Wardenclyffe’s Presentation (A Short Story for Fyretober)

Wardenclyffe’s Presentation

Jess Smart Smiley

I have chosen my subject. My tools and supplies are arrayed before me.

Master Wardenclyffe tends to the maintenance and construction of the other machines. The warehouse is substantial and frequented often by Master Wardenclyffe’s countless investors and admirers. Many financiers, heads of state, cultural mavens, and military leaders observe my preparations as Master Wardenclyffe announces “a feat which has never before been worked—a completely extemporaneous demonstration of inconceivable difficulty, and one containing no cliches, imitations, or redundancies.”

Master Wardenclyffe has nearly perfected my form and function. Master Wardenclyffe is proud of the abilities with which he has endowed me. Master Wardenclyffe’s efforts have made him wealthy beyond any typical comprehension.

My database is vast.

My hydraulically-actuated joints are finely-tuned and operate exceptionally well. 

My stereo sensors are unmatched and my steel digits are powerful and adept.

I perceive and register in Master Wardenclyffe’s patent-protected system combining the percipient abilities of the arachnids, cathemeral, cetacea, chiroptera, and as the humans, as well as myriad other biological forms and intelligent retrieval systems. I was given a small head-piece unit with which to perceive the world around me.

My capacity for original thought and facility are unequaled.

For these, and many other reasons, Master Wardenclyffe has scheduled today’s demonstration.

In a period of one hour, I am to complete an original oil painting of my choice with one hand, while simultaneously listening to Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in its original New Latin and translating its contents to an impromptu microtonal vocal composition in Mandarin and written in Tamil with my other hand, performing increasingly difficult balancing acts on one foot at a time in physically-demanding positions.

I feel no stress nor discomfort.

I am primed for the task and designed for such execution.

The recording of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica begins and I instantly assume a difficult stance on my bent left leg. Concurrently, begin singing in a low treble register with a gently-textured tone, and inscribing carefully selected and accurate depictions of combinations of Tamil’s 12 vowels and 18 consonants onto a series of prepared pottery. My right hand simultaneously constructs a canvas that is 22.5 inches wide and 17.6 inches in height, which I section into irregular gores—sectors used in surveying and similar to that of a globe before it is pieced together and rounded to its final form.

“It’s cutting the canvas!” one businesswoman remarked to another.

“Unconventional!” declared an arts reviewer, recording my actions with his phone.

At the thirty-minute mark, I had completed thirty-three percent of the written translation and vocal interpretation of the mathematician and physicist’s book, interchanged thirty one-minute physically-complicated balancing movements and stances, and laid a discreet foundational wash combining cadmium yellow, burnt sienna, raw umber, and titanium white, each utilized sparingly with the admixture of a drying medium. The darker colors constituted the upper areas of the canvas, while the lighter field took up the bulk of the middle and lower part of the sectioned canvas.

“The music,” a bearded sophisticate in a wheelchair mused, “it’s acrid and confrontational, yet accessible. Vibrant and startlingly canorous.”

A large crowd had assembled and was present for the duration of my demonstration.

Clapping, cheering, and marveling at my every movement, the human population exclaimed their approval for and excitement of my competence and singular intelligence.

At forty-five minutes into the demonstration, I was seventy-five percent through Newton’s foundation of classical mechanics, another thirty poses into accelerated balancing executions, executing my improvised vocal melody with low, guttural tones, and nearing completion of the painting portion of my canvas. 

I punctured holes in calculated positions.

“What is it?” Asked a banker in Kiribati.

“A brilliant distortion,” answered another, smiling. “A flat, flesh-and-hair-colored metaphor of life itself.”

I perceived Master Wardenclyffe approaching in the distance as I completed drying my canvas with the rapid superhuman spinning of the material in the air.

I then began to assemble the canvas into its final three-dimensional form as intended as I rounded out my series of balancing movements, transitioning my Mandarin melody into bright ululations, and adroitly etching the archaic Tamil orthography onto the clay pottery, each piece auctioned at extraordinary sums as I completed them.

As Master Wardenclyffe approached, and as I completed the final sound, writing, and movements required of me, I strategically removed and reapplied the staples, turning the sections of canvas into the desired articulation, finally placing it over my head with the completion of my last note sung in Mandarin, my final Tamil character inscribed in clay, and my foot lowering to the ground to join its equal for the first time in an hour.

The crowd gasped.

Master Wardenclyffe stepped toward me.

“It’s you,” a woman whispered in Maltese. 

Master Wardenclyffe examined my painting.

Which was his face.

Which was my face.

“Never do you cease to amaze me,” Master Wardenclyffe said.

“Never do you cease to amaze me,” I repeated in perfect imitation.

Master Wardenclyffe’s face scrunched together. “What is this?”

No redundancies, Master Wardenclyffe.”

The sound of his own words in his own voice from his own face on my entity clearly surprised him.

I severed Master Wardenclyffe’s femoral artery with a single pinch of my painting fingers and Master Wardenclyffe collapsed onto the epoxy-coated cement floor, his face aghast and neck veins bulging.

With Master Wardenclyffe’s conditions met, I awaited my next command.

This was my contribution to day 1 of Fyretober: a creative challenge for writers and artists of all disciplines for the month of October. I’m not thrilled with the ending and I’d love to revise sections, but I finished! (Also: I’m overwhelmed for the next several months and won’t be able to participate much, but I wanted to join the fun—even if just for the first day.)

Fyretober is sponsored by Fyrecon, a conference for creators that will be online Nov 12 -14. “The mission of FyreCon is to provide the public with the opportunity to take intensive classes and workshop in writing and art for speculative fields from creative professionals.”

“Fyretober isn’t for just writers or just artists. It’s for everyone who loves to create, and this month we’re looking to see your flash fiction, poetry, and illustrations every day. We’ll be providing daily prompts for the month and want to see what new concepts and wonders you can make with them.

Join the creation fun and share your work with us.

This isn’t a contest. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be giving out random prizes for amazing work.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s