Adrift again under a zodiac like no other, one uncharted by those who had gone before because they lacked the basic tools necessary -- the implements for making circles on paper and stabbing your friends with playfully and not so playfully, the protractor with its conspicuous voids at the center -- we began to realize the false world itself was a mere construct, a mechanism through which we attempted to escape enslavement by an entity that contoured information into the semblance of a world so as to keep us in one place, subservient and satisfied, content. The waves battered the craft at irregular intervals and threatened to swamp the whole mess now and then, the sound they made like the sound of nothing turning inevitably into something, transforming itself through the assistance of whole numbers and footnotes, the treble clef. By the time sleep came, it was no longer a relief, but a second burden and a form of decay, a means of being in two places at the same time without the benefit of experiencing either one. Odd, how our patterns are not really patterns at all when viewed from above, through eyes inhuman in that they do not and can not belong to us; they’re not really even eyes when you get right down to it, not cellular or reflective in any way. What we call patterns are, rather, random shapes and inclinations like those that afflict the song birds in the fields across the street, causing them to change locations innumerable times throughout the day, to flit from one dead strand of vegetation to another without purpose or benefit made obvious to the observer. My heels ache with the loss of practice, the surface of the earth like broken pottery and the distances covered similar to those you’d expect of languages or migratory waterfowl so long as they aren’t arriving from Ethiopia, a location chosen simply to illustrate an outlying logical possibility and not to forge a political statement of questionable taste. The man is at the door before we are, his forearms banded with muscle and wound tight upon themselves as if he had distilled them down from another essence, a novel concept governing anatomy discovered in the pages of a magazine that otherwise includes commentary on the niceties of theosophist thinking and the proper seeds to plant come spring. He will not look me in the eye and I know before either one of us is given the chance to speak that he holds me accountable, that he believes I have somehow turned this particular pestilence loose upon the land and even if I am here to rectify the situation, his forgiveness is not forthcoming. It is locked away in the cellar of the organ that rubs occasionally against the bones in his chest and it will perish there unlit and unseen, a mere rumor, really, failing, as all rumors must, by definition, to transcend its hopeless situation and stand upon the semantic equivalent of a ridge overlooking both the named and the unnamed valleys that are laid out below it, orderly and inviting in the dishonest light originating with what at one time were stars but are now (now that we have seen them up close with our own eyes and have suffered the unpleasant consequences) merely conglomerations of methane and hydrogen gas morphed, for our convenience, into unquenchable flame.