Sunday, May 14, 2017

Any second now

I am telling you – for there is no harm now in my telling, surely – I acquired the Snap from the man called T who used to run a junk cart down by the old family law building. I say “acquired” here when what I mean is “purchased.” The cart is gone now, and T with it, it seems.

I had heard things, as one does, and one day I said to him, “I’d like to buy a piece of time, please.”

T said, “You want to buy a timepiece?” He reached for the wristwatches.

I said, “No. A piece of time. A Snap, please.”

The apparatus for the Snap itself was an awful thing, like a guitar pedal, an alarm clock, and the bones of an umbrella, all connected by a series of tubes. It came without instructions.

I could only afford five seconds.

Acquiring the Snap was a simple thing. Finding the right five seconds for its use was hard. Given my options, I chose, eventually and out of an abundance of caution, an evacuated downtown Houston. During the next hurricane. Right after the power went out.

No people, no cameras, nothing to miss, you see? Only darkness and howling wind and rain and five… four… three… two… one… and then the same howl again, the same water drops again, and five… four… three… two… one…

It was a loop. Everything but me was.

I was in the Snap.

That was twelve years ago.

Later on, I stored the entrance to the Snap, if you must know and there’s no reason why you would, in the back of a clothes closet, and I go there still. Mostly to sleep, it is true (for I am older now and find sleep more to my liking than nearly anything I know), but also to read, to think, and to explore.

I spent a week there the other night, staring out from the forty-second floor of the King & Spalding offices, mostly. Listening to the hurricane and watching the same lightning flash out on the horizon every five seconds.

Five… four… three… two… one…

But something was wrong. I, who am without complaints, pathologically even, felt something was wrong in my private utopia, and I say “felt” here when what I mean is “heard.”

It was like a jazz piece, normally. The thunder being the bass. The rain the drums. The wind was the piano. These constituted the foundation to the piece, repeating every five seconds without fail. Endlessly. But now an additional instrument had made itself known, like a tenor sax, perhaps, and it was improvising freely over this foundation. The new sound was not looping.

It seemed something had, impossibly really, come loose in the Snap.  

Five… four… three… two… one…

I stood up and I was shaking. I tilted my head and turned to determine the direction and the nature of this new sound. When I said, “Hello-o-o-o?” my voice cracked and I sounded neither confident nor authoritative.

Five… four… three… two… one…

There was a knock at the door. 

38 comments:

  1. This is a peculiar temporal phenomenon that ought to be called a "ringworm" rather than a "wormhole". A path to damnation, if you ask me.

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    1. You're just not anti-social enough. You gorillas are more social animals than I am.

      I can groom myself alone in a time loop, thank you very much!

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  2. Spooky! Makes me think of an old Twilight Zone episode!

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    1. Thanks. I used sort of a standard classic horror line for the last sentence.

      Actually, I could have made it shorter. There's the world's shortest horror story: "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door..."

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  3. Ah, to capture a moment. Good times, until the string-pullers find out you've been messing with their space-time.

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    1. Yeah yeah. I know. "There will be consequences to playing with time" and all that.

      You just don't want me to have anything cool.

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  4. Memories of the jazz club that has now been torn down?

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    1. Are you thinking of Scott Gertner's SkyBar (formerly Cody's)?

      I'm told by people in the know that Montrose is changing more gradually than other Houston neighborhoods, but it sure doesn't feel that way.

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  5. It needed an electric guitar. But I think everything needs an electric guitar.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. I just realized the other day that it's been a while since I listened to much music based around electric guitar. I might have taken a long enough break from it that it's time again.

      What ever happened to guitar solos?

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    2. Just because Allan Holdsworth died, it doesn't mean he took guitar solos with him...

      -Doug in Oakland

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    3. I think the only album in my top ten last year that had prominent guitar was The Drones' new one. Which was pretty great, but still. One album out of ten!

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  6. What a glorious idea...to save a piece of time....a snap....and to visit it whenever you like. In a way we all do this with our memories and in our dreams....but to really have a snap...to visit it on demand and revisit it over and over again. There are so many moments. If only we had the money to buy them all. Ah, but, someone has penetrated your private vision. More to come?

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    1. I believe I've just been thinking about the passing of time lately, and it shows. I had a post a few weeks ago where someone had taken me forward in time to 2017 from the past and just abandoned me here.

      It's weird how I write fictional stories that say things I can't admit sometimes!

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  7. Excellent post craze.One of your best.I don't recall any moment worth visiting again except one moment.I want my whole life to be new nevertheless its a utopian dream.Good pic.

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    1. I'm glad you like it. I threw a lot of stuff into it but still managed to keep it short. Next time, I'll try something different.

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  8. Snap - only 5 seconds - improvised jazz on a tenor sax - interesting combo working here. Perhaps the sax is being played backwards in time which would sound very improvised. I think if you break space-time you probably have a big problem on your hands.

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    1. Ha... yes, it seems like a bit of a risk just to have some time without other people bothering me.

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  9. You sleep in a small closet, and you can travel through time.

    I KNEW you were Harry Potter.

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    1. I have a little storage closet under my stairs, actually. I've never slept in that one. This is the South and unlike Potter's England, there are sometimes ants or roaches in even the cleanest of homes... and mine is not the cleanest of homes.

      I am a wizard, though.

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  10. OUTSTANDING - one of your better blog posts

    thanks for the time

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    1. Thanks, Allen!

      I had to get as far away from the post with pictures of me as I could.

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    2. Time is on your side...

      back in the old multiplying days I tried to build a "time" post. Your post is so much better!

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    3. The reaction has been very positive!

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  11. My Snap is long -- the 4.34 minutes of Paul Simon performing The Cool, Cool River as heard live at his show in Providence.

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    1. That's a great idea. You'd think that the idea of living inside of a song would have occurred to me.

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    2. Which one would you live inside (today at any rate)?

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    3. Today, it would be Roger Waters (from Pink Floyd) new song, "Deja Vu," which I've had on repeat all evening.

      If I could get greedy, I'd live inside Neutral Milk Hotel's album, "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea." And I usually do live there, I guess.

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  12. Glad that the deep metaphor that goes way over my head hasn't gone away in this new incarnation. The Snap could easily be a nickname for an ex. "I was in the Snap, it seemed like forever, then I stored the Snap in a box in my closet, nothing weird about that."

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    1. "I used to stay inside the Snap for long periods of time. One day I realized there was someone else in there with me."

      Yeah, your version is way creepier.

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  13. Did you open the door to find yourself?

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    1. That might be the best resolution, huh?

      I need to think through the end of these stories sometimes instead of just cutting them off like this!

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    2. You mean you didn't cut it there on purpose? I thought it was literary effect, but I'd also like to see a sequel.

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    3. Of course, but wouldn't it have been more imaginative if I'd figured out who was behind the door?

      Ha.

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  14. I might be crazy, but I've always thought getting trapped in a Ground Hog Day loop would be fun. What I mean is that like most modern types I often complain about not having enough time. In a Ground Hog day loop I could spend an unlimited amount of time reading, learning the stuff that takes far more diligence and dedication possible when you have to work and sleep, and maybe playing with the heads of people I don't like.

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    1. I agree completely. The best part is that, presumably, the phone would not be ringing.

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  15. You say, you are a wizard? Cool! I think you are, after reading everything about you!

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    1. Haha, thanks. I'll tell you how the training goes...

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