What was his worth then? As perfect and pacific as it seemed, this had been arranged. He was not here by accident––he would have hazarded that the algorithm had let him in, but that was yesterday. As Xit described it, facial recognition was nothing without knowledge infill, curation instead of culling.
It was not his flute, that was too low key and off-the-grid for even the hippest to grasp. It was not his baby blue eyes, which contrasted intensely with a beard going grey. It was not even his semi-pure thoughts, as long as he unplugged from the insidiously debasing feed. How had John Bucket put it in "Slowly Learning?"
What would you tell me, you tell me
if I confessed that you were not my type
what would you sell me, you sell me
that algorithms make a like
chemistry drives evolution,
bots break that down to the level of vice––
institutions make bot-theft solutions,
theft of humanity through a device.
He took another sip of kombucha. Ah yes, it was that which he carried with him, the one brew he allowed himself in this traveling game. Layer and layer of teas, fruits, honey, coconut sugar, seeds even, nuts, built up over time, distilled, smoothed over, tasted, until what he got was often a sip of perfection––though it varied from day to day, hour to hour.
They wanted his kombucha. They said it was part of of the fabric. And who was to say it wasn't?