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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #413
David Gunn

Jerome woke up with a brittle thought fragment pricking his subconscious. He had been dreaming. Something about it seemed important. What was it? He reached for the bedside pad and paper to write down the dream--or as much of it as he could remember, because he could already feel important aspects of it begin to slip away. He sat up straight, the better to shake off his torpor. Concentrate!, he scolded himself. But it was no use. The dreamscape was fast fading. Wait! His oneiromancer once told him that if he let his mind go blank, the first thought that popped into his head would likely be a vestige of the last thought imprinted upon his subconscious. So he put down the pad and paper and tried to clear his mind and think of nothing. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, held his breath, exhaled slowly. Briefly he thought of the act of breathing, but then chased that thought from his mind.

A sense of murkiness settled over Jerome like a hazy blanket, and he thought that his mind must now be blank. It was a feeling of stoppage, of stasis, of ... he couldn't think of any more alliterative words. In fact, now he couldn’t think of any adjectives at all that accurately reflected how he felt. Instead, he tried to prepare for the emergence of that first thought. But he couldn't, because his mind really had emptied itself of all thoughts. He tried to think of something, anything!, but couldn't. He was awash in a sea of murk.

Focus--that's what was called for! He closed his eyes, the better to concentrate. He shut them so tightly that flickers of light danced across his field of vision. "Field Of Vision"--the words abruptly stuck out in his mind. Did that mean they held some special significance? As he thought about that, the words began to lose their integrity: "ieldofvisio" became "ldofvis" which dwindled to "ofv," then "f," and then that disappeared, too.

Jerome's leg was asleep. The tingling sensation forced itself upon his subconscious, and he opened his eyes. No, they already were open, but unfocused. So he focused them on his ... his leg? What was it about his leg that should require concentration? He couldn't recall. Was it important? He couldn't remember that, either. He glanced around the room, looking for something to focus on. Now that he thought about it, the room itself was pretty nondescript. His eyes briefly lit on the sofa, the chair, the table, the book on the table. The book! A fleeting reminiscence underscored the book's importance. Excitedly, Jerome strode over to the table and picked up the book. At least that was his plan, but, as he had no feeling in one leg, he collapsed onto the floor. The sudden impact awakened pain receptors and he sat up rubbing his knee. Except there was no knee. Worse, there was no leg! Well, there was one, but only one. What had happened to his other leg? If only for a moment, the jolt from the fall crystallized the events of the last few minutes: he had been dreaming; he had awakened and tried unsuccessfully to write down the dream; his leg had fallen asleep--in a worst-case scenario had gone entirely missing; he had recalled something important about the book on the table and had wanted to examine it. With a sudden resolve, Jerome got up and hopped over to the table. But in the interstice between the first and second steps, he forgot where he was going and continued on to the far corner of the room. He squinted at the intersection of the two walls. What was he doing here? He tried to remember, but no thought came to mind. Wait, wasn't he trying to think about something along those very lines? What lines? Of course--his memory! Or lack of memory, really. What was that old saying?--a mind like a blank slate? He forced the image of a blank slate onto his mind. Then, still peering at the wall, Jerome tried to impose figures onto the slate--characters, ciphers, anything! Suddenly, a symbol materialized. It floated teasingly just above the slate, stubbornly refusing to attach to it. It did, however, engender an idea, which skittered across his consciousness like a ... like a what? The simile disappeared as quickly as did the idea--and the slate wasn't far behind--leaving Jerome's mind as empty as before.

Turning around, Jerome's eyes scanned the room again which, from this angle, appeared even more nondescript. In fact, all he could see was the bed whence he began this futile journey mere minutes ago. (Is that really all the time that had elapsed? As befit his current state, he wasn't sure.) He felt himself drawn to the bed and, like gravity in a vacuum, he was disinclined to fight the attraction. A wave of drowsiness swept over Jerome the moment he touched the pillow. He stretched out on the mattress and was instantly asleep. No, not quite instantly. In that ephemeral space between consciousness and slumber, he felt the missing leg sprout from his pelvis, re-membered.

While many ideas can and do go unremembered by the proprietors of this 413th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, we do know that today, Tercero de Mayo, accurately predicts Cinco de Mayo's festivities two days hence. So break out the partyware, it's time for Kalvos!