Bewildering Stories



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Zorvlog Is Stupid

Eckerd Nemo

Zorvlog is stupid.

He rests, peaceful and serene, on the square tabletop, equidistant from its edges. I sit facing him, and he faces me (it is an awkward thing to say because he has six faces and only one of them is facing me).

I feel uncomfortable trying to tell him the bad news. I fear Zorvlog's possibly angry reactions, although I have never seen Zorvlog angry before, but that is probably due to the fact that I have never seen him before. Today is my first day with this great champion of our people. I sit in my seat and stare at the walls of this cubic room, a desolate place. A single painting hangs on the wall to the right of me. It is a painting of Zorvlog's victory over the Blockheads in the First Blockhead War, in which he looks remarkably different from his appearance now. My eyes come back to Zorvlog, and I overcome my trepidation.

"Zorvlog, listen to me. A terrible thing has happened. A horrible thing. They have killed your cousin."

"Awesome!" Zorvlog says.

I do not understand why he is so enthusiastic. It is not proper to be enthusiastic at the news of the death of one's cousin. It is strange.

"Zorvlog, they have killed your cousin. The Blockheads have killed your cousin. You remember Glorbvot; don't you, Zorvlog? Don't you remember Glorbvot?"

"Awesome!" Zorvlog repeats.

His stupidity floods his mind. He cannot think. Zorvlog is stupid. He is a blue cube now. Once, he was a living, thinking person, but now he is only a cube. His original body no longer exists, and his mind has been transported to a new medium, the cube. Perhaps the cube is insufficient for his mind's processes. Zorvlog is stupid.

"You don't understand, Zorvlog. The Blockheads have killed Glorbvot. This is the beginning of a third Blockhead War."

"Awesome!" Zorvlog says.

"Zorvlog, don't you remember your courageous actions in the First and Second Blockhead Wars? Don't you remember how you defeated the Blockheads, how you destroyed their defenses, how you led our people to victory against those savage barbarians? Don't you remember, Zorvlog?"

Zorvlog is silent. His surface turns a greenish brown. He weighs approximately 1A4 grams (1.A4 10 grams in scientific notation). His edges are approximately .1EB meters (1.EB 10-1 meters in scientific notation) in length. He reposes quietly on the table, waiting for me to continue.

"Zorvlog, you have to do something. Look at what you did in the First and Second Blockhead Wars. I know it's a long time ago, but the Blockheads are back. We need your help, Zorvlog. You have to help us."

Zorvlog is silent.

"They killed your cousin, Zorvlog. They killed your cousin. Why won't you do anything? You have to do something."

But Zorvlog does not reply.

"Please, Zorvlog. This is important. You have to prevent the Blockheads from returning and conquering our nation."

Zorvlog provides me with a mysterious, perplexing, enigmatic reply: "What is necessary but not necessarily necessary will necessarily become necessarily necessary."

"What do you mean, Zorvlog? I don't understand."

Zorvlog remains silent. I try to elicit a response from Zorvlog, but he does not reply.

He speaks no more, and I leave the room in order to grant him his privacy.

***

"Of course, we can't transport his mind to an artificial medium, as we have done with Zorvlog," Karitt says. "The Blockhead raiding party attacked too quickly, and we did not have time to preserve Glorbvot's mind. It would be possible to preserve his mind if a copy of his mind were available, but Glorbvot did not consent to the periodical duplication of his mind."

Molecular machines are disassembling the molecules of Glorbvot's body, releasing most of it as gas, which will be used for energy. No part of a dead person must be wasted. The remaining solids, made mostly of minerals, are collected in a small container in the shape of a cylinder.

"You know," Karitt says, "the last person to see Zorvlog went insane and committed suicide."

"Really?"

"You should be careful around Zorvlog. He might be dangerous."

"He's not dangerous," I say.

"The two Blockhead Wars made him crazy. So how is he?"

"He's fine."

"That's good," Karitt says.

"He's stupid."

"Is he?"

"Zorvlog is stupid."

***

Resting quietly on the table, Zorvlog says nothing.

"Zorvlog, you should be proud of your achievements in the First and Second Blockhead Wars. You and your cousin Glorbvot."

Zorvlog does not reply.

"You know, Zorvlog, Glorbvot's body has been decomposed. There wasn't a copy of his mind available, so you can't communicate with him. Sorry. He was your last living relative, you know."

Zorvlog says something I can't understand.

"What, Zorvlog?"

He does not reply.

"It is good that you allowed copies to be made of your mind, Zorvlog. You actually died long ago."

Zorvlog turns bright green. The room turns orange. Zorvlog's painting falls off the wall. I pick it up and place it back on the wall. The Zorvlog in the painting looks startlingly different from the one on the table.

Zorvlog says nothing. Zorvlog is stupid.

"Why is the world so cruel?" Zorvlog says.

"What, Zorvlog?"

"Why is the world so cruel?" Zorvlog repeats.

"What do you mean, Zorvlog? How is the world cruel? It's not cruel."

Zorvlog does not reply. I do not understand.

Zorvlog is stupid.

***

Viewing a holographic cube in the museum, I am reminded of Zorvlog. The cube rotates slowly and changes color every few seconds.

Copyright 2002 by Eckerd Nemo.