Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James J. Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.
The Algorithmic Bias
A thoroughly modern creature with a backward-looking perspective, the Algorithmic Bias operates with an invisible hand to serve an unseen master. Unfortunately for the curious, the obscure methods of the invisible hand are sufficiently complicated as to render them inscrutable. The AB is thus an enigmatic magician playing in a sandbox of real world information, and making a mess. Logical conclusions find themselves subjugated to the AB, as do aspirational ideals, whimsy, inspiration, and blind pursuits. Investigational rigor is nothing next to the bedazzling charm of AB magic, and slow due diligence is detritus in the wake of the AB’s speedy retrieval of results. What’s more, since the creature feeds on its own speed, it grows continuously stronger within its infinite lifespan, which, in turn, increases its speed, which feeds the creature – a continuing cycle of growth, power, and influence that is unmatched in the Bestiary. Its only natural predators, crusty tweedy researchers, can, at best, cull only one AB every so often, with great effort. This lopsided dynamic is thought to have wide effect, exampled by the strange phenomenon of overvalued tech stocks and the surge in the sale of black mock-neck pullovers.
Reflecting an uncritical disposition, he took on the patterns of the life that was offered him. He slept in his room, he drank in the saloon, he attended church on Sunday, though that diversion was not offered, but rather, insisted upon by Pastor Welsh. He loved the way the sun came through the pointed windows of the church, and the smell of the pines that rushed into the place after a hard rain. At Christmas time, Ozwald would sometimes help the Pastor decorate the church with ribbon.
Then there was the digging.
The undertaker was distant when he was not drinking, but Welsh was always accessible, so much so that Ozwald found himself talking to him even while digging alone. On cold nights, when the hard ground gave itself grudgingly, often the conversation was profane and unbecoming, but it was genuine. As Ozwald got knee deep and further, he was taken away from pretense and propriety, deeper into his own mind, and then away from there, to a place where his gut and his aching arms, and his cold, wet feet, were given voice.
It was strange to see it there, this seemingly misplaced artistic sentiment. It so contrasted its surroundings – it seemingly came alive among the dead darkness of the alley, morphing from flatness to relief to a real guy sitting there, in that chair. And he just sat, silently meditating, or mourning – who can say for sure? We were all intruders in his space for a moment, a moment of zen, in alley in a dirty city, where all sorts of things are alive and beautiful.
The club entrance was in a gangway off a side street, and was lit by a garish bulb. Dirty and exposed to the elements, it provided atmosphere, but little illumination. Almost as if keeping with that theme, the place had hired a doorman who spoke in scat phrases, sometimes wore a topknot, and even in temperate weather cloaked himself in a black leather duster that made everything but his face and hands disappear into the surrounding darkness.
The place was popular with club kids and local toughs, but, curiously, there were spaces in the nights were has was alone, or nearly that, and he would sing, or kind of yodel into the empty gangway darkness. In winter he would sometimes spell out the name of the club in the snow with his Dr. Martens, or burn a girl’s initials into the accumulation with the cup of hot tea they would bring him from inside.
He carried a piece of chalk in his coat pocket to write song lyrics, The Clash, mostly, on the black walls of the doorway. On the rare occasions that they’d play such a song inside, he’d go at the wall in a frenzy trying to keep up with the cadence. Once, hearing Morrissey’s crooning Girlfriend in a Coma, he drew a simple heart on the wall and then ran to and fro in the gangway like a caged animal for a moment before reclaiming his station as if nothing unusual had just happened. Rumor was that he’d had a girlfriend, or a sister that had died long ago, but nobody asked him. Even a gangway performance space has some rules of decorum. Besides, the show he put on each night was part of the reason one visited the place, sometimes even the only reason. Many partiers would divert through the gangway while on their way somewhere else, just to see what he was doing, which was sometimes nothing. They would search the wall for his chalk marks, or the snow for his tributes, and finding nothing, look up at him with a smirk as he held his teacup and saucer in fingerless gloves, pinkie out, quietly sipping.