There’s still plenty of time for either of us to fuck all of this up, whatever this is.

Mutually Assured Distractions: This is What We Can Be for Each Other

All the colours of the universe, all its noise, it’s too much to perceive on the daily. Everything, all of it, it’s all too much.

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Photo by cottonbro studio (Pexels) // Designed & edited by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)
Source: Terra Incognita (Soundtrack) // Spotify Playlist by author
Image by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

GALATEA NEPTUNE

My soul is Neptunian memory foam.

I carry with me the pain and suffering of every last species I failed to preserve and protect from the universal forces of entropy, evil and Ego.

If you could see the skin beneath my foundation, you too would realize the extent to which my brokenness is external, surface-level.

I bet the cracks and scabs of my naked flesh would frighten you like micro-cosmic horrors.

You are a sweet and fascinating Earthling, William Blue… but you’re a fool for inviting me back into your pretty little life.

One day, you’ll find it was the worst mistake you’ve ever made.

I will let you down eventually. I will fail you. It’s what I’m good at.

Image by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

The best I can do is distract you from what you left behind—prove you aren’t the only one in the universe who is hurting deep down.

I can see it in your eyes, y’know.

Do you see it in mine? I’m good at hiding it.

It’s okay, William. No need to pretend everything’s okay. I know what it feels like to leave a world behind. It’s fine. I empathize. Right now, you want to cry.

You can cry in front of me, William Blue. I’ll cry too. After all… Suffering is like a game of Pong. It feels better when you’re doing it with someone. Isn’t that why you called me?

You wanted a distraction.

But so do I.

This is what we can be for each other: Mutually Assured Distractions.

We can pretend we are the only living, breathing beings in existence.

Maybe we are.

Image by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

“Do you think we are?” you ask. “You’re being dramatic, right?”

“I choose to see only in black-and-white these days,” I say. “So… I may be exaggerating a bit.”

“You think?” you say. “Millions of people in Aurum City, still alive, clueless about the devastation of the Outside—the very planet they exist on.”

“The ugliness of reality overwhelms me, so I choose to filter it out.”

“Sounds like a cool ability. As you know, I love black-and-white movies.”

“I mean,” I say. “It’s not that I don’t see in vivid technicolour — like you — because, well, I can, if I want to.”

“Why don’t you?”

“I feel as if I have seen all there is to see, and I am happy to revisit those memories whenever. All the colours of the universe, all its noise, it’s too much to perceive on the daily. Everything, all of it, it’s all too much.”

Photo by cottonbro studio (Pexels) // Designed & edited by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

“Y’know, my mom taught me this mantra that, according to her, will help me weather any storm and brave any challenge.”

“What is it?”

You have to be okay with everything.

Mmm,” I say, processing every syllable and repeating the mantra internally several times. “Now that’s a mantra I’d like to say over and over and over.”

“I should repeat it more often to myself, myself.”

“Do you live by those words, William?”

“In theory, I guess.”

“And in practice?”

“Let’s just say I have a bad habit of running away… from stuff.”

“Memories might fade, but some people never change.”

“Hey, I’ve changed! Like, in other ways… ways I can’t name right this moment, but — ”

“Hush,” I say. “I accept you just the way you are, William Blue. No need to be ashamed for being the same old William Blue that abandoned me at that beach resort on Europa all those years ago.”

“Well, I — again — ”

Hush,” I say. “I’m teasing. I know, I know… exactly why you had to leave that night. No need to info-dump your side of the story again. Heard it plenty of times for one human lifetime.”

“Wow, that was a punch to the groin,” you say, eyes darting around as your brain processes what to say next. The brief silence feels like torture, but I’m enjoying it. It stretches my perception of time. “You know what, though? It’s a good pain that leads to personal growth and… character development!”

Oh, William…” I say, throwing in an agonizing pause of my own, wondering if you’d even perceive it as anything out of my ordinary cadence. “Just be you. It’s what I came for.”

“Okay, I will.”

“Good,” I say. “You be you, and I’ll be me, and tonight we’re going on an adventure. Where to, co-captain?”

“First and foremost,” you say. “Let’s get some hot fluids in our meat vessels. Do you have enough fuel to stop at the Starbucks at the edge of the Milky Way? I did promise a grande Vanilla Latte, so…”

“William, this ship has enough fuel to stop at that Starbucks every single day for a… um, what’s the word I’m looking for… one very long… period… of time….”

“A decade?”

“A micro-decade!” I say.

“A micro-decade?”

“Yeah, it’s a decade, but the minute version.”

“Oh, oh — okay,” I say. “That — that makes perfect sense, I guess.”

“Sense is never perfect, William,” I say. “Love is the only perfect thing in existence.

Photo by cottonbro studio (Pexels) // Designed & edited by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

“Is that your mantra?” you ask, shooting me that look that makes me feel like you’re staring too intensely into my soul. “Do you live by those words, dear Galatea?”

“It’s a Neptunian maxim,” I state, tone spirited and full of Neptunian pride. “Are you really asking me that? Damn correct, I live by them — like, only every micro-decade of my existence.”

“Right,” you say. “I mean, I totally knew that. I was just making conversation, y’know?”

“You’re making too much of it right now.”

“I am. I really am. I — I apologize, Duchess Neptune. I should just stop talking. Like, right this instant. Starting now… Y’know, unless you — ”

Mr. William James Blue Sky,” I say in a no-nonsense, semi-authoritative tone. “By decree of the Grand Neptunian Council of my kingdom, Nueva Atlantis, I command you to shut the ever-living fuck up or face the consequences.”

Wow.”

“Right fucking now, William!” I say, rogue giggles escaping my pursed lips. “Please. Do I look like I’m joking around?”

“You kinda do, actually.”

“I will use physical force if necessary.”

Yeah… you’re gonna have to tie me down if you want to force me to do anything. Am I being detained?”

“Shut the fuck up, you silly Earthling,” I retort. “That fucking mouth just keeps running, and running, and running… and yet, it remains so conveniently attached to that face. Whatever are we going to do about the problem that is your running fucking mouth, William Blue? Hm?”

“Galatea, I do not regret inviting you back into my life—at all.”

“There’s still plenty of time for either of us to fuck all of this up, whatever this is.”

“Whatever is unfolding between us needs no name or explanation.”

Photo by cottonbro studio (Pexels) // Designed & edited by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

“I have an idea,” I say.

“Yeah?”

“Have you ever tripped on Snowcrash?”

“Not yet,” you say. “It just so happens I haven’t found the right trip partner for it yet.”

“Well then, shut the fuck up and follow me, William Blue. Now.”

Image by author (Instagram: @williambluemusic // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)
Image by author (Instagram: @channelsurfcinema // #csc_terraINCOGNITA)

Terra Incognita is the upcoming debut novel by Canadian writer Jonah Angeles.

The story centers around special agent Parker Shiro, who is tasked with the undercover investigation of Aurum City, an isolated “smart city” located in the Californian desert — blocked off from the world by four gold walls and an artificial sky.

When an extraction mission goes wrong, Parker must find his own way back to the outside world, all while navigating an uprising that threatens to swallow the city up whole.

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The novel will be released in three separate installments on Gumroad and Amazon.

Book I: A Tale of Two Synchronicities will be released some time in 2024.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Read the official announcement below.

The novel’s soundtrack is available to stream on Spotify.

Source: Terra Incognita (Soundtrack) // Spotify Playlist by author

Follow me on my main Instagram page @channelsurfcinema or my musician page @williambluemusic where I share the music I’ve made in character as William Blue (my self-insert).

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