On Monday, June 23rd, Doctor Professor Uberman shut down his computer and turned off his cell phone. He left his iPad, lanyard and badge, wallet and keys on the table in the hall and went through the sliding glass doors, across the deck, and down into the back yard.
The weather was fair. It had not rained for several days. The ground was dry. He sat down on it. Today there would be no pain.
The wind blew dust across the yard, raising particles of the dead from a hundred thousand years. Invisible waves passed through the air, through Uberman’s body, ripples of electromagnetic radiation modulated into data. Voices, images, rumors of miracles, warnings of terror. His senses could not detect them; his brain could not decode them. He could imagine they did not exist.
The umbilicus was severed from the unending demands of Moloch. Today Uberman would be unaware of messages, news, emergencies. Today there would be no pain.
He lay on his stomach, flat upon the grass, feeling gravity hold him against the earth. Before his eyes, single drops of dew on the tips of tiny leaves refracted rainbows. He allowed his eyes to blur all else around, behind, ahead. There was just this prism of color, fleeting, infinite.
A small movement refocused his eyes onto a spider. Within the intricate chemical clockwork of that alien body were strands of genetic material that duplicated his own. Somewhere down that strobe-flash of incalculable days, a creature spawned siblings that would diverge, procreate, a million upon a million times over, to become someday, a spider and a man. They were distant kin.
Every righteous crusade, every rendezvous with destiny, all the thunder and drum of human achievement, was compressed by geological time into a wafer. Uberman looked into the eyes of the spider, an event equally important as any other human act.
Vibrations jarred the air and struck his ears, traveling the complex organic Rube Goldberg machine inside his head to inform him that people had arrived at the house behind him. People who wanted his attention, who insisted he must care about their concerns. Today he would not oblige. Today there would be no pain.