Dubber by Ray Ogar

>>> COPYRIGHT 2001

yrand taps enter and the print tub to the right of his
tablet begins churning.
slight ferrous molecules and silicates coalesce from the walls of
the printing tub and begin duping the object present
in the v-environment of his i-tablet.
he rolls his eyes at the slow smell that peels from
the print tub—he then leans back and lets the
stabilizing shaft of his chair wheeze.
ergonomics, he thinks, in this case the trade off for
comfort is noise.
and of course he thinks, i could fix that, but it’s a bother.
he swivels in the chair a moment,
then he clicks closed a few chat room
screens minimized on his tablet and
hums a tune to the burbling of the print machine.
he always comments to himself how silly the device looks,
more like a small flat tub of lard or basin thick with cooking
oil than a print output device.
paper-like sheets just peel off the top layer and small objects
are fabbed in the round.
the user gets desktop manufacturing or design models depending on the level
of detail desired.

yrand taps the upper right corner of his i-tablet and the
braille-like bumps that serve as a keyboard interface
recede into the device surface.
he’s always been one for a hard interface vs. a vox.
another pinch of the tablet and it curls closed.
the print tub completes its burn down cycle and yrand
peers inside.
there sits a nice chub of steel gray.
a quick fingering and yrand decides to let it dry a
few more seconds.

he picks the mass out of the print basin and nearly cradles
the thing in his arms.
sand from the kids.
mud from the dog.
more bothers.
yrand enters the front room and pulls his yellowed copy of
_planiverse_ off the faux wood bookshelf.
holding the chub in one hand, he places the book on the floor
and kneels down.
yrand depresses what seems a random spot on the chub and
several braille bumps extrude.
he taps a sequence, reciting in his mind a guess of how thick
the book is and its basic dimensions.
another tap and the bumps reflush and yrand slaps the chub
on top of the book with a smack.
he smoothes the gray substance over the surface of the
book like silly putty.
one thousand one.
one thousand two.
one thousand three.
then peels the chub off.
he moves back across the house to his study.
he slaps down the chub on his desktop and
refingers it like before.
this time the chub’s surface takes on the texture of the book.
the top of the book.
yrand sets the chub to cycle through its collected data set.
and the book-cover texture disappears to slowly reveal
the book’s first page with the steely embossed
aspect of the chub.
more transition and the first page fades.
the second page develops.
yrand smiles because the chubby
performs as he modeled it.
the device cycle looks like a block of steel slowly
bubbling the pages of a book to its outer surface.
the chubby finishes cycling and the final texture it reveals is the
front room carpet floor.
yrand understands a simple tweaking is all it needs.

yrand places the chubby back in the print basin and presses
the print erase button.
the substance gurgles and flattens back into the pan.
he’ll run off an upgraded copy tomorrow.


“you can’t even begin to market that without
doing more tests,” yrand’s wife remarks smugly at
the new chub copy.
they stare at it as if a dog turd were left drying on the table.
yrand shrugs, “like what? all it does is copy things in a plane
normal to its surface.”
“yes but how?” marin still shakes her head.
and yrand thinks she already has some answer made up in her mind.
“well,” he explains, “by releasing a slight electromagnetic field that
scoops the particulars of its surroundings. i mean it’s not like it’s some
sort of duplicating device nor does it remove anything,
it merely re-displays things.”
“it’s invasive,” marin clears breakfast and leaves
the chubby plopped in the table center.
“you’re kidding...”
“no, ... you seem to’ve made some sort of mobile cat scan if anything.
just keep it away from the kids.”
yrand doesn’t so much lower his head as
think to himself.
he picks up the chubby and keys a few dimensions into
its surface.
he stands and moves over to marin and slaps the device onto her
she screams of course.
mild panic.
a tinge
and maybe a moments numbing
and she faints.
yrand doesn’t seem concerned nor does he
really understand his personal motivation as he
settles his wife’s body to the kitchen floor.
it is not as if his life were set up in some way
as to point to this one event.

sitting at his desk, yrand cycles through the chub.
the inner volumes of space that make up miran
slowly extrude in a delicate and sensual series
of wispy architectures before his eyes.
sometimes gray.
at others steely.
a casual copy of his wife from
brain to breast to ball of feet.
he almost begins to cry.
it’s too beautiful for him to vocalize.

yrand places the chub back in the print basin
so it can degrade.
a few more upgrades wouldn’t hurt.

he returns to the kitchen to check his wife.
her eyes are open.
a little watery.
and he realizes he’s a little heartless maybe.
but she seems okay.
he understands the em field particulars of the
chub and the low grade buzz it produces.
a few more pondering moments and
he never anticipated the chub’s ability to seize
animate matter.
in order to dupe, the field lightly stabilizes
the source material.
yrand does cry as his wife
slowly produces spittle from the corner of
her mouth.
he now runs through the particulars in his mind.
nothing too specific.
does he really care?
would this happen in the real world he asks.
not if the consequences of every action were
not if every piece of technology were monitored
and studied.
he thinks to himself.
rationalizes to himself the development and release of such inventions as the radio,
the television and the cell phone.
he thinks perhaps he can rationalize this into
that realm of consumer need.
and perhaps he can set aside his heart for
something a little more lasting like a name on
a page of a book.
after all, he has his children.
and then there is this.

yrand stands and moves back to the
he figures the kids can clean up the mess
when they get home.