Between this layer and the last, I had the opportunity to take a short trip. I drove to the airport. I went through the metal detector. I was wanded. I requested (but did not receive) a pat-down. We boarded the plane. Just before we were scheduled to taxi out to the runway, the stewardess came by to talk to me. She leaned on the arm of my seat. She was wearing some kind of berry-flavored perfume. "Hey," she said. "Do I know you?"
I shook my head.
"I'm sure I do," she said. "Maybe you were one of my other routes."
"Where do you fly?"
She laughed. "Where don't I fly?"
She bent over. The smell of her perfume grew stronger. She held out both of her hands in fists and told me to pick one. I did. She opened it and there was a red pill. I started to sweat. "Give me the other hand," I said. She did. I opened it and there was another red pill. I grabbed both pills and swallowed them. I blacked out before the plane lifted off.
I blame Mig for this trip. Thanks, travel agent. Mig has taken Armin's layer #7 and isolated the idea of the trip, as opposed to the destination. He has done it by a) staying within the realm of pop-culture references and b) moving to a reference that calls all other references into question. I'm speaking, of course, of a certain Wachowski brothers movie starring Keanu Reeves. In the movie, machines control us. They use us for batteries. The activities that make up our lives -- meals, jobs, trips, sex, even graphic-design competitions -- are shams, unreal projections designed to distract us from the fact that they machines have us kept in pods, stacked thousands high. Mig has changed the palette again, this time to a sickly digital green. But more importantly, he has reversed the polarities of the competition thus far. Until now, he has argued for freedom and escape while Armin has admitted, if reluctantly, the wisdom of institutional authority. All at once, though, this design asks us to consider the possibility that the feeling of escape is nothing more than the ultimate proof of institutional authority. Left unanswered is the question of why Mig mentions the titles of the two sequels to the film in question. The sequels, of course, were far inferior, to the point where they may have even retroactively eroded the quality of the first installment. Regardless, the move stands. From Tex-Mex to latex to Matrix -- what a long, strange trip it's been.
Play by play commentary for this match is provided, as it happens, by Ben Greenman.
Our friends and longtime sponsors at Adobe have a quick survey for Layer Tennis fans. It would mean a lot to us if you could take a couple minutes between layers to answer some simple questions. Thanks a million.
Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion.
Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4.
Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four.
Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday.
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