“All computers will be humans and all humans will be Gods.” David said that out loud for the 10th time. With crossed legs, he reached for his tobacco. He didn’t smoke but he did this thing with tobacco in his mouth. Not chewing it but putting it under his lip, over his gum. The girls hated it but they also hated me and I didn’t do any of that. 

“This is fucking crazy Johnny, isn’t it?”, he said as he pushed the small dark pouch under his upper lip. He had this habit for as long as he tried to quit it.

“David, come on man. Let’s get ready and go out.” I tried to sound convincing but the words came out as boring sitcom on the local channel. I didn’t want to leave the couch. It’s been a long day. He knew but he couldn’t care less. This fucking book I gave him was all he cared about. I started this whole thing, on purpose, but sometimes I wish we could talk more about other matters. My current situation would be a good example.

I wanted to vent out, scream at the top of my lungs, but his mind was on computers, technology, hacking and posthumans. Tonight was his night. I sighed and hoped this whole thing will play out.

“Hey Johnny,” he said with a deep voice and glaring eyes. “Here’s a dopey idea. Why don’t Y-O-U go out and leave me alone?”.

“Whatever man. I will order food and chill here with you”. I ordered the usual. Two burgers with synthetic beef, two ice-cold Cokes and an extra-large serving of yellow sticks. At least that’s how I call these fucking fake french fries anyway.

They look and taste like the real thing. Triple cooked and fortified with everything the body needs, according to the menu. Okay, not cooked but plant-based printed if you read the fine print. Still, so crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with real potato and oil smell.

I took a mental break from my hunger interlude and passed him the bill. “That would be 3 coins. Fuck you very much, Johnny”. He ignored it with the same arrogance he accepted the book as a gift. I leaned back and with a self-satisfied smirk asked him the same question as I always did.

“Why the hell no science fiction writer never predicted real potatoes will go extinct?” I waited for the answer. He always had a good one and lately a different one.

“All computers will be humans and all humans will be Gods,” David said. “Computers don’t know how real potatoes taste so they wouldn’t care to eat them. Gods have serious matters at hand to care about eating anyway. How about that?”. He raised his left eyebrow and cracked his knuckles full of confidence.

“You have a point buddy,” and I checked the status of the order. “Still, this potato virus epidemic is insane. Don’t you think? I get this whole mess with meat but dead potatoes?”

I watched him flip to the next page calm as fuck. If only reading a book was as easy as paying rent when living with Johnny. 

“Yeah, it’s kind of weird”. He nodded twice as if to add emphasis and slurped the burger and coke at once.

The food tasted better than normal without any flavor enhancers. That was unusual but also a great deal. Fast food printing restaurants always charge an extra coin for authentic flavor.

“You know, what is insane Johnny?”, mumbling with this mouth full of food.  “Everyone worried about bees going extinct but it turned out okay.” He flicked his finger on the air and gave me a stoic gaze. 

“David, not again!”. I tried to stop him right there but he continued with this bees crescendo as long as eternity goes. I pretended to listen, as always, but all I cared about was devouring my burger. Then I felt the pinch on my forehead.

The familiar smell of rotten, humid air burns in my lungs. I crack my neck out of habit. My feet touch the cold, dirty floor as my chair moves to an upright position. I grasp the armrests holding firmly to the reality of my apartment, now a state-sponsored confinement. For all, I can say, David doesn’t exist in this world of utter crap.

My head is spinning. I hear a meow but can’t decide if it’s déjà vu or a hallucination. I guess I was away longer than usual. Training experimental quantum Artificial Intelligence is a peculiar and hard way to serve time. Even for a former quantum computer philosopher turned felon. I get up.

The blue neon light from the holographic screen flickers and hurts my eyes. I keep staring at it. 

Training evaluation pending…

My heart is racing. Cold sweat is covering my palms. I pull a hair from my beard. Maybe more. I don’t know.

Training evaluation pending…

I take and hold a deep breath determined to wait as long as it gets for the evaluation algorithms to decide.

Session 88 completed.

The screen dims. I heave a sigh of relief. My lungs are burning but I can’t stop thinking of David and the future. Maybe one-day computers can be trained to be Gods.

Many thanks to P, Y, D and @amiridis for reading versions of this story and providing valuable feedback.