Tuesday, 1 April 2014

My Very Last

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014

   To explode a single thought, a sickness engendering thought, was Victoriyae’s most earnest wish ever since she had first witnessed her mother succumb to legal insanity for a short while, proclaiming to her then fifteen year old daughter that good and evil don’t exist.
     ‘It’s all in the mind, sweetie,’ she had said to Victoriyae, the elder Ms Rainne preparing to head up to the local bottleshop for the day’s cask of red wine, in the sunny locale of Surrey Hills, in the equally sunny Sydney, Aus, a country that some of our noteworthy scientists aver must exist, Australia in a parallel Earth. It was near the end of the year 1999 and Torey had been drinking copiously and dangerously because both of her parents had died suddenly in a car crash nine months ago, victims to the needless whims of Fate. The sensitive Victoriyae, at these her mother’s just uttered words, strongly suspected that she was witnessing her mother’s mind slip its moorings, convinced that she would hear it splash when it finally dropped into whichever ocean unhinged minds are tossed about in.
     ‘It’s all in the mind, sweetie. There is no such thing as good or evil. We make it all up ourselves and there is neither truth nor justice. Good and evil don’t exist.’ Splash! Victoriyae then decided that she would like to be able to explode a thought, allowing her to weed out the bad one that was seeping into her mother’s increasingly addled mind.
     At the age of twenty-seven, gainfully employed as a popular primary school teacher, she still remained firmly convinced that exploding a thought could be a generic solution to all mental illnesses. It was one of her pupils that caused her to think that doing so may in fact be quite near.
     ‘Miss Vicky,’ asked Simon, a ten year old outstanding graphic artist.
     ‘Yes, Simon.’
     ‘Do artists make lots of money?’ It was recess, a time, as well as lunchtime, that Simon spent drawing in the classroom along with the other bookish children.
     ‘Not really, Simon. Scientists though can make a lot and they usually love their jobs. Lawyers too are usually wealthy.’
     ‘Drawing is best.’ Victoriyae smiled and undid the scrunch from her red hair, to be the freer to talk with him.
     ‘Why can’t I make money drawing?’
     ‘People value it less now. Science and maths are what interests society.’
     Science and maths. Science and maths. And then an epiphany: an undiscovered mathematical equation could well be the only thing needed to satiate her long held perversity. Having done well at senior school science and advanced maths she knew that, like everything, an exploding thought would have its own properties, not necessarily a loud ‘bang’ or ‘pop.’ What the properties of an exploding thought were Victoriyae had no idea but she knew that the instant of writing this powerful equation would see a noticeable difference in her locality, a sign that she had indeed exploded a thought.
     On the train ride home to Standmore Victoriyae had concluded that physics could achieve her off-kilter goal. Physics dealt with the physical world and since thought was the very essence of the physical world, how it organised and understood itself, what drives evolution, it increasingly became clear to Vicky that physics was properly the path she ought to head down to better annihilate an insanity trending thought.
     Not having her own physics lab at home however Vicky was left only with vector equations to reach her goal, vectors being numbers with a size and a direction, the fundament of physics. Somewhere there was a simple, perfect vector equation that, once discovered, could easily pop a thought into oblivion. Hopefully not one of her own thoughts: she would have to be careful, keeping one step ahead of her thoughts throughout the search for that one potent formula.
     Once home she eagerly began.
*
     Victoriyae spent most of her free time over the next ten weeks researching as much basic human biology and physics that a six hour study day could fit in. By the end of that time she had some base equations to work with and a tentative hold on human neuroscience. She had also signed up to a few science forums on the Net and, without explicitly stating her intentions, had been given a few good pointers in her quest.
     Her next step was to isolate herself utterly for the next four weeks and to work diligently towards the target in sight, taking unpaid leave from work (thank goodness she had plenty of savings.) The enthusiasm quickly waned however as those formulas that promised the most potential invariably arrived at some permutation of ‘i’ as the solution, i being the algebraic term for the square root of -1, an impossibility. +1 has two roots, easily obtained, but the square root of -1 has no real root(s) that once multiplied by itself arrives back at -1. Reality, it appeared, was demanding the impossible. Once the Universe had got what it wanted Vicky would have what she wanted. A fair trade.
     ‘Well, why not?’ she thought to herself. She need simply turn the impossible, anything impossible, into the possible. The answer arrived as another epiphany, the morning before she was due back at work: she could travel faster than light. Anything with mass faces light speed as the ultimate limit but if she could make herself massless then the entire Universe would lie at her feet.
     ‘No mass, no mass. Having no mass,’ she mumbled to herself over breakfast. And then another epiphany: a soul probably has no mass, being as it is eternal and therefore immune from the decay of the Universe. Sure the soul had not been anatomically discovered but she could probably discover that her own did in fact exist, laying deep within the spirit of her consciousness. Perhaps the soul can only be known by the self, its presence impossible to prove to others? She spent the remainder of the day in meditation, idly wandering through her mind to negate impossibility.
*
     Victoriyae felt her soul’s breath, and a way to harness it to travel faster than light, at exactly the same instant that she saw the equation that could rupture a thought. Like her soul the vector equation was easy to understand. What did the trick, what would perish a thought, was a simple change in perspective during the reduction of the formula to its final result.
     But how best to express this revelation, simply by saying it, impacting upon Reality immediately, or write it down, the more deeply effective?
     She decided to give birth to the equation in a conversation with someone at the pub, being far too eager to see the fruits of her life’s ambition. She left her bed where she’d been meditating, and after putting on a new white blouse and her new white slacks headed off to the pub.
*
     Perhaps because she was all in white, as well as being good looking, she got into conversation with a guy at the bar when she stepped up to order an orange juice.
     ‘You don’t see all white outfits much these days,’ he joked. ‘That went out with the last millennium!’
     ‘I wear it when I’m in a super mood,’ she replied, and then ordered her orange juice.
     ‘You get a promotion at work?’ he asked.
     ‘Even better. I’ve discovered an equation that will eradicate mental illness forever.’ The guy looked suitably impressed.
     ‘That so? My name’s Luke. How’s about we have a seat and chat about it.’
     ‘Certainly, Luke. I’m Victoriyae.’
     They sat near the bar and Vicky soon began discoursing.
     ‘The equation is simple,’ she began.
     Luke took a swig from his schooner and then replied,
     ‘I know some maths, tell us the equation.’ Vicky once more recalled the beautiful vision of those vector terms, eager to spread her gift.
     Vicky felt one of her thoughts explode, like an ice-pick driven deep into her brain, precisely on the cusp of revealing her new truth. She had no time to marvel that it was an ordinary, rather than sickness producing, thought, in this case about the unwelcome smell of tobacco suddenly wafting in. Doubtlessly if she’d written it down instead of saying it the result would have been different.
     When the pub’s power suddenly went, all of the poker machines, lights, video games, everything, Luke decided to gallantly see her out of the virtually pitch black pub. He took her arm and said,
     ‘We’d best go, Vicky; don’t want to drink in the dark do we?’ Vicky didn’t respond and he tugged harder on her left arm, causing her to fall over, stone dead. Of course he didn’t know she was dead but failing to revive her he called for a member of staff, whom duly pronounced her dead.
     The coroner could not identify the cause of death, try as hard as he did. Cut open on the table Vicky was the veritable picture of health in every way. Her colleagues and pupils erected a permanent shrine to her at the school, and Vicky’s mother was only able to visit it three weeks after it had been erected, not long after another discharge from Rozella Hopsital.

     ‘My last oasis,’ she sobbed in front of Vicky’s ashes. ‘My very last.’ Torey Rainne had not the vaguest notion that her daughter had been on the cusp of curing insanity and mental illness, giving a priceless gift simply for the asking. She remains in and out of Rozella.
~~~
     If you've been enjoying Denis' stories on this blog you may also enjoy his debut novel, This Mirror in Me. It tells the story of Tonia Esqurit Ailbe, a mathematics professor, and her unusual manner of making her home a social hub, her life's fundamental aim: sitting at her dressing table mirror and imagining socialising with friends and family. It seems the only way, for one reason or another, that she can achieve her deepest aim. It is available on Kindle at http://amzn.to/1gXGF9h for US $4.01, and via Smashwords at http://bit.ly/1k7DEIV for US $3.99. If you don't have a Kindle or other ereader you can download one for free onto your smartphone or tablet.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome! Held me completely for whole time. Hey do you want to enter your works for an online short story contest, here check this out http://www.tallenge.com/contest/literaturestsorycontet.html
    I think it's a great place for a fabulous writer like you to reach out readers globally and also you can win lots of prizes. There is no entry fee. Do check it out.

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  2. Thank you, Katherine, authors need all the encouragement that they can get. Thanks too for that link, I will submit this story to them today.

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