On the Third Day, Boulder (barrier)
— Ten. It’s gonna hurt when she turns it on. Don’t breath. It’s coming through the tubes. If I just hold my breath ’til I turn blue then I’ll pass out, and that’ll be good, they can do what they need to do, I’m asleep. Mommy! Help me!
Milo laid frozen, but shifted his glance to his mother draped over his legs smiling faintly. She flashed him her signature twinkling four finger wave, and he unintentionally allowed a small breath through his nostrils.
The anesthesiologist brushed wisps of brittle brown hair from her red plastic frames, and tucked the bob-strays behind a vividly anointed ear: golden lobe hoops begin a pathway of turquoise inlays ringing the extremity of her pinna leading nacre-studded daith piercing in the shape of an inverted heart pointing to the hidden mystery of her inner ear. Her feline mascara disguised a complex iris of rotary kaleidoscope of autumn colors; maraschino lipstick had feebly rubbed its way onto her slightly yellowed incisors. Her complexion was self-painted Elmer’s white, betrayed by the vulva-pink hue of her throat, a silver cross pendant locked in the crease of her cleavage, semi-modestly draped in a candy-striper blouse.
She was focused intently on Milo, commanding his attention, rapt as he was in her exotic, Cleopatran beauty. He could sense her intense penetration into his being, like she was sending out paranormal telegrams empathically he couldn’t quite parse in his state of consternation. He could recognize part of her name on her laminated tag, Anne. The rest was a blur of unpronounceable consonant strings, laden heavy with k’s and z’s. He was still holding his breath as best he could.
“Breathe normally, Milo. It’s okay.”
He found her dolcet coaxing effective, as if his Guardian Angel of Fury was singing soothing apologies to him, as she gloated with pride at her progeny, preparing him for the perplexing uniqueness of one young man. A lot like any boy in the Fourth Grade, anywhere in America. Sure, he had special circumstances like being the first black kid on his block in Bel-Air, which did not escape the amusement of his three best buds, and thus Prince Milo was dubbed. He did okay in school, felt uncomfortable in the presence of aggressive kids, definitely didn’t like P.E. But before she whipped him with her vicious laughing lash, she’d bestowed the greatest mystical miracle he’ll ever experience. His heart communed with God as he saw through her melted and macabre face, and saw himself from her eyes and in so perceiving, he came to believe that he knew all of his future selves in that one supra-self observant moment. And his Gordian Angle morphtated indo-poly atheist asian Annie; and in that twisting remembered receiving a telepathic message from the divinity:
We have to do this. It is for your own good.
“Okay,” bluthered Milo, struggling to maintain his executive functions, which seemed to duck out the side door for a second there, and if it wasn’t for object permanence, the object of course being the self, he might have disappeared. For a while. But this won’t be for always, like mama said. He sucked some saliva from his dry cheeks to strengthen his enunciation and repeated it soberly, as proof to the most recent avatar of his angel, Anesthetic Annie. “Okay.”
“Great. You’re a gem, Milo. Let’s rock. Start again?” She paused and raised a mildly magentized eyebrow. Milo coolly flicked up his right thumb.
“Great! — that. Do that when I ask you something.” She stiffened straight inhaling through her nose, and posing a universal mudras.
“He’s a little tense, he either has a lot of trouble sleeping, or…” Milo’s mother’s contribution punctured a room that had just settled, and Anne shot her a polished dagger stare without moving hardly a facial muscle so pointed and intense that it cowed the impressive Ms. Chapman instantly.
— Ten. He thought the gas smelled like strawberry candy as he took his first full breath of the desensitizing intoxicant. So lollipops at the doctor’s office could be grabbed by the handful, but then you’d have to worry about the dentist. They’re like sub-doctor’s not because they live or work in submarines, but, well, but that would be a sub-doctor I guess too. Huh. Like not as smart as a doctor, but still pretty smart. I want to draw a picture for Dad’s birthday coming up to give to him. I should ask mama if she can get me some big paper. He’d really like it, at least I hope he would, if he’s not all drunk and ticked off. Ha! What if he wears a tiny birthday hat with the string around the… around the chin, and we can like have a clown. And inside the clown was a town. And around the town was a wizard’s castle waving his magic wand, glitter flowing out of it in a trail in the room, abracadabra to make a goat appear with a big beard that curls up at the end. A Leprechaun can ride a goat by steering its horns. I want an apple with my sandwich. I want to know my own future. I’m worried my future might be stolen from me before I’m able to finish architecting it.
What is the most precious thing you can take from someone?
No, your life is not a thing. It is not a project of condensed energy known as matter. Your life is not merely a litany of sensory experiences, but the ongoing resulting outcome of those experiences with a sense of its own coherence. Do not pet the Schrödinger Cat. Just don’t even look at it. For if you sense it, you are jolted into an early array of (in)feasible (in)finites splattered over the supra-self, and you sure as fuck don’t want to do that before you’ve upgraded your hardware. Just ask the poor Eastern Mystic who didn’t fade into Nirvana. (Spoiler: Any of them.)
If I were to come to myself in the past, how could I prove to him that I was real if I could bring nothing with me but my consciousness? How do you prove you are from the future?
You finagle history to position yourself in such a way that you can preside as judge, jury and executioner of your then() self. Have them brought into your private chambers demand that they kneel down before you and your power of authority. When they rightly refuse to do so, for you are not their God, you are just yet another pale and weakly vesseled imprint of humanity. Their God is just, wise, and omnipotent, and would never harm his Son nor his Creation.
And you will tap your scepter on the daze of brilliance from the floor mosaic tiling abstractly depicting the eternal rays of the Sun. And you must then say: “Good for you, my Son. You have chosen wisely and deservedly accept your dominion over all that is.
“Now I sentence you to death,” knowing that you could not deselect the opportunity for martyrdom.
And thus, with fourteen steps in your gait, and ten seconds to get there, the racing gun is fired. Monstrous storms and hurricanes shall crash relentless on your levees, and the atomic principles that grabbed our imagination swivel around on their mathematical axes, and defiantly point straight at the future. Can you hear the sympathetic vibrations of logic? Can you bunt aside the arrow of time “long” enough to make it to the end of the secret message before the gate lifts and the jockeys strap the leather beasts with their own hide. If muscle and bone isn’t strong enough to move the needle, then we’ll need more animal magnetism and filamental energy.
— Did you pick up the wood pile and walk to the furnace?
I imagine I will —
— Do you know why we did it?
Because they asked us to —
— What? Who asked you?
Wasn’t it you? —
— Surely not… I merely set the stage and wrote the scene. I brought the lighting crew, the megaphones and the 4K cameras. The only thing I said was “Action!”
Who was it then? It was your voice… —
“Yeah? Stay with me, Milo. Good.”
“Feel okay?” Milo flipped up his thumb again.