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LEWIS GESNER: Truthful Lies

Acts of God and Devil ; Unsuspected Art

Language: English; 中文


A doctor is suddenly compelled to open a colorful but deadly blossom in the victuals of a patient who had been scheduled for a simple wart removal. Interviewed after the passing of the man in his care, he spoke of feeling his hands directed by an unseen force.

Elders in a retirement home frequently gather in a day room to watch television and relax in conversation. Their various ailments and conditions have left their bodies variously contorted and twisted, as time and age will do. Unknown to any observer, the arthritic shapes of their fingers, bends of the spines and operation scars have formed letters in multiple languages. Each day when they converge, these affectations regroup themselves to form progressive installments of a novel, unknown to them. There is only one invisible reader.

A pond in winter has frozen over. On the night of the freeze, there is a very heavy rain, which causes the leeches in the pond to rise to the surface. A very sudden change in temperature causes thousands of the leeches to be captured and frozen in ice on the very surface of the pond. For the duration of the winter, children skate and slide on the pond, as they do in many countryside settings. On the night of the first day of spring, a youngster rests quietly on the pond, wrapped in his winter coat and clothes, and, tired from an afternoon of play, falls into a light sleep. A warm front arrives stealthily and unannounced, melting the thinnest top layer of the pond’s ice, just enough to release the thousands of suspended leeches frozen there, who are ravenously thirsty for blood. The child never awakens.

At regular intervals, at all corners of the globe, there are near miss accidents, where a driver of a car, bus, or plane very closely pass or miss another, and where there are natural occurrences as well, which, if timed slightly differently, would create huge calamities of destruction. Some are observed as almost-events, while others slip by unobserved, and unappreciated as the workings of a finely geared hand wound clock of enormous proportion. Yet for an omniscient writer, the list goes on.

A near perfectly vintage Stradivarius violin has been stolen, and sits for years in its case, hidden from view. The thief lives through decades, never touching the instrument, but knowing it is there if he wishes. Simultaneously, on three continents, three rare wines have been bought at auction for record sums. The proud owners, who had all bid anonymously, collect and covet their prizes, securing them in cellar vaults, knowing they may be had at any time, but never touching them. The wines and the stolen Stradivarius continue to age and ripen, and become more perfectly vintage and pure in taste and tone. And then, at exactly the same moment in time, they pass maturity. The three rare wines turn to vinegar, and the magnificent violin snaps at the neck, and its body cracks through. The deaths will not be known for many years to come.

When the end of the world comes, it is unexpected and impossible to imagine, as it is the unfolding of an impossible event. In a small uninhabited cabin in the Black Forest of Germany, a meteorite the size of a marble crashes through the roof and embeds itself in the dirt floor. When it passes through the roof and ceiling, it dislodges two splinters of wood the size of chopsticks. They both land on the floor, each with one end embedding in it, and their other ends, pointing toward each other and almost touching, forming a capital “L” shape which has been tipped over to the right and on its side. As if two fingers then, pointing toward each other in accusation, the strange symbol of opposing powers is too great for the universe to ignore. One splinter then gathers energy of positive matter as it occurs in all of physical things. The other splinter gathers behind it all of the energy of antimatter, which has grouped itself in a massive army of an opposite state. Released from their restraint of eons, the two forces compel across the slight gap that remains between the two splinters on the floor, and the universe as we have known it ends.

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