Writing Challenge — “Meandering”

I found this buried in my email archive, from a message I sent myself back in Sept. 2017. It has no context, it doesn’t mean anything, but I find it fun to read. And, though I can’t remember writing it, I can clearly hear my voice in it, even several years later. That makes me happy–I’ve never made any sense.

At least I’m consistent.

“Meandering”

The man had disappeared.  All mentions of his name, all memory of his mannerisms, all recollections of his actions –gone.  As if he’d never existed in the first place.

And really, if we’re getting into technicalities, he hadn’t.

But I hate technicalities.

The reason you should care about this man has to do with the fate of your world.  Mine, too, I suppose –but remember my feelings on technicalities.

Here’s the thing about the apocalypse: it never arrives in a grand event.  There are no trumpets, no fanfare.  In reality, this apocalypse –there have been many throughout the millennia, not that you would know– came about with the tap of a button.

This man, the one you don’t know and can’t remember, pressed the button and blanched at the sirens that immediately followed.

See, he hadn’t meant to press it.  He was very clear on that point; he told me himself.  He’d just barely nudged it with his elbow, just the slightest touch.

Unfortunately just one ‘slightest touch’ later and, pfft, the universe’s most valuable text crumbles into dust.

I remember what he told me, though the universe doesn’t.  I remember that he told he how very scared he was.

His Other Self, on the other hand, was not, and his Other Other Self was quite ashamed to hear it was technically their fault (but you didn’t hear that from me), not to mention his Other Other Other Self, who was frankly embarrassed to share an existence with the man.

The Other Others had an impromptu meeting once they heard what had happened, and unanimously decided to eliminate the man.  The man was not especially pleased to hear this ruling, though resigned himself in the knowledge that it probably was the right thing to do.  A dispatch of the person responsible for the travesty would appease the ancient Humors, and fix the problem.

Enter the dispatcher: me.  Not a glamorous job, not an especially pleasant one, but a necessary one.

With all the Other Others of the various Selves running around the universe, it would get very cluttered if they all tried to be just one person.  It’s a mercy, really.

Not really, but that helps the Other Others sleep at night, so that’s what we call it.

They pay our bills, after all.

I’m not a preferred dispatcher for many, thanks to a nasty little thing I’ve got called ‘a conscience.’  It’s unfortunate, truly.

Certainly makes my job a lot harder.  Few Other Others want me prodding around, asking questions, speaking to the expendable Others as if they weren’t wastes of space.

Makes it hard to pay my bills.

Anyway, this man is gone, and the Other Others thought that was the end of it.  But they didn’t seem to grasp that the text was still dust (see the afore-mentioned pfft), and that the Humors were justifiably enraged.

Now we come to the part I hate: the technicality.  It certainly was the man’s fault, since he did it in the first place; and it was the Other Others’ fault, merely by association.

It technically, as much as it pains me to say it, is my fault as well.

As I didn’t exactly follow through on the contract.  Because the man did disappear.  No one remembers him, save for me and the Other Others.  But he’s not dead.  I let my conscience get the better of me.

What can I say, it’s a weakness of mine. 

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