August 12, 2009
In a boat far out at sea he drifted, and how pathetic it was too for he did not even know which sea it was that carried him – that’s how lost he was. Without a name, the sea might as well have been out of a timeless dream or myth where talking fish and sea maidens, or mermaids actually deemed to make their presence known.
As it was he was down to his last half dozen containers of caviar and they nor the sirloin went not at all well with the cabernet.
As the sun beat down, seeming as it always had and always would, he thought to himself, Roset…. Must have roset with the salmon.
He lay with his head resting on a somewhat dirty synthetic pillow taking up the better part of the fore in his substantial but bare life boat.
There was no shelter from the beating sun on his head just as there was no shelter for the fragments of his mind within. It was not the ordeal of being adrift which had brought him to this state nor was it the circumstance which had cast him hither. It was not known, in fact, what had brought him here at all. To the objective observer the further tragedy will show that, although he was not wise to it, no other living person was left who was aware of these things either.
He did have an oar, an oar and a pillow. When the urge to hide away left him one could find him rowing, slowly and steadily.
The sound of the water lapping against the strain of his strokes was something. It did not hurt him or annoy him or make him afraid. When was it that he came to the conclusion? It’s best to save your energy. What’s the point of rowing towards nowhere? After this realization he spent much time with his head on his pillow. So much time in fact that this perfectly good pillow could accurately be described as uncomfortable. Now he just rowed to row. No reason at all. The sound of the water was peaceful. It was a rythm that beat out the absence of time.
La Mer sucks the life away from you. No, La Mer gives life. What is obvious? All these things pass away. When there is nothing more pressing there is nothing but time and the pressure of now. What cannot let go seaps out through the cracks – all these things are meaningless, the sun is coming up as it always will. Groan away, there is no point in rowing towards nothing.
He layed the oar carefully down upon the bottom of the boat and took his seat for no reason. Finally the maddening light let go it’s grip and now there was the sound of the water lapping against the rocking boat. Almost the same sound, it seemed, as the water against the oar, but maddening because completely beyond his control.
This is it, he thought, or ‘This is it?’ , if both then neither but the fact remained – his last meal was about to be had. No point in eating a part. That will not keep him alive. Certainly no point in saving it. Here he was starving with but a morsel of food in his hand – and every chewing motion had entwined a feeling of guilt. Let go, he thought but it made no impression. Let go and swallow. Now the meaning of hunger was made clear.
There once was a man adrift at sea and he was sitting in his life boat, the boat which had saved his life, upon aSea of Samsara whose name he did not know.
Marah why aren’t I suprised to see you? She said nothing- just went about her business of nothing. Think this no dream, you who witness, unless you know of the timeless dream and the living myth.
It was a familiarity which kept him from noticing. The sea had become an ocean of possibility and he did not care. He looked out to the horizon.
“There’s no food left.”, he remarked and Marah looked up at him with a look of deepest concern. “We shall surely starve…”, “unless…”
“What? Unless you eat me?”
“Yes, unless I eat you damn it!”, “Is that so wrong?”
“You won’t eat me!” she took up the oar.
The head of the oar came around swiftly and knocked upon his head. In a tingly daze he crawled back over to his place at the fore of the boat.
“I will eat you!”
Marah sat calmly with the oar across her lap.
“Just you wait.”, he whimpered.
He closed his eyes and let the ache subside. Presently he added, “yes..when you sleep. You can’t stay awake forever.” Not at all so she couldn’t hear he declared, “I’ll eat you when you fall asleep!”
But it couldn’t be any other way, for the moon could be seen now in it’s full glory and the night was closing in around it, just as it should.
So there the two companions lay, neither daring to drift away into slumber. He opened one eye to see her lying calmly with eyes closed, then shut his eye again. He opened it again but found that she too was peeking at him.
“Feeling sleepy aren’t you?”, he said. She said nothing but regarded him with one eye. She closed it again.
Comforted in his knowledge that he would dine upon his first love he drifted into a blank sleep.
When morning came the light and heat grew with urgency, waking him to attention, and he was surprised to find himself alone inside the boat. This, you may find ironic, was what seemed peculiar. Not that he was in company, but that he was alone.
“I’m sorry Marah!” he said to the breeze. “I won’t eat you!” La Mer de vivre seemed empty and barren. Brace yourself, there is nothing but the sun beating down.
The spirit of the sea is a woman and she can take many forms. I think I need not describe to you what these are, you who have known many women. There is but one mythic sea, her spirit is of the nature of a woman.
So what is left but to peer into the sea, unfathoming it’s depths. When the unexpected occurs:
A simple fish could be seen swimming away below the surface when he plucked his head out of the water to meet the man face to face. Jumping back in startlement he picked himself up to peer over the side again, but no fish.
Then looking around he found the fish waiting for him on the opposite side.
“Hello” said the fish. “I am the Salmon of Unlimited Knowledge. Ask of me any three questions and I will answer them for …” With a slimy thud the oar came down upon the head of the Salmon. Hauling it aboard the man immediately began to gorge himself on what, he later thought, might as well have been sushi.
Night fell calmly that once upon a time. It was easy to believe that his love may come back to him. So easy in fact that he closed his eyes and with a slight backward nod he made it so. “I thought you were dead.” , and with these words and the opening of his eyes Marah was there before him.
“Am I in heaven then?” Looking around he saw everything the same. “No. Then it’s hell.”
“No, not hell.”
He regarded her. “I’m sorry I tried to eat you.”
“Oh listen to yourself, you sound so ridiculous.”
There was nothing more to be said. Uncomfortable moments came and went. “You have to leave, don’t you?” Nothing.
She sat knowing as the man closed his eyes, abiding as he fell into sleep. The night around him was full of gentle sounds.
He knew that day, maybe in the way his head was abuzz with a cloud of oppression. He never screamed out, he realized. All this and he never screamed out loud. Just know this. Let it go. As the night fell upon him he felt arms cradling him. Wordless. Close your eyes – keep them closed. The breeze caressed his face. Or was it breath? Let it go.
August 11, 2009
It was Blossom Time in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Aptly named, thought Tricky as he carried his door under his arm, for it was springtime and the flowers were blooming like madness.
Tricky was dressed in a brightly gaudy patchwork cloak and as he crossed the bridge downtown which carried him over the Chagrin River Falls the ordinary people stopped and looked in wonder at this man carrying a blue door towards the park, to the Carnival.
As he passed the ferris wheel at the entrance people stopped noticing, for it was a carnival and the unusual was to be expected. Everywhere was the sound of happy children and people losing their money at the rigged games (but no one ever seemed to mind, thought Tricky. Ahh it was always the same.).
There, next to the Cosmic Blaster where people could defy gravity, Tricky saw a clear spot. He erected his door.
“Come one come all people! You have braved everything this place has to offer! Now come and try your hand at the Door of Mystery!”
Immediately he had the attention of a young boy who’s mother was busy chatting with a neighbor. “You little boy- are you brave enough to enter this mysterious door?” The boy cringed into his mother’s dress and sought her safety.
“You sir!” He cajoled as a man walked unsuspectingly by. He slowed and noticed Tricky. “Can you stand wondering what lies behind this ordinary looking door?”
The man stopped and examined the mentioned door. It looked like any door you would find in any middle class suburban home. He couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.
“Ah, you laugh now, but wait until you see what lies beyond the Door of Mystery.” The man laughed some more.
Now a crowd began to develop around Tricky.
“Yes yes, gather ‘round. Let’s see who has the courage to venture through and beyond this ordinary looking door.”
One young man in a letterman’s jacket stood with his girlfriend. “Are you crazy?”
“I’m afraid I am not qualified to make that determination my good man, but if you would take the plunge perhaps you may see for yourself.” The young man chuckled nervously and unconsciously looked to his girlfriend.
Sonny was walking alone past the goldfish game when the scene caught his attention. He joined the crowd and pushed his way to the front.
“Why I knew a man once named Kevin who none of you know- he accepted my challenge and walked through this very same door. Like you he was afraid. Yes, and like you he was unsure of himself. What would happen, he thought. What will I find on the other side?”
At this everyone laughed heartily. Sonny found himself saying, “There’s nothing on the other side.” And everyone kept laughing, leaving Sonny unsure if they were laughing at him.
But Tricky immediately locked his gaze with Sonny’s. “Yes. That’s right. You’ve got it just right. Come here.” And Tricky lent forth his hand. “Come closer.” Sonny found himself inching forward. “You look like a brave one. I ask you, and consider carefully, will you go through this door?”
As Sonny regarded the door there were only a few nervous chuckles among the gathering. They were all looking at him. Just a stupid door, it seemed, what was the big deal all about? He could just step through and safely say he had the right to leave, having done it, and forget all these people.
But to do something so absurd! To walk through a door to nothing, the people would laugh all the more – and not at this man, but at him!
And not to go through now… To step back into the crowd… absurd yes, but it seemed he would feel ashamed in front of everyone.
Sonny looked to the man in the gaudy cloak, who said to him so only he could hear, “I know all these people are watching you, but forget them. If you do this, do it for yourself.”
Sonny took a deep breath and reached for the handle. He wanted to make a joke, but no one was laughing. The handle turned easily, the door opened and Sonny could see through it to Riverside park. Nervousness fluttered in his belly when there was no going back, and when he was through he felt a moment of confusion. Time stopped – and then nothing was everything.
The people couldn’t notice the door close again, but it did. Again there was laughter.
“Who will dare?” Tricky continued. “Why I knew a boy once, who none of you know, whose name was Sonny. He ventured through to behold what lies beyond the Door of Mystery.”
August 11, 2009
The massive bulk of the research station did not slow it’s smooth floating path through space. Far away from the sun it orbited a color painted gas giant. Not far away, relatively, was what Ender liked to think of as the dark sun.
As he stared off into space towards the black hole his mind wandered absently. The recreation section of the space station included grass and trees but to the handy man these were nothing next to the invisible spot in space where he knew light could not live.
Newcomers often had irrational reservations about occupying a place which engaged in experiments so close to a black hole. Ender never experienced this. He floated, like the station which was his home, through the artificial days and nights of his life on SORC, Space Orbiting Research Center.
He took the last bite of his sandwich, milling the pasty white bread around in his mouth, and looking into the nothing. He was into his second ‘tour’, as they called it, on station. Regulations require a planetside hiatus every six months. Ender felt no need for this personally and requested to continue working on. This was last month.
He spent his free time alone. While working he seldom had to interact with people. They tell him where the broken device is and he fixes it. People did not really think he was strange, he thought, they did not really regard him much at all.
His compartment was meager at best. This did not cause him bother. Sitting now in front of the video screen his mind was in alpha. Videos were shipped in regularly to keep the people of the station occupied. Right now the news program was being played. Ender regarded the images before him, dimly aware that something was happening in the world. With a yawn he reached for the remote control, shut the screen off, and reverted to his bathroom routine before bed.
He had no window. When he shut off the lights it was dark as dark could be. When he was in that half dreaming state he did not notice if his eyes were open or were closed. His cheap mattress was hard and lumpy and his pillow did not give much support.
For all these things he lived in a sleeping and morbid comfort. If the activity of the mind was measured in pitch his would be a low baritone, and the volume of his heart a faint murmur.
Occasionally his loins would make their spongy yearnings felt, however, and for these occasions he had a sizable collection of pornography. Nobody anywhere knew of this but him. His favorites were pictures of phalluses penetrating women anally.
Tonight the yearnings came up. He was already in bed so he decided on the fantasy of the lab tech instead of real pictures. She was a slut. Maybe he would get her to go into the bathroom with him. The fantasy played itself in his mind until the shaft beneath the fold of his fairly overweight stomach shot the goo onto the mattress beside him.
If a girl ever visited his bed, he thought, they would see the stains. He thought this almost every time he masturbated there. Then he went to sleep.
So the next day was like most all of them. He fixed things. He took his break, ate his sandwich, and gazed into the void. How comforting it was. Nothing, to a man who had never experienced emotions, is comfort and death and nothing.
When he walked into the lab that ‘day’, or instance, two scientists were arguing the nature of the void. As he played with the guts of the lab door mechanism he listened in.
“There is no true vacuum.”, the bald man in the white coat said.
“In theory, but in practice… Practically a vacuum is something which mass can move through.”
Ender listened in and became interested. The topic must have appealed to him. It must have struck a chord because he interjected his own thought.
“Nothing is something.”
The two men stopped their conversation to look at him. They regarded the handy man with his belly showing beneath his half tucked shirt and his pants riding down off of his ass and went back to their conversation.
Ender finished fixing the door feeling unusually angry. If it were in him to explode at that moment he would have considered it. The two scientists paid him no mind as he screwed the plate back into place.
As he was walking toward the recreation section though he spoke to the darkness. Inside his mind he cursed the two men. His pace quickened.
He sat before the window as usual but did not take out his sandwich. He fantasized about humiliating the two men in white.
The black hole was still there. It was always there. And then he realized something about the dark sun which had escaped him before. It was eternal.
The logic played out in his mind. Nothing could destroy it because it was nothing already.
He tried to compare it with other things in his mind. Various things, concepts, objects flipped through his mind and were discarded as he deduced that each one was perishable. Only nothing itself was eternal, and therefore true. He remembered what he had said to the two scientists.
“I was right.” his mind said.
‘You were wrong.’
‘I am everything.’
He took his sandwich in his hand and ate. The black hole matched his gaze eye for eye.
The next day she was there. He was in the dangerous materials lab and she was on the other side of the glass, with her hooker red lipstick and white coat.
He was working inside the area where the dangerous materials were worked with. This did not bother him. He had a robotic arm to fix.
As he worked he glanced constantly at the woman who was cleaning some beakers. She noticed him noticing her and he felt embarrassed.
He could tell from the corner of his eye that she was smiling and taking pleasure in his attention.
She was looking right at him when he glanced at her and he did not look away for a moment too long. She knew.
As he unscrewed a nut she walked over and put her arms in the rubber covers which reached through the glass and allowed things to be manipulated. He felt trapped.
“Can you hand me that?”, she teased, her voice muffled through the thin glass.
Ender looked at the rubber glove pointing at a metal rod. He walked over and picked it up.
When he went over to hand it to her she let the glove brush his thigh.
“Oh, excuse me.” she said and laughed lightly.
He stood. His loins were tickly and moist.
She stroked the metal rod and said, “Oh no, this won’t do.” With a mischievous smile she stroked his crotch. “That’s better.”
He unzipped quickly. The latex rubber coaxing his already hardening penis.
Her forehead was against the glass now as she breathed heavily along with him. “Oh!”, she moaned loudly, her dampened voice sounding distant. In a moment it was over.
The gooey cum dripped down the rubber fingers onto the floor. He felt ashamed.
“Hey don’t you get paid by the hour?” she laughed as she withdrew her arms. She left the room with a backward glance and a giggle.
‘Fucks’’ went through his mind. She would tell everyone. He was so embarrassed. Bitch!… Slut!
When he was alone he spoke to the darkness. He had come to having conversations with the void all around him as he sat on his bench in the recreation sector. He would say something in one part of his mind and somewhere else there would be an answer. It was from the dark sun.
What secrets he told the darkness. And in return he was granted indestructible truth. The dark sun conveyed it’s essence to him as his fellow in nihilism. It was beyond anihilation.
‘All beauty is nothing. The only beauty is forever nothing.’, it would tell him.
“I love her.”
‘You hate her.’, it would reply.
“She’s a slut.”
It said nothing. It was nothing.
He got up and left his companion behind for the night.
He skipped work the next day. He did not make himself a sandwich. He wanted to be alone with the nothing. He was there.
In his mind he was sodomizing the lab tech. He lost interest in this.
“I hate you.”
‘You love me.’
“No.”, Ender asserted.
‘I know.’, it stated.
Ender considered this. It was right. He was in awe of it, and that is what he loved. It would never be gone because it never was. It was perfect.
“No.”, he resisted.
‘You will be perfect.’
Ender agreed. Felt the end was near. “Do you love me?”, he asked.
It did not answer.
The air lock was easily bypassed. He used his screwdriver to twist the wires into his fingers and the door opened before him. From inside he closed the door again and he was in a steely womb, ready to be born.
The lever was covered with a glass safety plate. He lifted it and gripped the handle. The warning lights flashed. The alarm blared. His mind screamed for quiet but he did not hear.
The air rushed out from the crack in the door. Ender laughed. Smiled. His one true thrill- his one semblance of happiness… and he was gone.