by Anastasia Kalos
Steve shoved his hands into his pockets and stood at the crossing inhaling faint ethanol, human sweat and Thai takeout. Emotions raced through his mind forming axon networks that blurted dejection, defeat and ennui. An unyielding proof had glared at him from the whiteboard. Steve added a couple of dents to that board with his left fist and took the afternoon off.
A flash of white caught his eye.
A bag danced with a flaring gust of wind.
The guttural hum of an oncoming car announced its passage and the bag liberated itself from the tire.
Mangled metal signaled the intermarriage of two vehicles blasted through Steve’s eardrums.
The billowing bag came to rest on the sparkling windscreen of the oncoming yellow taxi. An idea seared Steve’s mind. The final result depended on a combination of the immediate environment with the random action, in the same way eddying whirls of blood depended on fat streaked arteries to satisfy the chaotic flow. If the immediate environment -the wind, sky and moving car – could be undone, where would that leave the mangled car?
The driver couldn’t help it. The bag blinded and guided the taxi into the parked sedan, further mangling and twisting its German engineered curves.
Dazed, without added confusion, Steve straightened up and noticed pedestrians getting their eye full. In minutes an ambulance pulled up beside the yellow car, silent blue police sirens illuminated equally silent faces as the ambulance officers removed the dazzled but conscious driver.
One bag, one car and a spectacular collision.
Steve slowly walked away from the scene, following the whispering bag. It wove through the street, caressing fenders and wheels. The bag rose over the pavement and scuttled over a lawn. Steve arrived at an abandoned park. Unattended swings, roundabouts and slippery slides attested to the passage of time and the rise of games consoles. A short cool gust carried the plastic bag to the paired swings and he kneeled to pick up a branch that could have been the remnant of a game of fetch.
It was different to read about the chaos encountered in books that spoke of dribbling faucets, diaphanous clouds, errant hurricanes or terrifying tornadoes.
He scratched equations in the patch of dirt directly under the swings. His shoulders straightened, Steve was certain that his spine returned to its healthier S-curve as he exited the park. Although he didn’t arrive at a new insight, his eyes witnessed randomness and he, according to his palpitations, became splintered with newfound excitement. Every mundane problem faded.
A long night stretched ahead. Many more would follow and if it led to a theorem, all well and good. If not, he’d wade through the peaks and troughs, like a desert nomad.
He fell asleep listening to the spin cycle and traveled to a barren nocturnal realm that spoke of symbols, proofs, conjectures, differentials and three dimensional number planes that taunted him with the continuous addition of coordinates on their axes as they expanded into the outer reaches of all space.
Anastasia Kalos balances writing with her JD. After numerous jobs and an undergraduate degree in English and psychology, is of the view that there are no dead end jobs, only jobs that get you to your destination. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.