WELCOME, A to Z bloggers who will almost instantaneously decide this post is way too long to read the whole thing! I apologize in advance for not leaving any words for anybody else to use this month, but fear not! You don't have to read everything here to get the good stuff, the good stuff being
A free book!
Right now, my 'brilliant' (to quote one reviewer) sci-fi book Eclipse is on sale for ZERO DOLLARS. I mean, it's free.
You can click here to download it on Amazon for nothing, all this week, but don't wait to download it, get it NOW! And just so you know, each day in April there will be a free book available from me. So check back every day, because I'll give the link to the free book at the top of each post.
That's how cool I am. And now, ON WITH THE STORY, in which all the letters of the alphabet have to decide what to do with X after X does something unthinkable...
Absolutely it must be done.
And we all really know it but nobody wants to say it. We all agree, but it is up to me, as the leader, to get everyone together to actually make that thought concrete.
It’s difficult, so difficult, for abstract things to become concrete, and what is more abstract, really, than letters? We stand for nothing, and everything, and can be swirled around and mixed up and doubled and overcome and through us meaning is conveyed, or obscured, or implied. Or not. Nothing is more abstract than letters, unless maybe numbers but let’s not mix them up in this.
And what could be more concrete than deciding that one of your group must go?
It always was going to be X.
I remember meeting X, at the dance. Oh, the dance! The dance! The dance which never ends but never really began but is always going on somewhere. It’s hard to describe what it’s like, being a letter, without you knowing about the dance, which properly should be capitalized:
Properly, it should be set off with punctuation hanging off of it like… not like medals on a general, for there’s nothing martial, decorative, or reminiscent of the dance. Not like flowers on a tree, for that is too real to describe the dance. Not like stars in the sky, even though stars don’t hang in the sky anymore than letters reside on a page, but that’s close: punctuation should hang off the name the dance like stars hang off the sky. So:
Best I can do on short notice. It is not easy, coming up with punctuation. Takes a lot out of a letter.
The dance! If you would know what it is like to exist as I do, as we do, as we all do, even X – even poor, sad, X, who must go, we all know...
Absolutely, I know, and I knew it from the moment I met X at the dance, that it would come to this.
Do you know, that feeling, that feeling, that feeling when…
… you almost know a word but not quite?
…you are thinking of a story or poem or song or just a little love note to the person who means so much to you at this moment in time?
…you try to describe a dream you had just after you wake up but feel it rushing away from you and to you and away from you and to you and away from you again like breakers on a beach?
Do you? Do you know that feeling?
They are all the same feeling, really, and they are all, to us, the dance: they are the swirl of ideas, of abstract abstract abstract funneling and tunneling and mixing and matching and becoming real, real, real-er, real-est:
Think about that word: it means existence, and soon, and when you are thinking thinking thinking when ideas are idea-ing, when hopes are hoping and dreams are dreaming and poems are poem-ing, things that will be are coming and that is the dance!
When we are called into existence, we letters that exist but don’t, that are there but aren’t, that be but weren’t: we are always out there somewhere and then you think and we are summoned, waving back and forth like seaweed under water sometimes, exploding like firecrackers sometimes, darting back and forth like birds in a summer sky sometimes, placid and cool like the closed eyes of a person who looks like she is sleeping but she is dead.
And it is at those times, just before you bring us out, put us together, bind us into a temporary marriage, a hopeful friendship, an army set to march, a school of fish acting as one despite all being separate, just before all those, before we become, that we dance!
And that is when we are ourselves, before you make us something else, something that we will wear like a suit, like armor, like scales, like taffeta, like skin, something that we will pretend to be, play-acting, something that we will inhabit, something that we will wish we were not, before we pick up another bit of existence to carry back into the abstract when we retire, when our brief flare of life and light as what you have bid us to be goes out and we fade back:
In the abstract, where we live, we are nothing and we are almost everything we have ever been. In the abstract, A really is for Apple, and Aardvark, and After, and Aghast, and Allegory, and all of the other things I have been (but none of the things I have not been), and we wear those things like shrouds, they surround us like fireflies, they haunt us like memories, there in the abstract where we wait to be called again, and again and again.
A is for Again!
And here in the real, we are what you make us, we letters: I am Again, I am Angry, I am Alternative, I am Alien Ashes Association Alliteration Aggression Ants-on-a-Log.
I am, Am.
But between the abstract and the real is where we are just what we are:
A is A
There in the dance, between where we live and where we work, between where we are and where we are things, there in the moments before we become, we dance and are ourselves, and that is where I first met X and where I first did not like X.
What is X, after all?
A is After, but A is also first!
A is All!
What is X?
X is an imposter and I knew him for one at once. X had no existence of his own, no need to be, no way to survive, no nothing.
Understand: It is not wrong to rely on another. It is not wrong to form bonds. It is not wrong to need, or to not need. Some letters are strong: I
I is Invincible and Impossible.
And those are acceptable. Those are okay.
It is also fine to need. Q and U, together forever, forever linked, so often joined that they are, unique among us, recognized as a pair:
Quietly, uniquely, quiescent: q and u need and need and need, and stay together, and we know that.
X was a trickster, a sham, a fake ,a fraud, a loser and I knew it at once.
We were in the dance, we were dancing and it was frenetic, energetic, it was hyperbolic, we were going someplace fun and frantic, we were fizzing and whizzing and I was dizzy, it was chaos! Chaos! Chaos! And we were there for so long, in the dance that time, and it was among the most fun I can recall, it was the best or if not the best dance one of the best, it was phenomenal!
And X bumped into me.
X bumped into me and took me out of myself and out of the dance almost, for a moment, as X bumped into me and said:
I instantly disliked X, and it wasn’t just that he had bumped into me, that he had interrupted the dance, that I was having trouble getting back into the flow again, having trouble picking up, the dance was leaving me behind! It was not just that, although that would have been enough, right there.
But there was something about X, something sinful and distrustful and… I will say sinful again, something that reeked of dishonesty, of false worship, of substitution, of taking what was not yours, all that I picked up so quickly that I couldn’t even pretend to be polite
(And maybe that was my fault, because I am a leader and many of the others look up to me, look to me for their cues, maybe it was my fault that X has to go and we all know it, but fault implies that I did something wrong and if X bore the brunt of my instantaneous judgment, well there was no fault in that, as it was deserved)
And so I didn’t say “That’s okay” or anything like that. I didn’t even answer. I turned away, and tried to find the dance again, tried to find a place in the heavenly spin that was going on around me: I wanted back in, but did not want to wreck someone else’s dance, either.
“Hey,” X said. “Did you hear me? I said sorry.”
“I heard you,” I muttered. D E F PQR T then DEF flew by again, I was having trouble picking out the pattern that was almost forming.
A is for Almost.
Almost forming and I was not part of it!
X stopped me, just before I could leap back in, a guess at when I should, a hope, I was pretty sure I was right but X stopped me.
“Why?” he asked.
I was taken aback, because the first thing I thought was that he had mistaken me for Y, which seemed impossible, but he was a newcomer, I didn’t even recognize him that first time in that first dance, but I quickly realized he wasn’t trying to name me, he was asking me a question.
“Why, what?” I asked him. I was scanning again the waves, the whorls, the curls, the fringes of which I was on but not a part of. I wanted in. The dance the dance the dance!
“Why not say you’re sorry, back?”
I should’ve known he was trouble right then.
And I did.
I said: “I don’t like you.”
X didn’t answer. X dove into the pack of letters, my friends, my lovers, my enemies, my friends, and there he was, in the dance! And I was not! I was not! He dove in and the dance took on a different character, a different feel. It was darker, angrier, more muddled, and K came flying out, S came flying out, and then the dance was over.
I looked at S, at K, at what and where the dance had been. It was over. It was over. The best dance, or one of the best, ever, and it was over and I had been denied my rightful part in it, and now we were fading back to the abstract, no new us, no new parts, no new dimensions, and as S and K faded away, I thought:
I don’t like that X.
But it wasn’t just because of the dance and how he had denied me that. Even apart from that, I wouldn’t have liked him at all.
And so everybody knew where I stood, when I brought the matter up, there in the abstract, when I began saying to others:
X has to go.
We’d all felt it.
We’d all thought it.
We’d all probably said it, if things get said in the abstract.
But I began saying it to others and when I said it to them, they all agreed, they all knew, they all felt how right it was.
We are 26, and need to be 25.
And we all know who has to go.
I was certain of it, when I got us all together: we are of one mind. And we all know why.
X must go.
X will go.
I will see to it.
“I vote,” I told the others, voting first, as is my right, as the leader: “that X be no more.”