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Apr 19

Infinity… a not-so-short story

Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2008 in Poems and things

Mr O’Boyle was in his senior years and lived alone in a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs of an unforgiving town.  His cupboards were bare, his house was cold, and few lights were lit to burn a hole in his solitude.

Atta had grown up in a different environment, a world apart spoilt by ample means.  Her family lived in an era where their planet was on the brink of a crisis – lords fought for land and fuel and gained neither, for both were being rapidly depleted.  Paranoia sulked on every corner and leaders passed their problems around like viruses, each problem mutating cleverly and rapidly becoming immune to old fashioned common sense.

Mr O’Boyle shivered.  He eyed his coal basket with a similar gaze to that of a lost soul for a bottle of gin.  The old clock by the fridge ticked stubbornly and argued time with each echo that bounced from the cold stone walls.  Mr O’Boyle listened and remained still in the warmth of his decrepid chair.

Several hundred years passed on Atta’s planet.  Her great-great-great grandchildren grew without knowing of the hardships their predecessors had battled through, and were genetically sound, intelligent and resourceful.  Commerce had grown clever in its old age, and had thrown its resources into science and learning.  Tolerance of material value had melted away and revealed bright young tendrils of self-sufficiency underneath. 

Mr O’Boyle slowly stood and his bones (dismissive of his longing for pain relief and warmth) slowed his crossing to the fireplace.  He stooped slowly to pile the tinder and charcoal together into a flammable tent, then reached for a box of matches which he slowly slid open.  His tremors reverberated through the tips of his fingers making the simple act of lighting a match pure torture.

A small child played under an apple tree, turning leaves to pure energy with her new birthday toy; She watched each glow and fizzle with mild amusement while her grandmother still regarded the effect with pure unbridled disbelief.  The third sun was rising rapidly and reminded them of dinner and avoidance of evening heat.  They stretched their hands towards each other and stood up, brushing fibres from their clothes.  They walked home and chatted about the way things were.

The match connected and snapped in half as the last one had done before it.  Mr O’Boyle sighed and removed another, sucking his breath in an attempt to quiet his shuddering hands.  This third match connected and burst into life.  It travelled rapidly to the wood in the fire and was nested underneath, its energy enveloping everything above it so that Mr O’Boyle himself was bathed in a warm pool of flickering heat.

Atta’s world imploded, a fact unknown to its occupants who had by this time grown scarce.  The old world ceased to exist in the blink of a sparrow’s eye, and a new one was born of parallel molecular structure.  Atta’s world soon learned the skills of simple cell creation and began to adapt.

Mr O’Boyle basked in the fiery glow, and decided to make a cup of tea in the spirit of self-indulgence. By the time it was made, Atta’s world had invented the car.

Meanwhile the fire burned incomprehensibly slowly turning it’s dissolving carbon flakes to dust.

Bring on the comments

  1. I realised something lately. Everything is noise. It’s all random. We walk our brownian path and know nothing of the statistics. Our minds though. Our minds live on stories, patterns, connected moments. We make the patterns. We are the patterns. And the patterns exit only for us.

  2. Exist, not exit. Sorry. Alcohol.

  3. K8 says:

    I wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’tve pointed that out ;)

  4. Brianf says:

    someone sends clothes to Ireland and another walks.
    She walks on from Hummelstown to New Ken.
    New Madrid becomes yet just a punchline
    and
    Jimmy Carr could care less

  5. Oh, I like it. Although it hurts. Parallel worlds and infinity are two things that bother me greatly. I start to feel like a cat chasing its tail when I think about either too much. Ow.

  6. If infinity hurts your head use a z-transform. Then plus and minus infinity meet at pi on the unit circle :-)

  7. *clutches head in agony*

  8. K8 says:

    It’s ok. Time’s a man-made invention, so you’re only worrying about something that technically doesn’t exist.

  9. Yeah, I read that in the same way heat doesn’t really exist but is just a statistical effect of vibrating atoms, time could be a perceptual averaging of far more subtle effects that we cannot perceive.

  10. It not really existing makes it harder not easier – how can it not exist…what is there in reality… where does it end etc… etc… There’s no way out. It all hurts!

  11. Quickroute says:

    If I can make a good case that reality doesn’t exist and I’ve spent a lot of money on vices to escape reality, will I get a refund? – Know a good lawyer who can argue my case?

  12. K8 says:

    No no no. Reality exists alright. Life is too ironic for it not to. TIME is the killer. I would dearly love to sue time.

  13. Foreigner says:

    I just wish we could sustain that sense of immortality we have as children.

    There’s always a turning point when everything becomes a countdown.

  14. Atta girl, Atta.

    Worlds within and worlds without. Great stuff, K8.

  15. K8 says:

    There’s a countdown alright, but at least we get to re-live it over and over and over and over and over again!

    Do we learn our mistakes from the first time? Never!

  16. warrior says:

    Now that is great imagination, you should write the book…

  17. K8 says:

    @ Sam and Warrior: Thanks for the boost :)

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