The Oracle Takes You Back (Excerpt)
 
The Oracle’s television show comes on at ten o’clock every Saturday morning on channel number Negative One. You should check it out. It’s getting popular again. I haven’t watched it in years, but I remember it well.

Here’s what you can expect to see in the background of shot: Lines. Curves. Smudges. Haze. Visual static. The static always looked a little like horizontal snow to me.

Here’s what you will definitely not hear: Crickets. Children at play. Violins. Gunfire. Words spoken by the Oracle. The face on the TV cannot speak, you see. Its mouth is stoppered full shut by a variety of objects depending on the episode. But you might hear that face hum a tune, and the tune will sound tantalizingly familiar.

Some of the objects I’ve seen blocking its mouth: Gold coins engraved with the faces of long-dead Gods. Blinding light emanating from a star caught between the televised teeth. A ball gag like those sold at your favorite erotic toy store. A handkerchief tied tight in a complicated knot around the back of the head. The knot, of course, was out of the shot, but I understood its weave immediately.

Things you might see, or imagine that you see, in the shifting matrix of the background static: Patterns. Faces. Regrets. Memories. Emotions masquerading as memories. The small creepy-crawly things that you’ve always known come out of the corners of your bedroom while you’re asleep....
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for November 27, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (757 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art incorporates "la television cathodique" by TNS Sofres (CC BY 2.0) and "John Logie Baird, 1st Image," photographer unknown (ca. 1926)