the web

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[this story was originally written for the squib]

The computer came alive and the room began to glow.  He sat on the floor in his studio.  Only two minutes ago he was drifting off to sleep.  His body was slowly letting go, each muscle beginning to relax.  He felt himself drift, like he was lying in a boat, moving with a gentle stream.  The sun was overhead and too bright to keep his eyes open.  He could see the sun and felt its heat under his eyelids.   A dark figure moved over him.  It was a bird.  Suddenly it dove, collapsing down onto him, like a guillotine falling.  He awoke.
He awoke remembering one thing he had forgotten to do.  He grabbed a light robe which he draped over his body.  He moved down the dark hall, his hand tracing the wall and his path.  As he entered the room, he quickly sat down into the almost empty studio space.  There was a drafting board in one corner, but beyond that, it was an open space with a large mat.  He sat down in the middle of the room in front of a large piece of glass, standing upright, at a slight angle.  As he slide down into a crossed legged position, the glass wall began to glow.He remembered a collection of 50,000 images which he had forgotten to scheme.  It wouldn’t take long.  Maybe a few minutes at most.  This was a task that he could accomplish, even in his sleep.  Doing this kind of work had become second nature to him.  He often thought it was funny that he was born to do something that did not exist when he was born.  The program opened immediately – it was always running. On the window was a deep dark blue background with one image in the center.  The image was a simple ying/yang symbol.  He touched that and his screen quickly filled with 144 other icons.  The categories ranged from the abstract to the practical.  There was person, place or thing and every major family on the earth.  And there were categories for things not of this earth; space, void and inbetween.  A few philosophical ideas like love and friendship.  And then a whole array of words to describe digital files: text, image, movie, sound, event, blog and many more. This was his input device.  He could speak anything and the system would transcribe it, but he rarely used words, being so imprecise.  He found that a good schema could essentially make the written word irrelevant.   On the left side of the window, another panel opened.  This contained the list and just their names.  He moved quickly.  Just with his finger, he could move whole groups, reordering them into place and dragging them over into a new collection.  This group is all mammals.  They are also images.  Most of the scheming he did was with images.  These days, 85% of all data were images.  The word is just too vague sometimes; at least for organizing.  How do you classify a work of fiction that is completely true, or one that is purposely sarcastic?  Narrative works were easier to work with.  Ultimately most of the fiction had disappeared from the web.  There’s a lot of talk these days about gatherings, where people will recite their writing – there’s even some talk of poetry.  He’s wondering whether he’ll ever seek a gathering.  Does it seem wrong to support something that goes against all of his work and even, to a certain degree, his society?  Click, the last file disappears from the IN box.  Everything classified with at least 20 hardlinks and 40 softlinks. Now, he can go back to bed, knowing that he did his job and did it well.