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From nowhere in particular it came—the unformed opalescence of a thought—and dropped in on Pat’s pate. It caused him to muse for a while, to examine it from the oblique, the acute, and dead on. Sometime before elevenses, he let it go. No rhapsodies or fandangos, no iambs or broadsheets, not even an ink blot came of it.

Next was John. Was it John? Yes, illustrious John! Heard a sound. A boom. Or a throom? A zoom? Nothing like the “zip” the tiny thrips make. No. John heard a big booming vroom. He didn’t know (if only he had!) that it was naught but a thought breaking the brain barrier with a booming zoom. He did not, so it frightened him and he ran. John ran to a volume of water, into which he walked, sat down, inhaled deeply and drowned. It was not in the papers. Not one person got the vapors.

One night thereafter, or slightly before, one dark night so tightly dark no one could see, the thought hovered a while over the boxes of a certain population, then sped pall mall into the dreams of those dreaming of chimneys. Chimneys, even though not all their boxes had one. This caused an awakening. A shakening awakening. Some saw it more clearly than others, some suspected they did but weren’t sure, and some didn’t see it at all even though they were boxed right next to someone who was sure he did. In the middle of the darkness some saw.

It was a light that slashed through the night so sharply, so thinly that it was a light light; a very light light indeed. All of a sudden, before another light slice of light vexed the awakened chimney dreamers, it went out. Just out. And because it was only for a slight and now was no more, a light so bright it made an awakening but now was again darkness, everyone forgot.

The thought, they say, flew back into town. Another, different town. Redacted as it was, it became attracted again. This time it flew straight into the stream of consciousness of Roseanne’s cerebrum, vacuuming the living room carpet. (Roseanne, not her cerebrum, was vacuuming, although it’s not outside the realm of possibility. To have a vacuuming cerebrum. Although it’s more common that the cerebrums of certain individuals are a vacuum.) Roseanne’s consciousness streamed mightily that day. About the vroom of the vacuum, the fly on the wall, the mail laying on the floor that she’d have to pick up in order to vacuum there. (Not the floor that she’d have to pick up—the mail.)

Vroom? Was Roseanne one who shuddered behind shutters upon hearing the loud boom or vroom during the light slice of the tight night? It’s certainly possible although not provable.

Persisted still the vroom, hypnotic narcotic, floating her stream, in which the thought rambled as if caught in a bramble. For the only light in Roseanne’s brain was for “Empty the Bag.” No place for a thought looking for what not. In a fit of pique and with a nonmaterial pike (typical for an incorporeal thought), the thought picked clear a path and got out of Dodge.

And hurled itself forth in search of the next Smiling Jimmy. Or so it seemed. But not so. For this was not Roseanne’s first rodeo.

Deceptively receptive, in a cow-pie sort of way, was the champion calf-roper, the pride of Wyoming. His lasso in air, circled high, circled far—enough to entrance the thought that was prancing too near. Later, our champion, basking in glory, with a beer and a sneer, received an ethereal trepanation as the thought drilled into his skull. Of this the champion was aware with a chilling despair. He twiddled and diddled the thought, and he piddled. Mostly piddled. He knew not what to do—no recognition of cognition. So with a parting and resounding “Spelunk you!” out to pasture he sent it.

That boot jetted the thought all the way to Limerick and back.

If a thought could think the thought would have thought, “To hell with the lot of you!” But nascent thoughts just have inklings and sub-subtle twinklings, so the thought thought not. What propelled and impelled it was to become complete—expounded, propounded, codified, verified, even celebrated. Of course, the propelling and impelling would have had to have been unconscious because this was, after all, a nascent thought. However, there could have been no unconscious anything because there was no consciousness (the two being interdependent), a condition which would nullify the very existence of our thought, being nascent, which it definitely was. A carbuncle of a conundrum, if ever there was one.

Then, in motiveless ignorance, the thought visited the matriculated pate of a professor of philosophy. In front of the solon sat twelve rows of potted students experiencing alternating bouts of morose melancholia and deep catatonia. The thought flitted and flirted about the august dome, but to no availure; there was only failure. The prof’s excess of sagesse was dense and impenetrable as a sheet of concrete, from which the thought was compelled, at last, to retreat.

What the thought did next, if anything, or where it went, if anywhere, is unknown.


Magenta Varlet is a freelance writer. Preferred genres: soft sci fi, magic realism, dark satire, absurdism. Favorite authors: Kurt Vonnegut, Natalie Sarault, Boris Vian, Edgar Allan Poe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stephen King. Favorite “comfort” activities: watching Peter Sellers movies, Edward Gory books, old Krazy Kat cartoon strips (not to be confused with Felix).

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