There was the issue of salary; of getting up early and staying late; and of course the reasons to be there at all, what you missed, what you didn't get to be part of. There were deals to be made, prescriptions written and filled. Lots of talk in the air, in between more talk, all those people waiting to be seen. There was a long line of people waiting to be seen, every day. This didn't change.
Cliff strolled through the waiting room and made a left down the white halls. He whistled and played with his watch. The nurses walked by, and he turned to watch them go. "I am in a good mood today," he thought. Made another left, then a right, through a series of doors that required codes, then a hand-scanner, in which Cliff laid his right hand. It beeped.
One more door, then another, and now the rooms are metal gray and reflective. Large windows on the far end of the room he now moved through looked out into the lab, and this is where Cliff walked in and sat down in front of the machine. It was blinking a blue light on and off at a regular pace.
Next to it was a computer, and next to that a slab of material on which neurons were growing. The machine was connected to the slab, and the computer connected Cliff to the machine. He began to load the software he wrote over many nights, late nights with caffeine in the lab while Shaina left work for yoga, made dinner and watched TV, and went to bed. Cliff was proud of the software. The Dr. Chen was proud of it, too. They published together in several journals, Cliff as the second author, Dr. Chen the first. Chen knew how to manage Cliff; he left him alone.
The neurons were receiving electrical signals from the machine. On the other side of the slab, wires ran from the exposed brain of a monkey back to the machine. The monkey was strapped in place, and at this moment it was sleeping. Cliff watched it sleep on the screen, which mapped out neural activity in a large collection of regions of interest. The ROIs here were much smaller than in other labs, but there were many more of them and they together formed a distributed network of activity and interaction between neurons throughout the cortex and the thalmus. The interactions formed long, reverberant loops.
It was thought that to see animal's brain in a dream foretold mental suffering, unless the brain is eaten and then it meant the coming of knowledge, and unexpected profit.
A Girl's Dream
i dreamed i died. i died wihth one big boy who didnt have much brain and one other boy that was pretty tipical, we had our belongings from the real world but thats all. the place where we were waiting 4 heavon was dark but lighht. the sky was black but it wasnt pich black like you could see. there were 3 beds and a fence around us. the biig boy was playing with toy monkeys and me and the other boy wwere laying on the couch and i saw two snakes slithering in sync with eachother around the cage adn behing them i saw a ine of 5 light brown bunnys with bit white spots on their right side. after that i called my ex and told him i loved him then i called my dad and i was crying and i told him i was dead and i loved him so much. then soldiers came....... then i woke up
Cliff remembered how Shaina brushed her hair after the shower. Then he looked back at the computer, and adjusted the values that would regulate the balance between the specific electrical patterns in the monkey's brain at this time, and the kinds of patterns the monkey's brain might exhibit in general. It was always a balancing act between the general and the particular. That was the dance Cliff was good at. Shaina liked to dance to salsa music, pop ballads when sung by women, and late 80s hard rock. Different dances for different occasions. The monkey wakes up and begins shrieking what Cliff usually thinks of as some kind of alarm, like a warning for the others, if there were others.