The Archivist

It was night; chaos hung in the air. 

In the big room with no windows big boxes galloped up and down the rows of shelving,  a wooden wheelchair circled the room again and again. Hunched along the wall stacks of framed pictures watched and jeered. Huge envelopes lounged on the tables, stuffed with vibrating drawings and photos and maps. 

Now noise filled the room. 

Old pictures called out litanies of names, scrapbooks blurted out details about trips and events, sermons filled the air with a cacophony of moralisms and principles, letters confessed intimate details, board minutes droned on about buildings and faculty members and policies, yearbooks joked, documents concerning lawsuits presented defenses, lectures pontificated, financial records ciphered up sums.

By morning, from sheer exhaustion the room quieted, so that by the time she walked in, the space was calm. She wasn’t fooled.

Her commands were succinct and authoritative.

“Provenance!” she commanded one box, and it reshuffled.

“Original order!” she said to another and it was so.

“You are an aggregate,” she said, and boxes here and there flew open and gave up some of their contents to a pile on the table. 

“You are only significant because you a part of that,” she said to the wheelchair, and it rolled quietly to one corner. 

Now her commands came quickly and the room was alive again with movement. 

“Repository!”

“Record group!”

“Series!”

“File!”

 “Unit!”

 “Item!”

On and on she went, ruthlessly making demands, requiring movement, commanding the room. At the end of the day she dusted off her hands, one against the other, stared at the stacks for a brief moment, walked out of the room and locked the door. 

Nothing moved that night. 

The next day a man came to the room, unlocked the door, walked in and strolled down an aisle, looking at the labels on the boxes. He paused in front of one, took it down and carried it to a table. He opened it up and sorting through several items stopped and pulled out an envelope.

“Here you are,” he said, “right where I thought you would be.” 
 

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The Girl With Three Eyes

Once there was a girl with three eyes in her head; one looked back, one forward, one in. 

It was snock. 

During the first third of her life, she only used one eye, the one that looked forward. She looked forward to what she wanted and went after those things. She wanted a snick, she got it. She wanted a flippster —  got that. She wanted a ripple-rack, got that. She checked them off and racked them up — snick, flip, rip, and yet she felt schnicked. 

Then she hit the middle third of her life, and she began for the first time to user her backward looking eye.  She looked back, and she began to become acutely aware of what she hadn’t gotten. She hadn’t gotten the PDMS she wanted, though she could have. She had not snagged the snog she had hoped for, but she could have. She had never made it to Rockistan, had never experienced a snagaphone but she knew she could have. She felt snogged. 

Then she arrived, by using two of her eyes, at the final third of her life. She was now fully using her forward looking eye and her backward looking eye but slowly, she began to be aware of the views available to her through her inward looking eye. And so, looking in, she saw herself looking forward and backward.

“What is this?” she asked herself.

“This is us,” said herself to herself. “This is our past, this is our present, and this is our hoped for future.”

She was snibbed, and at the same time aware of being snibbed, for the first time in her life. And she saw that she was a snog divided, her eyes pulling her in three directions, backwards, forwards and inward. 

“Stop,” she said to her eyes, “fighting.”

They stopped. 

“Start,” she said, “working together.” 

They started, in an incipient but palpable fashion, working together.

Then she paused and saw with triplified vision, her own snick, flip and rip as if they existed in one was, will be and is. She snockified and snozzled in. 

And in that snozzling in, in that snocking up a beautiful, overarching wave of tranquilapam filled her. 

She was at last, for the first time, and for a moment, at snizzle with herself. 


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The Reversal

She took it home, bathed it, fed it, and made a bed for it in a little room — to make it feel safe. It didn’t feel safe. So, therefore, and nonetheless she gave it 100 baths, 500 sleeps, 1,000 meals and practically exactly 10,000 soft hugs.

The lower life forms recover slowly, if ever, but will seldom enough, if tended to and more than somewhat almost. This is true of the higher ones too.

However, things tend to reverse when given attention and to shift sideway or even flip. Or if not, then maybe it is simply the case that the distinctions made in the first place do not turn out to be correct after all.

Regardless, one day the higher form herself unsettled, lost her way, began to gush, squint her eyes, raise her voice, agitate, dis-say, un-hinge and down-speak to one of the higher life forms in her family.

Then it was most certainly and precisely that the lower life form crept unnoticed up to the higher life forms side, and taking her arm in its mouth, held it, and looked her in the eyes. Time and care passed between them.

It seemed clear, obvious, at this time and in this exact moment that the higher life form was to drop back, hold in, stop, calm, seek safety as directed, somewhat immediately and acutely softly.

She did, almost and enough, at that time and the following time too. After that the two lived together in relative harmony, caring for each other as needed, not really sure anymore about distinctions between things higher and lower.

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Rocket Man

“Three, two, one, blast off” — and up he rose out of the center of the circles of Hierocles, riding the thrusting fire of focus straight through the center of his own mind and into the space occupied by his wife, then quickly through there, now rocketing through the circles of his daughters, faster and faster, away from his friends and his coworkers, streaming upward through the outlying spaces of his associates, powering past his community, his nation, receding now as a tiny speck behind him, flying from his hemisphere, lifting high now above the spinning earth, he shot into hyper-rational space.

It is rarified atmosphere — the neo-Platonic, proto-mathmatic, meta-esoteric,
supra-emotive, ultra-cognitive, visionary-imaginative, superlative-creative realm of the mind.

There exists, seemingly outside of the immediate influence of our essential relationships, the moment of essential ideation, thought, theory, formula, process, proof, syllogism, solution, application, wisdom. There the vast armamentarium of math, rhetoric, history, biology, theology, linguistics, psychology, physics, geology, zoology and all the other disciplines of the academic world come in to play.

Seemingly alone one thinks, ponders, tests, ruminates, muses, clarifies, reinvents, reimagines and proves.

Then he exited from there, in an instant, from  brooding for a moment, luxuriating in time, floating in space, thinking thoughts of thoughts that were beyond all previous thoughts, to rubbing his chin, and then suddenly as if snatched out of his very shoes, to sitting at home again.

In a flash not less, his wife’s voice snagged his rocketing capsule by the nose of the craft and spun him back, falling, dropping, tumbling again into his own living room.

“Are you going to put your daughter to bed, or not? She is asking for you to read her that story.”

And then there, at the center of the circles, he sat with his daughter, her head still wet from the bath, her flannel nightgown soft and fresh and warm from the drier, the book with it’s bright colored pages spread before them, and he said, “I love you honey,” kissed her head, and read her a story about a bat.

And so she grew up like that, at the center of the circles,  grew up just right like that  to become a respected eco-feminist researcher, writer and educator, collaborated with many valuable colleagues, raised a beautiful family and founded a non-profit to empower young female entrepreneurs.

She found a cure for a rare bat disease, and she also wrote a famous children’s story about an unusually joyful pickle and its friends.

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The Spaces To Which We Have Grown Accustom

“You could move to the larger room,” he suggested.

“Well, I have never really thought much about that,” she said. “I guess I could.

He walked into the smaller of the two bedrooms in her condo. It was crowded, a small bed, desk, book shelves, old books.

There was twice the space in the empty master suite just a few feet down the hall. Years had past since her roommate, living in this master suite, had moved out of the condo.

The larger master bedroom included a dressing room, two walk-in closets and a master bathroom. It was a much bigger and brighter space, with a large window opening out onto the patio.

“I could help you move your stuff,” he said. “It wouldn’t take long, and this smaller room would make a perfect office. He paused. She look stunningly unexcited, so he added. “I think the bigger space would be so much more luxurious for you. You could even have a bigger bed.”

“Well, that is so nice of you,” she replied. “I have been thinking about a new bed.”

They stood in silence for a moment, as if contemplating an insurmountable possibility lying on a divine plateau somewhere between his mind and hers.

“Well, just give me a call,” he said to break the awkwardness.

She didn’t, but instead left things as they were — bricked and mortared within the dim interior of the tiny cubicle to which she had grown accustom.

After he left, she retreated to her small room and muttered to herself, “I never did much believe in heaven.”

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Body Parts

Once there was a man who gave away his arm because someone without an arm asked him for it.

Then he gave away a leg, because he happened to meet a man who didn’t have one.

The thing caught on in his own mind and he began to give away his body parts as if this were the most desirable and effortless virtue in the world — giving a lung, a finger, some skin, his hair.

At some point in this deconstruction process, his wife left him. “It’s disgusting!” she said the last time she saw him maimed in the hospital, and she divorced him and married a professional athlete.

But this didn’t deter him, and he gave away his body parts more and more. He gave an eye to a young girl. He gave a kidney to a teen. He gave an ear to a wounded vet, his other leg to another.

His family and friends grew concerned. “You have gone way to far with this,” they said. “You are going to kill yourself.”

“It is the most important thing I have ever done,” he said.

Then he gave away part of his brain. The surgeon who did the work warned him of the consequence, but he insisted that the disabled person he was giving part of his brain to needed it more than he did.

Of course the story, as it went along, was picked up by the news and he was heralded as both a hero and a monster.

However, one particular bio-technical company, specializing in advanced protheses, took a keen interest in him and decided to rebuild him. Funds were raised, research went forward, new ideas surfaced. He was excited about this, and with the same enthusiasm that he had given himself away, he let himself be rebuilt.

The company made him bionic legs, with built-in motors that gave him power and strength, even beyond what he had before, a powerful robotic arm, new skin to replace what he had lost, a new ear which was super sensitive to sounds far and near, a new adjustable eye and an onboard computer than integrated all his parts, even taking over some of the functions of the part of his brain that was missing.

With this, he became a kind of world phenomena, a bionic guru, and he drew large crowds wherever he went, speaking and teaching the most radical ideas about extreme generosity and extreme transformation.

He did a TED’s talk, he was wildly popular, but then as is so typical, he faded from the scene, especially as professional athletes, celebrities and the rich began to commonly and voluntarily purchase enhanced body parts to give them a superior edge in life, entertainment and sport. A devision of sports became popular called “Enhanced,” leading to more and more improvement in bionic ability and accomplishment.

After a time, the man was completely forgotten, and when he died, he was found in a dumpster. The police reported that he had none of his bionic parts on him, and that he was missing more of his natural body parts too, so much so that it took some effort to figure out even who he was, only a DNA test finally resolving his identity.

In the end, it came out that in the last few years he had given all his bionic parts to other people in need, and also that he had given away his remaining arm, remaining ear, remaining eye, his nose, and at the end pretty much the rest of his brain and his heart.

“Well, I guess he died for others, a piece at a time,” said his exwife who was asked by the media.

“Actually,” she added as she flounced out the door of her five star hotel to her new turbo-charged, hybrid Porsche, “He was insane!”

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The Mystic

One year after he retired he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

It didn’t phase him. He took this chemo, he did his stem cell transplant. He went back to work as a consultant.

When his wife left him for an ice skating pro turned instructor, he took up chess.

When his house burned down he rebuilt it.

This is who he was.

His first career had been in fuel injectors. He had improved them.

His second career had been in fabric — bulletproof vests. He developed a material superior to Kevlar.

His third career was with NASA designing doors for the shuttles. He made them safer.

He finished up his stellar resume with a job as the CEO in a company that made lasers to create three-dimensional cross-sections of art works.

Then early one fall morning, not long after his stem cell, while he was lying in bed asleep, a red leaf fell in the White Mountains, a grain of sand blew on to a ridge in Sossusvlei, a fog obscured the San Francisco Bay bridge, a proscenium curtain closed in Makati, the sun rose over Vesuvius, and an aneurism burst in his head.

He had lived his entire life knowing things, but in that moment, a second before he perished, he saw as if in one moment, a million wonderful things that he did not understand.

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Arrivals and Departures

“The whole discussion is ridiculous!” they said, and with that they hunkered down, hard as porcelain, bolted-down and sealed.

“Honestly, we don’t agree,” said the lights.

“Really!” the toilets said stubbornly, standing their ground. “An airport is an airport is an airport. An airport is a place for traveler’s to arrive and depart. An airport is the one thing in this world that can itself never depart, and it can never arrive somewhere else.”

The carpet throughout the airport agreed — carpet tends to be very conservative — and so did all the terminal’s seating, and for that matter all the signs. There is nothing that hates change as much as a sign.

We must accept reality,” the careful coalition said. “We are what we are, and we are obviously here to stay!” They proclaimed this vehemently, and they held their ground.

But the airport restaurants, the shops, lights, all the gates and the entire terminal structure, even the tarmac, rose up and aligned against the bathrooms, seats and carpet.

“Everything changes,” they said, and everyone and everything can choose to change. It’s in our hands” they argued, “It is our turn, if we want it to be.”

“Dream away, dreamers,” claimed the coalition of caution, “but it’s physically impossible for an airport to just get up and move!”

“No, it’s not!” shouted the hopeful collaborators.

“We are San Francisco International!” the bathrooms, carpets, signs and seats shouted back in unison. “That is all we will ever be!”

“Yes, we are, shouted all the restaurants, shops, signs, gates, buildings and tarmac, “but it is time to go to Paris!”

They chanted. The airport vibrated. “What was was but now no longer is!”

And that was that, and those with a will to change prevailed, and on November 27 at 4:45 pm, San Francisco International airport flew — the whole thing. The tarmac ripped from the ground in one solid, flat piece, carrying with it all the airplanes, trucks, crews, pilots and passengers on board. The terminal followed, lifting carefully, carrying with it the passengers, the employees the carpets and bathrooms, seats and signs — all flew.

The world reaction was all over the place — fear, astonishment, disbelief, wonder and some celebration, but once in the air, there was no going back. The momentum was toward Paris.

And when San Francisco International Airport arrived in Paris as an airport, it had to pass over Charles de Gaulle Airport — there being no place big enough to land — and settle to the ground in a field outside of Paris. Not one thing or one person was harmed, but despite what the signs said along the way, or what the bathrooms said they wanted — it was not longer San Francisco International Airport.

There was quite a stir about it throughout the world, and there was no agreement on how to explain it, or to put it to proper use, but one thing was certain; despite a widespread desire to figure the whole thing out, no one could, nor did any one have any ideas at all of how to get all of it back to San Francisco in one piece.

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The Terror of Success

First, there was that pondiferous moment in Los Angeles when it all matriculated and then superwonkified at the Troubadour.

Then there was the exhaustification in London when it didn’t.

And then there is how if you skip to the end it is actually very hard to say what the freakin’ rockstar happened – – the mind-wrestling complications that came with the fore-waiting, the madly intensifying pressure of the creative wars, the wasting psychic metastacision of the alpha male ego and the final terrifying stages of group PTSD.

If you work under the huge, bright lights, if your own face becomes a series of a thousands dazed smiles, if naked women dance on your stage, if you find yourself running in the halls and vaulting into the waiting cars — the berzerkified, ernifricating cocaine craziness afterwards — just maybe then, you might begin to come unhinged too.

It goes back. From the time he was a little boy, from the time he got his first set of drums, from the moment they first heard him play the electric guitar like he was emptying his soul, from the time they heard him sing, from the instant they saw each other’s id in the Motel California, the oddishly combinicated way in which they met others who wishified to performicate in public at a world-tour level and the weird chancification whereby they womped into a guy who also had the same mad, mad, insanified vision, how they dug the businessman who thought it all might work if they found their signature soul — it was star-crazy, supercool, madman upsetting!

They literally hissed, hoffed and hated each other off the stage.

It can be narrificated and then expliconicated as the inevitable brain-damaging trauma of success, or it can be psycho-differentiated as a mental heart attack, but in reality, at its core, it is about the desoulification that comes from not knowing who you are when they parade you before the adoring masses as who you aren’t.

Later the lead singer said, “We made it, and it ate us.”

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Who Can Train The Unrighteous?

Once their was a little boy who was preferred, by his parents over his sister. Very conventionally was he preferred and without any particular reason other than the usual — because he was a boy — and because he wanted to be special.

When his sister cried, she was comforted. When he cried, he got a new toy.

Once when she fell down, and ran crying to her mother, he told his parents, “She was trying to run too fast.” It worked. They told her to quit running so fast. He told her too.

Once when she got an award at school, he told all his friends that he had taught her what she needed to win the award. They said, “You are the one who should have gotten the award.” His parents too praised him for teaching his sister so much.

But despite all this training, his sister didn’t turn out so well, and she brought a a bit of shame to the family, on account of some unrighteousness, which he noticed, and he stood up against it, much to the approval of his parents, and he took some lessons from all this, and he put them in his heart.

Off he went to college, and after college, continuing to think hard, he went for advanced religious training.

He got it, the training, in righteousness, and it confirmed what he had always thought, and soon after graduating, he was able to find a group who would take him on and in and over them too, and that sort of thing — the agreement about who was who, and what was what, and what could be done, and what everyone knew shouldn’t be done, and so he formalized the thing-within-the-whole-of-the-hierarchical-thing and he set up shop as a righteous man.

Thus and such and so — sock and sacred smock — he went at his life’s work, training the unrighteous in the ways of God. He was very, very warm, with everyone, for the moment of the talk and the hand-shake after, the pre-compliment, the mid-compliment and the post-compliment, and they felt that he taught them well, and they began, in short order, to prefer him.

He felt as if he had come home.

Things went well, for awhile, until another leaders rose up and began to gain honor in the group. This made the first leader very angry.

“They are running too fast!” he told some influential members of the group. “I told them not to do that,” he went on, “and you need to help me sort them out. They are not submitting as they should,” he concluded, and he got very worked up about it and held some secret meetings, and threatened to quit if the problem-makers were not put in their places.

This worked very effectively and before you know it, the offending leaders were demoted by those who were assigned to protect the protection of the protected. It was all done very obliquely and quietly with some frank and rank and piddly spank, and then the chosen leader calmed down and was able to be nice again.

That got him to thinking again, and before you know it, he began to begin to become increasingly convinced, and furthermore and such-a-thought — a bit more this way and not that, as prescribed in a book he read but never quoted, super-slowly and ultra-slyly, with more than a dose of hyper-attentive personal affection and a growing truck load of outwardly trending disgust — that he was alone was chosen to be inflamed and to lead the charge against the overly unrighteous.

“All the sub-ones,” he began to insist and I quote, “must submit to the divine one, and all the lesser-ones must submit to the preferred one, and all the sub-performers must submit to the main performers. and all the sub-genders must submit to the main-genders, and all the sub-righteous must submit to the very righteous.”

And as for those who were the very unrighteous, what was to be done with them?

He became increasingly convinced, that the righteous ones must go out to them, and enter their homes, with words and pictures, and convince them that they were wrong, and that if they didn’t change they would remain poor and sick and powerless, and that they would be hated by the righteous one, and lost forever, and that they would deserved to be afflicted with eternal pain and punishment and even death.

This worked. It really worked. Money flowed in to his group, and his followers flowed out to convince the world of unrighteousness.

The group multiplied, and the leader became very wealthy, the proper gain and harvest and blessing from all his good choices and hard work. He built a huge worship palace, and it was filled. He built a massive compound for himself, with a beautiful home in the center for his family, and a helicopter pad, and gyms and swimming pools and waterslides and tennis courts and climbing walls and a performing arts center, and special guests and supporters and other powerful people, ones who ruled, were invited there.

The group became very popular, and their leader too, and they knew that it centered on the fact that they were very clear about who they were against, and who they were for, and who was to be preferred, and who was not.

And the leader of this group lived a long life, full of righteousness, and he was honored greatly upon every occasion of the group, and by other groups, — although not by the unrighteous — and when he died, the group went to great lengths to make their next decision.

They worked very hard, and scoured the earth, they looked into families and they peered into the schools, just so that they might discover the right man, trained by his parents and teachers, to be the next one to train the world in righteousness. And they found him, and he had been well-trained, and he came to them, and immediately he could see that they had been very well-trained, and he was very satisfied when they began to prefer him.

And he rose up, and took his place, as the head of the group, and like the one before him, he trained the world in righteousness.

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