Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Case of N

My name is N. N stands for nothing. I stand for nothing. I say nothing. I have surrendered my identity to an attorney to plead my case.
I might be almost anyone. I might be you. Almost all the parts that make me who I am are interchangeable with yours, thanks to science: my skin, my hair, my eyes, my lungs, my heart, my pancreas, my liver.
Soon, you will have access to my memories. Make no mistake. I’m in all the databases of the State. And so are you. And, just in case, I carry a small card inside my wallet entitling the State to take everything away.
Except, perhaps, my soul—my client. My soul is something that I can’t supply, and nobody can take it away. Believe me, men have tried. My soul is mine until I die, I am afraid: since, strictly speaking, souls do not exist in science, or in law. Souls cannot be transplanted or imprisoned, can they? No. Although they can be put on trial, as my soul has been put on trial here. And some may linger on in literature for a few years—like love, or mercy—in a ghostly way.
I guess if any meaningful relationship exists between us now, outside of fiction, then, it must consist of dreams, mustn’t it? We are like the present and the past, forever missing one another as we pass into the night, the future, that land of dreams.
You have dreams. I have dreams. We all have dreams. And if you dream, you probably have nightmares, too. I hope your dreams out-number your nightmares. I really do. Mine run about fifty-fifty, if I dream at all. I seldom fall asleep so deeply that I genuinely dream.
Whatever the reason, usually exhaustion, now and then, my eyelids close and I suddenly find myself in situations so strange—so full of details, color and emotional intensity—they must be dreams. Or nightmares. They seem so different from the world I know.
Dream or nightmare? Where am I? I am definitely somewhere. I am here. Exactly where here is is hard to say with anything resembling the geographic certainty necessary to remove all doubt. A dream depends upon what sort of story you construct around the images you see. A cloud perpetually surrounds a dream. A dream expresses no reality, nightmarish or otherwise, until you wake. And then it is too late. The dream is dead.
The truth of dreams can only be verified by a disinterested third party—a witness who stands outside of time and space and never sleeps. And God is not about to swear to anything regarding dreamers, not on the Bible. Nor will he affirm anything. He won’t even cross His heart for us—even though we know that He was present at the scene on the night in question: we found His footprints. You have all seen them. They don’t mean anything. We find them everywhere. Look at these photographs: even on the Moon. God is just as bad as Man, you see; and Man is very sloppy.
Still, God cannot be summoned to appear in court for walking on the Moon, or littering, or murder, not like us. His whereabouts are presently unknown. He might be hiding; He might be attending a christening in Mexico; He might be on vacation in some other country. He might be dead. If so, I am sorry.
I am sorry that this crime has been assigned to me, and you have been selected for the jury. This is a court of law convened inside an unjust universe. Penalties are harsh and administered unfairly. That is the nature of Dream States. Only death absolves a citizen from responsibility to participate in trials. This is yours: you must set a precedent that will be used in judging others. Perhaps yourself. You must decide our fate.
So then, as far as dreams and nightmares go, here we are: there’s no escape. Though mine are hard to qualify. Let’s just say, they follow a general pattern: darkness shows up first; then, light; then, more darkness. Just as dreams do in waking life.
I probably should also mention that the light I see is dawn, so there is hope.
And that hope is the truth.
And the truth is gray.


beektur said...
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beektur said...
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beektur said...

N also stands for New. And Now.