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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Children of a Lesser Apocrypha

I woke up, eventually, in a hospital with hoses pumping fluids into me and tubes spilling fluids out of me, a respirator forcing air in and out of my lungs and an entire Radio Shack worth of sensors and wires taped to my head, chest, arms, fingers, spine… There were machines of various sorts softly whirring, and pinging, and hissing, performing a sort of biomechanical fugue. Bach for the sleeping Aesculapian.

The newsscreen mounted on the wall opposite me was running a story about a computer programmer from NASA named John Corvino who’d been missing since 1999. He’d become frightened by his calculations. Corvino predicted that the Comet C/1999 H1 (Lee) – a wild, non-periodic comet - would impact upon the Earth’s surface. “It’s erratic!” He shouted at his coworkers. “It’s a lawless rock,” he said.

He told anyone and everyone who would listen about how Comet C/1999 H1 (Lee) would strike in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, creating massive tidal waves, tsunami over 200 feet high. But unable to convince anyone to take action, Corvino left his job, and left his family, and ran to the hills. Or, more accurately, ran beneath the hills. He took a tent, bedroll, camping supplies, dried food, and over a dozen handguns and rifles down into a cave in southern Ohio. And he’d been there since 1999.

He emerged from his apocalyptic hidey-hole, bearded and blinded, believing that he was the sole survivor of a catastrophic event. When he saw that the world had gone on without him, that Comet C/1999 H1 (Lee) had not struck the Earth, had not even come close to the Earth (not even close by cosmic standards) he took his guns and retreated back down into his cave.

My recovery roommate laughed and laughed at the story. He howled with laughter until the nurses came and gave him a powerful sedative. He told me later that while he had been in the hospital for a CAT scan of his brain, he’d lost all of his psychic abilities. Before entering the hospital he had been able to read people’s auras and see a few hours into the future. He told me that he’d also once hypnotized a jaguar. But after the scan, those abilities were completely suppressed. He was planning to sue the hospital, the doctor and the technicians who’d operated the CAT scan machine. His lawyer told him that he had a solid case.

The last thing he said to me before he left the hospital was: “We are lost and occasionally found, found shining among the stars.” Then he leaned close to me and whispered, “We are children of a lesser apocrypha.” Then he popped his knuckles and laughed and laughed. He laughed all the way out the door.

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Jeff Carter's books on Goodreads
Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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