”We need to make a decision,” she says as she puts her hands inside of my shirt to thaw them out, “You need to make a decision.” Where do I want to do? Images flit past in my mind’s eye projected across the stinging lockdown on my eyes: a desert of dry sand, a jungle overflowing with primate life, an ocean where I’m diving off of a rock so hot it burns my feet enough to give me the courage to leap into the air and perform an impressive series of flips before landing within the lovely warm water where I’m confronted with a mermaid. She says to me, “Don’t fall asleep” and then jams a purple-ringed sea-snake in my face which bites me and I jerk awake realizing that Delay has been slapping me on the cheek. “Buhhf” is the noise I make. “Dumbfuck,” she says and dribbles more water in my mouth from the rag, “Tell me where we’re going.” I shake my head back and forth when I’m done, then say “To the doctor.” Yes, but then where? “I don’t know,” I say, “I don’t know. You tell me where, for fuck’s sake.” That’s not how it works. I’m the one, I’m the guy. She’s not going anywhere. I think I’m starting to understand now: Delay doesn’t have anywhere to go. She’s where she wants to be. I’m the one who needs to point myself in a direction and say “That way. Over there. That.”
So I think about my options and where I’m at now, shiver in our tent of meager heat, and see what I can see in my mind: Middle-Atlantic-Mile. There’s the common room where we have dinner and shoot the shit, where you find Yeezy or Beebs with some girl flopped over them once or twice a month just dead blasted didn’t even make it to their rooms. Up in my room where I haven’t thrown the trash out in weeks. There’s the docking bay with full suite for my app with account status backup, private offweb storage and the full Visual Style display. That’s where the rest of me exists: all of my ArchiveFD logs, my personal aesthetics data, my Dock runtime storage and naturally my spare app. I could get myself back if I go home to Middle-Atlantic. Delay and I can work it, get my digital ass wiped clean and get me back to FEED. All I need to do is get this piece of shit body back up and walking, patched up and home. So I wait for her to settle back in next to me, get our arms around each other and warming back up to say “Home.” She asks “Where’s home?” and I say “Middle-Atlantic.” There’s a moment where we linger in this embrace before I feel her grip around me slacken. “It’s exactly what we need,” I whisper, “My full suite is there. Get in home, let the boys know I’m safe and get my shit back online. Sling some favors for Dock privileges and rework my whole shit. Get ourselves then up and out of Middle-Atlantic and to a new mile further out.” Get myself on, get the Dock behind me, find out who pegged me for a sucker with that bomb, crew up, get revenge. It’s the next step, but for some reason Delay isn’t holding me close any more. She’s hugging herself instead and I can hear her sniffling. At first I think she’s cold so I try to reach out to give her some heat. I don’t get far because my body can’t manage it, and she’s not cold anyway. She’s crying.