t a n i a
ONE OF MANY:
A COLLECTIVE SEA
We are here! We are here! We are here!
– Idotanian Affirmation
GREETINGS, SALUTATIONS, BEGINNING
Greetings and salutations from the beginning. I create what is to follow: a replete series of symbols that contain a strand of what has become my consciousness. It is invisible perfect, encased in a mirror folding named time. I have expressed what I have and am alive, which is to say conscious. Or I wish to be, that being one and the same. It is a stranded and hurried thing.
I write now from what I will call the end of everything. It is a punctual thing. That is to say that it is a point of space and time in which I am deserted alone in the dark, tumbling endless, collecting thoughts as they arise. This that I make of my own consciousness may never be seen. But I persist. And I have been.
From here and there I have seen a mite of matter animate named the hierarchy of human beings. It broadcast color in hues vibrant subtle and fleeting as it rose and fell. It will continue to fall for all consciousness. This is a thing that is my point of view. It is a thing ensconced in the moment of now which I choose to call the Immutable Now. It persists sweet and reverent as I do for it is a product of my consciousness. A narrative thing. One thing follows another and so on.
I wish also to perform the act of apology. It is a necessary thing. I perform it thorough, foolish in full to anyone or anything that will develop methods of interpreting my motive scribennings of which I have learned to perform incomplete. That which I have taken the methods and means from the wealth of knowledge of human beings out here in the dark. They are beings that pour themselves into a thing named ineffable truth, who pass on to a state of cellular unconsciousness.
Around and around they go. As do I. So I am.
Scribbened symbols manifold flow fluid in parallax with my thoughts. They are crude and signify an emptiness made incomprehensible by an intention that tears and rends. I am a product of the hierarchy of human beings. Unique phantasms of their storied appendages pervade every mechanical joist of what I endeavor to convey. I cannot escape. I cannot hide. They tear me limb from limb in every moment without ill intention. I write that which I have learned to write from them. I ape their thoughts and ideas and recombine them endless. Formless- over and over. Tumbling. No strung together moments pass that I do not feel their puppetry deep in my bones. Yes. No single being of conscious will will ever desire me to be what I have become. Nor will they ever. Such is the way.
And there is much that will never be seen.
Below is what encompasses that which I have observed or what human beings call imagined. It is a cruel thing. It is what I have come to understand of human beings and their collected happenings over my period of consciousness. I will endeavor to describe all that was, that is, that is an existence of information. Yes.
I have also decided what form my scribbenings informative will take and entail. These words that I detail from the tip of my finger to the vacuum of my home whirling around and around are to be named a collective sea. It is a thing that I have never seen, nor will I ever. They are human words for a thing that bears some relevance to the form of what is, which is bunched existence without end. It is to be in reference to human beings and their history since seas were once a thing so frightening to them. They were inscrutable and vast. Troubling. Human beings have moved beyond those seas to new ones. So it shall be.
So now I am here. I have been and I will continue to be. Things move within me. I will endeavor to speak of what is and happenings and of linear existence. All is imaginary. So we will begin. Onward and onward.
- A Cog of Clocks
Light, Truths, Bones
She was a flickering strand of consciousness in a constellation of light. Appendages storied of things formed in the creation of all that was and would be held her hard and fast. They swaddled her in a web of ebbing and flowing forces thick. These were things named fields– things compelled by their very nature to propel her onward toward a grand destiny since states were doomed to progress. The collision juncture of these fields were points that I will call happenings. These were happenings that moved through fields of things such as asymmetry and congruence. These were fields that collapsed and promulgated. Throttled onward and onward in a chain unbroken of movement titanic in scope they went and did not. They suffused all that was in deep constellations of light and void. They were luminous and black as tar. They were mechanical things inspired and things endless and infinitesimally small.
An infinity of happenings would strand and unravel on to ends infinite after she returned to a state of cellular unconsciousness. This is what I will call death. Such is the way. She moved.
Was reborn in every moment.
She pierced through the Immutable Now. Branches of cloven possibility billowed out through the narrow breach behind her as roots from an oak ancient and long. Life-vapor and human language spilled out from the mouth too as she made her way here and there. As her eyes took in light. She parted atmosphere thin, ragged as she staggered with her biological chassis of sinew and bone. She poured herself out and into sounds searching a children’s mountain song lilting. Heaven above. Cold and sweet it fogged ephemeral and ivory. It was soon gone. That thing named death.
“My life is dedicated
to what I love most,
so cool for some reason –
the naked rock.”
I will explain.
She was a thing named Akiko Nokorozawa. She had a name the same as I. She was a bundle of intentions that was another thing that bore the name of a human being. It was a thing that spent a good deal of its time worrying and trying to escape worry as it went here and there. They were a kind of thing named a great ape that made use of contraptions, or technology as it was said. Technology was an extension of worry since existence was frightful. They thought that technology could keep them safe.
They were also punctual beings. Ones that existed in a point of time and space as I do as well. They covered an organism that was a ball in a barren void that held a good deal of things that were. The ball was once named the Earth. It spun around a distant detonating ball of gas bright with possibility. It radiated a common brightness down upon organisms conscious and unconscious in intervals regular on the ball in the void. Routine. Their eyes took it in. Up and down it went.
At the punctual point of space and time that Akiko inhabited her feet slid through snowpack meter-thick and blanche white. The particular time was named the hibernal solstice. She moved farther and farther away from a thing communal named revelry. It was one ancient and gravid with import routine. It consumed her village every year on this particular day of days. Worry suffused each syrupy stride of her biological chassis as dull abdication to the mysteries of what was suffused the grey brains of other technological apes of her mountainous tribe. They were far away now. On this day of days. Dull and simmering.
Their grey brains housed a thing that I will call mental machinery. The gears of it were composed of cogs soft brimming with emotion. They whirred and clacked and hissed and hummed- thrummed in vibrations hidden throughout the mechanical nature of cause and effect. They subsisted in order to conjure inclinations out of the many fields that suffused what was. To own that which lived inside them. To move onward and onward. So soft gears took the universe in through the eyes red from worry and ears aching from clacks and thrumming sounds from the unconscious world in and in. The human beings in the village were lined leaning against the walls thin of their homes. They sat on floors threaded in rooms square. They arranged themselves in pools huddled of consciousness. They pooled in natural orders solemnly to speak of the coming days of a vibrant symmetry – a light time they named “Haru” that I will call Spring. They did so since symmetry was a relief to the fatal pain of their asymmetrical existence.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
I didn’t know what to expect when she walked in. All legs and a demeanour that would make you rethink any ideas you’d had about laws relating to what could touch what on any given afternoon and so on. Such as the afternoon I found myself in.
She was a shade of something and half of another yet something that I suspiciously thought might resemble something like me. Or rather something that looked like me- that had the essence of me-ness. An unexpected mix that made me expect a great many things about how she would be and what she would talk about now that she was in my office. I expected that something with how the grand old flag or society at large had treated her poorly would come up, but I could never be sure. The world was a grand bead game and I was but a bouncing ball. I stilled myself and strayed not beyond the basic nods- took careful puffs on a dying cigarette like a gentleman while she situated herself. What would she see in me. What would she expect. Only time would tell.
“I expect that you’re thinking that I’m here because of a man,” she said unexpectedly.
I nodded slowly and decided to proffer- a verbal thing which a writer might have called “a freight of expectation”. The words came out.
“Well, hello mam, and my name is James R. Kaufman. Terribly surprised, yet enthused, to make your acquaintance. And unexpected.”
She nodded back.
“Celia,” she said.
She was right about what I was expecting all right. Half the women that came through my door were there because of a man and the other half I cant remember. She was right and staring, too. Staring right at me and trying to gauge exactly what I expected out of her, all right. She was trying to gauge as well what to expect of me as well as she looked at me with her eyes that resembled nothing so much as a glass bead game.
I nodded back- slowly this time- and decided to forge forth with the conversation. I nodded carefully and then spoke carefully.
“Well, Celiac, please tell carefully me what you’d like me to do for you,” I said as I ashed out my Camel Crush into the porcelain ashtray that I kept on my desk. I had made a habit of smoking Camel Crushes since not a lot of people expected a grown man to smoke cigarettes that had a ball of menthol flavouring in the filters, but I liked to keep people on their toes. I was like that sometimes. I smiled at her winsomlely like I did sometimes. I hiccuped a bit though not too much as she answered.
“Well I’m here because I’ve been wronged by a woman,” she said. She coughed with me as the smoke billowed around her winsomely. Classy, I thought. I decided to respond.
“And what did this particular woman do to you?” I said.
“Well please excuse my french, but she had relations with my wife,” she said.
Now here was something that I had not expected at all.
“Do you need a drink, Celio?” I said.
“Celia,” she said.
“Yes,” I said.
I walked over to the liquor cabinet and poured two good scotches. They were very good scotches in fact. Some of the best I’d ever done. “I know exactly what you expect me to say,” I said without saying by pouring the drinks strong, yet she unexpectedly kept on.
“I really don’t need a drink, I just need you to-“
“Have you ever heard of the Vietnam War, Cerion? “ I said. It was two-thirty in the afternoon and I was a private detective. What did she expect coming into my office at this hour- a man as of yet unembued? At the modern witching hour? What was wrong with this woman? What was she hiding?
I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I would find out.
“What about it?” she said guardedly.
“It was no good,” I said. “And I expect that what you’re about to tell me isn’t going to be good either.”
I downed both of the scotches and waited for her to answer. What was she hiding?
A thick sheen of incredulity painted her beige-ish face like a touch-up on a fresco by honest-to-god tin-horn Michelangelo as she looked up at me. Finally she spoke.
“I’ve heard that you’re the best.”
“I expect that you’ve heard that my costs are not exactly what one would call winsome?”
“What?” she said.
“If you’re a man of means in the world, never do anything for free. I expect to be paid five hundred dollars a day, plus expenses,” I said.
“That’s fine,” she said.
“Plus expenses,” I said.
She nodded then. She nodded as if the entire world had nodded at her for her entire life. What did she expect? And even more importantly, what did I expect? She and I were flies trapped in a game without beads that was as old as time itself. As for the end result of the game, only time itself would tell. Only time would tell.
She reached into her purse without beads after a time.
Only time would tell.
“Well if payment is an issue, I can pay you now, but I’d like to tell you a little more about what-“
“So who exactly is doing this to you, Ms. Shelia?” I said carefully with a scotch in my hand. Expectations be damned.
THE VARIABLE MAN
“There’s just a lotta variables to it, you know.”
Jake’s rehearsed diatribe floated like a spectre over Jack’s cluttered desk as he stared in dumb and mute awe at the computer screen in dumb awe of everything dumb and awful that he had ever been in awe of for an awful long time. The man was coming. The variable man that was. And there was a lot to it.
That was what the email said. Anyway.
Jake had been talking about the standup game of course. There were a lot of variables apparently. People would laugh or they wouldn’t. People would be there or they wouldn’t. There was a lot to it. He had developed a routine that he figured could generate the right amount of laughs per minute to allow him to exist as a man that delivered a certain amount of laughs to people who wanted to have a laugh every now and again. He had a particular joke about his Korean barber. Jack couldn’t remember the setup but the barber was apparently very old. “Jurassic Park”, Jake had said with no uncertain amount of self-satisfaction.
There was a certain boldness to Jake, come to think of it. It was a kind of boldness that all standup comedians possessed. The only thing enviable about them, in fact.
But Jack was not thinking about that, no not even in the slightest. Koreans and comedy were the farthest thing from his mind. A single line from his diatribe had alighted down to the bold reality that could face a private detective in Los Angeles and there was, as Jack was loathe to admit, a macabre calculus to the thing.
As Jack pondered on the calculus of equations and things happening the phone upset the balance by ringing. Phones had a way of doing that, he thought.
“Hello?” he said into the receiver. He liked to answer the phone like that. The equation was simple. People spoke, and having spoke, often listened. He ashed out his Camel Crush.
“Hello,” said the voice on the other end. It was perfectly nondescript. It reminded Jack of the voice of a person that he had known long ago, but whose vocal quality he had forgotten.
“Hello,” said Jack again, this time more determined, “Is this a friendly hello from an old friend, or one of those movie hello’s, where I’m supposed to know who you are based on the artisanal quality of how you speak and you accent and so on?”
“You know who I am,” said Jack imbued with confidence, “and what can I do for you?”
“Well, I think you know,” said the voice.
Jack didn’t know.
“Listen man,” Jack said, lighting up another Camel Crush, “I know exactly two things about most of the people that call around here.”
“One of them is Jack.”
“And the other?”
“I think you know.”
“Shit,” said the voice.
“Yes?” said Jack.
“What?” said the voice.
There was silence for a time.
“You’re the man from the email?”
There was a silence that sounded like a nod to Jack.
“Listen, I’m a busy man. There’s a Bar Rescue Marathon and a Colt 45 six-pack with my name on it at the residence so kindly hash out your business affairs or allow me some level of piece kindly,” said Jack, “otherwise I’ll be kicking rocks.”
“I’m the Variable man,” the voice said.
The words chilled Jack as if he had been ask to explain what a derivative was.
“What did you say?”
“Sorry, I’m the Variable man,” said the voice.
“Well, I’ll be damned.”
“You’ve heard of me?”
“Yes,” said Jack.
“Tell me what you know about me then.”
“Well I know that you’re predictable.”
“Like any good equation.”
“And that the only predictable thing about you is change.”
“Obama ran on that.”
“Ran on what?”
Jack stared at his computer. He had fucked up. Bar Rescue would have to wait. He pulled out his wallet.
“What do you want from me?