It is odd for me to consider any one place home, as for so many centuries, my only home was what little comfort I carried with me.
Now it is here on the eighteenth floor of the God Complex. It has only been a few months (I think), and I’ve already managed to redecorate it to my satisfaction. Funny to think of how pristine, one might say spartan, this space had first been when Hebe led me here to freshen up. Now that very same floor where I laid Hermes out is barely visible beneath the mountain of discarded clothes, refuse, and weaponry. And let’s not forget the several live blackbirds feeding off any edible bits they happen to find therein.
In the center of the room is perhaps the largest and most varied pile. An old swiss clock falls from the air onto its peak even as I look at it. A sign that in that very spot, an opening to my beloved Cornfield, still stands open. I decided to leave it ajar for now as a way to tie this new situation to my old life and allow me some small sense of—for lack of a better word—control.
Controlled chaos. Another of humanity’s buzzwords that I am appropriating quite nicely. An oxymoron mayhap, but better than just being a plain old moron, one supposes…like the rest of humanity by and large.
Though I suppose given my present company, I shouldn’t say such things out loud.
Playing host is another new experience for me. Yes, I, the often uninvited, am the one doing the inviting these days. I assume informing your all too mortal guest that you find his very species to be abhorrent in a number of ways might just offend him.
My new friend and would-be pet mortal, Eggplant, is here. I guess I should call him Dash, like he’s asked on quite a few occasions now, but it just doesn’t trip off my tongue. There he sits, in my six-fingered neon purple hand chair, one of the only pieces of furniture I have actually procured since having a fixed location as my own. I’ll wait and see how it feels before purchasing that foosball table I have my eye on.
Eggplant is coming along nicely. The color of his cardigan doesn’t perfectly match his hipster bowtie. Next, I’ll have him wearing an off the rack jacket! He doesn’t even seem to mind one of my older birds, a fat senile crow I call Auntie Establishment, resting on one of the chair’s fingertips right by his head.
The young man is here to continue our lesson in modern life, in particular, modern technology. In turn, I am doing my best to give him purpose and help him regain his sense of reality. His dumbstruck gaze as he watches the clock piece drop as if from nowhere, tells me I still have a great deal of work to do.
“So how do I sue this Steve Jobs guy for trademark infringement?” I say incredulously as I hold up my newly acquired smartphone, pointing angrily to the apple insignia on the back. I grip the device so hard I can hear the protective layer he called a phone case, squealing.
“Well, he’s dead.” Eggplant sighs, instantly relieving my wrath.
“Score one for Than on that one.” I smirk, “But seriously, an apple bringing all this chaos…” I say in awe as I scroll through this internet of theirs. “This has me written all over it.” A manic grin takes over my current female face.
“So these apps…” I continue, “Is this how you cultivated your influence?” I look back up at him just in time to catch him giving me a quick glimmer of a fond grin before he wipes it off his face.
“Yes,” he says, giving Auntie Establishment a sour look as she ruffles her feathers. “You create an account on these social apps and gain followers. The more attention you get, the more money you stand to make as your videos can be monetized, through ad revenue, sponsorship, etc.”
I click on one of these apps, ‘YouTube’, and click on trending, which Eggplant tells me refers to something that is getting a lot of attention in real-time.
“Most of these videos are people flaunting wealth, sexualized over-idealized relationships, showing off their bodies, or hot takes about what’s wrong with the world from the safety of their McMansions…this is what people admire?”
“People are drawn to illusions,” he says sadly. “I knew I even bought into mine. It’s not all about admiration, though. Go to the comments section.”
I do as prompted and scroll down. My eyes dilate even as they begin to glow a subtle gold.
“Typhon’s ticklish tentacle…the strife! The discord!” I say with glee.
“I know, right?”
“This hatred? This open hostility…”
“They call it trolling,” Eggplant helpfully inputs as I continue my immersion.
“It’s madness,” I say as an absolute complement. “These absolute strangers, faceless strangers at that, hurling death threats over the most minimal of perceived slights. These are the responses to what you say are the most successful on this internet?”
“Oh, yes. It’s about attention, Eris. Doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative. The more attention you get, the more successful you are. All these people hating on these videos are promoting them by even clicking on them in the first place. Nevermind actually commenting on them, and some even sharing them for others to hate on!”
“The makers of these apps get money from it either way…” I say aloud, but it’s really more of a mental processing thing than something I actually expect an answer on. Eggplant seems to get this and just nods.
“Monetized discord,” I say, looking up at him.
I think for a moment. My prized bird, a crow named Bitsy, comes to land on my forearm, chirping happily at me.
“Dash,” he says, but I ignore him and continue my train of thought.
“Do you know anyone who knows anything about this coding stuff? Someone you trust. Who could help me make one of these app things?” I say, walking closer to where he sits.
“Well…yes, actually. In fact, I had been workshopping a few ideas of my own before…well, before I met you,” he says diplomatically. No doubt, his first thought was phrased far more negatively. “Pretty basic stuff now that I look back on it. Clothing trends and the like mostly. Nothing I’d feel strongly enough about now. What are you thinking about?”
I grin at him, petting Bitsy’s head as she coos at me.
“If anyone should be top dog around here, it’s moi. This is my game! I should be reaping the bennys!” I squeal, “Time to trade the apple of Discord for the app of Discord!” I’m literally jumping up and down with excitement now, something I only realize as I see Bitsy fly off to a nearby pile of assorted stuff for safety.
“Actually,” he starts warily, “and not to get you upset again like with Steve Jobs, but…there actually already is an app called Discord.”
The crunch I hear tells me I need another new phone.