Chips. Cigarettes. Salt and ice, in the lake. She looked down once more, past the grey cloud cover, fished a thumb in the water, mile-high vortex.

You have to understand. People won't think in terms of -- I know -- in terms of real and artificial, simulated, whatever; so it's just a lake, not one she has on her computer. What happens when -- I know, Margaret, will you let me finish? -- when there are people by the lake she's got 3 inches by three scaled down? I mean, processed in the chip on her desk, there's as much power as in the non-simulated (I don't want to say it "non-simulated" but you know what I mean) whole world.

Collapse of the real, hall of mirrors, all that. Same conversation, same fishnet logic. Robert's a bore at parties; I walked to get more beer, and cigarettes, stood by the lake for awhile watching the moon crescent shift.

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