Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Will See You Soon Again

August 21, 1956,
It’s a beautiful day –
Today is my first day on the force and we have just been given, at least I thought at first, a remarkable and out of the ordinary opportunity. This specific detective force was Chosen to take charge of a case abroad in Peru:  More specifically at the ancient ruins of Machupichu. As I thought this was an extraordinary Chance, some people on the force however seemed expectant to this and were a bit unsurprised and unchanged when they heard of the news. Its like they’ve done this before…

August 26, 1956
It’s an overcast day –
Today we are finally reaching and flying over Peru: I don’t know how much longer I could have taken the detectives rambling on about life and what not – every story just seemed to be going in circles connecting itself in someway to the last. Anyways, as I looked down out my scratched up window, right pass the planes beaten up and tattered wing, I see these lines of animals carved into the ground:  I ask around, nobody seems to know how they were made or who would have Chosen to do such a thing.  All I was told was their name:  The Nazca Lines – a ”mystery” that may plague humanity for a lifetime. Over and Over Again.

August 27, 1956
It’s a rainy Day–
 Ah: I sighed with content when I saw the seemingly harmless ruins of Machupichu:  The rain producing a most exquisite rainbow with all preciseness.  What could have possibly happened here? Its empty… As we pondered our way through to the center of the ruins, we found our informant: A 5’6” Peruvian native who would give tours of this ancient place on the weekends to support his family.  This being my first year, I listened in with meticulous attention as we were told the situation.  It seems that our case and what we have been brought down here to do is:  “To find a lost individual in some sort of “labyrinth”” Pointless! As far as I could see.  Why don’t the natives just look for the person themselves?  Although seemingly meaningless, it seems like we have been Drawn here for some reason or another that I cannot comprehend just yet at this time.  The informant could neither tell us the “victims” name, height, ethnicity, or even gender; just that they were becoming increasingly lost and distressed with each and every passing moment.  Beyond obviously a little confused, I was assigned soon after to a veteran Detective: Detective Lonnrot:  A seemingly content man who’s Choice of me seemed to be like clockwork.

August 28, 1956
It’s a stormy day –
We arrive to the mountainside entrance of the Labyrinth: good timing I thought – just missing the storm…  The entrance was magnificent: Laid with golden blocks and trim – it seemed to be Drawing us in.  Lonnrot, more than myself, seemed to be in an almost trance of sorts:  However, yet still unimpressed or surprised somehow? A few steps into this grandeur of an entrance, the walls and walkway seem to begin to close in with its snaking paths – descending into the darkness. I hate small spaces.  I follow Lonnrot with great care; I need not become lost in here.  Hello! Is anyone there!? – nothing.  We continually trudge down through these seemingly same endless hallways; I’ve seen that marking before.  Where are we going? I asked, he responded: Fate.  Known also to be a bit of a eccentric man on the force, I merely brushed off Lonnrot’s comment and just figured he was simply a little crazy from the cave.  But it wasn’t simple.  He began only to say, “we’re almost there, I can feel it, and it’s just around the corner don’t worry”  “What corner!?”, I began to angrily ask myself.  How could he possibly have any clue where we were?  Lest he’s been here before: is it possible, has he? Psh, no Chance.  Hello! Can you hear us!? We are here to help!

August 29, 1956
It’s wet–
With each and every passing day and even sometimes moments – something seems to be progressively troubling detective Lonnrot.  He seems distressed; opening a book every so often trying to look for, what appeared to be, guidance or an answer.  Never knowing what this book actually was until, he by Chance, left it upon a rock as he went to the bathroom: The book read, A Guide to the Unknown: smart Choices to keep one “in line” by Cíclica Laberinto.  Was it Chance?  Unknowingly, I just assumed this author to be a sort of native writer.  I began to question the title, was this labyrinth the unknown thing? Were Lonnrot’s decisions Choices from within the book; guiding us through this voyage?  How can we be “in line” when it seems like we are going in circles? Are they one in the same? Taking us to the same inevitable end.  Where is this book Taking us? Hello is someone there!? Anyone!? Please say something! Anything! Echoes…

August 30, 1956
It’s a cold –
We came to a great big opening in the labyrinth:  A colossal cavern.  I had hope of Escape:  If you happen by Chance to stand directly under the middle of the cavern, you could look up and see straight to the top.  Outside looked like a beautiful day:  Why am I stuck here?  Soon after, all hope escaped me when I looked down.  It seems like an outline of a body has laid here before:  A bloodstained floor that a body has been for quite some time before or perhaps a new one over and over again.  Perhaps the same? With my surprise, I mean without my surprise for some reason, I watched in content as Lonnrot began to talk and act even crazier:  Endlessly citing passages from this strange book.  He proclaimed, “…I must become one with this mark… this bodily imprint is my home… this is right, this is it!” (Laberinto 666)  He shut the book and continued to exclaim, “This is My Choice – This is My Choice”.  Additionally, he began Circling the bloodstained imprint:  And as mechanical as ever, he eventually lays down – matching the outline completely.  It was like it fit him just right….  Becoming possessive and explaining that this was His time, he tells me to leave and let him be.  I try to convince him to let me stay or at least that we should continue to press on, but he will just not cooperate and refuses and even threatens to shoot me if I do not follow orders.  I am ordered to leave and to not come back under any Circumstances. I comply.  I guess we found our lost soul…  I wonder if he’d answer if I yelled, “is anyone there!?” Doubtful.

_ _ _ _   _ _, 1956?
It’s… –
I’ve been walking for seemingly endless days.  Rock, boulder, rock.  I pause: I here a scream, “Help!... Is anyone there!? Someone help me Goddammit!”.  I suspected this to be Lonnrot with out doubt and for some unknown valor instinct I feel an overwhelming urge to turn back and help him:  I know I have long, perhaps impossible, journey back to him, but yet still I begin to turn around.  I turn around – I am back within the colossal cavern.  I am alone, I am cold, and I am unsurprisingly in the middle of the vast cavern.  A God like ray of sun bathes my face.  I begin to hear voices telling me, no, encouraging me! to circle the bloodstained imprint until it feels Right to lay down.  I lay down.  I stare into the beautiful opening high up above me: I feel content, I feel right – this is meant to be.  I am warm: I breathe slowly, I breathe deeply, and I feel that I am “free”.   This is my Choice – this is my fate.  I’ll be back soon. AGH!!!!

The last page of the book is left open –
 “Sadly, I must regrettably inform you that this story of A Guide to the Unknown has been one of entirely fiction:  Your Choice is not even a Choice at all – you are endlessly and cyclically bound by fate and therefore – I will see you soon again” 667)

August 21, 1957,
It’s a beautiful day –
Today is my first day on the force…

Laberinto, Cíclica. A Guide to the Unknown: smart Choices to keep one “in line”.  Lima, Peru:  la Imprenta Ronda, 1911.

1 comment:

  1. The structure is very Borgesian - from my viewpoint, successfully so. The bizarre book, the book's false promise to offer some sort of choice, but the reality that it offers only fate, the unannounced return to the beginning, the endless labyrinth - all of these capture both some style and some substance from Borges.

    The location is also appealing, although I would have been happier if there had been more details. In the past, I've taught Borges together with Pablo Neruda, especially his "Heights of Macchu Picchu", so inevitably I was thinking about that.

    I'll tell you the other side, though. You're so focused on Borgesian concepts and abstractions (the repetition of time, the labyrinth, the detective, etc.) that there is very little in the way of conventional plot or character. This adds nothing to Lonnrot's character, it's totally unclear what they're ostensibly investigating, I have no idea how Lonnrot picked up this book, or why he's operating under the illusion that it holds a key to some mystery.

    The problem, in other words, is that it makes sense as a response to Borges, but it doesn't really function simply as a *story*. Who are these people, and what are they doing? As bizarre or brief as the answers to these questions tend to be in a Borges story, they are brief. Take the "Library of Babel" - even though it seems to just a description of the world (although a detailed and nuanced one) we know that the narrator is old, that he is optimistic about the library but not about the current generation of librarians, that he is near death, that he had encountered the members of various probited groups in his youth - we know a great deal that makes him more of an individual than perhaps we realize.

    Both the narrator and Lonnrot needed to function more as individuals, even if only to set up your goal of an eternally looping, fate-driven concept of time. You need the basics first, before the complications can work.