Soon, a Som app could be set to notify a user instantaneously if someone was looking for their skill set or if a comment was added to a theory thread they were following. By the end of a month, the whole thing was so interconnected and bloated with features that it was impenetrable to the average user. But it wasn’t for average users; it was for hard-core Dreamers, and it may have been a little glitchy, but it was better than any of the other cobbled-together solutions by a wide margin.
Plus, we just kept throwing money at it as the user base grew. Every time I mentioned the Som in a video, the influx bumped exponentially. And whenever that happened, we needed more help to keep the site running, not to mention just the cost of the servers. Luckily the cost didn’t matter much. Robin and Jennifer Putnam had landed me a ridiculously large advance for my book and I got a quarter of it on signing.
As the Som got bigger (and it got bigger fast), Miranda just kept being in charge. She was managing Jason, and then she was managing Jason and a couple of app engineers, and then she was bossing around user interface people, data engineers, stack developers, database designers, graphic designers, mobile app developers, and even a couple of accountants. Miranda, it turned out, was not one to focus her expertise. She knew a lot about a LOT.
Whenever I hung out with Miranda, she never felt like a very confident person. It wasn’t that she was shy; it was more that she was deferential. So the fact that she somehow wrangled this mess together, becoming the twenty-five-year-old CEO of a pretty large tech start-up, astounded me even more than it astounded her. When she was dealing with people who weren’t me, she was friendly and thoughtful, but she was also firm and authoritative. Turns out, she could manage the fuck out of a project. And by working closely with Maya—who was extremely well respected in the Dreamer community and had a huge amount of insight into the kinds of tools they’d need—the Som became the most-used hub for Dreamers within weeks. Peter Petrawicki’s pathetic plan to wrangle secret sequence solutions was also constantly messed with from within the Som. Whenever people were bored, they just went into a private chat and churned out a fake sequence solution.
By the end of March the Dream had taken over so much of our life that the Carls mostly dropped off our radar. But we rented office space across 23rd from Carl to keep an eye on him anyway. It was amazing how fast we spent money. We weren’t really in danger of running out, but it also didn’t take long to realize that “rich” is very relative. I maybe had $2 million in the bank at that point, and we burned through a full $300,000 of that in the first month of development. The money was officially going out faster than it was coming in, but everyone seemed confident that that would change as soon as the book came out, so that’s most of what I was focusing on.
The good news was there was a solution to the money problems just on the horizon.
@AprilMaybeNot: When did “makin’ love” become “makin’ love” because they talk about makin’ love in lots of old songs and I don’t think they’re talking about fuckin’.
My brother has gotten me and two hundred of his closest friends to fly back to Northern California so we can watch him get married. I wanted to drag everyone with me, but the development of the Som has become more than a full-time job. Only Robin came with, as it is his job to make my life easy. He is good at it.
To tell you the truth, I resent this wedding. It’s beautiful, picturesque, even. They’ve rented out a venue in the woods surrounded by old-growth trees. Tom has made a lot of money at his job, so it doesn’t seem they spared much in the way of expenses. I’ve only hung out with his fiancée a couple of times, but she’s lovely and I’m honestly very happy for them, but I have work to do back in New York.
I know that makes me sound like an ass, but I’ll remind you that there was a space alien and it had infiltrated our dreams. In fact, you probably don’t remember this, but this is the week when we found out a bit more about how the Dream worked and everyone freaked out.
I was one of the bridesmaids, so I had to be there for the rehearsal, and of course there was a rehearsal dinner and there were toasts and it was really touching but took a really long time. Halfway through the rehearsal, the news broke. The US government had found some people who hadn’t been exposed to the Dream yet and begun to study them under quarantine. They had determined that the Dream did indeed pass from person to person exactly as if it were an airborne disease. More than that, the infection (they tried to not let this word be the word everyone used, but it was the one that fit best) was being spread by a physical thing. It could be filtered out. And the thing made measurable changes to people’s brains; fMRI scans of people with and without the “infection” were distinctly different.
I was trying to be a good sister, so I didn’t look at my phone for like three straight hours, and when I picked it up, all hell had broken loose. I went to the bathroom and stayed there for a full half hour during the rehearsal dinner trying to catch up.
Robin texted me, I assume you’ve heard about this “infection” nonsense. Otherwise, do you need me to get you some laxative?
I feel like I need to do something. People are looking to me to say something but I don’t know how to frame it, I texted, still in the stall.
There were tons of tweets from Defenders like,
@BadApple24: It seems that @AprilMaybeNot is suddenly, very loudly silent. Nothing to say about this news, eh girly?
And Peter Petrawicki himself tweeted:
@PeterPetrawicki: Don’t expect folks like aprilmaybenot to talk at all today, they don’t want to engage with the reality that scientific study has concluded definitively that we have been infected with a mind-altering contagion.
This was a thing they did to draw you into the conversation they wanted to have. Which is not to say it didn’t work. There was so much frustration and fear already that people were forcing themselves to stay awake so they could avoid the Dream, some taking amphetamines. But you can’t not sleep. A couple of people had died . . . They had died of the fear that Peter Petrawicki was peddling.
Robin: April, your family is out here and they know what you’re doing.
Frustrated, I pocketed my phone and made my way out.
“I’m sorry,” I said to Robin when I got out into the room. “You’re right. Is there any way you could prep a couple of talking points on this for me for later?”
“You look fantastic in that suit, by the way.”
“Thanks, it was not cheap.”
“I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about this. It’s such bad optics. Everyone is saying ‘infection.’ Maybe if I had been there a few hours ago, I could have molded that language a bit, maybe called it something more technical.”
“April, your brother needs you.”
“I know, thank you, Robin. You’re a good friend.” He blushed a bit. Then I went back to pretending I wasn’t completely distracted and attended my brother’s wedding with 25 percent of my mind, max.
@AprilMaybeNot: “My Life with Carl: A Memoir and Manifesto” is in stores now! But who are we kidding, you’re ordering it on Amazon just like me because we care more about saving two dollars than the continued prosperity of our country! http://amzn.to/2ElGwTL
I am standing in a Barnes & Noble; my book is on the shelf. The cover looks abstract, but it’s actually a close-up shot of Carl’s shoulder. The publisher wanted my face on the cover, they said it would sell more books, but I couldn’t imagine having my face staring out from every airport bookstore in the world. I picked it up and opened it to a random page and read words I wrote that were now sitting on the shelf of a bookstore.
It seems likely that the iodine was necessary for the creation of the Dream. Harvard biochemist Alan Reichert writes that iodine, of the chemicals asked for, “is the only one commonly used in biochemical processes.” It’s a necessary compound for the creation of multiple thyroid hormones. While we still do not understand the mechanism of the Dream’s spread, when I touched the iodine to Carl’s hand, a wave of dizziness came over me. Soon after, everyone who had been exposed to me was also a carrier for the Dream. However the Dream is carried, it must have required raw materials that Carl had available, in either in the air or in the concrete as well as iodine.
Did you spot it? A friend of mine once told me that, no matter how much you proofread, the first time you open the final version of your book, you will find a typo on the very first page you look at. Ugh.
But I’d done it. I wrote a book. There it was. Hardcover, tens of thousands of words, and I wrote them all. Sylvia, of course, gave me a lot of nudges, but ultimately, it was a thing I made. It felt very different from any of the other art I had done. So much of me was in it, and now here I was on the shelf. People were going to read it and, I hoped, maybe some minds would be changed. Ultimately, almost everyone who read that book was already on my side, and the only thing it served to do was make people like me angrier.
@AprilMaybeNot: I’ve only been on tour for like a week, but I already feel like maybe I’ve lived my entire life on this bus and everything else was an illusion.