Yesterday I posted something that was a little experimental and one of the reasons it struggled to find a home. This one is also experimental but this one was accepted and published by Unthank Books in Unthology 3 and was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013. It weaves narrative with blog posts, Facebook posts and Tweets and reads backward the way you scroll down a screen. I was really proud of this one and extremely grateful that Robin and Ashley took a chance on it… enjoy! Oh and it uses lots of mathematical references!
The Theory Of Circles
It’s what you’ve written in your Blog, dated Wednesday 7th April 5.03 p.m. The very last words. It’s all that’s left, as if you never existed.
Marmalade pissed up the front door of number 6.
A message Tweeted at 4.47 p.m. on the same day. It’s ridiculously sublime and yet typical of you. Laced with humour, even to your last Tweet.
At the very edge of the day someone you’ve never met stares at the pages of the Blog he knows intimately, and waits, the thin white edges of a polo mint dissolving on his tongue. He reloads the page, cusses a dodgy Wi-Fi connection and waits. He waits again until he realises you might just have meant it. You might just be officially unplugged.
Facebook status: Undecided. That’s what you wrote twelve hours before you did it. Before that there was a brief mention that Marmalade had stalked a sock that was in Winifred’s garden. In his escapades you said he’d tipped over one of Winfred’s ornamental Buddhas which you noted must have been (your spelling) ahelluva lot lighter than it looked. You’ve ended with: Why do Buddhas look like that Fred Elliot character who used to be in Corrie? I say do why do Buddhas look like that Fred Elliot character? Or perhaps, you added, it should be the other way round.
No clues, then an hour later just the word undecided. Was that it?
And someone called Tracy J had responded with LOL. But it was too late by then – you’d already unplugged. LOL, POV, IMAO… RIP.
Everything seems so random- but it’s not.
Your words. You used to call yourself the Great Chaos Theorist. I remember the post: Does a polo mint obey the law of entropy when it dissolves. Experiment 1.
You never did say, or tell us if there was an Experiment 2 or 3.
Sunday April 4th 10.18 a.m: Tweet: It just goes to show love can blossom anywhere.
Sunday April 4th, 10.17 a.m: Tweet: It’s official! Mohammad has moved in with Winifred. His moving in present to her: 14 pairs of size 10 slippers.
Blog posted Monday, April 1st 4.13 p.m. Big Boobz kissed The Nerd on Winifred’s drive. They came home late from school again – boots and coats caked in mud.
Blog posted Monday April 1st 9.12 a.m: Last night Mohammad went into Winifred’s with a big bunch of purple tulips. He didn’t come out for three hours, and when he did his shirt was untucked. By the way this isn’t an April Fool.
That was six days before ‘The Great Unplugging.’
That’s what they’re calling it – but they’re still waiting for you, hoping you’ll find a way back, tell them all the random going-ons on The Crescent. Send them more links to random eBooks like Social Networking for Dodos that you said you bought at the same time as: The Art of Reading Backwards. But deep down, in that gut place, they all know you’ve gone. At first they convinced themselves you’d just changed identity, like a snake shedding its skin. They’re saying they’d find you, they’d know you anywhere.
But they don’t even know your real name.
Nothing is real. Tweet dated Wednesday March 31st, 4.16 p.m.
Facebook, earlier that day: If you wait long enough everything comes full circle.
Did this have anything to do with all the geometry references – or was it another random comment to keep them guessing?
The day before that you’d Blogged that you saw Mohammad talking to Marmalade and you even saw his hand hover dangerously close to stroking his chin. You said it was funny how things changed. Like it was another golden rule of the universe. You said nothing ever stays in the same place. You added: except for you.
Saturday March 13th, 10.20 a.m, Facebook: Mohammad’s visitors finally left- three nephews and The Aunty and at least five times as many bags than they arrived with. A ton of shoeboxes (I might have been wrong about the slipper thing.) Marmalade will miss his secret vindaloos on the front step. The Aunty seems partial to cats (Might have been wrong about her eyeing him up for a curry too).
Wednesday March 10th, 2.31 a.m. Tweet: A circle is a special form of ellipse that produces a closed curve.
Monday March 8th, 4.43p.m. Facebook. Winifred took Marmalade to the vets in a picnic basket. She told the taxi driver it was on account of him having the runs. She advised him to keep the window open. He mumbled something under his breath and looked really angry.
Tuesday March 2nd, 4.12 p.m. Blog Post: The Nerd finally plucked up courage to talk to Big Boobz right outside my window. “Do you like birds?” he said. “No! You think I’m a dyke?” “No, I mean feathered twittery birds.” “You mean like starlings?” “Yeah, like starlings.” “You mean like the one…” “Yeah, like that one.” “You mean am I like a Twitcher?” “Yeah, like a Twitcher. I mean no, not like a Twitcher, well yeah, like a Twitcher.” “Fuck off.” The Aunty then appeared in lime-green feathery slippers and shook her head tutting over and over like a stuck budgie. But I did see Big Boobz wink at The Nerd, then she said she was free on Saturday if he wanted to take her to the reserve but he wasn’t to tell anyone. “Wear boots, it gets muddy over there,” he said. Then he added, “I’ve got the right gear, you know the right equipment.” She raised her eyebrows, “I bet you have.” He blushed so hard he turned purple.
Later you Tweeted that the most predictable thing about people is their unpredictability.
Sunday March 1st, 4.15 a.m. Tweet: An ellipse is a smooth closed curve which is symmetric about its centre.
Friday February 26th, 11.17 p.m. Blog Post: Mohammad dug a small hole in the dirt in his front garden with a spoon – he did it when he thought no one was watching but Big Boobz would have seen him when she came out to put a black bag in the wheelie bin. And The Nerd would have seen him from his bedroom window when he was star gazing again. They would both have seen Mohammad holding something against the flat of his palm and then placing it gently in the hole. They would have seen him spooning dirt back over it and raking it neat with his fingers. And they would have seem him cry as he read from The Koran.
© Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, Unthank Books, Unthology 3, 2013