Let me drop some knowledge on you—a bomb, if you will. Ready? Here goes.
Follow it down, letting the black-and-white trail behind. But what if it doesn’t fall? What if I walk it into a crowd, hiding an i before an e, only, troublingly after a c, triggering a smattering of red ink? How do you handle that? Hunt the word across the page, spewing more black and white. Oh, there it is again: bomb. Whew! Cross it out, but it remains, a reminder of imperfection—or perhaps a beacon of failure.
Man, get a grip. It’s only a word: four smoothly curving symbols hanging in space. Or I could say that, anyway. Here’s this thing. Twist it, wring it out, and leave a big nothing with digital perfection—nothing because the bomb is simple—exemplar extraordinaire of black or white. On or off, dead or alive, black or white, a vote: yea or nay, this or that. Our will be done. A press of a button, a flick of a switch, four keystrokes in rapid staccato, and for a brief moment of ecstasy, sublime entropy works for us. The bomb disappears; surprise flames out and becomes cold, hard fact. But don’t let that stop you. Don’t cross it out, this time. Erase it. Fill the void with more black and white, all you can see.
Or, rather not. The weight of the totem pole lifts for a time, but inevitably comes crashing down heavier than before. And it’s not a love tap this time. This isn’t some lady in leather paddling your erogenous zones and telling you how bad you’ve been. Greed and Wrath have a laugh, gravity triumphs, and the pole buries you like you always knew it would. You followed the black down the white like a courier, delivering your package.
It’s a heavy thing, never leaving a message, only a hole.
Mom would be proud.
Emmett Stone: I’m a writer and critic originally from Oakland, California. Boston was my home for a while, but now I live in Kuala Lumpur with my wife and dog. If you liked what you read, you can find my occasionally updated blog at http://highdefinitionfantasy.wordpress.com/