IN MEDIAS RES
Everything smells grey. A bright light darts over the glass of a copier and a green wave washes over the paper, turns its skin translucent. Ozone builds up in the air, the windows are sealed shut. The photocopier hums back to its starting position, ready for the next page. The outside world is pitch black, the sky full of radiating holes. The copier scans again. An algorithm reconstructs an image. It peels a face from the gloom.
Copy #1, imperfect
Copy #2, flawed
This man has two arms, two legs and two mouths. He only speaks in quotes of Napoléon Bonaparte, which he has memorized from his letters, his memoirs, his diaries and even his novella, every recorded word he ever said. “Si j’ai du pain, c’est un enfantillage.” “Ne pardonnez pas.” “Comme un vaisseau sans boussole.” For every situation, he has the appropriate quote, and it has served him well so far.
Very little of this is true.
Copy #1, damaged
The copier stops. It is jammed. It can’t move. Can not. Something in the fuser perhaps. Some hiccup in the system. Paper tears, plastic cracks, silicon lines blow as dust into each other. “Je n’y crois plus.” The machine becomes unstable and erratic.
Copy #1, inverted
The grey smell turns gooey. Swarms of paper smack against the windows from the outside eclipse, a monotone percussion. There are a lot of corridors here, all muffled carpets and blank wallpaper. Other copying machines glow like buoys deep under water. It might be possible to get to one of them, dive through the offices between. They loom, abandoned.