"I want to go up," I remember saying, "Up, daddy." I point to the ceiling. It leaks from its browning corners but I don't care. I'm just a child and know nothing but the strength of my father's arms and how warmly they embrace.
(more) He grabs me and lifts me towards the sky. I loved that game. He would raise me up and up and toss me, and weightless I would become. Where for most this would be terror, I know he would be there to catch me. He always was. Always.
"Up, Daddy!" I say, more demanding, "Up!"
Of course, again. He's never home that often and truthfully, I just want him to hold me. But I'm a big boy now and I can't say that to him.
His thick arms bind and then I am launched. I sail up and up. I begin to fall and eagerly await his catch, but I look to see he has vanished. I fall into a black void where I seemingly tumble for hours. He's not there.
I awake, coddled yet constained by gilded bedsheets. And I weep. My spouse twists round placing her hand on the small of my back. Her smooth finger glide across my skin.
I quiet myself because I'm a big boy now. She asks what's wrong but I don't reply. Instead I go to the attic to find his picture. It's been ingested by boxes gray-dusted from neglect.
To create, another equal thing must be lost. The equation must balance. This is the basic principle of chemistry. I spent my life exercising this principle in glass jars and lined paper, although until two days ago I didn't truly understand.
(more) I remember the first day I met Kayla almost as vividly as the day I killed her. It was springtime and the University's campus was radiating life. I could feel it even as I buried myself into my 372 textbook. Lets see... equilibrium can be expressed by concentrations of the-
"Hey," I peel myself off the book. Before me is beauty. All of it. Every adjective ever squeezed into a petite blond package. "I'm Kayla." Don't panic. You are James Bond. Play it cool. "What's your name?"
With all my courage, I mumble "Ssnuh." Good Job. But how about we try again, with real words? "Kayla!" That's closer I guess. "I mean..." I sigh but she laughs and sits down next to me.
"Hey," She says, "You understand all that right?"
"Yeah. And you know what else? Someday we'll get married"
"Cool, you think you can help me on this problem?"
"We get a cramped apartment in D.C. right next to your favorite take-out."
"Thanks! Look here, I don't really understand how these are related."
"Some days we skip our jobs just to lie next to each other."
"Wow. You're really good at this."
"And then one day you're pregnant and we're so happy that we hold each other and cry."
"What about this one?"
"The doctors say something is wrong and you shouldn't have it but you don't trust them."
"You're sweet for doing this."
No. It's all my fault. Gain demands loss. As I look upon my newborn daughter...
There are two sets of keys to the house, but the other doesn't know about that. He only knows what the second will allow. Which is to say, not much. He doesn't know about the keys or the cameras or the wiretaps. He doesn't even have the slightest idea(more) what he did to push the second so far. The second however, knows all.
Of course this limiting of knowledge is done with purpose. What would the other do if he found out? Panic, certainly, and panic is not apart of the plan, not yet. No no, panic at this stage would bring the whole house of cards down, and the second spent far too much damn time in construction.
Not yet. But soon. The arbiter is coming. Soon. (less)
Sometimes people hold their breath in moments of panic. In others, it is done before a release of stress. In Juan's case, it was being done because water is a poor substitute for air.
Though, he had only heard about that fact. He never actually tested it. (more)I mean, where would we be if people never tested given facts? We would live in a world where the earth was flat, women were half-men, and water was un-breathable.
As the ship sank further into the deep, this hypothesis seemed an attractive candidate for additional testing. Juan was grasping at straws here but maybe, just maybe, somewhere he had gills. Most likely not, but fortune favors the bold after all.
Floating in an ink black void. Her cries echoed against unseen walls. Vultures picked at her numb flesh. That's what it felt like watching four men lower her father into that damned hole. The girl was far too young.
Only months before, she had liked barbies and butterflies(more) and the color blue. Dad had promised her a pony. And that pony was the height of her dreams.
She didn't know anything of cancer. Why should she? She didn't understand what the doctor meant or why her mommy cried. She thought she had helped, fetching that bottle of Nyquil that her mom smacked away.
But slowly, the idea of cancer took hold. Everyday, papa looked a little whiter. Everyday, a little sicker. He drank the Nyquil she administered and smiled, "Thanks baby, daddy will be better tomorrow."
But he didn't get better. Three days ago, he was completely bedridden. Weak and skeleton-like. But he still tried to read her a story each night, even though lately it had been more of a whisper. He pecked her on the cheek. "Good night, kiddo."
She didn't understand anything. Why are these men putting him in a hole? Why is everyone just watching? Why is Pastor Steve here? Why? Why? Why?
She couldn't stand it any longer. She burst from her mother's arms and ran to the casket. No one stopped her as she wept upon it. Lost and Alone, the girl cried.
Dave squashed his nose to the glass. His eyes gleamed like a child at a candy store as he peered out from the moonbase. He had read about the gates. He had watched every documentary on their construction. Dave found the narrator's droning had done little to capture the(more) magnificence of a city-sized ring floating in space. He had thought himself prepared to see one, but my god was it a titanic thing to take in.
It's glowing mouth swallowed ships whole, firing them through the black towards the red planet. The thing made a six-month's journey cost but a week. And yet, it was so average to people. Nobody but the children looked at it with any awe. 'Mommy, are we going to ride that?' 'Hush, dear, mommy's buying tickets.'
It's presence was expected, like a spoon at the dinner table. It was like the trireme or the steamboat or the airplane. Gates were inconvenient because they took seven days instead of six. Never mind that only two hundred years ago, they were the stuff of dreams.
Dave must have stared for at least ten minutes. When he finally peeled his face off the glass, he found mothers grasping at their children, looking at the 'strange man' who was far too 'enthusiastic.' (less)
The young child watched as the wind-up toy sailed into the air, squinting as sunlight battered his eyes. His eyes glimmered as it drove into the cerulean sky. Filled with wonder, he watch as a five-dollar trinket accomplished his impossible dream.
(more) "How come people can't do that?" He asked to his older brother, who was nestled against an oak.
"Dunno," The older answered. "We just... Can't" The eldest liked to watch the birds dance. His question was the same as the younger.
"It's not the way God made us, I guess. We don't have wings."
The youngest watched as his toy fell back to earth. He wound the rubber band so that it was pulled tight against the blades. He let it ago, and again it rocketed into the blue. "Why not just make some?"
"Make wings?" The oldest said as two doves soared overhead.
"Yea, why not?"
"If it could be done, someone would have done it."
"Why can't we? We could fly with birds and go to the clouds and maybe even see the moon!"
The oldest laughed. "Now you're just talking crazy."
"Not crazy never got anybody noplace." The youngest said while grinding his foot against dust. The two looked into the sky once more. The stared until their mother called them for supper; and then the Wright brothers went into their home.
Some years later, a pair of bike-makers gave themselves wings. Some years after that, a rocket aimed itself at a grey ball far away and carried a few brave souls into the heavens. Because some men just want to fly. (less)
"Well," Said the man in the top hat,"That was inexplicable." The pair stared at the strange girl as she faded into the horizon.
"Hmm," Said the man in the bowler hat, "Yes, quite."
(more) With that, the men continued on their way riding purple unicycles with flashing lights and dazzling sparklers, juggling great big watermelons as they went. (less)
And suddenly, the T.V. became fuzzy. White noise filled the room. A slightly annoyed John fiddled with the remote, smashed buttons without result.
The T.V. finally flickered to life, but it was not the show John had been watching. A crazed man's face filled the screen.
"Goo(more)d morning!" He said cheerfully. "And how we, America, on this fine day?" John's puzzled glare eyed the screen. "Why am I here? Well, I'm here to judge you. Powerful word, isn't it? The sound of it sends your conscious scurrying about, fingering through file cabinets of your misdeeds.
"Who am I to judge? You may ask. Well, since I'm such a helpful guy I'll answer that for you. You'll be happy to know that I am fully qualified for this task in that I am absolutely insane. Hurray!" The character clasped his hands together. "Now, to business then. I have a problem with you.
"Why? You complain that your three hundred dollar phone has one less “G” than your neighbor’s three hundred dollar phone; while an 18 hour plane ride away a mother watches her infant starve. You donate twenty-five cents a day only on the condition that you receive a fifteen-dollar t-shirt to showcase your generosity. You leave scraps for the rest so you don’t feel bad as you shovel the newest triple bacon cheeseburger into your mouth. Tisk-tisk. How naughty of you.
"In Judgement of your wanton crimes against humanity I have place several hundred bombs in many of your shiny things. We now return to our regularly scheduled program. And I am so sorry to have inconvenienced you. Good day!"
The T.V. at once returned to what John had been watching. Oh God.
Might be one. Might be two. It might even be seventeen - Robert was never quite sure of these things anymore.
In his prime, Robert had been the foremost authority of all thing math. It was his dominion. People from all over the world asked, begged even, for(more) his help in unraveling the most complex equations. He was famous, a remarkable thing for a mathematician. Past Robert had even gone as far as to master the immensely intricate art of counting.
For Robert it had been a steady slid into madness. It was as if he were pocket change and the Alzheimer's was a couch. Piece by piece tumbled unnoticed to be smothered between leather cushions. Such a ruthless little disease.
It's only grace came in that Robert had no idea of the condition, or where he was for that matter.
The great thinker of the century was rotting away unloved in a country-style folks home. Nurses hustled about, never admiring the man. Never stopping to ask 'how are you doing?' except in the way one might talk to an infant.
Robert didn't care. Such things were insignificant. There were much more important matters to consider. Like counting the pair of buttons on his sleeve.