“So, your profile says that you’re spiritual, but not religious.”
“Yeah, that’s the short version. They didn’t have a lot of options on the website.”
“What do you believe in, then? Reincarnation? Ghosts?”
She sighs. This is how her last date ended. “Do you really want to make this more awkward than it is?”
“Well, as an atheist-“ he had to get that part in. “I really feel that we should get this out of the way. Make sure that there’s nothing too weird for me.”
“Alright.” She takes a deep breath, then: “Our world is a Rubik’s Cube with six sides and seven colors, and our God is desperately trying to solve it. He never stops twisting and twirling its edges, following the rules that he has ordained for himself, yet he knows that something is missing. Like all spirits, he loves the number seven; however, the laws of geometry abhor it. For this reason, his rainbow cannot fit within his kingdom of right angles, and though he knows this, his desire for perfection exceeds his wisdom. Some would say that this has driven him mad, yet others would say that this is simply what it is to be divine. And so, he pulls the nations of the world apart with slow, gentle fingers, trying to find room between their borders, and refusing to look upon what he’s doing to his own creation as a result. Over the course of billions of years, red tectonics collide with one another, deserts chase forests across a four-cornered equator, and quiet oceans slither sideways against the planet’s sharpest edges. There has never been a period of equilibrium, however, and there likely never will be. He knows that what he seeks is impossible, yet he does nothing to stop himself, for he knows that this is the same passion that allows any color to exist within the universe at all.”
"Do you think drinking saltwater counts as a kind of sushi?"
"Why on Earth would it?" She wrapped her chopsticks around a ginger-painted trilobite.
“Me and the other girls from the power plant, we come here after work all the time. Their special milkshakes are to die for. I haven't found a single flavor that I didn't like."
“Rose soda, huh?”
“Yeah. They have the original kind here, where the bubbles have thorns.”
“Doesn’t that hurt your tongue?”
“A little bit, yeah. And it always tastes a bit like blood as a result. But I love the texture.”
“I’m fairly certain that I was born in Lyonesse.”
“That’s in France, right?”
“No, you’re thinking of Lyons. Lyonesse is somewhere in Meinong’s Jungle.”
“Want to see a cool trick?” She leaned across the table, then whispered: “I’ll bet that I can unzip your whole wine glass without spilling.”
“That you can do what without spilling?”
“Want to see something cool? The ice cubes here have nine corners.”
I didn’t believe her at first, but after reluctantly removing one from my glass, I found that she was right. From any given angle, it looked like a normal ice cube, but as I rotated it between my fingers, I could feel an invisible vertex passing along my thumb. “Weird. How do they do that?"
“How’d you get thrown in Hell?”
“Didn’t get thrown in. I was born there.” He sipped his wine. “Both my parents were damned. They did their time in the inner circles, then got jobs, fell in love, and moved out to the suburbs. It’s not much different from the Earth that far out, if you can get used to the lack of a sky.”
“So, you used to be a sphinx?”
“Well, to be more precise, my head used to be part of a sphinx,” she replied. “The rest of me came from other hybrids and chimeras. My skull was attached to a lion’s body, but my torso came from some creature with an owl’s head, and my legs came from something else entirely that had ninety-eight more.”
“Have you ever experienced the Tetris effect?”
“I’ve heard it mentioned before. What exactly does it mean?”
“It’s what happens when you play Tetris for too long. The game continues in your head after you’ve quit. Blocks keep falling in your peripheral vision, and bursts of inner music prevent you from falling asleep.”
“Oh, I have! But that’s not even close to what I thought it meant.”
“Cherries aren’t technically berries, you know.”
“Berries don’t have pits.”
“Well, what about cherries that contain themselves instead of pits?”