Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Michael's chronicle: Rigor Mortis

Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.

Feb 16
Rigor Mortis

I woke up this morning and state of rigor mortis. I didn’t like it. It was unsettling. Not being able to move is both unpleasant and inconvenient. I lay there thinking through the inventory of possible causes. Fortunately, my brain had not yet locked up.

It didn’t take me long to focus on the actions of my son, Joah, who flew in yesterday afternoon to work the Coconut Grove Art Festival with me this weekend. Before I get into the matter of his obvious guilt let me first provide a bit of minutiae regarding this motel room. When I first entered it today, prior to his arrival at Miami International, the room was freezing (by my standards). Housekeeping had set the room temperature at sixty four degrees according to the thermostat. This is easy to understand. Outside it was a blazing seventy three degrees. The entire housekeeping staff is from places not all that distant from the equator. No wonder they sought relief in the form of climate control. 

I turned the thermostat up to seventy five in an attempt to defrost the room. By the time Joah walked in the door the room temperature had spiked all the way up to sixty nine. He walked straight to the thermostat and made an adjustment. A bad one. Perhaps an evil one. The jury is out. I am catatonic because of it.

I asked him what he was up to, and he answered, “it’s a bit warm.” I didn’t agree but it was not I that just flew in from snow country, where we live. I decided just to let it ride for the moment and didn’t check out his handy work. Bad decision. He had set us at sixty two. Let me repeat that. Sixty two.

I would go to turn it up, but the rigor won’t allow it. When he wakes up I’ll ask him to do the deed. Even this may be a waste of time. The words, if they escape my lips, may fracture and fall on the floor before they reach his ears. Cold is not kind to the spoken word. I’m wondering. Will gangrene look stupid on my skin? I need to look my best for the art show this weekend. Will I still be able to think twenty minutes from now? 

Joah did this to me. I don’t get mad, and I don’t get even. I’m not vindictive. But I will bring balance to the moment. Perhaps a little scorpion in his shoe. They’re not deadly, you know. Just hurtful. An eye for an eye? A sting for gangrene? Balance. I am his dad. This needs to be a teaching moment.



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