I’m a ridiculous man who asks ridiculous things of ordinary people. The problem is, life isn’t as ordinary as it once was, not by a long shot. I was a boy when things changed, and I’d like to take this opportunity — while I’m out of the house and waiting for a reply to my two-headed-duck — to write about those changes. Perhaps readers might better understand why the Box has become so important to me. Perhaps people of all stripes will begin to comprehend the magnitude of the dangers I’ve faced — that we’ve all faced — through these times.
Or maybe no one finds these papers at all, and they will be lost with me as I’m taken and disposed of, the Box to remain empty forever.
When I was a boy there was only the night sky. There were stars in the sky that sparkled like flashing headlights at the far end of an alleyway. The stars twinkled and were able to light up our paths to and from home, but otherwise light never touched us. There was no sun, there was no moon. It was a strange time, full of earthquakes and uncertainty. East and West seemed to switch with the wind currents, and gravity was as stable as a bucking mule.
We pretended we were flying, and there was no height that was too high because height wasn’t a concept for us. My parents used to say that up and down were fantasy words created by a mad scientist who wished only madness on the world. I now agree with that sentiment. The world has fallen to madness of endless degrees. We tried to stop it, but as you well know, once light shines through a crack in the sky, there’s really no way to block it again.
So it was that our Sun was birthed, when one Mad Scientist blew up the sky.
This may sound like poetic nonsense, but I can assure you, as can anyone from my generation, that this was really the way it was. When the sky exploded, the Sun burst through and all of the stars faded away to nothing. We have daylight, now, with a few hours of darkness at night. Our world is spinning on an axis that another Mad Scientist created, and then the Moon revolves around us, a moon that, you guessed it, was created by another Scientist — my father. The only sane person in the universe.
Were these Scientists actually ‘Mad’, you are probably asking, or were they just experimenting with measures beyond their control?
I like to think they had no clue what they were doing. If you know what you’re doing, you most certainly end up stopping. It’s when you don’t know what you’re doing, when the answers are beyond reach, when calculations lead to nonsense, when you pose a question but not an answer, that you do your best work.
My father was a nice man who only had nice things to say about everyone he met. Tall with wavy blond hair that everyone thought was a wig but actually wasn’t, my father commanded a room once he entered, and inspired people to only talk nicely about each other, to encourage future projects, and to produce helpful things to help our kind.
But one week the sky was bright and dark and bright again, and the dark sky (“night”) brought sadness because it was empty. Even stars that had traveled farther away were not shining any more. None of us could see anything, so we stayed inside at night. Noises boomed, houses shook, and then there was a blinding moment when day and night were the same.
Thus the Moon lit up the sky, when my father sacrificed his greatest invention to give us a moment of hope in the darkest of times.
I didn’t hear from my father again until his whispering voice brought me to the park and told me to count the grass, many years later. This was after the Four Wars and just when the Accords were struck, right at the time when peace found our world and brought everyone, home and abroad, to a standstill – creatively speaking.
And then I found the Box, and I opened the Box, and my fear has never been this high.