Fragment #45 – 25 October 2014

The skies over Reykjavik were purple and blue on the night I was introduced to the Tetrahad.  I had been on something of a junket around the world following the inheritance of an obscenely large sum of money, and Iceland was where I had determined I would end my days, which at the time seemed to effortlessly stretch out ahead into the distance.

But wealth attracts all manner of curious opportunities, and after a period of solitude in which I translated Thomas Browne into Afrikaans, a language I had begun the project knowing nothing about, I was approached by an increasingly motley series of dilapidated gentlemen, mostly English, though some had that ungodly European accent and look that could have meant they were Basque, or a Breton, or Hungarian, or from Belarus, or, perhaps, a citizen of that impossible city, Bahu.

I rejected them all, save one.  The men I turned down possessed detailed plans – they would create fusion machines, perpetual motion devices, implements for measuring klein bottles, tools for squaring the circle, sponges that could soak up seawater and expel fresh water, curiously coloured bottles that fermented water into beer, wine, or a strange viscous substance called phlenom, and which was abhorrent to the taste, but somehow, also, strangely, soothed the heart.

But there was one individual who captured my attention.  He showed me the Tetrahad, and offered to give it to me in exchange for me financing the construction of an enormous library in Portugal, on a rocky part of the coast near Lisbon, a place where, he said, he was born, and which understood the connections of electricity and wind.  He wanted the library to be embedded into the ground such that it extended six or seven stories deep, and above ground, on the sand, the library would look like nothing other than an enormous compass forgotten in the sand.  Inside, it was critical that the library contained books that were translated into purely fictional languages, or even into no language at all (for example, he suggested a language where a = 1, b = 2, c = 3 and so on, but that this language would have no spaces, such that 187623 could be either “ahgfbc” or “rgfw”.

I agreed immediately upon holding the Tetrahad in my hand, and I knew instantly that my life, which was been without purpose, now had meaning.

* * *

The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website.  I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.


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