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Over the Hills

February 4, 2013
I call it a Dandycopter.

I call it a Dandycopter.

I start falling from the doorway and crash in stages: bag on floor, body in computer chair, elbows on desk, head in hands.

What a day.  What a week.

When I feel like I can support the weight of my own head, I jab the computer on, and then let my chin collapse into my palms.  Too heavy.

I took a job to support my writing habit, but I manage to forget every day that I also chose work that I enjoy.  And then it’s an effort to write every day.  What’s gone wrong? I crush my fingers into my eyes.  Feels good, but probably isn’t, and doesn’t answer the question.

Computer’s booted.  Writing first, my daily quota, or I’ll leave it til bedtime again.  Write something forced and lose sleep, be crabby at work, and so on it goes.

I open Word, feel my my eyelids weighten. Blinding white.  Where’s the world that needs to be refracted from that light?

Pencil then, and paper.  I stare at that for a while too, trying to see what’s ravelled in the fibres.  Where do I look for that doorway to another world?

Hmm.

I fish around the stacks and piles and drawers of desk debris and – scissors.  Fold the paper, fold again, and cut.  Cut, cut, little lines.

I stand and flick the paper; it unravels.  Stretch gently, not to tear.  I’ve made a ring – a paper portal big enough to step through.  Holding it up, I duck through, first one foot, then twisting around, the other. It’s caught on my foot, and, no, it’s torn.  Too fine, too flimsy.

Ah well. Worth a try.

I drop back into my computer chair and try to work.

“It’s no good, Captain, we’re going down.”

I eyeball the intruder jittering at my shoulder.

“Well that’s not the right direction to be going in at all, Gates.  Have you checked for holes?”

“Yessir.  There’s no holes.  Except where there should be. Ha ha ha. Sir. Ma’am.”

“Well then.”  I spring down from the chair and land in a crouch.  The computer terminal is raised for standing at, but I made a high swivel chair for the lazy days.  And I like sitting up high.

I stride to stairs, bounce up the stairs, trip on the stairs, and emerge on deck.  Gates patters behind, taking three steps for each one of mine.  When I stop at the railing he again jitters at my shoulder.

It’s true, we are going down.  The ship’s level but we’re drifting lower and lower, trailing scraps of cumulous cloud caught about the masts.

I fly my ship the same way a child pilots a dandelion seed caught on the breeze; I don’t, but I follow along to see where it goes.  Occasionally I put it down to go adventuring overland, or visit the market, or because there’s no wind, but I didn’t intend to stop this evening. There’s a thrill in falling asleep only imagining where I’ll wake the next morning that I delight in.

Rabbit, comprising the rest of the crew, hauls on a couple of ropes while steadying the rudder with one thonged foot.  The hull’s skimming treetops now, there’s a whisper-scraping and occasional thunk.

The trees give way to open fields, rolling down towards a tangle of lights that glitter in the dusk on the left, counterpointing the orange and pink glow fading in the right.

“Alright, set us down somewhere clear, we’ll figure out what’s gone wrong in the morning.”

The ship scrapes the tree branches down to a clearing at the edge of the woods.  We fold the sails, shut down the computer and turn off all the lights except for the one outside by the front door. To the tune of crickets, we exit, lock up, and let the screen door rattle shut behind us.

The breeze brings music up to meet us halfway over the hills to the town.  It’s a lively folkish jig with a hint of feast clatter and an undercurrent of spirited chatter.  Hooked, we prick our ears and pick up our feet. Something’s happening here tonight.

I should be writing, but we’ve broken down, and dancing and people and laughter and food seems a good way to live tonight.

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