable tomb of programming code. My head hurt, but I didn’t mind. It was all part of what the smarties endured, like working out or dieting for a better body. No pain no gain on the road to a better mind.

Maybe one day I would vanish too.

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