It stows away, flies all over the planet. If it could, it would be grateful to autocrats, dictators, incompetent politicians and non-believers. It would approve of air travel, especially economy class, the Cheltenham Festival and parties in the White House.
It shows no hint of gratitude, regret or apology. What do you expect from something so small, that it cares? It passes no known test that would define it as life. It is pure code, an instruction manual.
The instructions say: ‘Breathe me in then make lots more of me. Breathe out, take a plane, breathe out, go to a gig, breathe out, have a drink in a bar, breathe out, party all night, breathe out. I need life to give me my not-life.’ And we follow them.
What if we could see it creeping around, hanging in the air, looking for us? We could swerve to avoid it. We could hide behind trees, in under stairs cupboards, in locked attics until it gave up and went away and died of a broken heart all alone. The FBI would have kept it away from the President by shooting it and Special Branch would have protected the Prime Minister by telling it lies.
Instead, maybe we should be grateful to this not-life thing, smaller than colour, for showing us truths we have long overlooked, stripping away layers we have forgotten about, calling out the lies and the liars.