On the Third Day, Boulder (barrier)
[I’ve thought about your riddle.] — [And?] — [It’s improper. Malconstructed.] — [I don’t follow.] — [As I was going to St. Ives] — [I met a man with seven wives.] — [You want me to get caught up in the content. You want me to confuse Schrödinger’s with Cheshire’s. It is not a question of whether or not cats qualify as ‘many.’] — [Or worse, sacks!] — [You divert my attention as I try and qualify and sort through concepts, and then begin matching them with ur-puns that might reveal a hidden meaning upon which even angels and devils might agree. What good is a riddle without colossal acts of dramatic irony?] — [For all I know, it could redefine the very notion of riddle. I don’t know the answer yet.] — [You keep saying that, but that’s not possible. You merely do not have implicit access to the root code. And that’s if I believe you. The mere act of formulating it means that you already have some precognated expectation about a range of possible answers.] — [Don’t be shy and tell me how you really feel. But if you want to pursue that, it’s fine with me, I’m all yours. I’m merely spelling yarns for barnyard animals with the hope of getting one of them to carry us to the Factory Nexus.] — [Charmed, I’m sure they are.] — [Why unyoke the plowhorse? To pantomime a fiction of empathy for the suffering of lesser creatures? Gelded or gonadal, the life of the steed is wild. Their environment will tame them if the cowhand does not. Do they prefer the certainty of fashioned wood, iron and wire when it rains, or to cramp together under rare clumps of lush foliage? Or do they prefer to race to the end of the cliff in the middle of the lightning storm?] — [You are speaking of angels and devils?] — [Maybe?] — [Forget your trusty steed for a moment. Angels and devils. Traditionally, the blessed would be seated at the right hand of God, and to the left would be the rebel deviant. Righteous and sinister. Right and Sin. So first I need to divine the reasons the figures would be switched.] — [That’s a fair observation, but as a logical puzzle, I don’t see a way to weight one interpretation over the other.] — [Context. The context here is that each of these archetypes is conveying information to a third archetype of the self. The first two are shorthand sketches for extremes of polar opposites, with the third being a neutral, but presumed flawed? Or is complicated better? Entity, here meant to substitute for any ego that is interacting with the riddles framework. So it stands as proxy for the solver. And there is an information gap that can only be bridged through deduction: the teller is aware of the solution, so operates at a scale initially unaccessible to the recipient of the riddle.] — [Again, maybe riddle is the wrong word. I can’t seem to be successful in my attempts to impart to you that I don’t know the solution.] — [Yes, you are lying.] — [I DO NOT KNO — ] — [No, I don’t care to hear it again. I believe that for the moment you believe that you don’t have the solution. Agree to disagree?] — [Fine.] — [Does someone know the answer?] — [I… good question. I will once again go with: I don’t know.] — [Does the future know?] — [Oof. I guess you hit on it, yes, I believe that the future will know the answer to the riddle. Perhaps both the myriad possible answers as well as the one true answer.] — [So, for all you know, I’m the one who first answers the riddle correctly.] — [That is entirely possible.] — [Interesting.] — [But I also know that corroboration will be required on my part. It is not something that can be known in isolation.] — [Okay, see, now we’re getting somewhere. The neutral self-agent must be an unwitting accomplice in the architecture of the answer. Wait! I’ve got it: ] — [Yes?] — [No, that’s not it. It has to be something they both whisper at the same time?] — [Yes.] — [Okay, so I was thinking something that undergirds both of their completely opposite world-views, like polarity itself. Something that molecularly binds the construct together. I’ve got it!] — [Shoot.] — [God is real.] — [Whoa. Okay, I think I see where your headed with that. Both the profane and the sacred must both subscribe to an underlying set of governing laws in order to maintain their power, or position, or even, if I think about it, their unique identity. So, fundamental laws exist. “God” is real. Existence is real. The real is that which exists. Existence is existence. Tautological, surely, so that’s okay, but then why the incorrect shoulders? I think you’re right about that being a factor. That super-negation would unbalance the equation, God is not real, not “profound” unto itself, but if you say: existence is not existence…] — [No, I don’t think it works. But it was a good one.] — [On some levels, absolutely. Pretty damn good first salvo, Annie.] — [Meh. I’m just starting to get the hang of it. I’ll figure it out. Hey, did you ever eat Cocoa Puffs? The kids’ cereal.] — [I know of it, but, honestly, in my family, we generally veered away from things that were explicitly ‘black’ or ‘chocolatey’… bah, that came out wrong. Of course, I’ve eaten and I’ll eat lots of chocolate, with expensive dental work to prove it, it was just things that were explicitly marketed for their brownness. Africanography, my dad would say, is the polished art of neutering the black man. He would talk about British “anthrolopologists” whose sole research intention was to analyze the belief structures and sociological contracts of sub-Saharan African tribes in order to dominate, dehumanize and enslave them.] — [That’s quite cynical.] — [And yet…] — [Oh, how about this: You are loved.
That really opens up a field of possibilities, doesn’t it?
Are you okay?
] —  — [
‘(Why are you weeping, young half-a-man?)’
— It just occurred to me that I can’t once recall my mother ever telling me that she loved me.
Milo felt his ribcage snap at the sternum and collapse in on itself, stabbing his heart and lungs with such sudden and precise agony that it shocked him to silence before he could broadcast the pain aloud. Ceilings of Cistene stained glass shattered and crashed down upon him. Avalanches of tidal waves battered the cradles of civilization. He floated in far orbit from the Earth, holding his breath…
‘(Yes. I will take you. Climb upon my back.)’
Milo’s eyes refocused on Donkey, head bent piously low to accept his paraplegic frame. I believe he meant to smile, but only a frown could be managed. Either way, it meant nothing to the stable of dispersing livestock, least of all Donkey, who had indeed willingly passengered himself to his interpretation of the exertion of Fate. Perhaps that is the very definition of nobility, Webster forgive the liberty: to 1) recognize a need that emerges unexpectedly from the environment, 2) quickly evaluate whether your training and skills have prepared you for “successful” intervention, and 3) respond to the need with your skills and your strengths. Regardless of where you are then led, it is a noble path you tread.
In that spirit, Donkey patiently waited as Milo scaled his scruffy, wiry mane, huffing and puffing in terrible exertion. Once Donkey felt Milo had been able to lift his entire upper corpus from the earth, he masterfully kicked up both of his rear legs to generate a counterforce that unfurled his neck high as he leaned into his haunches, launching Milo squarely into the balanced crook of the asses upper back.
‘(Onward?)’ asked the donkey.
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