Poison (Story by Risa Peris)

She pondered poison as she unloaded the dishwasher. Rat poison perhaps? She wiped her hands on the dishtowel. She surveyed the kitchen. Everything was tidy. Why did she think of poison? Oh, yes. Alan Turing. He died of cyanide poisoning from what was deemed suicide though at the inquest they couldn’t rule out an accident. Strange. Was there a witch that came to his cottage door with a poisoned apple? Aubrey thought about that. Well, she had to decide.

She went into her study and sat at her writing desk. She had a small pile of cream-colored thick paper. She was composing her suicide note. Her husband, currently on business in Barcelona, would be returning tomorrow. She was delighted about her imminent death. Aubrey’s first sentence on the suicide note stated: “I am not depressed or insane. I’m quite level and cogent actually.” What bothered Aubrey was the repetitiveness of life. She was a mathematician at Oxford University. She was pleased with her job. She was a little less pleased with her husband. For some reason, the rapport they established at the beginning of their relationship had waned like a disappearing moon until there was now only a sliver of warmth between them. No matter. It was the repetitiveness. Every day was the same thing – the same tasks. Take a bath, brush your hair, dress, teach, make dinner, housework and so on and so on.

Aubrey picked up her pen and thought of Alan Turing again. He developed the Turing machine based on algorithms and computation. From the external to the internal drive, back and forth, calculations would compute and theoretically, it could go to infinity. Aubrey quite liked Turing. He might have lived a long and ever more fruitful life if the UK government hadn’t chemically castrated him for being a homosexual. Yes. He must have committed suicide. There was likely no witch that appeared and offered a poison apple to a hungry Turing.

Aubrey stared at the page. Suicide notes were silly. She wrote: “Infinite actionable computation, which results in infinite actionable repetition is forcing my hand to end my life. Yours truly, Aubrey.”

Aubrey then went to the kitchen, picked an apple from the fruit bowl, cut it in half, went under the sink for the rat poison, sprinkled it onto the apple, and then sighed. She stared at the apple slices. She wished an evil witch had shown up. Would Turing have discouraged her? She sighed again and then lifted the apple slice.

Ad Infinitum.


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