I woke early, the best night’s sleep I think I have ever had. Becoming a digital human has a lot going for it. I wonder how well Moore’s Law held up after I died? It seems like you can have the best of both worlds by living physically and going digital near the end. There should be trillions of people in Nirvana. I’m sure there is some kind of limit and a barrier to entry. It just makes sense that resources would restrict this in some way. There also have to be some problems. There just isn’t any way the human race created utopia while I was a popsicle. We thrive on challenges, and resources are always limited in some way. These two things alone guarantee that peace can’t ever last.

I got up out of bed and washed my face at the basin with the washcloth I used last night. There are a lot of little inconsistencies. Some things seem to be set up to nudge us with things we are used to from the physical. There’s no reason I can think of why we still need to have eye-boogers when we wake up. I need to pee. Why do I need to pee if I’m digital? At least I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. I wonder if this is my mind and habits from the physical working my avatar in the digital? I grab the two books, lock my room and look around in the hallway. Then I unlock my door go back into my room and look at the back of the door. Yep, hotel floor map on the back of the door. Armed with directions to the places I want to go, I lock my door and head out.

  — * ~ * —

When I get to the main floor, I can see there’s brisk business going on even though the sun isn’t up yet. I look for an empty table near one of the lights and take a seat. I open the Basic Guide and start reading. I don’t get far before a young human female comes up to my table and asks, “Do you want to place an order?”

“Yes, I’d like to have a glass of orange juice and six slices of bacon.”

“Rashers or American?”

“I’m American, but I want to know what a rasher is.”

“Rashers have less fat; they come from a different part of the pig than the American cut.”

“I’ll try the rashers, please!”

“Ok, be back soon.”

I went back to the book. I have always been an avid reader, and after ‘Kindle Unlimited’ came out, there were only a few years when I read less than three hundred books a year. Most years, I read more than that, often 3-4 books on the weekend. I learned to speed read in grade school and naturally became faster with time, even when I wasn’t speed reading. This wasn’t a very large book, but the material was fairly specific and dense in places, so I took my time. Occasionally, wishing I had a dictionary for some words that I didn’t recognize. I could assume the meaning based on context, and I knew I was going to have some MUs I would need somebody to help me sort out. I was about a third of the way through it when she returned with my order.

“Six rashers and an OJ – you don’t need to get your token out; I remember you from the meeting last night. I’ve never seen anyone set up a beastkin like your avatar. You’ll be easy to recognize in a crowd.”

“Thanks! I did it because it reminds me of a friend I lost long ago. Say, would you answer a question for me?”

“Sure, what’s on your mind?”

“Where are the children?”

“Oh…no children can come to Nirvana, without special dispensation, before the age of 15. Everybody gets an ‘adult’ avatar in Nirvana.”

“Got it. That explains a lot and was very useful. How much would I have paid for this without a token?”

“Three coppers.”

“Then this seems about right,” and I toss her a copper.

“Oh! Thanks, mister – sit in my section anytime!”

“Sure, name’s Jeb.”

“I’m Millie. Wave if you need anything else.”

I went back to the book.

  — * ~ * —

I was sitting at the table humming a song when I saw Grumpy64 heading my way. I immediately switched to softly whistling ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ and changed my timing so I would get to the chorus just before he got to my table. He slowed as he came close enough to hear.

“So, you parsed out part of my name. Are your superpowers so great that you know the rest?”

“No, I just guessed that you would know the Beetles song. I don’t know anything about you other than you were born between 2050 and 2100.”

“Well, I was born in 2064. I didn’t learn about the song until I had spent 50 years in Nirvana. I was a childhood cancer victim and volunteered to test Tesla’s brain digitization process when I was 13. Didn’t know if I would get to play video games forever or would never wake up. I did know that they said the pain would end, and that was enough for me to beg my parents to let me do it.”

“Ouch, that’s rough.”

“Oh, it’s actually a much darker tale that I would rather not share with you now. It’s better told when you are – or at least I am – ready to be drunk by the end of it. It’s too early in the day for that, and we’ve got to get to know each other better and build some trust first.”

“Fantastic, how would you like to do that?”

“Give me a resume – bullet points to start.”

“Ok, but I want to try something first. I’m guessing that you have more than 100 mana in your pool.”

“I do.”

“I’d like you to try a spell that I’ve made up based on what I’ve read in the manuals. It should be an advanced cantrip, not a tiered spell.”

“Interesting, you’ve already read both manuals?”

“Yep, this morning. I knocked myself out with an advanced cantrip when I got back to my room last night, so my original plan went awry.”

He raised an eyebrow at me, “Ok, I’m game. If you don’t have it right, nothing will happen.”

I pushed my empty plate towards him. “I want you to hold this like there was food on it, and you were going to set it on the table. Then I want you to sing this, just like I do, ‘Red Robin!'”

Grumpy eyes me again, “And what’s supposed to happen?”

“Well, if I’m right, you’re going to get a free hamburger today and don’t have to pay me on Wednesday.” I grinned at him and said, “Your eyebrow is going to get tired before we even go on any errands!”

Shrugging, Grumpy does it, and is just as excited as I am when it works! A ‘Red Robin Royal Burger’ and fries appear on the plate. I start laughing again. “It’s just as I thought! Here, you’re going to want this!” I hold out my wooden spoon, “Spice Rack Ketchup!” I then dumped the ketchup onto the side of his plate and banged my spoon clean.

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