Robin Maxwell, a historian, screenwriter and bestselling novelist, is writing a full-length novel for grahamhancock.com that we will be releasing as a serial publication — chapter by chapter — periodically.
With tongue firmly in cheek, her story peels back the veil of existence and looks behind the scenes of our current tumultuous times and the strange, precious multiverse we inhabit. At the center of it all, Ed and Helen are cosmic coders who discover that Ed’s Earth Simulation has gone completely out of control. But there is worse brewing. Much, much worse…
Below is Chapter 2 of I Am Your Creator Dude.
Enjoy, and stay tuned for more chapters to come. Read:
“I just read your brilliant ‘I Am Your Creator, Dude!’ Your story is great! Funny, clever, thought-provoking and entertaining.” – Graham Hancock
“Motherfucker!” Ed shouted, standing naked, glaring down at his globe game in disbelief and irritation. The irritation had been mitigated by the correct usage of his favorite word in the English language — one he’d created in a moment of coding genius.
“What?” Helen said from their office doorway.
He turned to see her pulling the tie around her pink kimono, hair still askew from last night’s romp in bed…some of it not in bed.
“Oatmeal or 8-minute eggs?” she asked offhandedly, unwilling to address his outrage but, he thought, sufficiently satiated to offer to make him breakfast. She almost never cooked.
“That boneheaded Ruskie is threatening nuclear holocaust,” he told her.
“And whose fault is that?” Helen demanded, coming up behind him, looking over his shoulder. “You’re the one who gave everybody free will.”
Ed sighed heavily. Every time something went wonky on this damn planet Helen threw that line of code up in his face. And every time she did, he reminded her with escalating irritation that this particular game without a touch of free will would have been a big snore.
“Don’t you want your robe?” she cooed, her hands snaking around his waist and moving playfully down towards his groin.
“Yes, please,” he said, wriggling out of her grasp, hoping to spare himself the humiliation of his cold-shriveled junk.
But she was already disentangled and leaning down to the controller to enhance the land-locked breadbasket of Europe. The scenes of devastation were hard to look at. “And who is this little cutie in the tight olive green tee-shirt looking very “Don’t-you-fuck-with-me” behind the desk in – what is that – a bunker?”
“That, Helen, is the Jewish stand-up comedian I made President of Ukraine.”
“Mmmm,” she said, zooming in for a close up. “Humpy chest. A nice set of guns. I like him.”
“Everybody likes him…except the obvious. The optics are a tad better than for old Vlad who meets with his trusted generals at a table so long you’d definitely question the size of his…”
“Ed…” Helen’s tone was stern. “That is such a cliché. Please don’t use it anymore.”
“So,” he said, pivoting, “I’m making our rebel Jew Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year.’”
“Don’t you dare!” Helen cried. “I want my girls. A twofer. Madame Speaker of the House and the Arizona blonde turncoat.” Now Helen was playing fast-and-loose with his controls. “And look at that!” The quack doctor lost the Pennsylvania Senatorial election to the giant with the freaky goatee.” She barked a laugh viewing the man’s acceptance speech on a bare stage. He’s wearing a beige kilt!”
“Butt out, Helen! This is my game.”
“Well, by the look of it, it’s running itself. Have you seen the Thwaites Glacier this morning, ready to fall into the sea? It’s bigger than the state of Florida, and it’s holding on by its fingernails…”
“Go get my robe,” he snapped, then added, “Please.” He needed time to sort out what he was seeing. His Earthan Simulons were running amuck and – what the hell…? A third of Pakistan was under water?! All that rumpy-pumpy had worn him out, and he’d overslept a bit, but this was…
“Yes, sir,” Helen replied with mock sweetness. “And you can forget about breakfast.”
“I’m not hungry.” He knew how petulant he sounded.
“I would have made French toast if you weren’t being such a dick.”
“No you wouldn’t,” Ed told her as she went out the door. “You don’t even know how to make French toast.”
He sat down at his desk and started checking the long list of bio-indicators. Multiple species populations had dropped precipitously last night after dinner and his little nap (which had not been a wine-induced stupor), but nothing prepared him for what now stared him in the face. His heart – he was sure of it – missed a beat.
The “Avians” – he’d liberally populated this simulation with feathered fliers of astonishing variety. This couldn’t be right. The songbird population, in a few short hours of sex and sleep, had plummeted. Songbirds. He loved his beautiful creations. With their gentle and intricate worldwide chorus they soothed the wickedest souls. They brightened the darkest of days.
Suddenly half of them were gone. Birds of all kinds were falling dead from the sky for no apparent reason!
“Now what?” Helen had returned with his fleece robe and hung it over his slumped shoulders. She must have sensed his upset because her voice had grown kinder. Helen was, after all, capable of kindness.
“This can’t be right,” Ed said quietly. “It can’t be.”
Helen leaned over and read what appeared to be a second alarm code. “Well, so far the decimation is limited. 75% of flying insects in Germany …”
Ed’s voice quavered when he quoted “…99% of crawling insects in the Puerto Rican Rainforest – one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet – are gone. Gone. If it’s happening there…”
“I know, it’s going to happen elsewhere.”
“Everywhere!” Ed shouted.
“You don’t know that.”
When he’d created the Earth game he’d gotten perverse enjoyment writing code for flying insects, his very favorite the butterflies (what Helen called “flutter-bys”), and the artful shapes and mind-bending colors of the crawlers. His least favorite had been the worms, which he’d nearly left out of the design until his friend Mort had insisted on their necessity, and generously gifted Ed the code for them. In the end he’d introduced enough of the slimy little buggers to enrich the soil sufficiently to cover the planet with vegetation for food growth and copious, fabulous flora.
“Everywhere…” he muttered miserably.
“Get ahold of yourself, Ed. This is your game. Yeah, maybe it’s gotten a little out of control…”
He dropped his head onto his hands folded on the desk.
“Go get dressed,” Helen instructed him.
She sounded calm, but Ed knew she was worried. Nothing like this had ever happened to him before. And she was half the designer he was.
“Wear something casual.”
“Why? Are we going somewhere? I can’t leave this running, and I can’t just shut it down. Where are we going?!”
“We’re going to see Bob,” she said.
“This is odd,’ Helen said as she stepped onto the endless car of the Infini-Train that had no beginning and no end.
“Where is everybody?” Ed could see there was not a single coder, systems designer or “God” (as a few of them took pompous pleasure in calling themselves). They were not a chatty bunch, usually stuck inside their heads with eyes on the floor or playing finger games with their hands. Helen was the rare exception and had plenty to say when they went visiting, but she’d thankfully chosen to keep her sarcasm in check for the moment, as she was almost as freaked out by his game’s implosion as he was.
The train was the only transport available to the residents of the gamers’ aptly named “Infini-Tron Arms Co-Op.” Nobody really liked the train’s name, preferring the childish “Loop-de-Loop” or the “Figure-of-Eighter” – what most of them took for high humor. Clearly, the bar was set pretty low. But the name had been Bob’s idea, and you didn’t argue with Bob if you knew what was good for you. They’d already passed stops at the Ray Kurtzweil Wing, The Alan Turing Turn, and the Dark Matter Corridor when Helen finally broke the silence.
“How are you going to present it?” she said, looking very casual in her sweats. She had changed her clothes four times once they’d decided to pay the “Dude of Dudes” a visit for a little mentoring session. First a silk sheath, then a classic skirted suit, and even a white sundress printed with red cherries. But they were all, she finally decided, too formal for the occasion. Bob would know something was really awry with Earth Sim if she was too dressed-up, and it was one of Bob’s favorite – no, it was his very favorite of the globe games in existence at the moment. He had other creators he favored besides Ed – “Big Question Coders,” like the guy living in a DMT phantasmagoria shaped like a navel who looked remarkably like a middle-aged Timothy Leary and endlessly contemplated Consciousness. Or the Entangled Neutrino Twins. But those types were in categories all their own.
Ed had gone with a white shirt and khakis, and of course, Helen had given him shit about it. “You are so predictable,” she’d said, sighing dramatically. He’d finally settled on an Irish cable knit sweater and baggy jeans. Helen had approved, though he’d heard annoyed mutterings – something about an olive green tee shirt. They both knew his skinny arms would never fill out those short sleeves the way they had on the Ukrainian stand-up.
“What do you think’s happening?” Helen whispered. Usually, there were several dozen coders on a stretch of the train at one time, and now nada. “Maybe you’re not the only one having a meltdown,” she said. “But they’re staying home.”
They finally came to a smooth stop, the infinite number of train doors dissolved and across the way, down on the right, they watched a single rider step on. It was “Kid Chaos” himself, a coder who sowed pandemonium and entropy everywhere his joystick landed. You almost never got an invitation to his habitat, a transparent RV whizzing through a belt of asteroids from pea-to-Mount-Everest-sized which – for a gamer with his penchant for turmoil – was his idea of Paradise. He reveled in all manner of chaos, from unstable wormholes to galaxy-wide mental breakdowns – his most famous a viral pandemic of schizophrenia in every sentient creature on every exo-planet in the Milky Way. The squirrels on Earth had been the most hard-hit, besides the humans – the little fur-balls believing that nuts and acorns were talking to them. The Kid was not above the literal type of hot messes either – threats to hurl an errant space rock at your globe game unless you haggled for the last-minute code to delete it or knock it off course. But the price for such a save was always high. The last time Chaos had knocked on Ed and Helen’s door with a “proposal” for them, the price he quoted was astronomical. He wanted to trade the entire race of Great Ape Simulons that Ed had famously created for an older Earth game which was, at that point, retired. Ed knew he’d want to use and evolve them on one of his future games eventually, so Chaos – a sore sport whose real name was Gary – had walked out of their apartment steaming and empty-handed. For revenge, he’d proceeded to override Ed’s then-current game and sent down a mountain-sized asteroid on the coast of one of his most delicious habitats, and taken out what had been one of Ed’s proudest codes – the outsized and truly bizarre creatures that had made him famous among all the creators at Infini-Tron Arms – the dinos, from the long-necked Leaf-Eaters to the Death Rexes to his favorites – the flying, leather-winged Ptera-Dragons.
It had been a heartbreaking loss. Ed never knew why the all-knowing-all-seeing Bob had allowed it – and Helen, who he’d just started dating, had come this close to breaking up with him. She never quite called him a wuss, though he knew she thought he was one. But Helen didn’t have a clue how smart and kinky Ed actually was – and 65 million Earth-years after Kid Chaos laid waste to the globe and its gigantic creatures, Ed had introduced those great apes back into the game and masterminded their evolution into Sapiens sapiens, including a couple of mind-fucking missing links.
From monkeys to Mozart in the blink of an eye.
If there was anything that had gotten Bob’s attention, it was the rise of this spectacular species. There was nothing like them in the Multiverse or beyond. When Helen saw Ed’s true genius, she had asked for a key to the apartment, and they’d moved in together. She’d been creating some of her own intriguing games, but his were better. The Kid, meanwhile, kept trying rather pathetically to take credit for everything – “If my asteroid hadn’t killed off the dinos, mammals would never have had a chance to develop, and hence the large-brained Sapiens takeover.”
Nobody bought it. It was egg on his face any way you looked at it. You’d think the guy would slink away with his tail between his legs. But no. Only last week – 13,000 Earth years ago – out of the fucking blue, without bothering to negotiate or ask permission – The Kid hurled that swarm of comet pieces onto the North American continent and halfway across the world. Ed had never told Helen Chaos had slipped that one by him.
“I heard he’s trying to pin it on the Older Dryas family, “Helen had said as she’d grabbed her rose-colored sweats from the drawer.
“Well it is possible, “Ed replied, taking a look at her sweet ass before she pulled on the bottoms. That body of hers made up for a multitude of sins. “You know my Earth Sim passes through that comet’s torus twice a year, every year.”
“Yeah right,” she said, pulling on her hoodie.
She had such a nice pair of…
“Most of those fragments are the size of a grain of sand, Ed – and stop staring at my tits. You finally re-populate your game with some of the coolest creatures ever – sabertooth tigers, woolly mammoths with those curly tusks, a giant sloth 12-feet tall, your big handsome Cro Magnons and poof! All gone.”
“Don’t exaggerate. Not everybody…”
“Great floods. Fires from coast-to-coast. Fucking ‘Snowball Earth’ for 1000 years. You’re saying that wasn’t The Kid going for the one-two punch?”
“Well it doesn’t matter who did it,” Ed countered. “It’s done. Water under the bridge as they say… and much worse is going down right now. I need advice. Fast. We’ve gotta get back to our place in a couple of hours or who knows what’ll be happening!”
“I do wonder who The Kid is going to see,” she pondered, irritatingly, looking down the Infin-Train car.
“To torture, you mean,” Ed added. “Or maybe he’s the one with the problem. He looks worried to me.”
“Well you gotta figure a guy’s gonna be something of a twat when his father is the “Cosmic King of Control.”
“Still…” Ed lamented.
We’re here,” Helen announced. “Straighten your… Irish fisherman’s sweater.” It was hard to keep disdain out of her voice. She really hated his fashion choices.
Forcing himself not to give Kid Chaos the satisfaction of even the slightest dirty look, Ed and Helen thought the train to a halt at Bob’s stop. When the doors dissolved, and before they could even stand up, a throng – no, a hoard – of gamers, systems coders and “Gods” – those wankers got a real kick out of cosplay and their legendary monikers when in fact the word was merely an acronym for Game Origin Designer – came streaming onto the train and took seats as far apart as they could. They did not look at each other. They did not look happy.
Ed and Helen disembarked lickety-split before the door re-materialized. You could easily catch your butt in the damn thing if you dawdled, half your molecules zooming off with the train, the rest of you ass-less.
“Did all those coders come from Bob’s stop?” Ed asked no one in particular.
“OK…” Helen said, ignoring him. She faced Bob’s front door. “For crying out loud,” she huffed. “They’re still using that stupid fucking yin-yang symbol.”
“That’s how they see themselves, Helen. Who are you to question?”
“I liked it better when…”
“Well I’m only going to say this once more!!” they heard from inside the door. Bob was roaring. Echoing. He was mad. Very, very mad.
“Or you will what?” came his take-no-prisoners “fem” aspect.
Ed could just imagine the sight of Bob, the Dude and Dude-ess of the Highest of the High – his/her/their two-selves-in-one, red-faced and arguing. Hard as Helen was to live with, she was Little Mary Sunshine compared to Bobette on a bad day – though you’d never let her hear you call her by that diminutive unless you wanted your eyes ripped out one by one.
“Pull yourself together, sweetheart,” Helen said, and knocked. “Hello-oooh,” she warbled cheerfully, “It’s Ed and Hel…”
That was when they heard the crash from inside – like Bob had just supernova’d a white giant. He/she/them were having a shit hemorrhage of titanic proportions, and Ed knew Helen and he were thinking the same thing – “Plan B. Get the hell out.”
“Hang on. Hang on. What’s this?” Ed said. It was a hand-scribbled post-it note – one of his proudest inventions of the 20th century – stuck to one side of the yin-yang carving with a couple of Egyptian hieroglyphs scrolled across its yellow square.
GO AWAY, it read.
“Great, just great,” Helen said.
He began pounding on the door.
“Eh-ed!” Helen shouted.
He liked it when she underestimated him. He knew he could kick ass with the best of them, even with Bob.
The door creaked open an inch, so only Bob’s watery right eye was visible through the crack. Ed was thinking the guy’s first words might be, “This better be good,” but here was resignation. Here was “I’ve heard what you’re about to tell me 100 other times today.” All those gamers had obviously just piled out of Bob’s place, all of them with the same sob-story. Bob pulled the door open, letting Ed and Helen into the Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern living room looking out onto a golf course. The back view of Bob in his slippers shuffling to the wet bar was definitely his elder male aspect – he had dozens to choose from, from Robert Redford in his Sundance Kid heyday to Charlton Heston as Moses, beard and all.
“We’ve been expecting you,” She-Bob said, gesturing for Ed and Helen to sit down on the attractive but seriously uncomfortable Mid-Century Modern leather chairs.
“You have?” Ed asked.
“Why? What’s going on?” Helen said, retrieving her voice. The Great Creator Of It All terrified her.
“It’s happening everywhere,” Bob reported glumly.
“A glitch?” Ed offered.
He-and-She Bob laughed ruefully.
“It’s Multiverse-wide,” she added with a sigh. “Accidental? Revenge code? We don’t know. And you can call me Bobette, Ed. I couldn’t be more upset than I already am.”
“But surely you can…?” Ed spread his hands wide at the Dude of Dudes, signifying the Whole Schmear. “This is your…”
“Dream on, Young Edward. I lost control of this thing…” He gestured toward the golf course which had slowly morphed into deep space, his favorite nebula glowing with fantastic colors, filling the window frame. Of course, it was only a projection. Outside the Infini-Tron Arms was a holo-bird’s eye view of MEN – the “Multiverse Entire Network.”
“You remember Oscar’s little fiasco on Xanaxaphon?” Bobette asked them, making the face of a bad smell.
“Yeah, those creatures were ugly.”
“Ugly or not,” she continued, “they evolved really fast, and before you could sneeze they’d built themselves quantum computers and taken over the world. The first A.I. Apocalypse…but not the last.”
“So?” Ed replied testily. “A number of advanced globe game species self-destructed, and now Earth Sims wonder why they haven’t been able to find other intelligent life forms in their galaxy. Bob! I told you I have that handled in my game. You really don’t have to worr…”
“It’s not that. It’s not that. I wish it was that.” The Bobs took a really long slug of what had to be their best scotch, then without missing a beat took another.
Now Ed was afraid to know. He sat back in his leather chair wishing the furniture designer had considered that some people had sensitive spines.
“Somebody fucked with the space-time codes…” Bob said.
“And gravity, we think,” Bobette interjected.
“You think?” Helen intoned with dread.
“… and now,” Bob continued with dire intensity, “the whole… the whole…” He couldn’t finish, but he was gazing out his window with trepidation. Ed and Helen both knew what he meant.
“What, Bob, what!?” Helen shouted. She was no paragon of patience in the best of times, and now she was quizzing the Bobs with Torquemada like ferocity.
“Senior Creators, and…” Bobette’s voice dropped to a whisper when she said, “and Whole Systems Coders have lost their shit.”
On the big screen they all watched two black holes – one smaller than the other – circling each other in ever tightening orbits.
“Yeah…” said Ed offhandedly. “A binary black hole system about to merge. The bigger of the two is… what?… 40 times more massive than the Earth’s sun. I don’t see the problem.”
“All 100 million of them in your galaxy alone are suddenly in Collision Mode. And the effect is ranging out from there,” Bob informed them and switched off the screen, as though he couldn’t bear to see any more. “I heard from our brother Larry,” he added miserably.
“Shit, don’t tell me,” said Ed. He knew the sibs got on each other’s first and last nerves and rarely spoke. But Larry —who everybody else called Mom— was in charge of the MEN. – Multiverse Entire Network – hook, line and sinker – so if he was calling…
“It’s not the Higgs boson triggering a vacuum and gobbling up a universe or two, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Bob said. “It’s… the ‘Big Suck.’ It’s starting.”
Ed grabbed Helen’s hand. He could feel her fingernails digging into his flesh, but he couldn’t feel more pain than he was already in, hearing these two words.
“You should go see your mother,” Bobette ordered Ed, quite out of the blue.
“That’s what I said.”
“We said,” Bob agreed.
“You never call. You never write,” She-Bob wheedled, as if she was a parent of ungrateful children herself.
“But… The Big Suck has begun…?” Ed began, “and you want me to visit my mother?”
“No,” Bob said, “you need to go see her.”
“Why don’t I just go back to our place and make sure Earth Sim hasn’t…” Helen began.
“Why don’t you grow a pair, Helen?” Bobette said with a sneer. “Afraid of a little 4- billion-year-old lady?”
“She created the human brain! “Helen cried. “She’s not just any 4-billion-year-old mother-in-law-to-be. She’s a fucking genius. She’s scary. And she doesn’t like me.”
“I like you, Helen,” Bob told her, helping her out of the chair and walking her to the door with an arm around her shoulder. “And yes, Catherine may get a little testy once in a while. Nobody could ever be good enough for her son. But never forget…”
The Bobs finished their sentence in unison, “… Catherine works for me.”
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