We watched as GoSpeed slowly settle back into the couch and drift off to sleep, snoring ever so slightly as she did. Again I noticed that the she did not sink very much into the cushions. It was if she were light as a feather. I looked to my wife expressing my disbelief again. As skeptical as I was, yet intrigued by who or what she really was. Our daughter Sarah, noticing that Go was asleep sat on the couch next to her and held her hand. Now my girl is very friendly and sociable but this was odd. Sarah seemed very much at ease with this new person in the house. Well, not exactly new, she’d seen GoSpeed’s avatar on screen a lot the past year or so. I asked my wife if she saw what I did when Go seemingly changed her clothes while still dressed. No doubt about it she said, we both saw it for our own eyes. How the hell did she pull that trick off? I touched her pant legs and her sleeves and the fabric felt pretty normal. I touch her arm where the sweater covered it before and it felt like normal skin. Baffling, so baffling.
My wife and I talked quietly for about an hour about where she may have come from, who she may be and what would we do with her. We assumed she was some local Second Life user who was a GoSpeed stalker who gleaned enough information about who and where we were in RL. But then again her resemblance to the avatar was striking and the clothes changing trick was something hard to explain. Go stirred slightly and opened her eyes slowly. At first she seemed lost, confused, but seemed to recognize us quickly with a big toothy smile. The same squinty eyed smile her smiling attachment gave her in SL. Her stomach growled loudly and she began to weave a bit as she remained sitting on the couch. “Oh you must be hungry”, my wife said. She got up and got a ripe banana from the counter and gave it to Go. Go just stared at it, then slowly turned it around to inspect it. She looked around the room at us with an inquisitive look. Sarah said, “I’ll peel it for you!” and proceeded to peel the banana open for her. Go took the half peeled banana from my daughter and took a small bite from the end. “Mmmm”, she murmured and began to eat it quickly. In no time at all the banana was gone and if not for the quick actions of my daughter I feared Go would have eaten the peel! Energized, GoSpeed sat up tall and looked about and pointed at her stomach again. “Still hungry?”, I said. Go shook her head yes and again my wife got up and rummaged through the fridge producing a plate with slices of turkey meat, cheddar cheese, and carrots. That plate was soon empty as was the glass of water I gave her.
“Go, can you speak?”, I asked. She opened her mouth as if to talk, but no sound came out. A look of consternation spread over her face as she tried again and again to utter a sound, failing to so much make a peep. Sighing, she shook her head no and lifted her hands to make a typing motion. It clicked in my mind that she wanted to type something. I walked over to the end table and got the small laptop. I sat next to Go who watched with growing curiosity as I booted it up. Firefox launched and I briefly noted an article about the Hadron Collider on my start up page. I minimized Firefox and launched MS Word. I handed the laptop to Go who squealed with delight.
“Go, why can’t you speak?”.
She typed back and turned the screen towards me.
“I don’t know hon, I have the words, but nothing comes out. It’s like a grayed out button.”
“So who are you really? Where did you come from?”
“I am GoSpeed Racer, a Second Life Avatar. I’m from the grid. But this is not the grid, is it?”
“No, this is not the grid and you do look very much like GoSpeed, but she’s just bits of data, you’re flesh and blood. Come on, really, who are you?”
“I am GoSpeed, dammit!”, she typed and then put her hands on her hips and gave me a particularly scary looking angry expression, a look that mimicked the expression of an SL avatar. She typed again, “I am who I say I am. I know who I am and I know who you are. You tell me what’s going on. One moment I am TP-ing somewhere and the next I am freezing my ass off by some mail boxes!…. And why is it still light outside?!?!?”
“Who dropped you off at the mailboxes then, your mother?”, asked my wife.
GoSpeed paused, perplexed and confused for a few moments and then typed her response, slowly at first.
“I don’t have a mother or father…, I… You, you made me, Rav.”
“Umm, OK, sure. You look to be about, oh 28 years old, give or take a few years.”
“Take” she typed and grinned and shook her head as if her youth was not to be questioned.
“Ok, at most 28. I am 43. I DID NOT father any children when I was 15 years old. I hardly dated anyone on high school and much less make some black girl pregnant either.” I gave my wife a reassuring look and was relieved when she did not question my protestation of innocence.
“Stop being silly Rav, I am not your flesh and blood, I was born 10 November 2006. Just look at my pro… look it up online.” She looked off in the distance, as if to remember something. “In fact my avatar was male the first few weeks. Thank god I’m better looking now!”
“Well I think you’re narrowing it down a bit with that information. Not everyone knows all the details of your ‘birth’. Again, who told you all this stuff?”
“I know it from you. All I know I know from you. More or less. I seem to have these thoughts about things I’ve never had before. But that is beside the point. I know who I am and where I came from. I just don’t know how the hell I got here.”
With that she folded her arms and sat back. I could tell she was getting frustrated.
“Listen, I’m sorry, but what you are saying is just a bit too preposterous to believe. A mental construct can’t just come to life. Pinocchio just can’t leap off the movie screen and claim to be real. Do you understand where I am coming from?”
“Didn’t Pinocchio become real?”
“Fiction, that was fiction. We are in the real world and this just does not happen.”
Just then a series of white lights spun around GoSpeed and then vanished.
“I’m just putting my sunglasses on. Oh, someone named Carson is approaching the house too.”
The doorbell rang and Sarah rushed to the door to greet her neighbor friend. We told Sarah it was OK to go outside to play and the house became quiet again.
My wife was about to speak when Go lifted her hands up, inspecting the nails. She furrowed her brows and then, amazingly her nails changed from red to plum. Well, I think at that point we began to seriously reconsider our position. Could this really be GoSpeed in the flesh?
“So, what’s for dinner? I’m still hungry!”