Meditations: Validation

“We’re going to do a simple meditation to get you familiar with the process of placing yourself in a hypnogogic state.”

Gertrude painstakingly explains to Jason the value of being able to place himself into a hypnogogic state so that he can access the data that’s encrypted in his DNA.

“While in a hypnogogic state, you’ll see, hear, feel, and know things you’re unable to in a conscious state. There is nothing to be afraid of. This isn’t even like a hypnosis, and I won’t ask you to cluck like a chicken. Gertrude jokes with Jason.

“I’m going to place this ball in your hand, Jason. You will drop it the moment you slip into a hypnogogic state, and it will bring you back here with me.”

Jason takes some rhythmic breaths and closes his eyes. Gertrude walks Jason through some simple breathing and relaxing exercises that eventually lead to Jason slipping into a deep state of relaxation.

“I want you to imagine you’re in a room, Jason. This room can be any room you want to create to be. It can have walls or no walls. Ceiling or no ceiling. It is whatever you create it to be in your mind.”

Jason sees a bright tunnel in front of him as he begins to tune out Gertrude’s instructions.

“One,” he hears a voice say through the tunnel.

Jason can feel the ball Gertrude placed in his hand begin to slip out of his hand.

He runs frantically into the tunnel and is consumed by the light. He feels his body merge into the light and then hears the voice again.

“When you awaken in the next second, once the ball hits the ground and awakens you back to consciousness, she’s going to ask you questions about what you experienced while you were here. It’s important that you don’t mention this experience.” The voice says to Jason in a way that makes him feel at peace.

“What am I to tell her instead?” Jason asks.

“Tell her about the room you created.”

“But I don’t even remember the room I created.” Jason searches for any memories about the room he created and becomes frustrated.

“It’s okay to be frustrated, Jason. When you awaken, you will regain your memory of the room you created. It’s a magnificent room. Your imagination is exceptional.”

“So, what is the purpose of this? Are you part of what she is looking for?” Jason suddenly has a feeling in his awareness that Gertrude might not be as good intentioned as she seems. “You’re her husband?”

“No.” The voice remarks with a flat response. “I am a gatekeeper.”

“A gatekeeper to what? The information sequenced in my DNA?”

“No.”

“Then what?”

“The next gatekeeper.”

Jason remains silent as he ponders the gatekeeper to a gatekeeper concept.

“And after that gatekeeper?” Jason asks.

“I do not know, Jason. I only know my function.”

There’s silence for what seems like eternity.

“Two.” The gatekeeper says.

“What are you counting?” Jason says in a confused manner. He’s starting to feel a pressure building around him.

“The ball will slip from your hand in one more second, and you will be awakened. It is very important that you listen to me carefully and remember as much detail as possible.”

“I’m all ears!”

“Tomorrow, you will be in a car. There will be a car that you pull up next to at a stop light. There will be a woman who looks like this driving the car.” A 3D image of a blonde woman with a large nose and bob hairstyle displays in front of Jason.

“Now, I know this is some weird dream. Nobody drives a car anymore.” Jason thinks to himself. “She’s not really my type,” Jason says to the gatekeeper.

“She will be singing a song, Jason. I need you to remember as many words of that song that she sings.”

“I’m not much of a music guy, gatekeeper.”

“You will remember what you remember, Jason. Later that day, you will be back here in a meditation. Tell me all that you remember, and I will send you to the next gatekeeper.”

“What if I don’t remember anything?” Jason says.

“That would be rather unfortunate, Jason. But I don’t think you have much to worry about. I have faith in you.”

There’s a moment of silence as Jason ponders how a voice inside is head just told him that he has faith in him.

“Three…”

#

Jason sits up abruptly in his chair, startled by the sound of the ball hitting the floor! He’s breathing heavily. Gertrude places her hand on his hand.

“Are you okay?” She asks softly.

“That was weird, Mrs. Hammenstel.” Jason says in a broken chain of words, trying to catch his breath.

She hands him a small glass of water. He takes a big gulp and quickly downs the entire glass before he notices it has an odd taste to it. He looks at Gertrude who smiles softly at him as his vision blurs for a brief moment. He begins to feel a bit dizzy and tries to speak. But his mouth won’t move, and he can’t make a sound. He falls back into his chair and collapses.

Jason hears someone whispering his name softly, but he can’t see anything or feel anything. He tries to open his eyes, but everything remains dark. He can sense there is someone surrounding him from all sides but above where there appears to be a tiny pin prick of light so far away that it just appears like a speck of dust above his head.

He pushes himself up towards the speck and launches himself at what seems like a speed faster than the speed of light. Suddenly, he bursts into the spec and is surrounded by light. He awakens on the same chair he was on just moments earlier where he drank the poison Gertrude had handed him.

“Are you okay?” She asks startled. She reaches for a glass of water, and Jason quickly pushes himself out of the chair and kicks it out of her hand.

Startled, she recoils from him. “Jason, it’s me, Gertrude.”

Jason glares back at her. “I’m your friend, Jason!”

Jason heads towards the door of Gertrude’s office and reaches for the door handle.

“What happened, Jason?”

He pauses with his hand on the door as he hears a voice inside his head tell him to go back and sit in the chair and listen now that he knows the truth about Gertrude. He sighs and lets go of the door knob. Gertrude watches closely as he sits back in the chair.

“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks, Mrs. Hammenstel.”

“I can only imagine, Jason. I know this must be a lot for you to digest.”

“Are you sure your guys can’t get the encryption key to work?”

Gertrude explains to Jason how they continue to work on decrypting the information in his DNA and that these exercises are for helping him with the voices in his head and not about the messages in his DNA.

“I think of you like a son. This work is for you. I want to help you with the impact this is having on your mental health. I know you are struggling with all of this…”

“I’m struggling with hearing voices inside my head, Mrs. Hammenstel. How is this going to work? How is any of this going to help me? Shouldn’t I be in a padded cell? Shouldn’t I be on medication? I don’t even know what’s real and what’s not real anymore! I don’t even know if this is real!”

“I understand there’s a lot we don’t know. I understand there’s a lot you’re trying to work through and so much you can’t wrap your head around. This is where I can help you.” Gertrude leans towards Jason and touches the top of his hand. “And you should absolutely NOT be on medication, Jason. And it’s very important you don’t seek traditional mental health and medication.”

Jason looks at her with disappointment.

“The forces you are up against are powerful beyond belief. Your friend Jessica is lucky to be alive.”

“I’d like to go see her tomorrow.”

“She’s not awake yet, Jason.”

“I know. I just want to see her.”

“Okay, we can arrange that.”

“I want to go by myself. I know you think those goons are going to come after me, but I called Detective Gomez. She’s going to take me.”

Gertrude pauses for a few seconds while she sorts through what Jason has just told her, having ignored her directions to not contact anyone; including Detective Gomez. “Jason, I’m a little concerned that you aren’t taking me very serious. Your life is at stake here.”

“If these guys are as powerful as you say they are, then they could just come barging through that door and kill me right now. Or they could have killed me when I was younger.”

Gertrude shakes her head as Jason points out the various holes he finds in her conspiracy theories she’s been sharing with him over the last couple of days.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Mrs. Hammenstel, but I’m thinking either these guys aren’t as powerful as you think…” He pauses as he gets out of the chair again and walks towards the office door. “Or I’m a lot more valuable alive than I am dead. Which means, it’s not just about the DNA.”

As Jason walks out the door and down the hall towards the front door, he hears a voice inside his head, “Good job!” He smiles.

#

Jason is sitting in his car as it drives him to the hospital where Jessica lies in a coma. As the car pulls up to a stoplight, he hears someone singing at the top of her lungs in the car next to him. He looks to his left and sees a young woman, exactly as was displayed to him during his hypnosis the prior day. She has her hands on a steering wheel and looks over at Jason and continues to sing the song as Jason’s car starts to drive forward with the green light.

Jason tries to get his car to stop, but there is nothing he can do to control his car. He hopes that the next stoplight will turn red for him so that he can hear more of the song. He tries to look back towards the car to see if he can see where the young woman is. Soon, he realizes that he’s not going to see or hear the young woman again, but he can’t remember anything the woman was singing.

Frustrated, his car arrives at the stoplight to turn into the hospital. Within a few seconds, the young woman driving the old car pulls up next to him again. She looks over at him while singing as loud as she can. He watches her and listens to her with 100% of his awareness, being sure to tuck away as much of the lyrics and melody as possible. The light turns green for the woman’s car, and she waves at him as she drives away and Jason looks on longingly.

As his car pulls up to the drop off zone, Jason continues to hum and mumble the song out loud, hoping to retain as much as he can for his next visit with the gatekeeper. Jessica’s parents (Mark and Martha) are waiting for him at the hospital and are glad to see him. He hugs both of them, and they check-in with the front desk.

The three of them walk into Jessica’s room where the robot nurse scans their badges and confirms their facial recognition with the International Legal Compliance Records. Jessica’s mom explains to Jason that she hasn’t seen her respond to anything. She’s tried every sound and smell she can think of, but Jessica doesn’t respond to anything.

Jessica’s father fights back tears as he puts his right arm around Jason and brings him in tight. “I know you and Jessica were just friends, but I also know you were her best friend.”

Jason looks at Mark and can see the pain on his face. Jason hears a voice inside his head, “She will listen to you.”

“She will hear me, Mr. Chance.” Jason says with confidence as he looks Mark in the eyes and sees his pain disappear.

Jason walks over to Jessica’s right side and holds her hand. He leans in and whispers in her ear, “Jessica, I know you can hear me.” He pulls back as he feels her hand move in his.

“Look!” Jason turns to Mark and Martha in amazement, but they look confused. “I felt her hand twitch in mine!”

“Do it again, Jason. Please!” Martha pleads with him.

This time, Jason doesn’t hold her hand so that Jessica’s parents can see. He whispers in her ear again, “Jessica, I know you can hear me.” Jessica’s hand does not move.

“It might have just been a reflex or a timely twitch,” Mark explains.

Jason’s face drops from excitement to disappointment immediately, and Martha joins him in disappointment as they both look at Jessica lying in a coma. Jason makes a few more attempts, each with the same non-result.

The mood in the room slowly shifts down as it becomes clear that Jason’s presence isn’t making a difference for Jessica. Jason slowly walks towards the door with his head down. He hasn’t heard a voice inside his head since entering the hospital. Suddenly, he’s inspired, thinking the hypnosis gatekeeper was trying to send him a message about how to help Jessica! He turns around and begins to sing the song he heard the young woman singing in her car:

All I can say is

After today this

Love goes away with

One more goodbye kiss

Jessica’s parents look stunned as they listen to Jason’s terrible singing. They look at each other in astonishment. Then, in hope, they look at Jessica with an enormous mutual smile… Nothing.

They look back at Jason who flaps his hands at his side in disappointment.

“It was worth a shot, Jason. It’s a beautiful song.” Martha says.

“I’m sorry I let you down, Mr. & Mrs. Chance.” Jason says before leaving the room.

Mark catches up to Jason in the hallway and stops him. “Jason, we really don’t want you to think this is your fault. There’s nothing you could have done if you were there anyway. The police said these were very bad men who did this. Please don’t feel like you’ve let us down then or now. You’re a wonderful young man, and we know our daughter had nothing but the utmost respect for you.”

Jason starts to cry and hugs Mark who hugs him back.

#

“I want you to imagine you’re in a room, Jason. This room can be any room you want to create to be. It can have walls or no walls. Ceiling or no ceiling. It is whatever you create it to be in your mind.” Gertrude leads Jason into another hypnosis.

“One,” Jason hears the gatekeeper.

“I remembered the lyrics, but they didn’t do me any good,” Jason explains to the gatekeeper.

The gatekeeper asks Jason to recite the lyrics, and he sings them as he did in Jessica’s hospital room. “They didn’t do me any good though. Jessica is still in a coma.”

The gatekeeper has a new voice. “You have much to learn, Jason. Why would you think these lyrics have anything to do with your friend?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what any of this has to do with anything. I honestly feel like I’m going insane. You know, when I’m in the real world, I hear voices. Not voices like you though. They seem to just be me but with difference voices.”

“I’ll let you know something very important now so you can make a choice for yourself, Jason. But I can only let you know if you choose to know.”

“I’m starting to question whether I know anything at all, gatekeeper. So, if you want to bestow some great wisdom upon me, I’m all ears.”

“This isn’t wisdom, Jason, but it is something you need to choose for yourself.”

“Okay, choice-bot, hit me with it!”

The gatekeeper is silent.

“Hello?” Jason keeps looking around for something visual, but there is nothing but darkness all around him.

“This has nothing to do with you, Jason. You are not a chosen one. You are not going to save the world. You won’t have any superpowers. You won’t win any great battle or become some great hero. You won’t even be able to save your best friend from dying.” The gatekeeper delivers in a dry tone. “Which is happening at this very moment, Jason. Your best friend is dying, and there is nothing you can do about it.”

Jason is filled with rage at the gatekeeper and this hypnosis. He can feel his heart racing as he tries to escape the hypnosis. He remembers he’s holding the ball in his hand, so he thinks of dropping the ball and imagines the ball hitting the ground.

There’s a sudden thud on the ground! Jason springs out of his chair and runs out of Gertrude’s office yelling, “I’ll be back! I need to check on Jessica!”

Jason arrives at the hospital where Jessica’s mom is waiting for him. “What’s going on, Jason? What’s wrong? You sounded to worried over the phone.”

“Is Jessica okay? Is she still alive?”

Martha looks concerned as she can see the panic on Jason’s face.

“She’s fine, Jason.” Martha pauses. “Well, she’s as fine as she can be in a coma.” She stops to catch her own emotions. “And she’s still alive. Thank God.”

“Can I see her?”

“Jason, I’m not sure that’s a good idea right now. I don’t feel like you’re in the right state of mind to see her. You’ve got me a little worried for you right now.”

Jason’s breathing has switched into full panic mode. “I really need to see her. I just need to know she’s okay, right now, at this very moment!”

“She’s okay, Jason. I was just in her room 10 minutes ago. I’ve been with her all morning. She’s fine, son.” Martha hugs Jason in an attempt to calm him down.

Jason breaks down crying, “I just want her to be okay. I’m so sorry, Mrs. Chance! I’m so sorry for making your worried. I’m not doing well.”

“I understand, Jason. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you as well. I know you love my daughter, and I know she loved you too. She would always compare any boy she’d go on a date with to you. Even though you were just friends, she would always compare them to you. No one ever made it to the second date. You’re such a great young man, Jason.”

“Okay. Okay.” Jason panic begins to subside. He pulls away from Martha and starts to walk away. “Okay. Jessica is okay. You said Jessica is okay, right? She’s Okay?”

“Yes, my dear. Jessica is okay.”

#

“I want you to imagine you’re in a room, Jason. This room can be any room you want to create to be. It can have walls or no walls. Ceiling or no ceiling. It is whatever you create it to be in your mind.”

“One.”

“You’re full of shit, gatekeeper!” Jason yells. “I don’t even think you are real. You’re just inside my head!”

The gatekeeper responds, “You are so certain, are you?”

“I went to the hospital, and I saw that Jessica was just fine!”

“You didn’t see her, Jason.”

“You don’t know what’s real because you can’t be honest with yourself, Jason. If you can’t be honest with yourself, of course, you won’t know what’s real.”

“Jessica is okay! You’re just some voice of paranoia inside my head!”

“You don’t know Jessica is okay. Someone told you Jessica is okay, and you believed it. That’s how you’ve spent your entire life, Jason. You’re entire life has been spent believing what someone else has told you. Even when you think you are thinking for yourself, you’re just searching for validation from someone else for a thought you didn’t even truly have yourself. Your very own thoughts are just what’s been programmed into your brain for you to output at a given time under given circumstances.”

“So, I’m programmed to think you’re a jerk?”

“Yes.”

“Why do you waste your time on me then? I’m not a hero! I’m not going to save the world! Why waste your time on such a meaningless robot?”

The gatekeeper is silent.

“You’re just a voice…”

The gatekeeper interrupts, “Because that is my purpose.”

Jason pauses for a moment to digest what the gatekeeper has told him… He starts to cry, “I’m a nobody. I’m nothing. And you’re just wasting your time on me because that’s your purpose?”

“No, Jason. You are not a nobody. You are not nothing. And I am not wasting my time on you. You are my everything. You mean everything to me. You are everything to me. My entire existence is dependent on you.”

“But you said all of this had nothing to do with me. You said I couldn’t save Jessica. Who happens to be alive, by the way.”

“Yes, Jason. The greater purpose has nothing to do with you. You won’t be the hero in this story. You won’t save the girl in this story. None of that means what you made it mean. You don’t mean nothing.”

Jason begins to dry his tears from his eyes.

“You are my purpose, Jason. You are everything to me.”

“And that’s supposed to comfort me? I’m supposed to feel great because some voice inside my head tells me that I’m its everything?” Jason screams in an almost state of madness.

“You sound ready.”

“Ready for what, gatekeeper?”

“Ready for validation.”

In complete confusion, Jason answers question after question about his past and his upbringing. His parents had impressed upon him to learn his genealogy as far back as he could. He had his entire family tree engrained in his memory going back to the 1600s. The gatekeeper asks about the books he read in school, the animals he owned growing up, and so much more.

Finally, the gatekeeper is quiet.

“Hello?” Jason again looks around for any visual signs of the gatekeeper.

The gatekeeper has a new voice, “I’ll see you next time, Jason.”

The Royal Wedding

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

No greater vows had ever been spoken before this day. Some say no greater vows will ever be spoken. Vows so great, this writing dare not contain them! The vows just witnessed by hundreds from all walks of life are so powerful, so moving; of such divine inspiration, that as Moses completes his vows a single tear drops from his left eye! As he gazes upon the face of his soon to be wife, tears stream down her face as she has never heard such beautiful words, nay… poetry, nay… music, in her entire life as princess.

But it’s Moses’ single tear that moves her to break down sobbing. This rugged man, a true man’s man, endowed as much in spirit as physical prowess and mental acuity, has shown her why she fell in love with him in the first place. Not only has she chosen the most handsome, courageous man she has ever known, he’s a poetic master and genuine gentleman. She has chosen wisely! She gathers her composure as she looks longingly into his magnetic eyes; His own strength being so powerful that he elevates her in spirit to begin her vows.

“Moses,” she begins, “from the first time I saw you, I knew this was true love.” Moses smiles, and her heart briefly stops. A smile that inspires all who gaze upon it to enjoy their own lives that much more. A smile that lifts up all who gaze upon it to a higher plane of existence. A smile that she remembers from that fateful day she first gazed upon her now to be husband.

She continues, “I believe it was shortly after our special forces had made their way through your surrounding defense line. While you had directed your men and orchestrated a masterful siege insurgency of this beautiful city, we thought for sure that our special forces had the upper hand against you. It was our two finest remaining special forces against one, with no immediate escape available to you.”

She looks down and wipes the tears from her eyes before continuing. “I have never seen such beautiful sword wielding in my entire life. Watching our two finest warriors attempt an assault on you was like watching my young nephew swing his club wildly in training. It was as if, for a moment, all of time stood still except you. You carved through our two finest warriors like a banquet feast. The way you danced effortlessly around both of our soon fallen…”

She pauses to catch her breath. “Much like the breath was taken from my cousins that day, I am left breathless just looking upon you. As I watched you from on high, atop this fortress wall, your sword and armor glistening with the blood of my fallen cousins, I knew this was a special moment. I had never seen anything of such beauty.”

She looks over at each of the men standing with Moses in the bridegroom’s party. “I knew at that moment as I stared down at you and Nun, who arrived just as you finished off the last of our special forces…” She looks back to Moses, “I knew that I must give myself to you. I knew that I must become your wife. For what would be my life, if it is not to be honored for eternity as your wife? I turned to my father and asked him to please call off the next wave of soldiers so that our peoples can make peace and you and I may join ourselves together as one, witnessed by both our great nations.”

While seemingly impossible, Moses smiles an even bigger, more radiant smile than ever before. It is said that some where blinded for this brief moment and the glean was seen throughout the whole land of Cush. The princess continues, “I know that at times I have not always seen eye to eye with your brother and sister.” She turns to face Moses’ sister standing behind her as her bridesmaid, “But I promise to always love and support you and your family.”

Turning to all the witnesses, “I promise on my father’s name that you will always be the lord of my heart and the guardian of my soul. Just as I admired you from my tower on high, my heart is solely devoted to you and only you for all eternity!”

Cheering erupts from the princess’ side of the wedding witnesses. The priest completes the ceremony, and Moses and his princess walk down the aisle to cheers from both sides and mandrake flowers being thrown at them from every direction.

#

The reception is a boisterous, jovial event. A wedding reception unlike any seen before! Moses and Tharbis make their way from family to family, receiving praise for their matrimony and thanking their family members who attended from all the lands, near and far. Moses’ relatives trekked from lands so far, they were not even on maps of the day.

Moses embraces his uncle Izhar who is enthusiastic to introduce him to his newborn son, Nepheg. Holding Nepheg in his arms, Izhar hands him over the Moses. “Say hello to your cousin, Moses.”

“He is to become a handsome young man, my dear uncle.” Moses smiles as he embraces his newborn cousin. “Where is Korah?”

Izhar calls to Korah who comes running over to Moses and reaches as high as he can to give Moses a big hug around his waist. “Cousin, Moses, when I grow up, I want to be just like you and conquer the great nations and lead our people and marry a beautiful princes.”

“Now, Korah, let the new bridegroom have his space and allow him to continue on to meeting with other families,” Izhar says as he pulls Korah away from Moses.

Moses gently hands Nepheg back to Izhar and kneels down to eye level with young Korah. He holds Korah’s head in his hands as if Korah is his own son. Speaking to him, he says lovingly yet firmly, “My dear cousin, I am thankful that you look up to me, and I admire your enthusiasm. But you must promise me that you will follow after your father. Learn all the ways of his many successful businesses. My life is not the life for you. Promise me that you will follow after your father and not chose my path.”

Korah looks down, dejected.

Moses gently lifts his cousins chin, “Korah, I love you dearly. I love your father dearly. Promise me you will follow after your father.”

Korah smiles, “I love you too, Moses. I promise I’ll be the most successful businessman you’ll ever know.”

“Of that, I have no doubt, young man!” Moses says as he stands back up to face Izhar.

“Thank you, nephew. Thank you very much for helping set him straight.” Izhar says to Moses with a big smile.

“We are family for all generations, each with our lot. Shalom!” Moses cheers!

As if everyone attending had focused entirely on the words of Moses and the music had stopped so that everyone could hear, “Shalom!” shouted the party!

Onward to Hebron, then Shedur, then Zuar, Gideoni, Deuel, Enam, and the rest of the tribes and their descendants. Moses and Tharbis make their way through Tharbis’ family as well. The joy of each family is felt with every embrace.

Moses embraces his father who kisses him. “I wish she had sent a representative to see this day, father.” Moses says quietly in his father’s ear.

“Don’t be a child, Moses,” Amram says to Moses as he embraces him with all the love of a just and righteous father. “You know that is not possible. Enjoy this blessed day and pay no heed to what troubles your mind.” He steps back from Moses and gives him a stern look. “I saw you speaking with the piece of shih’et son of Jachin. I dare not mention his name, lest I am shih’et myself.”

“Yes, father, I was speaking with…” Moses starts.

“Don’t say it, son. Don’t mention the son of Jachin!”

Moses smiles and places his hands on both of Amram’s shoulders, “I love you father. I will honor your wishes, but you must allow me to honor Jachin and his sons.”

Amram nods and sends Moses off to visit with the rest of the attendees of his wedding. It is as if all the nations of earth have gathered for this occasion. The festivities continue through the night and to dawn. A celebration of unity unlike any seen before.

#

As the sun begins to rise, Moses and an exhausted Tharbis stand at the top of the same tower where she had fallen deeply in love with Moses. They look longingly into each others’ eyes and are about to kiss just as there’s a commotion.

“Moses! Moses!” a messenger shouts from the base of the tower.

“What is it, young man?”

“Moses, you are needed immediately. We have received unnerving word from home! Please come immediately!”

Moses kisses Tharbis and holds her face with his palms, “My beautiful bride, I assure you that I will return in one degree of a sundial.”

Moses makes his way down the tower steps and sees a great commotion with his top advisers waiting for him. “What is this commotion?” Moses demands.

“Sir, several upper towns have been seized by a growing band of marauders and two messengers have confirmed marauders speaking Qis is next, within the new moon.”

Moses pauses for a moment as all his advisers hinge on his words… “Let Tzav send word to Seqenenre that I am returning from Cush. Call half the commanders to service immediately. The other half shall remain here to assist my wife and her family with whatever tasks her nation requires.”

The advisers head off, each knowing what they are to do. Moses holds back young Nun. “You are not to come with me, Nun.”

“These thieves are going after our homes!” Nun exclaims defiantly.

“And who are these thieves, my young friend? I know them well, but do you?” Moses replies. “Stay here with your wife and tend to my bride and the Cushite people. Setup the networks we have discussed. I will send you a messenger upon completion of my mission, Tsephon. This is not an adventure you can take part in, and you cannot convince me otherwise. I need your brains and your youthful energy here.”

The veins along Nun’s jaw bulge as he clenches his jaw, “I understand,” he growls.

“You are my most trusted adviser, Nun.” Moses smiles and lightly smacks Nun’s face, “As beloved to me as Aaron or Mariam.”

Moses returns to the tower to face Tharbis. His face turned down, Moses approaches his new bride who embraces him with all her love. She watches as Moses’ troops are assembling outside her fortress.

“I am truly sorry for the timing. I will return, my dear,” Moses says with tears welling in his eyes.

Tharbis hands Moses a gold ring matching a bracelet she is wearing. “I believe your God is calling you for your glorious destiny, my love. You will forever have my support and all of my love. My heart will be with you everywhere you journey.”

“This is a simple mission, my dear Tharbis. I will wipe out these marauders and return within a phase of the moon.” He hands her a rolled papyrus. “I have written you a poem that you mustn’t read until I have left your land. I am also leaving behind my most trusted adviser, Nun, along with half my men to help you and your nation rebuild.”

With those words, Moses kisses Tharbis and they embrace. “You must go, Moses,” Tharbis says as she pulls back from his loving embrace. He begins to walk away, holding her hand until his arm is outstretched still. As their fingertips slip passed each other the heavy sound of tens of thousands of soldiers marching begins to shake the walls of the tower.


What’s Your Emergency

This is a writing exercise. My writing prompt was: A senior with Alzheimer’s reporting a crime to the police.

“What’s my emergency?” she asked. It really wasn’t MY emergency. I couldn’t care less if my neighbor was being murdered or if she was ringing her cat’s neck, but the noise was keeping me up and I had an important meeting in the morning with the President

I’m not sure why this lady on the other phone is asking me so many questions. I’m really not even sure why she called me. It’s probably because of that screeching cat in the neighbors house. I told her I’ll go take a closer look to see if I can figure out what’s going on. For some reason, she doesn’t want me to do that. I can understand that. Not everyone is as fearless as a war hero like me.

Some have accused me of losing my mind, but I haven’t lost a step. I’m as sharp as the bayonet on the end of my rifle. I tell you, trench warfare will change you. It changed me, but this lady on the phone doesn’t want to hear about that right now. She’s only interested in that damn cat!

Fine, you want to know about the cat! I’ll find out about the cat. Still, she insists that I shouldn’t go check on the cat. I remember having a cat when I was a child. Or was Tiger my sister’s cat? I’m more of a dog person. I don’t know why this lady on the phone is asking me about a cat when she knows I’m a dog person. Everyone knows I’m a dog person.

I knew someone who had a tiger when I was growing up. It tried to attack my dog once. Cold blooded killer were it not for my bravery! See that cat lady! I’ve been brave my whole life! Hey, someone finally made the neighbor’s cat shut up. Finally, I can go back to sleep. Good night lady on the phone. Click.

The Man from Saniti

Behold the Man from Saniti is walking his beast through the land of fools, the Valley of the Great Wind

when he stumbles upon the beast remnants of a local villager who has sinned

So the man from Saniti uses his tools

to take the sin back to his mountain and save the fools

Day after day, week after week, year after year

fools of the Valley of the Great Wind praise the one who makes remnants disappear

One day one Tool of a Fool says to the Other Fool

“The man from Saniti should rule

Just look at all these great deeds he has done for us with his tool”

The Other Fool tells all the other fools that the Man from Saniti should be anointed

“Just look at the work he has performed, surely we won’t be disappointed”

So, the fools anoint the Man from Saniti to enforce the laws of the Valley of Great Wind

One day the man from Saniti steps in a fool’s sin and catches a fool in the act

“By what measure of punishment shall I give you based upon this fact?”

“You are just and fair, I shall clean your boot.”

“You have no tool, you fool, your point is moot.”

“Surely, you have a just punishment. After all, you are the arbiter of truth.”

“What you lack in tools, your tongue makes up for.”

So, the fools lick the man’s boot upon every violation

But a day arose the boots were so clean, the Man from Saniti issues a citation

“What is this citation? Can I not lick your boot any longer?” asks the fool

To which the Man from Saniti says, “There is much to cleanup. I need a bigger tool.”

The fools were in awe of the great wisdom of the Man from Saniti

“As sure as the day is long, we fools shall pay double, even triple your citation!”

Then one day a Great Hot Wind blew down from the Mountain of Saniti through the Valley of the Great Wind

There was a foul odor, and the fools thought for sure it was because they had sinned

“We must ask the wise Man from the Mountain of Saniti what to do!”

So the fools sent a pool of fools to meet with the Man of Saniti.

“I know just the solution for all this pollution!”

The fools rejoiced and sang praise. “Praise be to the Man of Saniti?”

“What is your solution, wise Man of Saniti?”

“My sister, Tirana can cleanup your mess.”

“But she wears no boots, wise Man of Saniti. How shall this be done?”

“She will provide you each with a list of tithing and restraint”

At that very moment one of the tool fools did faint

“Look, the foul odor has made him faint!”

“Praise be to Tirana! Praise be to Saniti!”

The fools sat with Tirana as she developed her plan

One cow for one man

No more, no less

Worried and troubled, the fools began to stress

Men of Saniti, numbering in hundreds, walked in at Tirana’s bequest

The Man of Saniti inquires “What is the worry, fools?”

The Man from Saniti’s boots were dirty

The pool of fools numbered only in thirty

“There is no worry, O wise Man from Saniti. Tirana is wise and just!”

“Praise be to my sister, Tirana?”

“Yes, heaps of praise be to sister Tirana!”

The fools return home to the Valley of the Great Wind

Joyful and gleefully, they tell the other fools of the great plan from Tirana

“Praise be to sister Tirana!”

“Praise be to the Men of Saniti!”

Comedy Sci-fi idea: Parallel Universe Exporting Idiots

Sci-fi doesn’t always have to be action and excitement. An idea I’m kicking around is writing a piece where a parallel universe has discovered how to send people to our universe, so they decided that the best thing for their society is to export all of the people incapable of reasoning and rational thought to our universe. Hence, our humanity’s seemingly downward trajectory in terms of intelligence over the last couple of decades.

The Savior

Ned Lysander is a dangerous man!

That thought suddenly pops into Jason’s mind while he’s sitting in his biology lecture hall. His heart starts racing and palms are sweating. Who is Ned Lysander?

Class ends, and Jason rushes out of the lecture hall to get fresh air. He’s in a virtual panic from what just happened in the lecture hall. A sudden rush of thoughts about topics and people he had never heard of before. It was like he was day dreaming… Only, this seems real.

“You okay?” Jessica asks Jason. “Need me to call someone?”

Finally starting to catch his breath, Jason explains to Jessica that everything is just fine. Another student is walking by and hands both of them a religious pamphlet: Jesus Saves. He was just stressing about the upcoming finals. Jessica offers to walk with Jason back to his dorm, and he accepts her offer.

“Have you ever heard of Ned Lysander?” Jason is curious to find out who this person was who just popped into his head during the lecture.

“You mean the guy that started that science conference Ned Notes?”

Jason had seen the Ned Notes videos online before. It’s always the top scientists, authors, and artists discussing important political, philosophical, social, or psychological topics. One of his favorite best-selling authors had just given a presentation a few weeks back.

“You know, I never really put two and two together on that. Ya, that’s the guy!”

#

Jason spends the entire evening researching Ned Lysander online. “There’s not a single negative thing anywhere about this guy.” Jason is puzzled. “Something’s fishy. There must be something about him”. Jason decides to call it a night and go to sleep.

Jason slips into a deep sleep, and then his brain kicks into overdrive. His dreams are vivid and more like memories than dreams. Visions of huge scientific papers are rolling through his dreams like he’s scanning through an old microfiche. Then everything stops and all Jason can hear in his mind is “Ned Notes are carefully orchestrated to fulfill on a specific agenda for creating mass compliance within the intellectual community”. It repeats over and over in his mind until he wakes up with one final thought. “Find Gertrude Hammenstel”. Who is Gertrude Hammenstel?

Jason is half awake as he pulls up his computer and searches for Gertrude Hammenstel. Nothing. It’s like she doesn’t exist. He begins to wonder if perhaps the stress of finals is getting the best of him. He goes back to bed.

#

There’s a knock on Jason’s dorm room door. He slowly gets up and answers. It’s a woman he’s never seen before, but she looks so familiar. “You wouldn’t happen to be Gertrude Hammenstel, are you?” Jason asks half asleep.

“No. I’m an investigator with campus police. Detective Gomez. Jessica Sands was assaulted last night, and we received information that she was last seen with you yesterday afternoon after you were acting erratic during a lecture.”

Jason feels like he’s really losing his mind now. Could he have blacked out and done something to Jessica and not even remembered it?

“Is she okay?”

“We don’t know yet. Her vitals are stable, but she’s unconscious.”

“Uh… She walked me to my dorm yesterday after class. That was the last I saw of her.”

Looking around Jason’s dorm, it’s what a detective would envision is a typical dorm room for a well-organized biology major. Books on top of books and the obligatory religious pamphlet on top of his dresser: Jesus Saves. “What direction did she go when she left your dorm?”

“Well, she didn’t come into my dorm. She just walked me to the front of the building. I think she might have headed back in the direction of campus. I didn’t really think much about it at the time.”

The investigator sizes up Jason as a possible suspect in the assault on Jessica. He’s too much of a wimp to be a threat to Jessica whose parents let her know had a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She smiles at him. “Gertrude Hammenstel was an adjunct professor here almost 20 years ago. I had her for a biology class. Her husband died about the same time, and I think that was the last class she ever taught. Great teacher and lovely couple. He was a genetic engineer over at X Labs. One of the founders.”

Jason tries to hold back the look of shock from his face, but it doesn’t require a police investigator to know something was amiss. The investigator asks Jason a few more questions about Jessica and any possible boyfriends or people who might not like her. She leaves him a card and tells him to call her if he remembers anything.

#

Jason goes to the school library and looks up old school papers from 20 years ago. He searches everything on the computers and can’t find anything.

‘Try the microfiche,” he suddenly thinks.

The librarian is a petite older woman with a feisty attitude when Jason asks her for a microfiche machine and old school newspapers. “No one has used microfiche for a decade, young man. Do you want some help?”

Jason refuses her help, and the librarian leaves Jason to himself.

Jason spends hours pouring through slide after slide. He’s getting exhausted listening to the voices inside his head telling him stories about Ned Lysander’s arrangement with the government to create mass market brainwashing protocols and propaganda. He feels a hand on his shoulder, and he nearly jumps out of his chair.

Standing in front of him is the librarian holding a microfiche slide. “I believe this is the one you are looking for.” She extends the slide towards Jason.

Jason isn’t sure what to make of it. “Are you Gertrude?” he asks as he takes the slide from the woman. The woman nods.

Jason examines the microfiche but nothing is standing out. Suddenly, a sequence of numbers enter his mind. He goes through the microfiche using the number sequence as a guide for finding words on each of the images. The message isn’t making any sense to Jason.

“It’s his private key,” Gertrude says to Jason. “Let’s go to my lab.”

#

Gertrude takes Jason back to her lab and explains to him along the way that her husband was a genetic engineer who discovered an agreement between Ned Lysander and the US government to develop Ned Notes into a program that appears to spread brilliant ideas of science, art, society, and politics but is actually a front for disseminating information to help the government subconsciously control intellectuals around the globe.

The program has become so massively successful over the years that scientific research is funded based upon how closely you are tied to Ned Lysander. In order to get close to Ned, you must have performed some sort of compelling research that is reviewed by the Ned Notes board. Then you are selected to participate in the program as a presenter.

“That’s where the magic happens, Jason. Have you ever noticed how nearly ever single presenter for Ned Notes has the exact same presentation style and intonation?”

She was right. Everyone presents in the same way.

“That’s not just because they have a format, Jason. It’s not just because that’s the best way to present. It’s because these intellectuals are being manipulated using the best psychological techniques ever discovered. Often times, they are too smart for their own good. They are unwittingly brainwashed over time into creating a message of compliance for the masses. Compliance that allows the government to easily manage and control society.

You notice how there always appears to be this synergy of ideas in science and news? That’s not because of an actual synergy. It’s fabricated! Newspapers and television news are reporting the same thing because that’s what they are told to report. There is tremendous financial incentive to be in compliance, Jason. Research grants and government funding all require compliance, and if you’re not in compliance you won’t get hired and you won’t get funded. You get blacklisted.

It’s not just in science. It’s in the arts: music, paintings, acting, writing, producing. Artists that comply the most, get the work because they are hired by others in the compliance alliance. That compliance alliance is what drives the narratives that the masses are influenced by. The machine that drives the compliance is Ned Notes.”

Jason is following every single thing Gertrude is explaining, “But what do I have to do with it?”

“When Ned found out that my husband figured out the plan, Ned had my husband killed and ensured that all of the data was destroyed along with him. But I think my husband embedded the data into your DNA. and that private key you just found is to unlock the encrypted data within your DNA.”

Gertrude has Jason swab his cheek, give her a hair sample, and also some blood.

“Now, we wait until the sequencing is completed.” Gertrude lets out a sigh as she’s so exhausted.

There’s a knock at the door that startles them both. Gertrude is not expecting any visitors. With what Gertrude and Jason just discovered, they are paranoid. Gertrude looks through the peephole in the front door and sees two large men standing at the door. She motions to Jason to go hide downstairs.

Then Jason hears a familiar voice outside the house. “Can I help you two?”

“Ma’am, we’re just spreading the word of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

It’s the investigator who visited Jason’s dorm room. She had been following Jason after he left the library with Gertrude. “Sure you are.” Gomez is suspicious. “Do you have pamphlets? I’m quite interested in the teachings of Jesus.”

One of the men starts reaching his left glove covered hand towards his inside suit pocket.

To signal that she’s no pushover, Detective Gomez places her hand on her pistol. “Let’s do that extra slow now, shall we.” She can see the bulge of a shoulder holster on both men. Her heart is racing as she looks up both men and thinks to herself that these two definitely aren’t here to talk about Jesus.

“Yes, ma’am.” The man slows his movement and reaches into his suite pocket. He slowly pulls out a wrinkled pamphlet with a picture of Jesus on it. He hands it to Detective Gomez and the two men step down off the porch while Gomez watches their every move.

After they are out of sight, she looks down at the wrinkled pamphlet with Jesus on the back cover and flips it over. Her heart starts racing as she realizes that Jason is in some serious trouble: Jesus Saves.

The Loving Voyager

“Will you marry me?”

Tears start falling from Jennifer’s face as she looks at her boyfriend bending down on one knee in front of , revealing the most beautiful ring she has ever seen.

“I had it made just for you. You are my rose. So sweet. So resilient. So beautiful. And most important of all, you make me smile with joy every time I look at you or think of you. Please allow me to do the same for you for the rest of our lives. Please allow me to love, honor, and cherish you forever.”

Jared lifts the ring higher. It’s a beautiful pink diamond ring surrounded by green diamonds in the shape of rose pedals with blue diamonds and sapphire going down the band.

“That is the most beautiful ring I have ever seen! Yes! And not just because it’s a beautiful ring.”

Jennifer kisses Jared. “I love kissing my fiance!”

“Jennifer, I know this wasn’t the best timing with your upcoming mission. I don’t want to rush things. We can wait until you get back.”

“I love you to the galactic center and back, Jared! Being with you over the last couple of years has been the best time of my life. I can’t wait to get back so I can make you my husband!”

Bystanders nearby begin clapping and cheering the public display of affection. An elderly lady approaches the couple. “Would you like me to take a picture of this momentous occasion?”

“How sweet.” Jennifer hands her device to the old lady.

“Let me see if I still know how to use one of these. I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re going on a mission. What kind of excitement are you heading into?”

“Well, I’m part of the mission that’s going to Zathustine Major to evacuate and relocate the inhabitants of Mohcia. Have you heard about that project?”

The old lady smiles. “I remember hearing about that awhile back. That is a wonderful thing you are doing to help save all those who live on that planet. You seem like such a wonderful, loving couple. I think it’s great that your kind of love is being shared in this universe to save so many lives.”

Jennifer and Jared go to dinner at their favorite restaurant and discuss Jennifer’s upcoming voyage. Two years to complete the rescue effort of a planet that is slowly dying as its star is becoming a red giant. Approximately nine months in hyperspace, nine months to perform the rescue effort, and nine months back.

“Jen, I know this won’t be an easy two years for you, but it’s such a great thing you are doing for that planet. I only wish I had been chosen to go as well.”

“I know, honey bunny. And I know it’s not going to be an easy two years for you to be without me. I know how much you love me. I love you so much too. I want you to do me a favor. Please record a video for me every single day. Even if it’s just 10 seconds. I want to always be fresh in your mind. And I promise that I will do the same. Now, let’s enjoy this wonderful dinner and the next three days before I leave.”

#

Jared is whistling as he briskly walks down the street from his apartment towards the flower shop to get Jen a farewell bouquet. He looks up at a bird flying effortlessly in the sky. Suddenly, he bumps into something… Someone.

“I’m incredibly sorry, ma’am,” Jared says as he helps the person he bumped into.

“Oh, it’s quite alright. I’m just glad I didn’t walk into the street as I was following that beautiful bird in the sky. Hey, you’re that guy who got engaged two nights ago to that wonderful lady.”

It’s the old lady who took their picture.

“I sure am. I’m so sorry for bumping into you like that though. Are you alright?”

“I’m alright. Where you headed to in such a hurry?”

“I was heading to this flower shop right here. You wouldn’t mind helping me pick some flowers for my fiance’s going away would you?”

“For such a lovely couple, how could I say no?”

Inside the flower shop, Jared is pining over Jennifer to the old lady. Boasting about her intelligence, tenacity, resilience, and toughness.

“Yet, here she is showing such tender love and commitment to life in the universe. She’s pure love.” Jared pauses… “You know, I didn’t even get your name”.

“Rose”

“That’s Jen’s mother’s name. Come to think of it, you look a lot like her.”

“Oh, really? Well, I suppose Jennifer had to get her smarts and good looks from somewhere.”

“Witty, just like her too! So much of you reminds me of her mother. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were her.”

Jared and Rose leave the flower shop.

“You must not live far from here do you?” Jared asks Rose.

“Just over there. Top floor.”

“Wow, you can probably see our place from there. We’re down here.”

“You don’t say.”

“Hey, well… we’re best friends now. Why don’t you come over. It’s Jen’s going away party in about 30 minutes. We’d love to have you over.”

“I suppose I can accommodate that request to attend the going away party for a super hero woman.”

#

Back at Jared’s apartment, the going away party is a huge success. Jennifer is surrounded by her family and closest friends. Everyone wishes her huge success on her mission and head home for the night.

As Rose is walking out the door, Jared holds the door for her. “Are you sure you don’t want me to walk you back to your place, Rose?”

“This old woman can handle herself. I’ve seen much worse than the mean streets of Pasadena. You go spend the night with your hot wife, doing what 30 year old lovers should be doing on a night like this, and I’ll handle walking back to my place. Thank you.”

Jennifer can’t help but get a chuckle from the exchange. “Rose, it was very nice meeting you. While I’m gone, you feel free to check in on my Jared to make sure he’s eating well. He has a tendency to eat junk food while I’m away.”

Jared has to defend himself, “Well, your cooking is just so wonderful that I don’t want to ever eat any other cook’s meals.”

“Oh, c’mon, I bet you cook most of the meals in this household.” Rose winks at Jared.

Jared and Jennifer look at each other and then back to Rose before Jared coyly nods his head.

“Jennifer, you are an amazing woman. I have no doubt you’ll have a great mission and change the lives of so many along your voyage. See you in two years! I’m putting it on my calendar. January 18, 2889.” Rose closes the door after herself.

#

It’s been two weeks since Jennifer left on her mission. Jared is busy about his apartment on a Saturday afternoon, blaring music and cleaning the kitchen. There’s a knock on the door.

“Hi, Rose!”

“How are you doing, Jared? Keeping your spirits up?”

“Yes, it’s a bit more difficult each day, but I keep making my daily videos and sending my love her way.”

“I’m sure she’s going to love seeing those videos when she returns. We doing this?”

“Yes, ma’am! Sailing boat, here we come!”

“Don’t ever call me ma’am again. Okay?”

“Yes m”… Jared jokes as they leave the apartment.

#

It’s been six more months. Jared knows that Jennifer should have already arrived at the planet and is probably already making great progress on the evacuation. Still, he can’t sleep. He starts writing Jennifer a letter when, suddenly, he receives an emergency alert warning on his phone! Looking down at his phone, he clears his eyes: CRITICAL ALERT! Come to Space Force Headquarters IMMEDIATELY.

Jared jumps out of bed and gets his clothes on. He heads down to the elevator and gets into his vehicle, which speeds off to his work. Everyone is there.

“Based upon the observable evidence, it would appear that Zathustine Major has imploded on itself. We have no knowledge about the mission at this time, but we are optimistic that they were able to detect the instability of the star, halt the evacuation, and clear themselves out of harms way in time. We will know in 3 months. Our thoughts are with you and your loved ones.”

Shaken, Jared returns to his apartment and finishes making his daily video for Jennifer, not knowing if it would be the last video he should ever make for her.

#

The next morning there’s a knock on the door. As regularly scheduled and right on time, it’s Rose checking in on Jared. Jared tries to maintain his composure while telling Rose about meeting last night, but he eventually breaks down and starts crying on Rose’s shoulder. Rose embraces him and tell him everything is going to be okay.

“Just keep making those daily videos. She’ll be back. I know it, and you know it! Spirits up, buster!”

“Thank you, Rose. You are a true friend. Jen will definitely appreciate you helping me out when she gets back!”

#

Another three months have passed. Jared has maintained a positive attitude with the help of Rose. The news has arrived that the rescue mission fleet has returned to the solar system and will be arriving on Earth within 72 hours. Jared is looking forward to the arrival and decides to take Rose with her to greet Jennifer upon return.

When they arrive at Headquarters, Jennifer’s commanding officer asks Jared to come with him. Rose is not allowed to come with him. Jared returns a few minutes later, distraught and broken. He shares that Jennifer stayed the longest to evacuate as much from the planet as possible. After having loaded the last of what she could onto the shuttle, she boarded and headed back towards the main ship. Unfortunately, the star imploded, her shuttle, and another ship were destroyed.

“Rose, I can’t explain how I feel right now. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to need to be alone today.”

Jared drops off Rose and returns to his apartment.

#

There’s a knock on Jared’s door. Not even sure what day it is, Jared fumbles around for his communicator. There’s another knock. Jared decides to get up and answer.

Depressed, Jared mumbles, “Hi, Rose.”

“I know you are depressed right now. It’s barely a week since you got the news, but I made a promise to keep your spirits up, and I intend to honor my word.”

“Rose, I can’t do this. I can’t pretend that I’m going to be okay anytime soon. I can’t pretend that I don’t want to jump out that window.”

“What would Jennifer want you to be doing right now?”

“What? She’s gone. She doesn’t exist anymore!”

“But if she were here right now. Instead of getting the news you got last week. What would she want you to be doing?”

Jared chuckles, “Something you definitely shouldn’t be here for.”

“Well, at least something still makes you smile! Now, besides fulfilling on your animalistic instincts. Let’s say you get news she’s just weeks out. What would you be doing?”

“The same thing I’ve been doing every day, but maybe with a smile instead.”

“You better not be referring to the same thing you just were.”

Laughing, Jared grabs Rose’s hand. “No, not that. Let me show you something.”

Sitting in the living room, Jared shows Rose every daily video and journal he made for Jen. He gives her the back story to every inside joke. It’s like he’s living their love all over again. Before you know it, it’s late at night and Rose says goodnight.

#

Two weeks later, Jared is eagerly awaiting Rose’s arrival. He’s kept up his daily video and written journals for Jen. But Rose never arrives. He calls her apartment, but there is no answer. He decides to wait a bit to check again. Still no answer.

Thinking that since Rose is an old lady who might need assistance, he decides to go to her apartment to check in on her, only to realize that he doesn’t know exactly which apartment is hers. He calls again, and no answer. He goes to her apartment building anyway, in hopes that her name might be on the digital directory outside the apartment building. No such luck.

Remembering that Rose told him she lives on the top floor, Jared gets into the elevator and goes to the top floor. The elevator opens, revealing just a single door with the number 18 on it. Jared knocks on the door, and Rose answers. “Hi, Jared.”

“Are you okay? You didn’t answer for a long time, and none of my phone calls.”

“Ain’t that the truth! Come on in.” Rose walks away from the door and into her kitchen.

Jared enters her sparsely furnished apartment. There’s a TV, love seat, telescope, and one shelf.

“Make yourself at home,” Rose yells from the kitchen.

Jared walks over and plops himself down on the love seat. Something on top of the shelf catches his eye. It’s a ring. He gets up and walks over to the shelf.

“You ever been married, Rose?”

“Nope. That’s my one regret.”

It’s unmistakable. It’s Jen’s ring. The ring that looks like a rose he had specifically made for her. He picks it up, his hand shaking slightly. Jared hears Jen clear her throat behind him and spins around.

Holding the ring and confused. “How did you get this? Who are you?”

“Well, darling. You gave it to me 123 years ago.”

“What?!”

“When you asked me to marry you in front of the fountain. For me, it was 123 years ago. For you, it’s been barely over 9 months. When I was pulled into the imploding star, it shot me back out the other end, and I have lived 123 years, battling across the universe to be with you again.”

“I guess that is theoretically possible, but how is it possible that you came back here and didn’t stop yourself? You had the opportunity!”

“Yes, and I also lived 123 years of great adventure because I didn’t.”

“And you just want to leave me here without you? You don’t see that as selfish?”

“I was holding on to you, Jared. I was holding on to you inside that black hole, and I was being ripped apart. So, I let go of you and still loved you, and it released me.”

Tears streaming from his face, Jared hugs Jennifer. “What am I supposed to do now?”

“Let me share with you my voyage. There are seven big adventures, five small ones, and two really ugly ones. I want to share those with you before I die.”

“That’s going to be the hardest part, I think. Living the rest of my life without you.”

“No it won’t. You have already done it. You let go, Jared. Hold me in your heart forever, and let me go. And when you are ready, you can watch these.” Jen hands Jared a storage device. “I kept my promise to make you a daily video too.”

Some Bubbles

Standing on its own, a bubble seemingly floats freely

Through the tunnel the bubble meets other bubbles

Some bubbles much larger

Some bubbles much smaller

Some bubbles merge with other bubbles

Some bubbles split into two or three or more

Some bubbles seem to just fly off into the sky

Some bubbles hit the ground and pop

Some bubbles hit the ground and bounce

Some bubble hit the ground and freeze

Some bubbles seem to lead other bubbles

Some bubbles seem alone

Some bubbles cluster together

Some bubbles consume other bubbles

Some bubbles reflect the sun and shine down on the world like a beacon

Some bubbles form a cloud, blocking the sun

Some bubbles seem to help other bubbles soar to great heights

Some bubbles seem to drag down others down

Some bubbles seem to stagnate

Some bubbles seem to wobble

Some bubbles seem to grow

Some bubble seem to shrink

Each bubble seems unique and yet

What’s inside each bubble is a world of nothing that eventually pops

The Wisest Human Being

There once was a wise human being
A being whose being was to be human and wise
And wise to seek after wisdom
After wisdom sought a wise creature to behold wisdom
And behold a wise creature
This creature, a teacher
A preacher some say
Some say not a preacher
A teacher
And this teacher creature preacher did not speak
Not speaking was the preacher teacher creature

And so the wisest human being devised a plan
A plan devised by the wisest human being of all time to get the creature preacher teacher to become a speaker
“The non speaker teacher creature preacher I’ll ask to share enlightenment with me. Surely the preacher teacher creature will be so flattered and I shall gain wisdom in return.”
Wisdom was not gained and the creature preacher teacher declined to speak

“To speak once more with the teacher creature preacher, I must!” declared the wisest human being of all time
All time the following morning, the wisest human being hiked back the mountain to see the preacher teacher creature with a pad of paper and pencil in hand
In handing the paper to the creature preacher teacher the wisest human being of all time hoped for an answer!
An answer was given
Given on the paper
On the paper was written

I only speak the truth

“The truth surely must be all that I can only speak!” the wisest human being of all time exclaimed!
Exclaiming gratitude, the wisest human being of all time thanked the teacher creature preacher and went back down the mountain
Back down the mountain halfway, the thought arose: but the teacher creature preacher did not speak these words
These words were written not spoken
Not spoken is what the teacher creature preacher has always done

Never done with inquiry, the wisest human being of all time turned back up the mountain
Back up the mountain halfway again to the teacher creature preacher the thought arose: maybe nothing is true and that is why the teacher creature preacher does not speak!
Not speak is what the teacher creature preacher does, and surely there is nothing true in this world
In this world the teacher creature preacher does not speak because there is nothing but falsehoods to speak

To speak with the teacher creature preacher was no longer needed
Needing no longer a hike, the wisest human being of all time turned back down the mountain
Back down the mountain halfway again the thought arose: if there is no truth to be spoken and these words were written then I know not if the written word is true or not true and whether the teacher preacher creature speaks what is true or not true

Not true to hiking back down the mountain, the wisest human being of all time resolved to hike back up the mountain to the teacher creature preacher to confront this dilemma

“This dilemma of speaking only truth but having written such words could leave me with not any truth
Any truth you have, I beg of you to bestow it open me. I promise I shall not to waste let it go”
“Let it go,” said the teacher creature preacher
I cannot just let it go
“Let it go,” again said the teacher creature preacher

The teacher creature preacher was right! The light shown down upon the wisest human being of all time as the knowledge became wisdom and wisdom became excitement
Excited and wise, the wisest human being of all time cheerfully headed back down the mountain
Back down the mountain not 10 steps and the wisest human being of all time turned to the teacher creature preacher and said Thank you

“Thank you”, said the teacher creature preacher and then: the wisest human being of all time knows this story