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©2019 by Prometheus Dreaming

Before

by Daniel Bishop

The future is not so mysterious when you consider that I will watch it unfold, witness the concatenation of events, inevitable steps towards the end of all, and I’ll narrate it to you over the telephone, though the wires will have begun to droop, will have been entombed along the frontage of suburban American homes. It’s a trajectory, the marching on of the way things have been, on and on to the way things’ve got to be. No, no mystery at all. It’s watching a magician’s hands when you already know the trick. The most you can do is nod and admit that he got it there, to the same place it was always going to end up, from the moment the cripple in the audience volunteered to be his assistant, the girl’s parents lifting her onto the stage, the hot white light. The mystery is what came before. Who gave that girl wheels? Who let her fall asleep cross-legged in the backseat, and who gave the other driver one more for the road, or that bartender his license to pour? Who codified the legal limits and how many drinks versus elapsed time versus weight versus the last meal we ate together in Holland when I couldn’t recall the name of a single coastal town in my home state as a federal agent tried to rack his brain thinking of the one in which he had once lived. Saybrook. Mystic. New Haven. The Long Island Sound is an eternal exchange of plastic waste. There’s not a good beach until you hit Westerly. I can get you there. But you cannot tell me how you came to be, though you and I are evidence that what happened was. You tell me about your father and your father’s father, you think, but some affair could easily have broken that fragile string, the accepted order of events. I can get you back as far as why you smell like the sea, to the darkness before the salts of summer skin had taste. To nothing. But further than that I am afraid to look.

About the Author

Daniel Bishop grew up in the United States' Northeast. He traveled North America playing music in his early twenties and now resides in the American Southwest.