The doctor with old food stains on his tie is turning out to be absurdly talkative. “Apparently it’s Mental Health Awareness Day today,” he says. “And ski season is coming. Quite the weather forecast for Budapest. I’ve never been to California and, yes, that’s sad.” He keeps up this giddy stream of consciousness while jamming a giant needle into my chest. When the pain becomes too great, I start to hallucinate a herd of horned beasts – the kind the Dadaists loved – grazing on darkness without the darkness being consumed. I beg the doctor, “Stop, stop, please stop.” He just pushes the needle in deeper. I’m screaming now. A nurse hurries in. “Almost there,” the doctor calmly tells her, referring, I imagine in my distress, to the outskirts of heaven, where angels, some the size of a grain of salt, some the size of a pebble, buzz like dung flies.
Giant telescopes have searched the skies for Planet Nine, but found only bronze cauldrons filled with ash. I’ve looked for it myself where things accumulate, where people leave things. Every house has a corner like that. I’ve been to the market, too, and the cemetery of babies. I’ve walked down those cobblestone streets. And, in the end, the answer is no. It could have been stolen. It could have been accidentally thrown out. Whatever, it’s gone, and if I were you, I would be nervous now about putting faith in robot bees. It has nothing to do with religion. It’s simply physics, a rainy place with lots of crows and very low ceilings.
Howie Good co-edits the journals Unlost and Unbroken with Dale Wisely.