Ronald Leighton

It was 10:30 on a Sunday night. The stereo tape had run out a long time before. I was alone in the office, mesmerized by the computer screen. My eyes burned from staring at the pulsating pixels for too many hours. The image I had been meticulously building was in its final stage of completion. One more function and it would be complete. I knew this image was special... Art and life as we know it were being challenged with this one image.

A few more clicks and I was finished. All I needed to do was save the data in the computer memory. Suddenly there was a power surge and the cursor froze to the monitor. The ccreen vibrated out of control. my mouse was rendered useless. There was nothing I could do - my image was surely lost. The power surge had hopelessly jammed the system. I knew I should have saved the preliminary stages in case of a malfunction. I had no record of what I had done. The only way to un-jam the computer would be to power down and restart. In computer terms, I had to boot the sytem and boot my image as well.

I turned from the screen with disgust. "Surely," I thought, "this image would have changed the course of visual history. New worlds would be added to our vocabulary to describe the power of this art. A fourth color would hae to be added to the primary palette. If only Mr. Pixel were here, he could preserve this creation. He could plug into the computer and reverse the surge."

I turned back to the monitor and reached for the key to boot the system. A soft bleep from the computer made me hesitate just in time to see the currsor unfreeze and leap to the far corner of the screen. My hand recoiled with fear. The walls seemed to sigha little, a warm breeze blew against my neck. It was true my mage was no longer in danger. the computer had curiously returned to normal. I could feel the invisible hand of Mr. Pixel resting on my should I was not alone.

I quickly saved my image, shut off the lights and headed for home. As I strolled downt hte empty streets a smug smile crossed my face. In the morning I would begin to show everyone my image and they would be stunned by its presence. Suddenly without warning, a passing car hopped the curb and came flying at me. The driver was making no attempt to stop. Right before impact, the car horn blared out. Everything went into slow motion, the horn seemed to echo for eternity... I closed my eyes and screamed for my life. My heart choked as I lunged for my buzzing techno alarm clock. It was 6 AM. It was Monday morning. It was time to get up and go to work. My image was only a dream. The world would have to live without it.

I now spend most of y waking hours trying to recall that image. Until I do, it remains a well kept secret buried somewhere in a data bank, labeled, "Dreams."

- Ronald Leighton from the Visual Chemistry Booklet

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