— excerpt: Notes from Trillionaire Island: Fearkiller (Volume 2). Also posted at Medium.
Take a minute and ponder the concept of a hot tub.
Get your mind out of the gutter. We’re not being pornographic here.
Think about what you buy versus what you desire.
You fork out a couple grand for a shaped piece of fiberglass, a railing (sometimes, not always), molded plastic, storm jets, plastic tubing, a heater, a circuit board, the electrical outlet, wood paneling, the steps leading up to the hot tub —
But what you desire — what you really desire — are gallons of steamy, sizzling reenergizing water and endlessly reproducing fizzling bubbles.
You purchase one thing but buy another.
You purchase something that is now killing a section of the grass in the corner of your yard and looks out of place next to the garage.
But the sizzling water and the fizzling bubbles remind you why it exists.
Again, you purchase one thing. But you buy another.
Bake on this idea for a sec while Optimista jibes out past a hydrogen-based-proton reservoir of energy.
Optimista is jibing along at light minus seven, two universes away.
Light minus seven, seven-tenths the speed of light.
Jibing is a sailing term. To jibe is to sail with an energy source like a gust of wind, quasar explosion — or in her case here, a flow of destabilized radiation that would incinerate many beings in under a nanosecond — behind you, propelling you forward. In order for it to propel you forward, you want your surface as wide as possible to harness as much energy as you can.
In Optimista’s case right now, the surface she’s using to jibe and sail is her hair.
Her hundreds of thousands of miles of what you would call hair serve as her sail, emanating from her head like rays of sunlight. She is stripping out of the ceremonial garb she had to wear for the trillions of workers as she sails.
Not to be sexy or slutty or anything, she just needs out of this ceremonial garb. Now. She is fully invested in getting out of this thing.
Optimista’s hair is filled with trillions of nerve endings and microscopic organisms that hear, taste, touch, smell, feel, love, think — that relay all of this sensory input straight into her brain.
She’s had to keep all of this hair in a bun the entire day.
What color is Optimista’s hair?
It’s colorful. And filled with colors. Colors you’ve never seen before. Colors that no being has ever seen before might materialize any second.
(Color is different out here.)
Sensing a fluctuation in the radiation flowing all around her, Optimista does a one-eighty and changes from jibe to tack.
She finishes stripping and making herself more comfortable.
As she was doing all of this, her bodily form was also harnessing all of the hydrogen and oxygen it could from her immediate surroundings of space.
Optimista is now tacking; sailing through space; reclining, arms to her side, feet up; immersed up to her neck in sizzling, steamy, reenergizing, two-parts-hydrogen-one-part-oxygen and trillions of tiny, fizzling bubbles.
Optimista doesn’t need the hot tub.
Its shape, along with the hot water and bubbles, will do just fine, thank you.
And, yup, as of a moment ago, she’s feet up. Buuuuutt nekkid.
Tacking is another sailing term. Tacking, as opposed to jibing, is sailing into — as opposed to with — this previously mentioned source of energy. With that quasi-nuclear radiation coming straight at you, the idea is to propel yourself directly into it. While it sounds counterintuitive at first — sailing against the stream’s flow — the energy created on a tack is called lift.
The concept of lift explains how airplanes fly and sailboats sail forward.
Same thing applies out here, too.
As Optimista tacks, immersed in sizzling water and fizzling bubbles, her hair ripples and flows and changes direction and no longer flows out from her head perpendicular to her shoulders. Instead it now forms a sail from the top of her head, directly in line with her body.
The easiest way to describe her hair as she tacks is that it resembles a hundreds-of-thousands-of-miles-upon-miles-long mohawk or a Spartan warrior helmet right now.
This mohawk or Spartan helmet acts as her sail or wing, propelling her forward.
The energy source that Optimista is tacking into originated in the middle of a sun–star collision seventeen million years ago, over a thousand solar systems away.
What’s left of this catastrophic explosion that destroyed quintillions of innocent souls is the energy propelling Optimista forward on this tack.
This energy, the cause of so much death, is running and writhing through her living, sensing hair.
Just so you know, she thinks this is way morbid, too.
Propelling forward. At not-too-far from the speed of light.
She could tighten her tack a tad, harness more incoming energy, accelerate above light plus one, but nah.
It’s all good right here in the light-minus-seven hood.
She reclines, cranks the jetless water jets, feels the heat, uncorks the bottle of O-Face she brought along, and then takes a swig of every sensation and feeling and emotion and brain-explosion from every orgasm she’s ever had.
She could have been more ladylike and brought along some type of fluted crystal to sip from, but nah.
Optimista will be ladylike when the time calls for it. That’s a promise.
She is tacking perfectly right now.
She feels every sensation from every neuron in her living, breathing hair. Her miles upon miles of hair.
Scanning her music. The cosmic radiation is soothing, but Optimista needs tunes.
Countless quintillions of songs from every universe out there. How many instruments — how many different mouthlike forms —
She narrows it to Earth. (Musically, she’s into this human kick lately. She has no idea why.)
Reggae? Nice beat, but not right now. Rock? Doo-wop? Swing? Symphony? Opera? Countless forms of sound —
Optimista decides to musically bring in every song that contains a violin or arrangement of violins. No huge reason, other than the fact that she loves violin.
Violin, let’s go.
Symphonies from centuries ago, fiddle music from the 1800s, European folk, violin solos, violin quartets, jazz violin — the song in Opimista’s head includes everything up to a punk rock tune that four kids in New Zealand wrote last week and debuted three hours ago at a club in Auckland.
Hundreds of thousands of violins begin to play.
She listens while looking around at stellar and interstellar explosions.
Violins and fire and steam.
So many cosmic bursts of energy out there to look at. Steam clouds blur random visual details.
Colors you can’t comprehend meld together and are now exponentially incomprehensible.
Optimista is listening to every violin individually, random combinations of some, and all violins together.
Optimista wonders what a tattoo of a raptor would look like on her right arm.
She now has a full sleeve of a raptor, breathing fire down the length of her right arm. Not an illustration of fire, actual breathing white-hot fire.
If she wanted a tattoo of a ship that could actually sail or fly off into that setting sun or star, it could materialize. The wings on a butterfly tramp stamp would flutter.
She spends a bit of time looking this raptor, a luna raptor, up and down. She waves it in the air, watching the flames.
The flames dance and play and flirt and converse with the steamy reenergizing water and endlessly reproducing fizzling bubbles.
This luna raptor, on her arm, screaming fire-breathing hatred at the Universe, those eyes.
As Optimista bops along to the music, just so you know:
Yes, her lips are that pouty. They’re always that glowingly red.
Optimista’s eyelids are closed at that angle that says I’m not asleep, but I don’t feel awake.
She reclines in the steam, holding that bottle of O-Face by the neck with her left hand. She needs a — she needs to keep this bottle of O-Face chilled. She splashes the O-Face into the cold water and ice, which now hover flush next to the scalding water and fizzling bubbles she’s reclining in.
Optimista doesn’t need a champagne bucket, just the cold water and ice. These float along next to her.
The luna raptor. She opens her eyes to look at the tattoo of the luna raptor.
Her right arm is no longer tattooed. Optimista really wants to get a full sleeve done.
Everyone’s doing it.
She just doesn’t know what yet, so she tries different random visual thoughts out as they pop into her head.
Though Optimista does have to remind herself not to zone out and try on random tattoo ideas when you’re in the middle of a rally speech or an intense intra- or interuniversal negotiation.
Stopping midsentence — at the pinnacle of the argument, in front of billions — trying on a full-sleeve tattoo, standing there, totally being Flaky McSpaceyBritches, asking others for their opinion —
Optimista can be spacey.
Speaking of drift, she changes the angle of her neck, which then changes her tack from port to starboard. (That’s left to right for you planet-locked folk.) She zigged out to the edge of the radiation stream. Now it’s time to tack inward and zag back. She heads into the stream, about twenty-five to thirty degrees in the other direction. After tacking through the center, she will reach the far side.
When she reaches that far side, she will change the angle of her neck back to the other direction. This will change her tack, from starboard back to port, sending her back into the stream. After her tack reaches that far side, she’ll tack to starboard, back into the energy stream, out the other side, and so on, zigzagging up the stream.
If the incoming energy source is right, you can sail forever.
It’s all about tacking and jibing. Starboard. Portside.
Letting energy do what energy does best.
Optimista fully reclines in the bubbling water up to her neck, closes her eyes, and grabs that bottle out of the ice water-sans-champagne bucket.
“You were amazing beyond amazingly fucking amazing today, Ho-leeeee shit!You sooo need this, Boss. Now go. On. FUCKING. VACATION.”
Optimista keeps telling Joyy to work on that whole not-saying-fuck-every-other-word thing.
Optimista takes another swig of every sensation from orgasm she’s ever had.
For her, it’s a different swig every time.
A Jinga vine, she thinks.
Optimista now tries out a Jinga vine tattoo on her arm. Jingas sprout, grow to full maturity, sprout thousands of neon-bright flowers, then die and erode.
All in under a minute.
Hundreds of thousands of violins are playing.
She plants the Jinga seed on her wrist. She spends the next chunk of time watching it sprout, grow up her arm, sprout its flowers, and die as it reaches her shoulder.
The nanosecond this Jinga dies, a new one sprouts on her wrist and repeats this.
She watches this for a while. This continually resprouting Jinga vine.
An endlessly reproducing Jinga vine no longer tattoos her arm.
— The character Optimista is one of the Commonalities in Notes from Trillionaire Island: Fearkiller (Volume 2). The sequel to Fearkiller (Volume 1) was inspired by the burgeoning popularity of offshore banking.