Temporal Dissonance

“Yesterday,” Jason said, “I killed Marilyn Monroe.”

“Right.”

“No, I mean it. I really did.”

“I believe you,” Thomas said, in a noncommittal tone. It worked like this: Jason was lying, or Jason was not lying. Lying /= not lying. He hadn’t been in the complex for long enough to understand the inadequacy of the equation.

“She’s better than in pictures,” he continued. “”Not like you’d think, though. She has roots, dark brown ones. And she’s a little chunky. There was something about her, though. Something right.”

Something right, two things wrong. One minus two equals negative one thing right. Regardless, Thomas nodded. There was inadequate information. Jason = sane or insane. Until the first equation could be solved, its postulates were irrelevant.

Thomas had been born on a math farm. In some way, he understood this. His brain didn’t work in the same way that Jason’s brain worked. But Jason’s brain must have been altered, since he was in the complex. If he was randomly, uselessly broken, he would have been euthanized at birth.

“I didn’t want to do it,” Jason said. “but somebody had to.”

Thomas said nothing. Jason sat down on his foam mattress and began rocking.

“Do you ever wake up and know that something has to be a certain way? Like, if it’s not that way, the universe is out of order? History’s like that, for me. Someone has to make it right.”

“Chaos equals unpredictability. All things are predictable with numbers.”

Jason smiled thinly. “You’re a strange one, aren’t you?” He stood up and slipped his feet into the government issue blue slippers before heading to the door.

“Where are you going?”

“Seclusion. Oswald needs a little prodding.”

“Oswald?” Thomas asked. “Who’s Oswald?”

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