Suppy Sup! Microfiction About AI-Generated Images Of Myself
Suppy sup, everyone! Hope you’re having a wonderful almost-end-of-year three-week stretch in which work feels piled up and puts you in the purgatory where you simultaneously anticipate and dread the upcoming commitments comprising the nebulous holiday season!
I’m taking a brief respite from work to flex both my ego and my creative muscles (which are inherently intertwined).
Like many, I shelled out my likeness for a portfolio of AI-generated portraits. I’m aware of the controversy attached to such things, both in terms of its devaluing of human artists’ work and in terms of offering images of oneself to our future robot overlords.
But hey, I already did it, and I’ve gotta do sumpin’ with these images. I’m going to take a few of my favorites and write microfiction based on them. No major rules, but I’ll try to keep each to fewer than 150 words or so.
I—and I cannot stress this enough—have done precisely no planning for this.
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AI-Generated Photos And Cole-Generated Microfiction
“And you are sure about this, considering the circumstances?”
I stare into the projection’s dead eyes. Its face is an admittedly spot-on impression of a human visage, though the whole protruding-from-an endless-wall-of-digital-life-essence ruins the illusion.
“Yes. I have spent years on my search. I have had half a lifetime to reflect on my wish.”
I didn’t know what to expect. It certainly wasn’t the strange digital concoction staring back at me. But this is the center of the universe, after all. Who am I to question the methods of the supreme computer-being enmeshed in the fabric of space and time residing there?
“It’s just that…so few have made it so far. To ask for something so…frivolous seems—”
“Frivolous to you,” I say, fed up with the runaround. “You, the supercomputer at the heart of the universe, can accomplish anything I wish, correct?”
A ripple cascades across the endless wall from which the thing protrudes. In those ripples, those waves, I see glimpses of every moment I’ve spent in my search for this thing.
“Yes.” It replies. “Make your request.”
I breathe, savoring the moment. It’s time. “I want a sick suit, speckled with cool dots. A skinny tie to match. Make it chic as fuck. And while you’re at it, gimme a sweet goatee.”
“It is done.”
“Zuck Zuck Goose”
“Listen, Mr. Rush. We don’t need any of this.”
Zach shreds my résumé in front of me, then leans back on his lacquered desk. He looks out on the campus, happy to admire the programmers, analysts, developers, and other employees from a distance.
“They’re ants,” he says with a sneer. “And they have their queen. They know their place. But the queen can’t be everywhere at once.”
I look at him, questions brewing. “You mean…Mark Zu—”
He stops me, pausing for a contemptible shiver. “You know damn well who I mean. And that’s why none of this…this shit matters” he gestures to my shredded résumé, my printed portfolio scattered across the office floor. “Not one bit. you just sort of look like the guy.”
He plants a packet of paper in front of me. “All you do is sign. $2 million a year, you attend photo shoots, appearances that don’t require speaking, that sort of thing. We’ll doctor the photos and videos after the fact. You just show up, say nothing, and pretend you’re him.”
I shrug and sign the contract.
“A Fun Guy”
“So you’ll do it?!” Reymar glances at me, wide-eyed and hopeful.
“I’ll try, Rey, but you know I can’t play guitar. Three chords, max. I’ve gotta practice…when’s the show?”
He twirls a drumstick idly and leans back in his seat. “Tonight! But it’s not gonna be a problem, mate. I’ve got a guy. You’ll like him. He’s fun. One session, and you won’t need to practice!”
The “guy” was not fun. Not at all. He wore thick translucent glasses and a lab coat stained with who-knows-what, a sickening rainbow of reds and greens and browns.
“It’s all temporary,” he assured me. He had a cartoonish voice, high-pitched and throaty, with a hint of a rasp. “Three days, they’re gone. Just like that!” As he said it, he prodded my arm with a series of needles, injecting tiny glowing spores into my skin. A quick rubdown with some green goo, and they sprouted. Big, wartlike mushrooms all along my arm and up my shoulder.
I panicked, seeking a scalpel, scissors, anything sharp enough to resolve the things. The “guy” caught me before I gored myself with a knife. he handed me a guitar.
“Give it a go,” he said, a creepy smile spreading between his ears. Suspicious, I ran my fingers over the strings and strummed a few chords. Chords I hadn’t know moments ago. The sound was warm, inviting. I cascaded the chords into fingerpicking, an upbeat melody.
“Oh, shit,” I said.
Backstage, I sauntered up to Rey. He saw my arm, saw the glimmer of a smirk on my face.
“Knew you’d get used to it, mate,” and he smiled back. “Let’s rock.” He ran on stage, pulling me with him.
Respectfully, To Myself: “What The Fuck Just Happened”
Turns out the “micro” part of microfiction is difficult. But I had some fun with these. The beard one came to me first, and I thought it would be hilarious to see a man encounter the world’s most powerful being and ask it for facial hair and a nice suit. It’s the simple things, right?
I looked at the second photo and just saw “chubby Zuckerberg,” and voila!
And finally, what if a magical fungus could make you really good at an instrument for a short period of time? How would that look? Of the ideas above, this is the one I’m most interested in playing around with. Maybe a future writing group submission!
The space I allotted myself was incredibly limiting, but who knows where some of these ideas might end up. I also found it easier to write for the bad pics than the good ones. Truth is, some of the images just look cool, and they’d require some delicate worldbuilding for me to reasonably explore what type of universe they come from. I’ll save ‘em for when the next bout of inspiration strikes. If you stuck around through the madness above, thanks!
That’s all for this week. Catch you next time, and thanks for reading!
This is INCREDIBLE.
I, too, was planning to post my AI-self in my next substack but, damn, writing fiction with them is GENIUS!
"Chubby Zuckerberg" LOL