Author: Sarah Klein
The Mind is awake, and it’s hungry.
This is one of its most difficult tasks.
Synapses yawned and stretched, crackling. Former individual minds shifted within, sending their desires down the main conduits.
Fried chicken. Pizza. Kale salad. The Mind considered, the memories of a thousand tongues in unison trembling. It looked across the expanse of the planet, trying to see what it could actually obtain.
Ice cream, came a small but persistent desire. Ah. Section 4b. Former elementary school population. Usually that part of it wanted ice cream. Hundreds of messages drowned this out; hundreds of thoughts that were the equivalent of patting a small child on the head and saying “there, there, not this time.”
The Mind shifted closer to town. It saw its choices were somewhat limited, but still varied. the chicken restaurant and the Chinese place looked the most appealing. The people at the chicken restaurant had encountered it before; they might thus be more willing to cooperate, under the threat of having another cashier absorbed. There was no way the Mind was going to make two trips; it would endanger its life to have to harass (GENTLY inquire, a population of softies somewhere inside intoned) two different proprietors of food for the portion it needed in exchange for its relatively little payment. Once its growth slowed down, there went the income stream.
The Mind grumbled to itself as it shuffled toward the chicken restaurant. Individuality! Bodily autonomy! Freedom of expression! All the words and phrases used to dissuade anyone from joining a Mind willingly. Sure, portions of itself missed that sometimes. But nobody was advertising the real downside: never being able to delight in the animal satisfaction of being totally content with its dinner…