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Work in Progress

July 31, 2011

So look at me now
I’m just makin’ my play
Don’t try to push your luck, just get out of my way

Ripples. Tiny ones. Big ones. They can all be noticed, but most only notice the rocking of the larger variety. They chalk it up to the phases of the moon; a tremor; something they ate; a spiritual disturbance.

From the human perspective, time is an ocean, a vast, landless waterscape. The boat, ship, whatever one perceives oneself to be riding on, that’s the now. That’s the x, y, coordinates of the “now.” That’s the spot where one “is.”

The imagery was just as metaphorical as any of the others, but for the purposes of making the best decisions, it often functioned well to see it that way.

Others saw it as being able to gaze into the subatomic, to see the status of that which cannot be seen. The speed and direction all at once. They could flip or alter course individually or as whole groups in unison, like a school of fish. It was a quantum universe. Little bits swapping 1s for 0s, 0s for 1s.

But water fit time and events as a visualization model better, at least most of the time.

The small waves are more difficult to perceive. It can be done, but only to the negation of all other perception. Not a good place to be for long.

You can see a coming threat, a newly arrived brown recluse that set up its silk butcher shop right in the spot you like to stand and, of course, it’s extremely dark when you notice…barely notice.

But if you don’t pull yourself out of “the zone”, you’d be bitten even though you noticed it by virtue of being “in” it. You jump back to terra firma and prevent habit from getting yourself bitten. Again.

But the big waves, well everyone notices those. They just don’t know what they mean. Possible future outcomes. Possible events on a massive scale. Whether they are for good or ill may depend on where the ship is once you reach the source of the disturbance. You might be riding high, looking down on an avoided catastrophe, or you might be at the trough of the wave, looking up at your demise about to crash down on you in slow motion, knowing it is now unavoidable.

It’s a game for some to pick up on the waves, and somehow, uncannily, manage to steer the ship away, speed up, or slow down.

Or try. Sometimes the more “steady” among us, those rooted in place, those who fail to recognize the signs and, when presented evidence that, yes, they just murdered their father on the way into town, and, why not?, diddled their mother too but refuse to see the truth of it because now they’re king.

Few could comprehend all that they had given up to serve. They had given up everything. Not just their previous lives, their families, their friends, their co-workers, the house, and the rest. No. They had given up their identities as well. The very essence that had once made them who they were, made them individuals.

Maybe even what made them human at all, but such contemplation was rare for them. The half-finished thought between near total dedication to the job.

There were perks, for certain. There were no secrets from them for one. But the disadvantage was there was no one to tell, no one to share the knowledge with, the Truth that would, if somehow simply injected instantaneously into the average person’s thoughts, would make their head explode or melt like a movie Nazi meddling with things he couldn’t understand.

For another thing, they no longer had to wear the telltale black suits. There was no memo, no discussion, no debate, no bureaucratic red tape. They simply all woke up one day and stopped wearing them, the instructions coming from…wherever it was they came from.

But they weren’t thinking about any of those things today. There was something unusual going on, something deliciously unexpected.

They couldn’t see the outcome. They didn’t know what to do. For once, they were as blind about upcoming events as any normal, any baseline.

Yet they didn’t judge. They weren’t even afraid. This was something unusual, true, but then they dealt in the unusual. Maybe something was about to change. Maybe the whole paradigm was about to shift.

Or maybe the end was near.

It was the not knowing this time that made it all interesting. Nothing boring about current events. Meddling this time around had provided unforeseen consequences, and that was strange in itself.

It was with just the faintest smile that a pair of them grabbed their sunglasses and hopped into the car. It was for them a bit unprofessional, but these events were more suspenseful than baseball, more terrible than a hurricane, and more hilarious than pranking the powerful. It was a game of 3-D chess, moves incomprehensible to most people—even the braintrust at Langley and the wannabe jokers from Maryland—used to viewing things like it was all checkers, just a matter of distracting the players and the audience so they wouldn’t notice the cheating.

But lately they thought that simple might be best given the new weird, the new unpredictable had been bandied about in the language of symbols in which they communicated (silently) and calculated what needed to be done. Yes, something was different.

They still had nobody to tell, but, who knew? Maybe that was about to change as well. It was after all, as near as they could recall, the largest wave any of them had ever seen coming. That must mean something.

Of course, sometimes the waves could come from behind as well as in front. Perhaps they should spend some time seeing if something from the past was attempting to catch up with the present. Maybe all three—past, present and future—were somehow converging.

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