Most of my days were bad but this was worse. The house was filled with echoes. The sun outside was setting and the beams shrunk, silently creaking. The rain had stopped by four or so but the roof was still wet. The last rays of the sun seemed to drip down into the ground. No wind was blowing and the flaming maples drooped without even a whisper.
I had all the time in the world to test this tiny computer. In fact, there was really nothing else to do tonight.
There were cables. I liked that. Cables connected the parts, not airwaves. I guess Dimitri knew what he was doing when he assembled the parts into the old smartphone shell. Although he liked the once so popular steampunk style and lavishly decorated everything in laser engraved brass and exquisite jems this device was built for me. There was only a tiny splinter of sandalwood fitted into the left side of it. I couldn't tell how it was attached but one thing was certain. The craftsman hated glue so it held on to the rest of the shell by some other means. The splinter was probably infused with some citrus oil too, by the scent of it I guessed at bergamott. I wasn't sure, though.
Basically the device was black glass and white plastic. Nothing fancy at all. It was supposed to be like that. Dimitri never made anything less than perfect. He once worked for Vertu and continued building wearables through the hard years. He wasn't an old man yet but could probably teach the experts in the old firm a thing or two. He lived in Finland now, on an island in one of the bigger lakes in the south, with his two dogs. ...or beasts, really. Each of the mutts were big, black, clever and fast. There were some rumours going around that he cloned them - or something worse. With Dimitri it could well be true. He really was a jack of all trades. But the dogs were really wonderful, despite their menacing looks, at least they were to me.
The cables slipped into the slots without much effort. The last cable attached the four-port hub to the photovoltaic accumulators integrated into the milky polycarbonate roof. One strange thing about those tribal-made accumulators was that there was a prayer etched into the titanium oxide. I had seen it with a USB microscope. It was written with ninu characters but in an islamic calligraphic style. The prayer was a transformation of a passage from the Tao te Ching about how the whole gets devided. The tribals were strange in that sense. There were no limits between anything. Science and religion wasn't separated. Knowledge was the art and the art was knowledge. Everything was one. The white panels were part of my roof, they were the collectors of sunlight and they were the storage of electricity. And as soon as the cable connected them to the hub everything was breathing in sync.
The bigger display woke up, softly as if the sun rose. There was a picture of a forrest at dawn with Dimitri's dogs. Dark shadows among the shadows of the trees. The message was clear. Prove yourself, friend. That is what the dogs meant. When setting foot on his island you would meet the dogs. No alarms or electronic handshakes were necessary.
The zabuton and zafu waited for me on the floor. Gifts from friends in far away places. Subtle but masterpieces nonetheless. The gifts surrounded me in our small home but I felt lonely as I sat down. The evening was chilly but the alpacka poncho kept the body warm. And yet my head was cold. A sinking cloud of dry ice.
A barely noticable flash identified my person to the computer system by analysing the infrared photo of my face. It would verify a lot of other parameters too. For one thing, I would need to be alive to authenticate. This wasn't one of my best days but Hades still had to wait.
A keyboard, a computer, a hub, and a larger display. There was nothing expected from me. Nothing to search for or fetch. No chores.
With the keyboard in my lap I started typing. After a while the mind let go and let the finger memories flow freely.
The first keyboard meditation in years. The government would not be happy this time either.