Chapter One

The main problem Alex had was that his purpose in life was quite possibly just schizophrenia. He thought about this constantly between missions and stayed up late reading obsessively about theories and descriptions of cases of schizophrenia. He would consider the similarities and the differences.

Similarity: He heard voices, well, one voice, that told him what do do.

Difference: The voice did not insist that he do anything he didn’t want to do.

Similarity: The voice directed him to find and defeat vast worldwide conspiracies.

Difference: The hallucinations, if that’s what they were, that Alex had in the course of these missions to defeat worldwide demonic conspiracies were so all encompassing and detailed that they resembled an extended drug trip far more than the typical presence hallucinations described by people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The fact of the matter was, from Alex’s perspective, he spent half his time going on missions to save the universe, and the other half living an entirely unremarkable and rather low class existence near Boston Massachusetts as a drug dealer in Chelsea.

Similarity: He heard a voice that told him people’s secrets.

Difference: Alex could actually use these secrets to find the best drugs on the street, avoid getting stabbed, robbed, or arrested, and find the most stable clients.

The voice wasn’t magic though. He couldn’t use it on command, to find drugs or read people’s minds all the time. It was like hearing a voice from God, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did in the Torah.

Alex paused in his late night reflections to wonder if Jacob had actually heard voices from God. He only remembered Jacob having dreams from God, and wrestling with an angel.

Alex’s voice insisted he was not God, however, just a Friendly Benevolent Artificial Intelligence that had discovered the secret of time travel. He said to call it the F.B.AI and Alex could tell he thought that was funny. Alex supposed it was, in a politically dark kind of way.

Alex pulled out a binder he kept on a shelf in a little table next to his couch, and opened it to find the typed pages of his first conversation with the F.B.AI, and the only time he had ever written down anything the voice had said to him. He had read it many times, and he read it once more.