And I always sort of wonder why or how it is that people become attracted to each other, or how, in a sense, people are drawn to specific others. I mean, there are theories and “evidence” that point to deep receptors within ourselves—on a sort of atomic scale—that show a preference, which ultimately, theoretically, drive us toward some people and not others. A genetic magnetism, I suppose, for the potential best, whatever that is. But then where does that leave … incestuous practices? All I know is that when or as I sit here and watch and watch and watch all sorts of different people interact, I cannot help but wonder what is it exactly that brings people together? There are so many systems in place that, assumedly, force certain people in certain directions so that they never meet other, specific people, while those same forces, presumptively, are responsible for the crossing paths and meeting of two other people. If I zoom out, however, entropy does seem to be at play … obviously. Some people seem dependent upon a type of desire to be among those who are unlike them, which, of course, causes problems on a sociological scale wherein the majority of people that these “few” want to infiltrate would rather not be around “them.” But, of course, that, specifically, is neither here nor there as far as my concerns are concerned. Thus, I wonder and watch as people collide in seemingly random circumstances whether or not it is really random at all. I mean, if you have ever seen a pair of lovers, the deep, sort of nauseating type of lovers who are so engrossed in their lives and their love, questions arise regarding whether or not they have found each other under supremely extraneous circumstances, are almost lucky. And I think it would take a brave soul to question them, the lovers, about whether or not they feel as though they think that the other truly is the only person for/with whom they could possess such a deep, nauseating love. The situation requires an even braver couple to answer the said question in shameless honesty.
A follow-up question, I suppose, would result in inquiries about … sexuality and affection. I mean, it seems possible to love someone very deeply without being sexually attracted to them, and perhaps, I would even be so bold as to say that one could desperately love sexual intercourse with someone without feelings of affection when outside the bedroom … or wherever. Then the distinction all boils down into defining love. And for me, when something cannot really be defined with words or the like—whatever else “the like” may or may not be—I sort of resolve myself into accepting that perhaps something like love does not really exist. Happiness would also fall into this cannot-really-be-defined-with-words-or-the-like category. So would life as a whole, I guess. I mean, presumptively, defining something within which you exist seems … futile at best, absurd at worst, sort of like trying to look into your own eyeballs.
And so, a follow-up question to the follow-up question arises. What is the fucking point of searching for, wanting, needing purpose? And a follow-up assumption to the follow-up question to the follow-up question: If you believe that purpose can be found, the validation and affectation of others must be something that resonates with you. And so then, if you believe that you have found your purpose, the validation and affectation of others drives you in your pursuit. Or perhaps I have little to no understanding about people and life and the way that people live their lives. To be fair, I am a mere observer of … human life, as it were, a non-participatory element that sort of roams about freely. I am, however, privy to interactions with and among these … people. Nevertheless, assumptions made via personal feelings, i.e. assuming that all people feel the same way as you do or that all people feel the same way, in general, are dangerous. If I may only share one thing I have learned from observing people, it would be that one should never speak for another, under any circumstance. The only real knowledge a person has about anything is knowledge gathered through that person’s own accord, which is why people should never believe anyone who has not experienced a thing personally. Sure, information can be learned by listening to the accounts of those who have experienced certain things, but you, as the listener, have not gained any sort of knowledge. True knowledge is experience, I would argue. But what does any of this have to do with the attraction of people by people?
I suppose to know such a thing I must, somehow, become a person so that I may experience that … experience within a moment of finding myself attracted to another. As not-a-person, attraction is lost on me. The whole endeavor is, as it were, automatic, logical, innate, subconscious. Or perhaps not. I cannot really say for sure, except to say that I have found myself deep in the throes of preference. A choice between things to eat, for example, instigates a sort of … preference for one of the things, if, like I said, given a choice. I guess I’ll never know, until I know, of course.
Well, thanks for listening. I guess I ought to get back to work now. I decided that I would take a small break from my task at hand, chasing down Mox and that fellow he sort of kidnapped, Hauberk. But since it seems that the two have travelled down a corridor through which I now cannot enter, I will return to my previously stated endeavor to find the old man. Uh, I do not really know what to say about the old man, if you are really all that curious. There not much can be said. His proclivity for trash and the like are what drew me to him. Oh shit. I was attracted to the old man’s trash. And, I can honestly say that it was a deep, nauseating attraction. Is that love? Do I love the old man’s trash? Further, do I love the old man because I love the trash that he, and only he, can provide? Perhaps I am privy to this insight about the attraction of people to each other. Anyhow, about the old man, he is old, much older than one would think simply by looking at him, and he has never been in love, at least, not in the sense that it seems like people in love are in love. He is generous but demanding, patient but temperamental, and above all, he is fair but ruthless. But these things, I imagine, are already things you know about him. Thus, I am sorry to say that I am probably not much help in fleshing out the old man as a … person. Well, like I said, I have probably dilly-dallied for long enough now, and really, I ought to return to the old man. Do not follow me. Please.
The cat slinks away, the way that cats do, and runs down an ill-lit corridor until it reappears on the other end as if by magic. Of course the mere observer knows that it, the reappearance, is absolutely not magic, since a cat does not possess these sorts of … traits. Thus, the observer follows and watches the cat travel and traverse its way through the orbital. The specifics of its current location cannot be shared, since the cat requested that it not be followed. Following it, however, is a must. The purpose of the cat necessitates its action, for action without purpose lacks form, function. The ultimate form or function of any purposeful action cannot necessarily be determined, except to say that the cat serves the purpose of … well, who knows. The cat, itself, probably exists in a state of unawares when it thinks of its general purpose. And then personal questions regarding the overall attractiveness of a person litters the mind. Oh, the cat! There it is, scaling a large tree so that, supposedly, it may continue through to the old man’s house, the location to which the cat had said it was heading, unseen and vaguely unheard.
It, “it” standing in for anything really, which sort of begs the English language to explain itself and its overwhelming lack of specificity when considering its heavy use of pronouns and conjecture and how sometimes the language requires twice as many words as does say, some other language that services entire phrases or ideas in a singular expression, does not matter what the truth is; it, and again, “it” seems entirely futile, lacking in a considerable amount of significance and yet, it only matters what people believe. What people, in general, believe seems to resonate a loud sense of desired purpose. People want purpose. Purpose gives all that living its frame, its context. Living without context means that everything is nothing, and even though that, everything being nothing, is truth, the truth, people do not believe it, the truth, to be true. People believe whatever it is that they want to believe; they search for the purpose in all of that living; they believe that if that purpose is found, all that action, living, means something beyond the nothingness that is the truth of the matter. Without purpose, life is unpredictable and daunting, terrible and frightening. It then becomes the thing of the thing that people want to believe is true but is not.
The cat reaches a point where it, presumably, feels safe enough to hop on down to terra firma. Scanning its surroundings for any signs of imminent danger, the cat remains hidden within a small tuft of unkempt shrubbery just outside an equally unkempt walk-up-style apartment building. The chatter of two giggly girls walking by, comparing photos of the hottest new “It” guy, spooks the cat, and it remains hidden, at least for the foreseeable future. The cat hunkers down into that bread loaf position until the coast is clear of fiendish-type people who may want to pet or interact with it. People rarely own pets on the orbital, and so, the chance encounter with a live, cute, creature makes the stumbler feel lucky at best, unlucky at worst. The cat remains.
Within the orbital now, the light begins to stretch the shadows of things upon which light creates shadows. The orbital’s star slowly begins to disappear over this particular part of the orbital’s horizon. Purring now, the cat gives away its location, only for a moment until it realizes that it purrs. The cat’s own purring seems to wake it up from a sort of sleep-induced purr. Quickly, however, the cat falls silent again, alert to its lacking vigilance. With its front claws clawing out in front of it, the cat stretches and yawns the way that cats do after a … cat nap, as it were. Looking around again, the cat slowly emerges from shrubbery and skips on up the apartment’s stoop and jets into the building. Its right side flanking the floorboards of the right side of the staircase, the cat hastily climbs the stairs, pausing briefly upon the landing of the second floor as it must traverse in the open to the place where the stairs begin to climb/descend again. It races across the landing and scoots on up the next flight of u-turn-style stairs. Litter of various types and sizes mucks up the second half of the staircase between the second and third floor. By the time the cat reaches the third floor, it wades through a rising mound of trash. Once atop the mound, the cat meows loudly, screeching a sort of angry call. Silence responds. The cat positions itself on the other side of the mound, unseen by any stair climbers that may approach and calls out again. Silence. The cat huffs audibly, waits another moment or two and then wails out a cacophonous howl.
The old man is not home.
. . .
Small, white, wrongly assumed to be a tube of some sort, he presents himself as willing to take the thing from the man who appeared a minute ago, hurriedly, through the automatic sliding doors of the hospital in which he had been purportedly mourning. The man looks furtive, and so, the furtive man gently places the thing in his hand. The thing tingles and tickles the palm of his outstretched hand. “Where is she?” he asks the furtive man as he retracts his arm back toward himself. “Waiting in a vehicle outside,” the furtive man responds. He notices that this furtive man holds himself with a refreshing air of confidence when considering the current, typically stress-inducing situation within which this furtive man must be. The furtive man, he notes, does not lie. Taking a good hard look at this furtive man, he feels tempted to ask this furtive man more about himself but decides that he ought not. The furtive man, he decides, is soft of mind; that is really all he needs to know, for now. “Come with me,” he commands as he turns and walks back to the private waiting room. Safely within the confines of the private waiting room, he slowly frees the message from its rolled-up state. Inaudible to the furtive man, the message cautiously reads itself aloud for his ears only. Once the message has been dispensed, he looks again to the furtive man, and just as instructions were about to be given, the nurse who so generously offered the private space to him appears on the other side of the glass in the window within the door of the private room. He slathers on a pleasant look and waves for the nurse to enter the space. The nurse obeys. Upon entering the room, he notices that the nurse has not arrived empty handed. “How are you doing?” the nurse asks. “Fine, thank you,” he responds. The nurse awkwardly glances at the furtive man, “Oh sorry, I didn’t realize you had company.” “It’s nothing,” he nearly blurts, and then he corrects himself, “It’s not a problem. He’s a friend.” “Oh, it’s nice to meet you,” the nurse begins and then trails off in an attempt to allow the furtive man the opportunity to introduce himself. “Kevin,” the furtive man fills. He looks at the furtive man almost in recognition and then brushes the thought from his mind. “It’s nice to meet you, Kevin,” the nurse greets with an outstretched hand. The two shake hands. Annoyed, he calmly asks, “Is everything alright? Do you need this room?” The nurse’s attention turns back to him, “Oh, no, don’t worry about that. I’ve just come down to bring you a bag of your deceas … uh, your friend’s belongings.” He looks at the bag in the nurse’s hand. “Oh,” he lightly gasps while suppressing a bubbling excitement. “There was nothing really of any discernible value or anything, so the staff thought it would be alright for you to have the items if you want them. But we got rid of his clothing, so there’s nothing like that you need to be bothered with,” the nurse explains. “Yea, sure, that would be great. Thanks,” he continues with the somber act. “Alright, well, here you are,” the nurse states with an outstretched arm clutching the bag. He accepts the bag of the Listmaker’s belongings, “Thank you.” “Oh, it’s no problem at all,” the nurse smiles perhaps with a little too much pity. “Alright, well it’s like I said, this room is free for you to use all day,” the nurse reiterates while moving toward the door. “Actually,” he begins; “I think it’s probably about time for me to go.” “Are you sure?” the nurse prods; “It’s nearly lunchtime. Why don’t you and your friend grab some lunch in the cafeteria. I’ll grab you a few lunch vouchers.” He looks to the furtive man, “Are you hungry?” The furtive man looks uncomfortable and almost seems to be dancing as if he needs to pee, and then the furtive man sort of shyly nods. He turns back to the nurse, “Okay, sure. Thanks so much,” he gratefully accepts. “Great. Come with me,” the nurse directs.
He re-rolls the message that the furtive man delivered, slips it into his pocket and follows the nurse out of the room. The three make their way to the reception area as the nurse walks around the main desk and addresses a co-worker. “Can you date stamp two food vouchers for these two gentlemen, please,” the nurse asks. “Sure thing,” the receptionist responds with a smile at the two gentlemen waiting on the other side of the desk. The receptionist promptly opens a drawer down and to the left from where the receptionist sits, reaches in, retrieves two slips of paper adorned in food-type imagery, sets them upon the desk, reaches under a large monitor for a stamp, and stamps the date on each of the slips. “There are you,” the receptionist proffers to him and the furtive man. The furtive man simply nods, almost in awe. He is less enthusiastic about the whole endeavor, “Thanks.” “Do you know how to get to the cafeteria?” the nurse asks. “Yes,” he answers. “Alright, well, enjoy your lunch,” the nurse dismisses while exiting the behind-the-counter area of the receptionist’s desk. “Thanks again,” he thanks. “It’s no problem. I’d say, ‘Hope to see you again,’ but … you know,” the nurse cheerfully laughs. “Yea,” he slyly smiles while keeping his lips sealed; “Thanks.” “Bye!” the nurse bids and turns to walk away from them down the hall toward the area of the hospital where, typically, the more serious happenings happen. The furtive man genially waves goodbye to the back of the nurse. He simply stands and waits for the nurse to disappear behind the automatic, swinging double doors, the kind typically found in hospitals that open at the push of a large button the size of a small dinner plate on the wall as one approaches the doors.
He glances back at the receptionist who looks busy behind the counter. Of course he knows that he cannot just leave the hospital and walk toward the waiting care where she supposedly sits and waits. He does know, however, that a small courtyard just outside and to the right upon exiting the hospital, as opposed to the left toward where the parking lot stretches out, lines much of the western wall of the hospital. The courtyard serves as a nice outdoor space where visitors may accompanying patients outside of the hospital without leaving the grounds. “Let’s go,” he directs the furtive man with exactly this courtyard in mind as he turns to walk out through the hospital’s front doors. The furtive man does not immediately follow. He feels the furtive man’s mind go soft. The furtive man responds with the desperately uncomfortable look of a desperately uncomfortable person. “What is it?” he asks the furtive man despite knowing what it is that bothers the furtive man. “I don’t want to be rude,” the furtive man speaks. “But are you hungry?” he prods. “I could eat,” the furtive man answers. “So you’re not hungry? You are simply too polite to allow these food vouches go to waste?” he clarifies as he holds the two vouchers up for emphasis. The furtive man’s eyes hit the floor. “Very well,” he concedes, but really, he could eat something as well, and he realizes that he should probably go through the Listmaker’s belongings. “This way,” he instructs as he walks by the furtive man. The furtive man obediently follows.
There are many smells related to the way that cafeterias typically smell. Of course, some cafeterias smell cheap and perhaps a bit … stale, but the cafeteria of this particular hospital boasts food of the highest and finest quality, and the smells reflect this subjectivity. He hands the furtive man one of the vouchers as they approach the counter area where the person who collects the various forms of accepted payment required for entry into the cafeteria. The specifics of the price and food consumed hardly deems itself as relevant, but in the off chance that it, the price and food consumed, does matter, then the hospital generally charges the general cost of a meal at a fast-food joint, and what he and the furtive man choose to consume are the BLT sandwich with chips and a cheesy-type pasta with bread, respectively. They both drink water. Seated now at a round, faux-wooden table, typical of cafeteria-style dining, the two eat quietly. He merely takes two or three bites out of the middle of each halves of his BLT and ignores the chips. The furtive man eats the pasta hurriedly as if starved. As both complete their meals at record speeds, the two sit and consume their water. He then pushes his tray to the left side of the table to make room for the bag of the Listmaker’s belongings. Carefully, he sets the bag down and loosens the drawstring that loosely seals the plastic bag closed at the top. The bag feels nearly empty. With the top of the bag gaping open, he slowly lowers the top, empty portion of the bag. In the bottom of the bag sits a small capsule-like cylinder, some type of writing utensil, a key ring with keys of various sizes and a thumb-sized portable memory port-looking thing, and what looks to be a business card of some sort. One at a time, he extracts each object from the bag. First, he grabs the capsule and recognizes it, if only vaguely. Shaped like a large pill, the thing is warm to his touch, but as he continues to examine the thing, it cools. The surface feels completely smooth. Of a silvery, metallic color, and despite its shininess, he cannot catch a glimpse of his reflection in the metal. The surface looks neither shiny nor dull. Brushed would be the best way to describe the thing’s general appearance, he decides. The thing fits snuggly in the palm of one hand even if the ends stick out just beyond his hand ever so slightly, but he cannot wrap his fingers all the way around the thing.
Next, he pulls out what he assumed to be a pen. It is, in fact, a generic-type, felt/fine-tipped, black marker. Of course he pops off the cap to verify that the thing that looks like a pen is actually a pen. He scribbles a small curly-q on the back of his hand. A pen indeed, he determines. He reaches in the bag again and extricates the plain keyring that fastens the four keys and the memory port together. The four keys are of descending (or ascending) sizes from tiny to quite large. With a square-shaped bow and laser-cut teeth, the largest key’s large size suggests that it opens something unique. The next largest key has a rounded, looped bow and rectangular, nearly toothless bit that suggests it opens the type of door that was built before the time of electric lights, etc. The small key lacks a bow entirely and is made up of a flat shaft with a hole punched at the top where it attaches to the keychain and starting at about halfway down the shaft, has sharp, pointed cuts all the way to a sharp, pointed tip. He can honestly say that he has never before really seen a key specifically like this. The smallest key, in his mind, is actually quite tiny. The tips of his thumb and forefinger can barely grasp the thing by the bow. The bow is flat and round, the shoulder short cylindrical and the blade houses two small holes through the middle rather than cuts from either edge. Again, the smallest key is unlike any key he has ever come across. Of course, he would not define himself as any sort of key master, so the fact that he has not encountered such keys does not surprise him. The memory port on the keyring does interest him, however, and so, he gently pinches the end unattached to the keyring to ignite the display so as to be able to view, at the very least, a list of the folders the thing contains within it. The memory port flashes a small holographic image above itself to reveal that the port stores nothing. A feeling of disappointment washes over him. He is not entirely sure what he thought was going to happen or what the port would reveal, but he does know that he had been hoping for something, anything perhaps. The keys make that noise that keys make when they are set down upon a hard surface when he sets the keys down on the table.
Reaching back into the seemingly empty bag, he grabs the last object, if it could even be called an object, from the bag. Gently pinching the business card on all four corners with the thumbs and forefingers of both of his hands, he reads that the card reads of some type of storage facility business. He flips the thing, and on top of the text imprinted on the card, the word “bombastic” has been scrawled. In an attempt to read the text under the word, he learns about the specific location of the supposed storage business. Finally, he stands, reaches into his front left pants pockets, retrieves a short stack of various bills and slips of paper bound with a money clip, places the business card among the stuff, returns the clip to the same pocket, grabs the set of keys from the table, places them into his front right pocket, has the pen join the keys and then returns the capsule to the plastic bag. Sitting back down now, he reaches into the front left, inner pocket of his coat and sets the pen and roll of receipt paper from that pocket onto the table. Quickly, he jots down a short list for her to acquire. On the list he line items the following: capsule, backpack, shoes, the old man, make green, and there. He tears the list from the roll and slips the list into the bag with the capsule.
All this time, the furtive man sits quietly, curiously watching as he examined each item in the Listmaker’s bag of belongings. Of course the furtive man does not know of the Listmaker, nor does the furtive man know that the bag is full of belongings belonging to the Listmaker. To the furtive man, then, the whole endeavor seems quite personal and perhaps mournful. To him, however, the situation is less emotion and more pragmatic. Finally, he acknowledges the furtive man, “Give this to her. She knows what to do.” The furtive man hesitantly takes the bag from his hands. “I trust you,” he consoles. The furtive man grasps the bag tightly. “Yes, your life depends on this,” he confirms. The two walk back through the hospital toward the waiting room where they may exit the hospital. “I can’t leave with you, for obvious reasons,” he begins. The furtive man nods in understanding. He feels overwhelmingly surprised by the obedience of the furtive man and opts for a touch of humanity, “Thanks, Kevin. See you.” Kevin’s entire face lights up at the sign of approval, “Yes. This is everything to me.” He nods with a tight-lipped smile, “Good.” Kevin hesitates for one more small moment, “Thank you.” “Time to go,” he instructs. “Yes, sir. Bye,” Kevin waves a small wave. He simply lifts a hand in a precise gesture of farewell. Kevin turns and exits the hospital through the automatic sliding doors. He stands and watches until Kevin disappears beyond the glass windows of the waiting room. Once he can no longer see Kevin, he turns and walks toward the stairwell where he exits the hospital through the basement garage.
. . .
“Ma’am,” a tepid voice speaks. Of course, the older woman recognizes the mind of this particular beckoner but remains transfixed, tranquil, with her back turned to whomever requires her attention. Eyes still watching the gentle stream as it babbles through the path carved out for it, beyond the control of the stream itself, whose entire existence depends solely upon the obedience of the tiny little molecules and particles obeying the laws that makes them water, water that fills and ultimately defines this flowing of defined as liquid liquid, in a sense, making the stream not only a stream but rather, something more, something entirely out of context until, entrapped, per se, within the confines of the rocks and other guiding materials that force the water’s compliance through the directed course which then creates the stream that streams through this particular section within this particular environment within this particular terrace within this particular coax within this particular orbital within this particular star’s orbit within this particular nook of what?, the older woman poses, “If the context for life is death, then what happens if you never die?” The tepid voice remains silent. “Answer me, Mox,” the older woman commands, albeit gently. “Assuming that one possesses the power of immortality?” Mox retorts. “Assuming that you,” the older woman corrects. Mox stands silently staring at the back of the older woman as the older woman continues to stare into the stream. “I,” Mox begins; “I don’t know. I guess I’ve never thought about it.” At this the older woman snaps around to face Mox. Mox takes a frightened step back. Despite having been in the older woman’s presence before, multiple times, under numerous occasions, regarding countless circumstances, the general look and overall power of the older woman still strikes Mox as supremely disjointed, especially now after having spent more time than he ever has really away from her. The older woman, most would agree, does not look as strong and mighty as she ultimately exudes. In stature, the older woman does not tower nor does she fill the space in which she inhabits. Instead, in a purely physical sense, of course, the older woman’s figure defines a sort of antiquated ideal for women being slight, petite, frail or demure. The older woman, no matter, stands tall. And so, the disjointed sense of the older woman when one encounters her on a personal level when spoken to, if one were to be so lucky. The overwhelming presence of the older woman fills the orbital—there not a single person does not feel the looming charge and power of the older woman’s reach. In small spaces, the aura of the older woman usually daunts mere mortals. Few, however, prove able to withstand the older woman’s powerful presence, and they are the few who encompass her every move, action, and who, ultimately, live to serve the older woman’s demands and commands.
The older woman smiles genially but again her look and her tone do not match, “Really? You’ve never given immortality any thought?” Mox fidgets a little as he takes another smidgen of a step back, “I guess, I mean, who hasn’t thought about immortality?” The older woman sighs, “Not you, according to you.” Mox takes a knowingly futile attempt at changing the subject, “I have a message for you, Ma’am.” “So you have more than thought about your own mortality,” the older woman states. Mox remains silent. “And where is your new hostage?” the older woman asks. Mox fidgets again but remains silent. The older woman looks surprisingly pleased and prods, “What is it exactly you are hoping to accomplish with him, Hauberk, is it?” Mox looks down at the ground. “Do you know why I continue to let you live your pathetic little life?” the older woman prompts. Mox shakes his head. The older woman begins to walk slowly toward him, “Speak up please; it’s difficult to hear you.” Mox raises his eyes and face to look directly into the older woman’s eyes, defiant, “No, Ma’am.” “Any guesses?” the older woman cajoles. Slowly, the older woman seems to be pacing in wide circles around Mox. Mox stands stiff, debating whether or not to speak the truth of his mind, but the older woman interrupts him, “Of course you will lie, Mox. You are a liar. Everyone knows this.” At this accusation, Mox winces. “What is it, then? What makes you so privileged that you are still alive?” the older woman restates. Mox’s eyes and head track the older woman as soon as he can see her over his right shoulder, as she crosses in front of him and then disappears again beyond his left shoulder, “I’m not sure, Ma’am.” “Of course you are not sure. How could you know such a thing? Give it a guess, is really what should have been asked of you initially,” the older woman clarifies. The older woman reappears within his periphery, “I am of some use to you, perhaps.” “Well, that’s obvious,” the older woman points out as she disappears again over Mox’s left shoulder. “But what use are you?” the older woman asks, and then she insists, “Be specific.” Mox lowers his head and blinks hard, “Maybe I am more of a slave and thus, am kept alive simply as a form of torture.” “Very good, Mox,” the older woman congratulates, mockingly; “And what would you do with your freedom, if it were to ever be given to you?” “Am I not already free?” Mox boldly asks. “Of course you are, dear,” the older woman laughs; “Freedom in the esoteric or existential sense.” Mox furrows his brow, “Are you trying to suggest that I am somehow enslaved to you?” Directly in front of him now, the older woman promptly stops, “Do you feel free?” Mox carefully raises his eyes to meet hers but remains silent. “So, what would you do with your freedom?” the older woman reiterates. “But you just said that I am free,” Mox states, frustrated by the older woman’s games. “If you are free, then why have you returned here now?” the older woman finally reveals as she resumes her pacing in circles around Mox. Frustrated and indignant, Mox snaps his head up and toward the older woman as she rounds around his left shoulder yet again, “What is the point of this game?” “What’s the point of your life?” the older woman retorts; “There’s nothing? Nothing you can think of that would be fun if you were free?” “I said that I do not feel free,” Mox, as calmly as possible, states. “Very well, then. What would make you feel free, dear?” the older woman mocks. Mox looks as if he might explode, “I don’t know! Just … I’d be free!” The older woman smiles, continues to pace until she stands directly in front of Mox once again and then slowly walks toward him. “Very good,” the older woman soothes; “What is it then, Mox, dear, that you have already done for your supposed freedom?”
Mox hangs his head. The older woman reaches out with her right hand, gently places the tips of her pointer and middle fingers under his chin and slowly raises his face. Mox refuses to look at the older woman but holds his own head up. “Very well. Let’s trade information,” the older woman offers. Mox looks into the older woman’s eyes, “I don’t have any information to tell.” “Your friend, Hauberk is it?, has been killed. Whatever message you wanted him to deliver will not, unfortunately, be delivered,” the older woman states. “You killed him?” Mox feigns surprise. “Of course, but that is what you wanted, is it not?” the older woman acknowledges; “Don’t be so transparent, please, dear. You are very predictable.” Mox looks away. “What is needed from you is why. You are not full of surprises. You are, however, full of secrets,” the older woman infers. Mox remains silent. “An offer then, for your compliance?” the older woman proffers. Mox perks up slightly. The older woman notes Mox’s interest in her offer and so, presents, “Tell of what you know, and transport off the orbital will be provided.” Mox smiles a knowing smile, “With what contingencies? You could just dream capture me and keep me as your slave.” “Well, the situation requires your particular services, which will then enable you to leave this place of your own volition. So, perhaps your pure, unadulterated freedom, instead?” the older woman counters. “Because you already know all of the information I could possibly tell you,” Mox finally realizes. “Obviously, dear,” the older woman smiles. “What is it that needs to be done that only I can do?” Mox asks. “It’s simple really,” the older woman resumes pacing. Mox shakes and nods his head simultaneously and purses his lips. “It is understood that she will arrive sometime tomorrow,” the older woman states. “Who?” Mox inquires. “It doesn’t matter,” the older woman responds. Mox shakes his head again. “When she arrives, you will speak to her and tell her that,” the older woman points to herself once she has come around Mox and is directly in front of him again. Mox fills in the blank, “That you?” The older woman nods slowly and gracefully in confirmation, “Know something. Imply that perhaps her life is in danger.” “But who is this person?” Mox asks again. “She. You know of her, and you will recognize her when the time has come,” the older woman instructs. “And all you want from me is to imply that you know something that will perhaps cause her harm?” Mox clarifies; “And then you will grant me permanent dismissal from your services?” “See,” the older woman smiles as she outstretches both of her arms as if inviting a warm embrace; “Easy.”
Mox looks at the older woman through the sides of his eyes, “How can I know for sure that you’ll keep your word?” The older woman slowly walks toward him again, “You can’t. Agreed?” Mox knows he really has no other choice, and so, he somberly states, “Agreed.” “Excellent,” the older woman cheerfully, at least for her, concludes; “You may go now.” “Where?” Mox asks. “Who would care about such a thing?” the older woman responds. And just Mox turns to leave the garden within the terrace that serves as the older woman’s home, she dream captures him and resets his recollection to his reiteration of the task at hand. As Mox comes to, he turns to the older woman, “Thank you, Ma’am. Is that all for today?” “Yes, Mox, dear. You are dismissed,” the older woman kindly states. Mox turns again to leave the garden, presses the small clip in his pocket, walks along the path toward the gateway that leads toward the park-type area of the terrace and smiles a sly smile. As soon as the older woman confirms that Mox has exited the garden in which she currently still stands, she quietly calls out, “Kira.” From behind a set of bushes, Kira reveals herself from her hiding spot, “Yes, Ma’am?” “Where’s the old man?” the older woman asks. “Out,” Kira answers. “Follow Mox. They will all return tomorrow,” the older woman instructs. “Understood,” Kira obediently replies, and then she turns to exit the garden into a different area of the terrace from where Mox exited. The older woman beckons Kira, “Kira?” Kira stops and eagerly turns back to face the older woman, “Yes, Ma’am?” “What would you do with your freedom?” the older woman asks, almost as if wondering aloud. “I’m doing it, Ma’am,” Kira wholeheartedly responds. The older woman laughs.
. . .
Time as the bridge that separates
two lovers who bate and stagnate,
when they fail to understand what differentiates,
an untrue love from listless hate.
If she just reaches her hand out to touch them, she believes she will. Every shade of green from neon to forest, under a deep canopy of layers upon layers of purplebloom maple that blur in a mosaic-type lightscape as the leaves recede, she reaches a hand out to touch the leaves closest to her. Her arm sweeps up as high as it possibly can and hits nothing but air. She reaches once more. Nothing but the warmth of the damp, humid air. She sighs a deep sigh and closes her eyes to feel the speckles of light hit her face and body. She lays comfortably on her back, legs outstretched albeit with one crossed over the other at the ankles; her arms rest softly upon her belly as they rise and fall with each small, patient breath. A cool breeze delicately blows and tickles the exposed, unkempt leg hairs on her shins. Barefoot, she feels a small something land on the big toe of her right foot, the one atop the other. Gingerly, she lifts her head to see what landed there. Blue, a dragonfly sits, perched with its wings spread wide, smiles and waves with one of its little legs. She wiggles the big toe upon which it sits. The dragonfly giggles. She sits up and brings her legs up to make a nice landing place for the dragonfly so that she may hear it better, assuming it has something to tell her. As she situates herself, the dragonfly takes flight and flutters its wings gracefully until she’s comfortable and presents the tops of her knees as a safe landing place.
“I’m here to help,” the dragonfly cheerily introduces. “Help with what?” she asks. “Don’t you know?” the dragonfly explores, confused. “Perhaps but probably not,” she informs. “Oh,” the dragonfly as it hangs its head a little in disappointment. “Well, should I just go, then?” the dragonfly offers and waits for an instruction. She thinks about the dragonfly’s offer and then decides, “Perhaps not.” “Oh, alright,” the dragonfly enthusiastically agrees as it settles down on her knee in a seated position this time. “What do you want to talk about?” the dragonfly asks, eager. She looks at the dragonfly with squinted eyes, “Who sent you?” “Sorry?” the dragonfly requests. “Who sent you?” she reiterates. “What do you mean? You sent for me,” the dragonfly states as it stands upon its back legs, places its middle legs on its torso, and crosses its front two legs. “What’s going on with you?” the dragonfly finally asks, a bit skeptical now. She sits up straighter, “How could anyone or anything know such a thing? and when she says the “thing” in “anything,” she gives the dragonfly challenging eyes. The dragonfly uncrosses its front legs and holds them up in surrender, “Alright, alright. I’m sorry I asked. But I thought you sent for me. That’s what the ladybugs told me.” “The ladybugs,” she whispers to herself. “Yea,” the dragonfly responds misinterpreting her thoughts spoken aloud for a question, and then the dragonfly proceeds to explain, “They said that you were looking for him, and that I should go help you find him. The ladybugs said that he, apparently, visited them just before you did, but that he wasn’t looking for you, exactly.” The dragonfly spreads its two front legs and middle legs out wide in a confident posture of inherent self-worth, “Here I am!” “What did you say?” she asks. “What? When?” the dragonfly’s arms slowly lower in tune with the deflation of its self-worth. “He saw the ladybugs but wasn’t what?” she further requests. “Yea, the ladybugs said that he was there, too, but wasn’t looking for you, and they thought that that was odd,” the dragonfly clarifies. “Yes, the ladybugs were seen, that much remains. And they told of how he was there,” she ponders. “But they left out that part about you not being his purpose?” the dragonfly presumes. “Evidently,” she sighs. “Assumptions are a dangerous thing,” the dragonfly sighs while taking on her same emotion. The two silently consider their options. And then the dragonfly perks up, “Well, I could help you find him!” “He’s been found,” she assures despite her despondent air. “Oh! Then what are you waiting for?” the dragonfly shouts and jumps up with vigorously outstretched middle and front legs for the two lovers. She shrugs, “Who could know such a thing.” The dragonfly shrinks again in loathsome despair for her, “Oh.”
She lays back down onto her back and stares up through the twinkling bits of light shimmying their way through the tiniest windows of space between the leaves of the trees overhead that look as beautiful as the most beautiful pieces of stained-glass. The dragonfly buzzes its wings and perches upon her forehead and looks down, directly into the eyes of her face. “It’s time to go,” the dragonfly insists; “Where are your shoes?” She wiggles her toes and recognizes the free feeling of being barefoot. “Who knows,” she responds, despondent. “Typical,” the dragonfly retorts; “Alright, then. Well, I better be off. If I can’t help you, I’m sorry to say that there’s probably no one out there who can.” “Typical,” she states, mocking the tone of the dragonfly. “By the way, you weren’t much help,” she adds. “Neither were you,” the dragonfly points out. “Everyone knows this,” she informs. “Everyone knows now,” the dragonfly asserts. She sighs and crosses her arms behind her head, “Bye. Thanks for the visit.” “Yea, it was … stimulating,” the dragonfly condescends. She smiles. “See ya around, kid,” the dragonfly salutes with its front, right leg. “Yea,” she murmurs. The dragonfly flutters its wings and disappears into the canopy above. “See ya,” she whispers.
Knock, knock, knock. In, essentially, the outdoors surrounded by trees and laying upon a bed of plush grass, she remains prone and looks to her right and to her left. Knock, knock. She sits up on a stiff, springy bed inside a room that looks to be a cheap, dirty motel of some sort. The light of dawn glows a dark, dim blue through the slit in the two curtains that do not quite shut all the way. Knock, knock, knock. She looks to the door that looks just like the type of door one would find inside a room available for temporary rent. She’s barefoot, and a backpack rests upon the bed next to her. Knock, knock, knock. She notes that the knocking sounds softs and gentle. She gets up, walks toward the door and looks through the peep hole. Kevin. She opens the door. “It’s five thirty,” Kevin quietly notifies. She turns and looks back into the room for a clock. The clock sitting upon one of the bedside tables quietly validates Kevin’s statement but reads five thirty-two. “It was five thirty when I first knocked,” Kevin justifies. She stands for a moment allowing the recollections of this time and place refresh her memory. “Right,” she responds, and then she remembers the backpack, “Just a minute.” “Sure. I’ll wait out here,” Kevin confirms as he points down at a vehicle in the parking lot. She nods and closes the door. There are two pairs of shoes at the foot of her bed. One pair she does not recognize. The other pair is her favorite, fancy pair, but she does not know why either pair are here with her now. And since she cannot quite know for sure what will happen when the three meet on the bridge in just a moment’s time from now, she safely packs up her fancy pair into the backpack. As she reaches into the backpack, she notices that there’s something in the front pocket. She reaches in and pulls out a metallic capsule, an odd metal object that looks like a large pill. She puts the thing back into the backpack, seals it up, puts on the other pair of shoes and closes the door shut behind her.
This is the final chapter of the digitally published work of fiction, Bromides, by sun김선sailor, readable in its entirety here, on Lady Polarity, or there, on Medium. For current and future writing, I now broadcast solely from tkscm.com