The Pedestrian



Something’s happened.

Everyone in the street cafes stops looking at their phones to see what just happened on the street in front of them. A car has hit a pedestrian on the zebra crossing. None of them saw it happen, but they’ve made up their minds: the driver was at fault. Their minds fill in the blanks. Some people rush to help. Most people rush to look. Some go back to their text messages and one stands in awe.

The one awestruck individual stands stupefied. A hundred people witnessed what happened, but no one really saw it. He remembers watching the driver adjusting his sunglasses in the rear vision mirror when it happened. The coast was clear. There WERE no pedestrians. So how did he hit one?

The driver attracts abuse from onlookers. He doesn’t know what happened himself. He was, after all, busy looking at himself in the mirror. The police have already arrived. They must have been drinking their own coffee nearby. They’re quick to denounce the driver in the face of so many scathing witness accounts. Everyone has forgotten about the pedestrian who lies motionless in the street.

Will the only real witness tell the police what he saw? No way! The cops will arrest HIM for being crazy. They’d be crazy to believe that he saw a person simply APPEAR in front of the car. It was as if the person was loading for a split second. First his internal organs and skeleton, the musculature appeared to string the naked bones together, and the skin and clothes appeared to wrap the whole package. The last thread was set in place at the moment the car’s front bumper hit the pedestrian’s legs.

The victim is dead. The universe has completed its memory purge. Simultaneously around the world, seven hundred people, ten thousand other mammals, a billion insects and ten times more plants were unceremoniously purged from the memory of the great simulation that we call the universe. It was getting laggy. In the process, only one paradox was introduced.

The universe can’t accommodate any paradoxes. The nature of the universe can’t be known to sentient creatures. The physicists have created a nice veil to hide the real workings of the machine. The philosophers have come close to cracking the code, but no one takes them seriously. Now there’s one man who’s seen it for himself. A simulated entity can’t be allowed to become aware that he’s a simulated entity.

Before the man has a chance to process what he’s seen he there’s a flash of light. He hears the sound of heavy traffic. He’s on a pedestrian crossing in front of a bus.





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