Ch 6 ~ “He forgot to put his hair on, didn’t he.”
“I don’t even want to begin to know what you could possibly mean by that,” she said. Somehow the ridiculousness of his statement had the effect of calming her nerves. With each passing second, she was definitely further removed from the future — as backwards as that may seem. At least from that particular future. With yet another man causing her to ask herself for the second time this day — but for wildly different reasons — who is he? But really more than that. Something really more than that gnawed at her.
Why is he? Why is he in Pat’s room. Why is he shrouded in mystery. Why does he seemed smothered in an air that easily tops the creepiness charts without any effort at all.
Emily just had to keep thinking. She just had to keep going. Don’t pause, she told herself. Let it all unfold on its own accord, how could anyone possibly map this out from a future date point to the present date point and a gazillion variables in between that could effect things in any number of directions. (Was this Emily’s thought or the author’s thought? Are we somehow letting the writing process have a voice in this effort? What is the identity of a piece of art, afterall. Does it belong to the creator or is it a separate entity?)
How many butterflies could flap their wings anywhere around the world, not just the Glenwood Cafe, she reasoned. It was less a question, more a reminder to herself that while she could see the future that didn’t mean she could control the future. Necessarily.
Is seeing, knowing? Is knowing, doing? Is doing, creating? Is creating, impacting? Is impacting, evaulating? Is evaluating, rationalizing? Is rationalizing, controlling? Am I reaching? What is it all but energy?
She could see in the distance, not too terribly far away…not far away at all…a flock of ducks take to the air in perfect unison.
How many flock of birds could slice into the sky without a sound and set the course of history in motion, pre-planned pre-scripted for the future.
But there were things Emily knew. Without fail. And even she couldn’t deny this. Nor did she really want to. She just didn’t have the answers to what she had just seen, no matter how much the wildly successful local entrepreneur who sat across from the table from her thought at this moment. And at this moment, Emily could see as he cocked his jaw, that he was about to continue exploring.
“You see the possibilities in this,” he nodded his head back to the romantic young couple still thoroughly immersed in talk with who-only-knew on the ends of their separate blackberries. (Emily suspected the people sitting at the adjoining tables might very well know who the folks were on the ends of those lines because the people sitting at the adjoining tables could hear every word. Personal conversations as public “entertainment”, indeed. Or perhaps public advertising. Walking talking human billboards.)
“Actually…it’s not really what’s occupying my thoughts at the moment.”
“Precisely!” Forge sat straight, pumped with a surge of excitedness.
“Hmm?” she scrunched her eyebrows together.
“Imagine a time, Em, when we’ll look at the wireless devices people carry with them on the outside of their bodies as quaint. Even…antiquated.”
“I suppose,” she shrugged, not entirely clear where Forge was going with this. He grinned and held his grin for several, long seconds. Somehow, she felt like she had missed his point and realized pretty quickly that it was more than a feeling. It was a fact. She had missed his larger point.
“Everything is getting faster and smaller…if that’s what you mean,” she said without a great deal of confidence that that had been anywhere close to what Forge had meant. But the other thing was this. If her confidence had been sucked out of the room, the sudden hyper explosion of activity at the diner could have played a part in that as well. There was a defeaning cacophony of whispers and ramblings that roared over the place and crashed down on every voice around it, like a vocal tsunami that ironically snuffed out every sound in its path.
Sunday mornings at the Glenwood Cafe were more than a bit ridiculous when it came to crowds. Because on Sunday morning, it seemed like every crowd on the planet — forget that…not only “every crowd on the planet” but the entire freakin’ planet — converged in the tiny little diner of this sleepy little farmtown. Every Saturday and Sunday every weekend over, the population seemed to double because every Saturday and Sunday every weekend over throngs of people — couples, families, children, grandparents, friends — wallpapered any and all available wall and countertop space as they waited patiently for an open table. The food was plenty good here, there was that — some of the best comfort food around — and the service pretty fast and friendly (even if the wait staff appeared to be a bit zoned and into their own little world). Pat had long since picked up her pace and had shifted it into high gear, buzzing effortlessly around tables, not batting an eye even when having to navigate what was increasingly a flush of customers that was now overflowing into some of the walking spaces near the patrons as they ate their fried green eggs and ham at tables not too terribly far removed from the front entrance. Oh the places the crowds may go, but on Saturday and Sunday, inevitably there was only one place those crowds went for breakfast, th Glenwood Cafe. And everyone in town (probably even those who were only driving through, like the young romantic couple) knew that the tables positioned half-heartedly as an offshoot from the entrance weren’t the best seats in the house, a fact that always motivated Emily to get out of bed extra early so that she could plop a comfortable squat in a lower-traffic area at the diner before the rush of the Sunday after-church crowd.
She stlil had no idea about the layers-in-layers in which Forge’s meaning seemed perpetually to be wrapped. But the chaos at the front entrance had distracted them both, Forge less intensely than Emily who admittedly was biding her time because she didn’t really know where this conversation was headed. And who had just noticed a couple of individual customers move through the sea of limbs that swayed in the space of waiting bodies as they repositioned themselves and ears craned to hear if their name had been called yet by the hostess.
The first customer was a slight man of average build who was seated by the hostess at a small vacant table just on the other side of the half-wall divide that buffered Emily and Forge’s table from the mass of patrons in the main section of the restaurant. The second customer was a slight woman of average build who was seated by Pat at a small vacant table directly behind the slight man, again just on the other side of the half-wall divide that buffered Emily and Forge’s table from the burgeoning mass of patrons in the main section of the diner.
“Imagine a time,” Forge continued, undeterred by the random distractions that clammored about everywhere suddenly…or perhaps that had always really been the case and Emily had edited it out?
Somehow that’s just too much of a subtle thought, the slight woman behind the slight man thought to herself. What exactly is the point in saying that Emily might have edited that out, she asked herself, wholly unsure of the answer. Relinquish structure…push beyond comfortable processes. It reminded her of a phrase a friend had coined: “he forgot to put his hair on, didn’t he?”, meaning that the balded-headed man was out of sorts when he didn’t follow his usual routine (in this case, affixing his toupee before entering the day…a known and comfortable, safe routine for this man.) Damn that is not easy. If she didn’t know any better, she might have to say that she forgot to put her hair on too, metaphorically speaking. Not easy in the least, but it must be done, she said to herself then pulled the white napkin closer to her nose as she bent herself over the tabletop, removed a pen from her purse and began to draw circles. She paused once to catch Pat’s attention who floated among the tables with a carafe of coffee that she quietly placed on the table to the right of the slight woman’s cup and hand, which had returned itself to the pen and the napkin and was busying itself with forming circles.
The slight man partitioned the movement in his neck in such a way that he barely turned his head to his left. It was a movement as slight as the man was in build…it had barely registered to the world around him. Except the slight woman knew. She snorted quietly because she would like to think that she would have known this before it had even happened, but that really wasn’t true. She only knew that the slight man had moved his head so very very subtlely only after the deed was done. The slight woman chuckled, feeling somehwat knocked down a peg. She’d like to think that she was inside of everyone’s head here. Quite literally ahead of their own thoughts and feelings and even experiences, but that wasn’t the case. She could have been like anyone else in that room who might have been paying attention. But still. It would have had to have been paying nearly excruciatingly close attention to catch the slightness of the slight man’s movement. And that degree of focus certainly wouldn’t be attributed to Emily. Her mind was a bit chaotic still, perfectly reflecting the conditions of the diner around her. Couldn’t say that would be attributed Forge, either, he, yes, is perpetually focused but very selective about his subject matter. At present, he was entirely too focused on a very slow reveal of his many layers (because he doesn’t really know where this is going either, the slight woman thought to herself).
But though no one heard the slight woman, although no one heard much of anything really except an ever-mounting crescendo of dissonant noise, Emily somehow picked up the message from some place that something maybe profoundly central to her entire existence had been put into motion.
“Em,” Forge said in a voice so sincere that Emily couldn’t help but snap her attention immediately to him. “What if instead of holding these faster smaller devices…what if they were implanted within us? Audio, video, phone, search engine, internet, social networking platforms, virtual worlds. The works.”
“What if…we become the medium?”
NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter: 1,800; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 7,500.