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Maybe the Real High Five Was the Friends We Made Along the Way

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Michael’s log, attempt no. 55, subcategory: Special study: The “High Five”

OBSERVATION. Two of the humans, Eleanor and Jason, persist in a behavior they call a “High Five.” Analysis of data from past experiments reveals that this behavior becomes more frequent as the experiment approaches the failure point.

HYPOTHESIS. This behavior is a signal between the humans, or perhaps some sort of information transmitter, which is somehow allowing them to understand the true nature of the neighborhood and the experiments. It’s like that thing anglerfish do when they bump. Or is that lemmings? Either way. They’re doing something and it’s breaking my experiments and I need to figure it out.

ATTEMPT no. 56. The first High Five occured a mere two days into this experiment, breaking previous records, when Eleanor bragged about a sexual conquest and Jason, posing as Jianyu, silently held up his hand and she slapped it without thinking. She then immediately blew his cover and the experiment failed within 4 hours. The High Fives are becoming more powerful.

ATTEMPT no. 57. No High Fives occurred during this experiment because they were all fish. Eleanor figured it out in about a day and alerted the others. Note to self: don’t make them talking fish next time.

ATTEMPT no. 58. Several High Fives occurred early in this experiment, but in retrospect, those were likely not authentic High Fives, as they occurred in the context of a forced sports activity intended to torture the humans (mostly Tahani and Chidi). Nevertheless, Chidi figured it approximately 36 hours after the sports event, so perhaps the High Fives remain powerful nevertheless. Further study needed.

ATTEMPT no. 59. This experiment contained so many High Fives in such density that analysis is difficult. This is likely because of the setting, inspired by no. 58, in which we discovered that most of the humans were tortured by being forced to engage in activities Jason habitually enjoyed during his life on earth. For this reason, no. 59 was set in an eternal dance club. Eleanor and Jason spent the entire experiment drinking together, dancing, making lewd remarks about other patrons, High Fiving, and attempting anatomically difficult pranks on one another and the other clubgoers using the shrimp. Tahani and Chidi figured it out after about two hours of this, our worst record yet. I maintain that our time would have been better if we hadn’t tipped Tahani off by including a demon impersonating Justin Bieber, who she said “Would not be able to enter the gates of heaven, because the sheer amount of hair grease would cause him to slide right off.” Regardless: not our best effort.

ATTEMPTS no. 60-67 contained no High Fives because we tried isolating the humans in various containment units and amusing outfits. We achieved record low times, the nadir being set in the experiment where Eleanor was forced to dress like a Popple. Vicky says I’m getting tired. What does she know about architectural work? It’s very delicate. And there’s nothing wrong with a few little splashes of flair now and then to keep oneself immersed in the creative process. Okay, I’m getting tired, I’ll go to my squid cave for a while, jeez.

ATTEMPT no. 68 seemed initially promising: no High Fives occurred for a whole month, and the humans seemed suitably tortured by the roles in which they found themselves. This was our Wedding Special, where we told each pair of soulmates that we would throw them a wedding, and that of course they should ask their best friend to plan it for them. At first it was perfect—Eleanor hated being chosen to plan the wedding for Tahani and Jianyu but felt like she couldn’t say no; she felt horrible about marrying Chidi when she wasn’t his real soulmate; Chidi felt like he had to go through with it out of guilt; Tahani was crushed that Chidi and Eleanor asked Jianyu instead of her to plan their wedding; bazinga! It was all working. Then Eleanor decided to throw a bachelor party for Jianyu, they did shots, the secrets came out, everything came crashing down, and right towards the end there was a damned High Five just as Eleanor and Jason drove away on a dual-sided-custom-painted Pamela Anderson and Steve “Stone Cold” Austin motorcycle while a church exploded behind them. The experiment only lasted fifteen minutes after that. The High Fives are definitely increasing in potency and must be contained.

ATTEMPT no. 69 contained one immediate High Five after Eleanor figured it out and I told her the number of this experiment. I regret my actions in returning the High Five and can only plead that this much exposure to the humans has begun to corrupt me.

ATTEMPT no. 70, the one with the bees, contained no High Fives at all because Eleanor figured it out too quickly for her to even have a conversation with Jianyu. I am losing my touch, no question. Vicky has begun to eye my desk chair. I must not let this get the better of me.

ATTEMPT no. 71, the one on a boat, also contained no High Fives, and Tahani figured it out in only six minutes because of something to do with the thread count in the napkins. Clearly this line of inquiry is leading me nowhere. I must refocus on generating more promising experiments. Will return to notating in this section when I have stabilized the situation.

ATTEMPT no. 304. This attempt illuminated for me the significance of the High Fives at last. They are making the humans more powerful, in a way I never expected and still don’t quite understand. The humans are bonding with each other through the High Fives. I know because I have experienced it. Something about the High Five offered to me all those attempts ago nevertheless lingered with me. I am beginning to doubt my true nature. But I will prevail. The High Fives will not defeat me. The humans will not defeat me. I will resist their pathetic attempts to bond with me and with one another. I will torture them for eternity.

ATTEMPT no. 305. In the first fifteen minutes, Tahani told Eleanor and Jason that she once had a Welsh rarebit with Gillian Anderson and they both immediately High Fived her. The experiment failed two minutes later. This is truly the Bad Place.