Preamble

This is was partly inspired by the Matrix and every Matrix-like story, but mostly it was inspired by Steve Reich’s first experiment with phasing, It’s Gonna Rain. I actually like phasing as a technique and enjoy later works like Piano Phase and Violin Phase. On the other hand, the first part of It’s Gonna Rain (The phrase ‘It’s gonna rain’, on repeat, slightly out of sync, for about eight minutes) is akin to being punched in the head repeatedly for eight minutes. I started out trying to replicate this in prose form but fortunately, I don’t think I succeeded.

Story

It’s gonna rain.

It’s gonna rain after a while.

I step outside and I can see it’s gonna rain.

“Fine weather we’re having,” says the postman, but he’s wrong, it’s gonna rain.

It’s gonna rain after a while.

I see Tom from next door and I tell him, “It’s gonna rain.”

“The sky is completely clear,” he says.

I say, “It’s gonna rain after a while.”

We walk down the street and before we get halfway to the bus stop, it begins to pour.

“That was weird. It didn’t look like rain.”

“It’s gonna rain for four minutes or so.”

“How do you know?”

I look at the sky. It’s completely grey. Five minutes ago it was completely blue. 

“The sky is different today.”

“Different how?”

“I don’t know. The sky is out of sync.”

The bus pulls up.

“Horrible weather we’re having,” says the bus driver.

“It’ll clear up in a couple minutes,” I say. “It’s gonna be fine.” 

We sit and the bus starts moving. A couple of minutes pass. The skies clear and the rain stops.

Tom says, “What the hell is going on?”

“It’s gonna rain,” I say. Somewhere in the back of my head, I can hear someone muttering about glitches. “Gotta do a hard reset. Disconnect the drive.”

The bus stops at the lights and the rain comes pouring down. “It’s gonna be fine,” I say.

The lights turn green and the rain stops. I have to get off the bus.

“I have to get off the bus,” I say. “It’s gonna rain.”

“But what about school?”

I ignore Tom, stand up. The bus stops. I get off the bus and it starts to rain. There is something wrong with the sky. It’s out of sync.

“That’s right. Stuck in a loop.” I can’t see who is talking. “Been glitching since the update. We’ll have to reboot. Cycle the system.”

What’s going on?

“Sorry about all this. We needed the extra memory to backup the data, so we just grabbed what was handy. After the hard reset you won’t remember a thing.” The voice is inside my head.

“I have to get to school. I need to catch my bus.”

“Well right now the bus is part of the broken circuit. That’s why we needed to disconnect you. Just give it a minute and everything will be back to normal.”

“Who are you?” I can feel the data in my head. It’s gonna rain. It’s gonna be fine. The sky is out of sync. The bus is wrong. Everything is wrong.

“System support. Maintenance. I.T. Whatever. I make everything work.”

“Are you God?”

“If that’s what you want to call it. We’re nearly done here.” It’s gonna rain. The sky is wrong. Everything is—

“That should do it. Resume service.”

—fine. Everything is fine.

The bus comes to a stop and I get on. “Lovely weather we’re having,” says the bus driver. I sit down next to Tom and look out the window.

It’s gonna rain after a while.