NHL Hockey Free Picks and Today's Expert Predictions [2020]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to BettingPicks [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to USAGambling [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT! submitted by TheMACSPicks to sportsgambling [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to shamelessplug [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT! submitted by TheMACSPicks to SportsReport [link] [comments]

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!
Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!
Daily Free MAC ATTACK Plays Below!
Website: RedAlertWagers.com Contact: [email protected] Become a Member - Join The Patreon - $7 Phone: THE RED LINE - (Toll-Free @ 1-844-334-2613) Text THE RED LINE For Tonight's Free MAC ATTACK PLAYS! Follow The MAC on Social Media: Twitter.com/RedAlertWagers Facebook.com/RedAlertWagers Reddit.com/useTheMACSPicks MAC Media: The Reddit Sports Report The Red Alert Report The MAC'S Instant Access Plays: 1 Day Only Access RED PASS: $14.99 Pay By Phone: Call The Red Line & Follow Automated Instructions (Payments Processed via © Stripe)
https://preview.redd.it/4hal4smd9kg41.jpg?width=809&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=fd46277156def8999977a427fc67c85ac30ca6e9

TONIGHT - NCAAB HUSH MONEY PLAY (FEB 12) - (HOUSTON BAPTIST +15.5 vs ABILENE CHRISTIAN -15.5) - IT'S JUST WHAT WE DO! - COLLEGE BASKETBALL PICKS ARE STUCK IN A BLAZING INFERNO!

Special Release Picks go 2-1, Winning another NCAAB Major Move Alert on NC STATE +5.5 & MAC'S Premium Red Alert Picks making ripples on Patreon, this is just what Roland "The Roarin MAC" McGuillaman does. Team R.A.W. has been delivering as promised, our top rated action in College Hoops is cooking with gas, hitting over 71% with Top Rated & Special Release Picks, imposing our will this 2020 NCAAB Season with unstoppable NCAAB HUSH MONEY PLAYS that are continuously breaking in house records this season. The MAC places high roller bets with the composure of a 4 star General, losing isn't a option this Wednesday!
Top Rated NBA Releases have been exceeding expectations, and after last night's NCAAB MAJOR MOVE PLAY (FEB 11) - NC STATE +5.5 "WE ARE PLAYING WITH HOUSE MONEY" and guess what? IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT IF YOU DIDN'T RIDE WITH THE MAC! The Bankroll Players Access exhibits why Roland "The Roarin MAC" McGuillaman's reputation as THE PAYMASTER is galvanized in the gambling underworld as a dangerous low key sharp! He doesn't know where you been, but The MACS been dicking down the sports betting game since the Star Dust was the place to get a high end hooker and a cocktail! THE MAC'S TOP RATED RELEASE COLLEGE BASKETBALL HUSH MONEY PLAYS ARE UNSTOPPABLE THIS YEAR!! - TONIGHT'S SPECIAL RELEASE NCAAB MAJOR MOVE ALERT PLAY (FEB 12) - (VMI +8.5 vs CHATTANOOGA -8.5) - Roland's been playing and fading these teams for years, knowing when to lay or take points with teams like the Broncos, Cowboys, Gaels, River Hawks, & Governors has aggrandized THE MAC's reputation for his college hoops Hush Money Plays. This will be another game out of the public eye that will produce the quiet profits we expect. We pride our action by bringing the results that keep the people recommending THE MAC'S ATS COLLEGE BASKETBALL PICKS, making him one of the most venerable sources for expert college basketball predictions against the spread, and lionizing RedAlertWagers.com in and around sportsbooks and casinos!
Top Rated Special Release Plays by Red Alert Wagers SS Consensus groups were impressive this Football Season, our NFL Major Move Alerts and Back Room Info Plays cracked bookies open and cleaned them out. College Hoops is cooking with gas, hitting over 69% on Top Rated Picks and imposing our will with unstoppable NCAAB HUSH MONEY PLAYS that are continuously breaking in house records this season. We don't go where the game is, we bring YOU where the money is! - $25 Access to all exclusive releases and top rated premium plays! MAC is rolling the dice like they're loaded, tonight's action is playing a small 50 Units spread out in College Hoops & the NHL after banking 35 Units on last night's games hitting 5-2 plays! Having a rocky start last week, but at the end of it The MAC got his units off as he finished in the green once again, +111 Units and now 7 weeks in a row the RedAlertWagers.com Bankroll Players Action has made profits. Bankroll Player Members get The MAC'S personal wagers as a units per play system, betting the strongest information and games with odds that have very best optimal value/risk reward The Mac will once again prove why they continuously acclaim him to be a National Treasure Tonight!! Premium Play & Top Rated Release earnings are up substantially, College Hoops Plays are more than impressive this year, and tonight's CBB Action is set to go our direction. The MAC has a full card today and he is getting the all the geetus with conviction, he did his homework and is keeping open lines of discourse between his consensus groups and other affiliated player syndicates across the country.
Tonight RedAlertWagers.com Chicago Wager Group representatives have top rated picks - NHL, NBA & College Hoops Tonight - Tonight our Top Rated Exclusive Play Members will be getting in on MAC'S NCAAB HUSH MONEY PLAY, MAJOR MOVE ACTION + NBA BACK ROOM INFO PLAY plus all of tonight's special release college basketball predictions. THE MAC NAILED ANOTHER RED ALERT PUCKS PLAY - LAST NIGHT'S TOP RATED PUCKS PICK ON THE EDMONTON OILERS -115, a low key play that was anticipated and predicted by The MAC'S sources! Tonight MAC has a NHL RED ALERT PLAY (FEB 12) - (MONTREAL CANADIENS vs BOSTON BRUINS)
**DAILY MAC ATTACK FREE PICKS*\*
NCAAB MAC ATTACK PICK (FEB 12) - (PITTSBURGH -3.5) NBA MAC ATTACK PICK (FEB 12) - (LOS ANGELES LAKERS -3) - Play At MyBookie.ag NHL MAC ATTACK PLAY (FEB 12) - (CALGARY FLAMES vs LA KINGS UNDER 5.5)
**FREE DAILY FUN PLAY TEASER & PARLAY PICKS*\* FUN PLAY 2 TEAM NBA PARLAY (FEB 12) - (INDIANA PACERS +1.5 -3 X MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES -9.5) !!EARLY INFO FREE RELEASES!! EXCLUSIVE MMA EASY MONEY - UFC ON ESPN+25 (FEB 15) - (JAN BLACHOWICZ +190) EXCLUSIVE MMA EASY MONEY - UFC ON ESPN+25 (FEB 15) - (GADZHIMURAD ANTIGULOV +140) EXCLUSIVE GRUDEN TOTAL GAMES AS RAIDERS HEAD COACH PICK (DEC 31) - (OVER 67.5 GAMES -120)
submitted by TheMACSPicks to SportsReport [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to NBABets [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to Bets_Discussion [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT! submitted by TheMACSPicks to NBABets [link] [comments]

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT! submitted by OpenVisionZ to Bets_Discussion [link] [comments]

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT! submitted by OpenVisionZ to USAGambling [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to nbabetting [link] [comments]

(FEB 14) Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to sportsbookextra [link] [comments]

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT! submitted by OpenVisionZ to NBA_Bets [link] [comments]

Sports Betting Newsletter - College Basketball, NBA Picks & NHL Plays TONIGHT!

submitted by TheMACSPicks to BettingAdvice [link] [comments]

NHL Proline Predictions [11-12-2019] Penguins vs Rangers Betting Tips (Expert NHL Picks Tonight)

NHL Proline Predictions [11-12-2019] Penguins vs Rangers Betting Tips (Expert NHL Picks Tonight) submitted by freenflpicks to sportsbetting [link] [comments]

Free NBA and NHL picks tonight from my sports betting system

submitted by jho13 to BettingPicks [link] [comments]

09/14 - MNF Backroom Info Play + NHL, MLB, & Early Action NBA Moves!

MAC's MNF Backroom Info Play - Pittsburgh vs N.Y. Giants Play: 1st Half New York Giants +3 (+5 UNITS) Play: Under 46.5 (+3 UNITS) Play: Giants ML +210 (+2 UNITS)
Red Alert Report - It's expected to be clear weather at MetLife Stadium on Monday night with temperatures in the 70's and a 10 percent chance of rain. Winds will reach up to 13 mph.
Injuries: Steelers: David DeCastro G (Out), Diontae Johnson WR (Probable), Anthony McFarland RB (Probable), Derek Watt FB (Probable),
Giants: Blake Martinez LB (Probable), David Mayo LB (Questionable), Golden Tate WR (Questionable), Xavier McKinney S (Out), Ian Solder OT (Out), Sam Beal CB (Out), Tae Crowder LB (Questionable)
MAC's backroom info has him locked and loaded for Monday Night Football, as betting circles and sharp money hammer the lines makers in all sports MAC has his top forecasting associates scouting the true money movers action.
The Steelers are going into a empty MetLife stadium to play a Giants team that is under construction to say the least, some key match ups are Pittsburghs outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree vs. New Yorks tackles Cam Fleming and Andrew Thomas, with a no crowd no noise stadium, the obvious problem is audible calls and adjustments.
Expect the Giants to get the ball down the field quickly, Jones will have to go to the air and get up on the boards early, but best believe Tomlin will make the necessary adjustments to put the kibosh on Daniel Jones and the Giants O line, fortunately Jones has packed on some much needed pounds and strength to hold on to that ball, he was a bit fumble happy and the Steelers D will look to get at him as much as possible.
MAC's East Coast consensus groups have reported that the 17 year vet Rothlisberger may not be 100% coming off his elbow injury, Steelers will be relying on a strong running game from Conner, but might be taking tips from Saquon Barkley who should be the X Factor for a Giants win. This weeks #BumAlert could go to Big Ben Rottenburger depending on tonight's game -
MAC's Final Score Game Prediction Giants -24 Steelers 14
MAC's MLB Major Move - Oakland JESUS LUZARDO (L) vs Seattle MARCO GONZALES (L) Play: Under 6.5 (+10 UNITS)
MAC's NHL MAC ATTACK MOVE NHL PLAYOFFS - WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH Dallas Stars vs Vegas Golden Knights Play: Under 5 (+3 UNITS)
Quick Trends: Under is 7-0 in Golden Knights last 7 overall. Under is 4-0 in Golden Knights last 4 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game. Under is 6-0 in Golden Knights last 6 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game. Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
9/15 - MAC's NBA Red Alert Play - NBA PLAYOFFS - EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS Miami vs Boston Play: Boston ML -125 (+10 UNITS) Play: Over 210 (+5 UNITS)
Quick Trends: Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game. Celtics are 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 games playing on 3 or more days rest. Celtics are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
MAC’s Picks on Patreon
submitted by Lester6ClipscCullen to sportsbetting [link] [comments]

A final analysis on 2020 first round draft targets

Ladies and gents, Wild fans alike, now that we know we are officially a lottery team, here are my thoughts on players that could fall to us at 9th overall. Let’s dive in.
 
Alexander Holtz RW (Right shot, 6'0" 183 lbs) #27 in Sweden uni’s, #88 in SHL uni’s
Holtz is basically everything you want in a goal scoring wing, especially for our club considering he’s a right shot. Holtz is all around a solid skater, I think he’s slightly better east-west than north-south, but I don’t see any major issues with his skating even if I do wish he were faster. He has soft hands, and although he doesn’t flash them as much as others on this list he can deke guys out of their skates. Let’s not kid ourselves, goal scoring is Holtz’s bread and butter but he does have playmaking instincts in him. I was a bit surprised with his playmaking, and that should keep goalies guessing in the NHL. Of course, you can’t talk about Holtz without the goal scoring. Holtz’s shot is ridiculous. He has a nasty, accurate wrister with a quick release that he can rip in tight spaces. I was also surprised at how often he identified soft spots and often before they developed, which speaks to how good his scoring instincts are. When you combine the scoring instincts and ability with his underrated playmaking you get a very dangerous offensive player. Overall I think Holtz is a pretty safe bet to be at least 20 goal scorer in the NHL, but at his ceiling he could be near that 35-40 goal mark. I know we need a center, but we always could really use a right shot scoring wing and Holtz fills that need in spades.
 
Lucas Raymond RW (Right shot, 5'10" 183 lbs) #18 in videos
The savvy Raymond is a much different player (and prospect) than Holtz. With Raymond, it’s all about the skill. He’s a better skater than Holtz, but he’s still not necessarily a burner. His edge work/agility is actually very good, but he just lacks that top gear you especially like to see in a smaller player. What Raymond does not lack are incredible hands. Raymond can make defenders look silly with the dekes he’s able to pull off, and I think he has some of the best hands in the draft. With Raymond, his sensational playmaking and creativity are the names of the game. His vision on the ice and ability to create plays out of nothing is incredible. One thing to note about Raymond that gives me some concern is how much different he looked in international tournaments compared to his SHL games. Among peers, he stands out as easily the most talented player on the ice. Among grown adults, this was not the case and I worry about whether or not he can translate his game against the best players in the world. To tie it up, Raymond is a very high ceiling prospect but may have one of the lower floors of the players on this list. Maybe a high-risk high-reward prospect is what we need and I wouldn’t hesitate if he’s available at 9.
 
Cole Perfetti LW/C (Left shot, 5’10”, 18lbs) #91 in videos
Cole Perfetti is an offensive juggernaut. Do you want a guy who can score goals in bunches? Perfetti is your man. Do you want a guy that can run a PP and thread passes? Perfetti is your man. I don’t know if there’s anything he can’t do offensively. His skating isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. His speed is fine, but he isn’t necessarily blowing by guys every shift. As you probably saw in that last clip Perfetti’s hands, however, are silky. Like Raymond, I’d say his hands are among the best in the draft. But as I alluded to earlier, the thing that makes Perfettis so special is his offensive ability and more specifically his sky-high hockey IQ. Perfetti has the rare ability to anticipate plays before they happen. He sees the ice in ways that few others do and can accurately predict the flow of the game to manipulate it to his desire. And even better, he has the passing ability to pull it off more often than not. Not to mention his scoring ability is fantastic. This particular sequence is extremely impressive with the way he tells his teammate to pass to his other teammate in the other faceoff circle, which leaves Perfetti wide open for a slap shot. It’s worth mentioning that Perfetti looks like he’ll be a LW in the NHL but he does have some experience at center. I don’t think he’ll be there for us at 9, but his offensive ability should be too good to pass up if he is.
 
Marco Rossi C (Left shot, 5’9”, 179lbs) #23 in videos
Rossi is a slick, competitive center whose size can fool you. He does not play like he’s only 5’9” and part of that is because of his very strong lower body. Notice how at the end of this clip Rossi gets shoved by a defenseman from behind who is clearly 3-4” taller than him and he shakes it off like nothing. That’s why I think he won’t have a problem with his size at center in the NHL. Like all of the previous players I’ve talked about, he isn’t going to burn you every shift, but he has some speed in him. He also combines good edge work with good hands to evade checks (yes, he just skated through three opponents without being touched). I know I’ve said this a lot already, but his hands are among the best in this class. He’s a very smart player and can thread needles and should run a first unit PP at the next level. And if you need Rossi to snipe some goals, he can do that too. I know this is a cliche, but Rossi is fearless and isn’t afraid to get to the dirty areas to score. In general, his competitiveness is something that really stood out to me, he’s feisty in his own zone and on the PK which is something I love to see in center prospects. If you haven’t noticed by now, Rossi is who I’m hoping falls to us at 9th overall. I have him as my 4th ranked prospect in this draft but as we all saw last year with Caufield, some teams are scared by shorter players so there’s a chance he’s available for us.
 
So we all know that the Oilers, Penguins, Rangers, or Leafs if they lose tonight are going to win 1st overall (semi-joking but also half serious) but just for fun I wanted to talk about who I feel are the best three prospects in this draft. Everyone who pays attention to the draft knows Lafreniere is the top player of this class, but I wanted to at least make a case for Byfield and Stutzle. This is mainly because we’ve seen how hard it is to have a franchise center and both of these guys could fill that need. In a way, it’s almost ironic that the draft we have the best chance of winning first overall is for a freaking LW. It would be really hard passing up someone as talented as Lafreniere, but it would also be really hard passing up a franchise center.
 
Quinton Byfield, C (Left shot, 6’4”, 214lbs) #55 in videos
The towering goal-scoring Byfield is seen by many as having the best toolkit in the draft. Byfield is an excellent skater. He can fly past guys which makes him a threat every time he steps onto the ice. This is especially impressive when you consider how huge he is. Byfield has some very soft hands. He isn’t flashy with them, rather he’s very efficient but they are buttery. One unique thing about Byfield is that I wouldn’t call him an excellent playmaker, but he’s a very good passer. Not that he’s a bad playmaker, because that’s far from the truth, but compared to others on this list he pales in comparison. That being said, Byfield more than makes up for that with his booming, accurate shot. He can get a ton of power behind his shot and he often snipes goals far from the net. Another unique thing about Byfield is how patient he is with the puck. Having this trait is something that’s very valuable in the NHL and Byfield seems to have mastered it. I’d like Byfield to be better defensively because he isn’t great in his own zone, but with his reach and skating he should have a pretty high ceiling when it comes to developing this area of his game. Byfield is a rare player. Guys with his size, skating, hands, and offensive ability truly are unicorns in this league. Oh yeah, and did I mention he’s one of the youngest players in the draft with an August 18th birthday (I can’t believe he’s still just 17)? When you combine everything, you can see why scouts gush over Byfield. His ceiling as a franchise goal-scoring center is astronomically high which should put him into the conversation at 1 overall, at least for a center-starved franchise like us.
 
Tim Stutzle C/LW (Left shot, 6’0”, 187lbs) #8 in videos
Before I get into why Stutzle is my favorite prospect in this entire draft, it’s important to keep in mind as you’re watching these clips that Stutzle is playing against grown men in Germany and absolutely embarrasses some of them. His skating ability is sensational. He can change directions in the blink of an eye and has incredible agility/edge work. I could go on, and on, and on about Stutzle’s skating because I think he’s the best skater in the entire draft, but I’ll end it with my favorite clip. Not only is he a great skater, but he also has some incredible hands to go along with his feet. But what makes Stutzle even more impressive is the fact that he's another player that owns the rare ability to create something out of nothing by using his phenomenal playmaking instincts. He can thread a tight pass and should rack up a ton of assists in the NHL. Like his skating, I could go on, and on, and on about his playmaking, but similar to his skating it’s because I think he’s the second best playmaker in the entire draft (you can probably guess who’s number 1). I also want to point out that while Germany has a big ice sheet, Stutzle excels in tight areas which is extremely translatable to the NHL where space is hard to find. Stutzle played most of this year on the left wing in the DEL, but he played a lot at center in Germany’s junior league. I think when you have someone with experience at center and combine that with the skating and playmaking ability that Stutzle has, I have a hard time believing he couldn’t be a center in the NHL. Like Byfield, Stutzle is a unique prospect but in very different ways. We’ve been spoiled recently with the Hughes brothers and Makar, but guys who can skate like Stutzle can with his creativity and playmaking are extremely rare. Not to mention he showed he can compete with grown men which is more than most players in the draft can say they’ve done. Stutzle is a very exciting player, especially for a franchise needing a superbly skilled center, and I could see Stutzle in consideration at fist overall for that reason.
 
Alexis Lafreinere LW (6’1”, 191 lbs) #11 in videos
And now the prize of the draft, Alexis Lafreniere, finally gets his spotlight on my list. Look, Lafreniere is the most talented player in this class. He can take over games and shift the momentum for his team. I think Stutzle and Byfield can do that, but to a lesser extent than Lafreniere. It’s almost maddening that he’s not a center, and I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever drafts him doesn’t at least try him there to see how he does. Anyways, if there’s one thing to not like about Lafreniere, it’s his skating. It’s not necessarily bad, but I’m left wanting more out of a consensus number one overall pick. It’s hard to fault him because everything else about him is unbelievably good. Lafreniere is a ridiculous playmaker. He knows that teams have to respect him, and he sometimes uses this to his advantage. This is how Lafreniere makes his teammates better. He can create space for them by drawing attention to himself, and then he makes magic and passes for an easy goal. Here’s another example of this unique ability. Another thing I love about his game is his deceptiveness. Notice how he looks at the net and lets off a quick pass to Rossi. Lafreniere can snipe as well, but most of his goals come from driving hard to the net hard. This is somewhat of a theme to his game as Lafreniere is a fiery player, he is not afraid to play the body. Here’s another [big hit](https://youtu.be/Q3SSY6_MvaA?t=3530. When you mix all of things together, you find yourself looking at yet another very unique player. He can beat you with his incredible skill, his deceptive vision, or his intense compete level. He’s dangerous in so many different ways that you can see how easy it is for him to tilt the ice, and when the going gets tough is when he shines the most. That’s why he’s the consensus first overall pick and that’s why it would be incredibly challenging to pass on a player like him.
 
This got a lot longer than I was expecting, but hopefully you have a better idea of some of the top players in this draft. Outside of these last three players, there’s a chance that one of the previous four fall to us at 9th overall, or maybe Guerin gets bold and moves up a few spots to take one. I discussed Lundell, Sanderson, and Quinn in my previous post this year, so they are not included here. But to briefly touch on all of them, I hold the unpopular opinion of not being high on Lundell. I talked about this in my last post, but I just didn’t see much in his offensive game that stood out even though he scored a lot for his age and I worry that his upside might not be more than a 3rd line checking/defensive center. You don't have to agree, and probably don't, but I just think his offensive game is too big of a risk to take at 9. I did (and still do) like Sanderson a lot, and with Suter not playing in our last game I would definitely consider him at 9. Quinn looks like a top scorer in this class and if any of the guys on this last are not available he's also worth considering at 9. Of course, just like last year with Boldy, I did not talk about Drysdale this year so he’s probably who we’re taking at 9 if he falls, but I’m hoping Guerin grabs an impact forward that we can count on to be a star player for us for a very long time.
submitted by TanSor to wildhockey [link] [comments]

Iris [3/3]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 <-- You are here.
I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

Iris

“What if the whole universe was a giant garden—like a hydroponics thing, like how they grow tomatoes and marijuana, so there wouldn’t need to be any soil, all the nutrients would just get injected straight into the seeds or however they do it—or, even better, space itself was the soil, you know how they talk about dark matter being this invisible and mysterious thing that exists out there and we don’t know what it does, if it actually affect anything, gravity…”
She blew a cloud of pot smoke my way that made me cough and probably gave her time to think. She said, “So dark matter is like the soil, and in this space garden of course they don’t grow plants but something else.”
“Galaxies?”
“Eyes.”
“Just eyes, or body parts in general?” I asked.
“Just eyes.”
The music from the party thumped. “But the eyes are our planets, like Mars is an eye, Neptune is an eye, and the Earth is an eye, maybe even the best eye.”
“The best for what? Who’s growing them?”
“God,” she said.
I took the joint from her and took a long drag. “I didn’t know you believed in God.”
“I don’t, I guess—except when I’m on dope. Anyway, you’ve got to understand me because when I say God I don’t mean like the old man with muscles and a beard. This God, the one I’m talking about, it’s more like a one-eyed monster.”
“Like a cyclops?” I asked.
“Yeah, like that, like a cyclops. So it’s growing these eyes in the dark matter in space—I mean right now, you and me, we’re literally sitting on one of these eyes and we’re contributing to its being grown because the nutrients the cyclops God injected into them, that’s us.”
“Why does God need so many extra eyes?”
“It’s not a question of having so many of them, but more about having the right one, like growing the perfect tomato.” I gave her back the joint and leaned back, looking at the stars. “Because every once in a while the cyclops God goes blind, its eye stops working—not in the same way we go blind, because the cyclops God doesn’t see reality in the same way we see reality—but more like we see through our brains and our eyes put together.”
“Like x-ray vision?” I asked.
“No, not like that at all,” she said.
“A glass eye?”
“Glass eyes are fake.”
“OK,” I said, “so maybe try something else. Give me a different angle. Tell me what role we’re playing in all of this because right now it seems that we’re pretty insignificant. I mean, you said we’re nutrients but what’s the difference between, say, Mars and Earth in terms of being eyes?”
She looked over at me. “Are you absolutely sure you want to hear about this?”
“I am,” I said.
“You don’t think it’s stupid?”
“Compared to what?”
“I don’t know, just stupid in general.”
“I don’t.”
“I like you,” she said.
“Because I don’t think you’re stupid?” I asked.
“That’s just a bonus. I mean more that you’re up here with me instead of being down there with everyone, and we’re talking and even though we’re not in love I know somehow we’ll never forget each other for as long as we live.”
“It’s hard to forget being on the surface of a giant floating eyeball.”
“You’re scared that you won’t find anyone to love,” she said suddenly, causing me to nearly choke on my own saliva. “Don’t ask me how I know—I just do. But before I go any further about the cyclops God, I want you to know that you’ll find someone to love and who’ll love you back, and whatever happens you’ll always have that because no one can take away the past.”
“You’re scared of going blind,” I said.
“I am going blind.”
“Not yet.”
“And I’m learning not to be scared because everything I see until that day will always belong to me.”
“The doctors said it would be gradual,” I reminded her.
“That’s horrible.”
“Why?”
“Because you wouldn’t want to find someone to love and then know that every day you wake up the love between you grows dimmer and dimmer, would you?”
“I guess not,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you much rather feel the full strength of that love up to and including in the final second before the world goes black?”
“It would probably be painful to lose it all at once like that.”
“Painful because you actually had something to lose. For me, I know I can’t wish away blindness, but I sure wish that the last image I ever see—in that final second before my world goes black—is the most vivid and beautiful image of all.”
Because I didn’t know what to say to that, I mumbled: “I’m sorry.”
“That I’m going blind?”
“Yeah, and that we can’t grow eyes.”
This time I looked over, and she was the one gazing at the stars. “Before, you asked if we were insignificant,” she said. “But because you’re sorry—that’s kind of why we’re the most significant of all, why Earth is better than the other planets.”
“For the cyclops God?”
“Yes.”
“He cares about my feelings?”
“Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but in a different way that’s exactly what the cyclops God cares about most because that’s what it’s looking for in an eye. All the amazing stuff we’ve ever built, all our ancient civilizations and supercomputers and cities you can see from the Moon—that’s just useless cosmetics to the cyclops God, except in how all of it has made us feel about things that aren’t us.”
“I think you’re talking about morality.”
“I think so, too.”
“So by feeling sorry for you I’m showing compassion, and the cyclops God likes compassion?”
“That’s not totally wrong but it’s a little upside down. We have this black matter garden and these planets the cyclops God has grown as potential eyes to replace its own eye once it stops working, but its own eye is like an eye and a brain mixed together. Wait—” she said.
I waited.
“Imagine a pair of tinted sunglasses.”
I imagined green-tinted ones.
“Now imagine that instead of the lenses being a certain colour, they’re a certain morality, and if you wear the glasses you see the world tinted according to that morality.”
I was kind of able to imagine that. I supposed it would help show who was good and who was bad. “But the eye and the tinted glasses are the same thing in this case.”
“Exactly, there’s no one without the other, and what makes the tint special is us—not that the cyclops God cares at all about individuals any more than we care about individual honey bees. That’s why he’s kind of a monster.”
“Isn’t people’s morality always changing, though?”
“Only up to a point. Green is green even when you have a bunch of shades of it, and a laptop screen still works fine even with a few dead pixels, right? And the more globalized and connected we get, the smoother our morality gets, but if you’re asking more about how our changing morals work when the cyclops God finally comes to take its eye, I assume it has a way to freeze our progress. To cut our roots. Then it makes some kind of final evaluation. If it’s satisfied it takes the planet and sticks it into its eye socket, and if it doesn’t like us then it lets us alone, although because we’re frozen and possibly rootless I suppose we die—maybe that’s what the other planets are, so many of them in space without any sort of life. Cold, rejected eyes.”
From sunglasses to bees to monitors in three metaphors, and now we were back to space. This was getting confusing. The stars twinkled, some of them dead, too: their light still arriving at our eyes from sources that no longer existed. “That’s kind of depressing,” I said to end the silence.
“What about it?”
“Being bees,” I said, “that work for so long at tinting a pair of glasses just so that a cyclops God can try them on.”
“I don’t think it’s any more depressing than being a tomato.”
“I’ve never thought about that.”
“You should. It’s beautiful, like love,” she said. “Because if you think about it, being a tomato and being a person are really quite similar. They’re both about growing and existing for the enjoyment of someone else. As a tomato you’re planted, you grow and mature and then an animal comes along and eats you. The juicier you look and the nicer you smell, the greater the chance that you’ll get plucked but also the more pleasure the animal will get from you. As a person, you’re also born and you grow up and you mature into a one of a kind personality with a one of a kind face, and then someone comes along and makes you fall in love with them and all the growing you did was really just for their enjoyment of your love.”
“Except love lasts longer than chewing a tomato.”
“Sometimes,” she said.
“And you have to admit that two tomatoes can’t eat each other the way two people can love each other mutually.”
“I admit that’s a good point,” she said.
“And what happens to someone who never gets fallen in love with?”
“The same thing that happens to a tomato that never gets eaten or an eye that the cyclops God never takes. They die and they rot, and they darken and harden, decomposing until they don’t look like tomatoes anymore. It’s not a nice fate. I’d rather live awhile and get eaten, to be honest.”
“As a tomato or person?”
“Both.”
I thought for a few seconds. “That explanation works for things on Earth, but nothing actually decomposes in space.”
“That’s why there are so many dead planets,” she said.
submitted by normancrane to cryosleep [link] [comments]

Iris [3/3]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 <-- You are here.

- - -

I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

Iris

“What if the whole universe was a giant garden—like a hydroponics thing, like how they grow tomatoes and marijuana, so there wouldn’t need to be any soil, all the nutrients would just get injected straight into the seeds or however they do it—or, even better, space itself was the soil, you know how they talk about dark matter being this invisible and mysterious thing that exists out there and we don’t know what it does, if it actually affect anything, gravity…”
She blew a cloud of pot smoke my way that made me cough and probably gave her time to think. She said, “So dark matter is like the soil, and in this space garden of course they don’t grow plants but something else.”
“Galaxies?”
“Eyes.”
“Just eyes, or body parts in general?” I asked.
“Just eyes.”
The music from the party thumped. “But the eyes are our planets, like Mars is an eye, Neptune is an eye, and the Earth is an eye, maybe even the best eye.”
“The best for what? Who’s growing them?”
“God,” she said.
I took the joint from her and took a long drag. “I didn’t know you believed in God.”
“I don’t, I guess—except when I’m on dope. Anyway, you’ve got to understand me because when I say God I don’t mean like the old man with muscles and a beard. This God, the one I’m talking about, it’s more like a one-eyed monster.”
“Like a cyclops?” I asked.
“Yeah, like that, like a cyclops. So it’s growing these eyes in the dark matter in space—I mean right now, you and me, we’re literally sitting on one of these eyes and we’re contributing to its being grown because the nutrients the cyclops God injected into them, that’s us.”
“Why does God need so many extra eyes?”
“It’s not a question of having so many of them, but more about having the right one, like growing the perfect tomato.” I gave her back the joint and leaned back, looking at the stars. “Because every once in a while the cyclops God goes blind, its eye stops working—not in the same way we go blind, because the cyclops God doesn’t see reality in the same way we see reality—but more like we see through our brains and our eyes put together.”
“Like x-ray vision?” I asked.
“No, not like that at all,” she said.
“A glass eye?”
“Glass eyes are fake.”
“OK,” I said, “so maybe try something else. Give me a different angle. Tell me what role we’re playing in all of this because right now it seems that we’re pretty insignificant. I mean, you said we’re nutrients but what’s the difference between, say, Mars and Earth in terms of being eyes?”
She looked over at me. “Are you absolutely sure you want to hear about this?”
“I am,” I said.
“You don’t think it’s stupid?”
“Compared to what?”
“I don’t know, just stupid in general.”
“I don’t.”
“I like you,” she said.
“Because I don’t think you’re stupid?” I asked.
“That’s just a bonus. I mean more that you’re up here with me instead of being down there with everyone, and we’re talking and even though we’re not in love I know somehow we’ll never forget each other for as long as we live.”
“It’s hard to forget being on the surface of a giant floating eyeball.”
“You’re scared that you won’t find anyone to love,” she said suddenly, causing me to nearly choke on my own saliva. “Don’t ask me how I know—I just do. But before I go any further about the cyclops God, I want you to know that you’ll find someone to love and who’ll love you back, and whatever happens you’ll always have that because no one can take away the past.”
“You’re scared of going blind,” I said.
“I am going blind.”
“Not yet.”
“And I’m learning not to be scared because everything I see until that day will always belong to me.”
“The doctors said it would be gradual,” I reminded her.
“That’s horrible.”
“Why?”
“Because you wouldn’t want to find someone to love and then know that every day you wake up the love between you grows dimmer and dimmer, would you?”
“I guess not,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you much rather feel the full strength of that love up to and including in the final second before the world goes black?”
“It would probably be painful to lose it all at once like that.”
“Painful because you actually had something to lose. For me, I know I can’t wish away blindness, but I sure wish that the last image I ever see—in that final second before my world goes black—is the most vivid and beautiful image of all.”
Because I didn’t know what to say to that, I mumbled: “I’m sorry.”
“That I’m going blind?”
“Yeah, and that we can’t grow eyes.”
This time I looked over, and she was the one gazing at the stars. “Before, you asked if we were insignificant,” she said. “But because you’re sorry—that’s kind of why we’re the most significant of all, why Earth is better than the other planets.”
“For the cyclops God?”
“Yes.”
“He cares about my feelings?”
“Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but in a different way that’s exactly what the cyclops God cares about most because that’s what it’s looking for in an eye. All the amazing stuff we’ve ever built, all our ancient civilizations and supercomputers and cities you can see from the Moon—that’s just useless cosmetics to the cyclops God, except in how all of it has made us feel about things that aren’t us.”
“I think you’re talking about morality.”
“I think so, too.”
“So by feeling sorry for you I’m showing compassion, and the cyclops God likes compassion?”
“That’s not totally wrong but it’s a little upside down. We have this black matter garden and these planets the cyclops God has grown as potential eyes to replace its own eye once it stops working, but its own eye is like an eye and a brain mixed together. Wait—” she said.
I waited.
“Imagine a pair of tinted sunglasses.”
I imagined green-tinted ones.
“Now imagine that instead of the lenses being a certain colour, they’re a certain morality, and if you wear the glasses you see the world tinted according to that morality.”
I was kind of able to imagine that. I supposed it would help show who was good and who was bad. “But the eye and the tinted glasses are the same thing in this case.”
“Exactly, there’s no one without the other, and what makes the tint special is us—not that the cyclops God cares at all about individuals any more than we care about individual honey bees. That’s why he’s kind of a monster.”
“Isn’t people’s morality always changing, though?”
“Only up to a point. Green is green even when you have a bunch of shades of it, and a laptop screen still works fine even with a few dead pixels, right? And the more globalized and connected we get, the smoother our morality gets, but if you’re asking more about how our changing morals work when the cyclops God finally comes to take its eye, I assume it has a way to freeze our progress. To cut our roots. Then it makes some kind of final evaluation. If it’s satisfied it takes the planet and sticks it into its eye socket, and if it doesn’t like us then it lets us alone, although because we’re frozen and possibly rootless I suppose we die—maybe that’s what the other planets are, so many of them in space without any sort of life. Cold, rejected eyes.”
From sunglasses to bees to monitors in three metaphors, and now we were back to space. This was getting confusing. The stars twinkled, some of them dead, too: their light still arriving at our eyes from sources that no longer existed. “That’s kind of depressing,” I said to end the silence.
“What about it?”
“Being bees,” I said, “that work for so long at tinting a pair of glasses just so that a cyclops God can try them on.”
“I don’t think it’s any more depressing than being a tomato.”
“I’ve never thought about that.”
“You should. It’s beautiful, like love,” she said. “Because if you think about it, being a tomato and being a person are really quite similar. They’re both about growing and existing for the enjoyment of someone else. As a tomato you’re planted, you grow and mature and then an animal comes along and eats you. The juicier you look and the nicer you smell, the greater the chance that you’ll get plucked but also the more pleasure the animal will get from you. As a person, you’re also born and you grow up and you mature into a one of a kind personality with a one of a kind face, and then someone comes along and makes you fall in love with them and all the growing you did was really just for their enjoyment of your love.”
“Except love lasts longer than chewing a tomato.”
“Sometimes,” she said.
“And you have to admit that two tomatoes can’t eat each other the way two people can love each other mutually.”
“I admit that’s a good point,” she said.
“And what happens to someone who never gets fallen in love with?”
“The same thing that happens to a tomato that never gets eaten or an eye that the cyclops God never takes. They die and they rot, and they darken and harden, decomposing until they don’t look like tomatoes anymore. It’s not a nice fate. I’d rather live awhile and get eaten, to be honest.”
“As a tomato or person?”
“Both.”
I thought for a few seconds. “That explanation works for things on Earth, but nothing actually decomposes in space.”
“That’s why there are so many dead planets,” she said.
submitted by normancrane to stayawake [link] [comments]

Barr's Bets

Good afternoon East Coast! Had a huge weekend, 3-2 on Saturday with a CLEAN SWEEP yesterday (Sunday) 4-0! Hopefully we carry the same momentum into today's picks! Got 1 early game, rest will occur this evening, here's my models picks today!

[Barr's Bets 8/3/20]
[NBA] 1:35 PM EST TORONTO RAPTORS VS. MIAMI HEAT, **PICK: OVER 221 (+100)*\* With the big introduction to the bubble for both teams (Raptors knocking off the Lakers, and Heat smoking the Nuggets) it's hard to predict what type of game we're going to have. Both high-octane offenses could have the opposing defenses in shock as players begin to regain their grip on the "new" season. Most of the games in the bubble have seen a high score, and the model likes riding the wave here. We're getting decent value at +100, the model likes it.
[NHL] 6:35 PM EST DALLAS STARS VS. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS, **PICK: OVER 5 (-140)*\* Hockey is back, and I'll start off with I hate odds this low. The model has it at a virtual lock (which is indicative of the line I suppose) with push outs at 5 (2-3, 3-2 variations). Let's hope for a high scoring game despite the Knights missing one of their forwards.
[NBA] 8:05 PM EST SAN ANTONIO SPURS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS, **PICK: UNDER 227 (-101)*\* Brutal showing by the 76ers (I'm a fan, from NJ/Philly) in their first game back against the Pacers. A fan would argue that "it's not the worst loss" considering we've beaten the Celtics all year (if we draw them in the playoffs)... Regardless, Shake Milton looked brutal at PG and there was noticeable arguments/frustration with the new starting lineup. Despite Joel's MONSTER game, it wasn't enough. The 76ers will bounce back here, but the model is riding the under. If you wanted additional action on the game, I think you'd have to eat the bad lines and take the Sixers ML and even consider the spread (probably ~ -7 PHL). I hate betting on games when my team's playing, but the model liked it :-/
[MLB] 8:10 PM EST CHICAGO WHITE SOX VS. MILWAUKEE BREWERS, **PICK: UNDER 9.5 (-105)*\* Yelich and the Brewers have been no where to be found with the bats in hand, and the model is rooting that way again tonight with the Under 9.5 bet. Though it could come down to the end around a 5-3 score (predicted), we're hoping for nothing spicy in the 9th like they did against the Pirates to shit on our perfect day last week. Both teams strike out a lot, and both pitchers aren't great, but they have to get into groove here in a shortened season. For every MLB game, expect the teams to want to win.
[MLB] 8:40 PM EST SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS VS. COLORADO ROCKIES, **PICK: COLORADO ROCKIES (-131)*\* Cueto at the mound today for the Giants, just hasn't been good after coming back from Tommy John Surgery (in 2018). Gonzalez on the other hand isn't much better... This could be a high scoring game, and I'm surprised the model didn't side with the over (although it's enormous at O/U 13). This isn't a big ROI but the model thinks the Rockies will take it in their park.
[NBA] 9:05 PM EST LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. UTAH JAZZ, **PICK: UNDER 217 (-102)*\* After a huge game to start bubble play, AD really cooled off vs. the Raptors. The Jazz match up pretty well vs. the Lakers in what I'm hoping (for the bets sake) is a heavier defensive matchup. Both teams need to win the game, I'm hoping they make the most of their possessions (kill that clock) towards the end of the game. The Lakers have only scored a max of 103 points, with the Jazz averaging 100 in the bubble. I see why the model likes the under in this slow paced game.

Good luck to everyone, and gamble responsibly! Never bet with what you can't afford to lose :) Let me know if you're tailing!
submitted by BarrBetting to sportsbetting [link] [comments]

NHL Picks Tonight Oilers vs Panthers Free Prediction NHL Picks and Predictions  Puck Time for Tuesday, February 25 Puck Time - NHL Picks and Predictions for Tuesday, January 7 NHL Picks - YouTube NHL Picks and Predictions  Puck Time for Thursday, February 27

Our free NHL betting picks will help you identify value and teach you how to apply it at the safest online betting sites. Give yourself the best chance at making real money betting on the NHL by using our free betting predictions in 2020. Featured NHL Pick. Lightning at Stars NHL AI Prediction. Free Expert Sports Picks . SBR provides hundreds of free picks from sports betting experts and professional handicappers each week. We have scoured the country to find the leading experts on NFL ... NHL computer picks are betting selections made by a computer algorithm to make predictions. The algorithm takes into account a number of factors to come up with its collection. Betting trends, game venue, line-ups, weather, injury and news updates as well as a wide range of statistics are some of the factors that computer picks take into account. NHL Picks – daily money line and over under totals picks from our experts which include playoff predictions. We finish the season off with our expert Stanley Cup picks and best bets. College Football Picks – weekly free picks against the spread and over under totals for all regular season and bowl games including the National Championship game. Best 3 NHL Betting Sites and Hockey Odds 2020 #1. Bovada. Bonus: 50% up to $250. Bet Now #2. MyBookie. Bonus: 50% up to $1000. Bet Now #3. BetOnline. Bonus: 50% up to $1000. Bet Now. Don't let hockey betting sites that are popular strike any fear into your heart. If you want to feel positively about hockey betting lines and similar subjects ...

[index] [12685] [42334] [64519] [43451] [28323] [15435] [49891] [16834] [9952] [7413]

NHL Picks Tonight Oilers vs Panthers Free Prediction

Get free NHL betting predictions and picks on the money lines and under over total goals scored today between the Philadelphia Flyers vs Washington Capitals & Anaheim Ducks vs Colorado Avalanche ... NHL Picks and Predictions for Thursday, February 27: In this episode of Puck Time, The Prez, and his panel of expert hockey handicappers look at the NHL games for tonight and preview the action on ... Edmonton Oilers vs Florida Panthers free NHL prediction tonight. If your current pro hockey betting picks have you down checkout ez-winners https://www.ez-wi... NHL Proline Predictions [11-12-2019] Penguins vs Rangers Betting Tips (Expert NHL Picks Tonight) by Vernon Croy Free Sports Picks and Predictions. 3:06. NHL Picks and Predictions for Tuesday, February 25: In this episode of Puck Time, The Prez, and his panel of expert hockey handicappers look at the NHL games for tonight and preview the action on ...

https://forex-turck.cryptominingfarm.pw