Eureka

copyright 2011/all rights reserved


OIL IN WATER

PAM LAZOS

Chapter One

Marty Tirabi sat on a stool aside his drafting table, an aluminum pie plate in each hand.  His eyes were closed, his spine erect, his breathing slow and regular, his conscious mind sitting on the pinnacle of present awareness.  At the exact moment Marty’s consciousness shifted, sliding across the threshold from beta to alpha to delta like a single-base hitter stealing home, Marty’s grip slackened and the pie plates clattered to the floor.  He woke with a start and stared, wide-eyed, at the back wall of the barn where It sat, all the while scanning his interior databases for a revelation that refused to be retrieved.

Marty rubbed his forehead.  This was how Thomas Edison did it, mining the gem-rich ground of his subconscious by bringing himself to the brink of sleep, then pulling back with a start for a third-party observer’s view.  The result of Edison’s efforts was the light bulb and one thousand and ninety-two other patented inventions, but Marty’d be damned if he could get Edison’s process to work.  For him, it was just there, a vision that sometimes crept, sometimes hurtled from unconscious to conscious awareness – claircognizance some called it, a simple knowing – and suddenly Marty would know how to pull it all together.

But not tonight.  Frustrated, Marty spun his stool around, laid the pie plates and his overtired brain on the drafting table, and stared at his father’s oil lamp, its soft, incandescent glow casting ectoplasmic shadows on the blueprints beneath his head.  He started to fall – no aluminum to stop him this time – but was halted at the threshold again.

A faint hum jarred him back, a soft, deliberate noise like the whir of a refrigerator motor or the patter of a soft rain.  He felt it in his feet first.  It climbed up his legs as it grew in intensity, settled in his heart, and then shot up to his forehead.  His head vibrated.  Marty rose slowly so as not to disturb the hum’s cadence and strolled across the barn floor toward the back wall, convinced that a nonchalant attitude was imperative to the hum’s survival.  He tried not to smile, tried not to look directly at It until he had stopped in front of the thousands of pounds of steel assembled in six distinct units.  He sniffed the air.  Dozens of smells slid past the cilia in his nose and traveled along his olfactory nerve, stopping at the cerebral cortex to register:  methane, plastic, burning rubber, decay, ash.  Even in a closed-looped system, the vapors, like his dreams, always escaped.

And then, suspended in the air like dust motes lollygagging in a single ray of sun, the smell of oil, sharp, sweet and slightly acrid, knocked on the registrar’s door, tap, tap, tap, piercing Marty’s nasal cavity and shattering his equilibrium.

“Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Marty clapped his hands and because he was half-Greek, did the only dance he felt comfortable doing, a little hop/skip combo that was the backbone of most traditional ethnic dances.  He repeated the steps over and over until he came full circle.  He added a little jump to his combination.  The word Eureka came to mind.

to be continued. . .

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