Where You Stand

He stands up front, praying mantis hands to demonstrate a quotation mark, and he holds the words of a dead writer there in an embrace that lasts longer than it should.

Attention fragments and scatters like colored beads over the floor.

The crowd disperses. He is stood in the parking lot afterwards, and he wonders. What was it that happened up there? He had given the talk a thousand times, and he liked to think that each time was as vital as the first. He wasn’t channelling anything;wasn’t communing with any muse or anything.

No, he was just talking.

A car nearly hit him as he stood there.

Time fell away, and he was stood at home, wondering what had happened.

Memory failed him sometimes,but it was usually the long term stores he couldn’t access, not those of the short term.

He got an idea, dropping out the important parts – that was what was happening to him.

Why?

Everything was a degraded copy. Years stacked on years, like the notes from living dead lectures that he reanimated for the incoming students. No wonder they look bored. No wonder he was forgetting huge chunks of his day. Why did you need to recap every episode? You didn’t.

Where would he be a year from now? Brief seconds of newness the only things he remembered? Shaved down to femtoseconds the year after? And then what? Might the story of him end up framed in the dead quotation rictus of another lecturer’s failing embrace of reality? Maybe so. The air huffed out of him. Where was it that he stood? It did not matter.