A dark day rises gallantly toward the sun. Love is tattooed on the skin of beckoning stars. Red huts line the perimeter of the crater. Down in the belly is where they grow worship plants. The royalty ships float above, the strong hulls crush the air, the flamboyant sails unfurl ahead of the breeze of a sun flare.
The Egg House is crowded this nochy (night) and the barons of love and lust are roaming freely, checking pocket watches and the walls and the windows and the doors.
Harver Fielding feels his guts are all clamped up as he sits in the corner and tries to write a novel beneath a lamp with a green glass shade. This is what it feels like, he thinks. Trying to write in a noisy atmosphere such as this. He does it to train himself, to make him better in the battle against distraction. But the work forces deep breaths and tinges of twists and turns in the guts. Breathe.
He scratches a pencil into paper. The tip breaks, his heart breaks, his eyes cascade over the clamor of the room. A large room, a dim room, a room filled with people, the ones who live in the red huts out on the rim, the ones who caretake the worship plants in the crater’s belly, the royal ship captains and their high brow beaten bruises, the ones the women cling to like plastic wrap in space.
He breathes a restless scarecrow sorrow, a sour candy taste… Keep going he whispers to the inner parts of his own mind. Keep going. Sleep is still, sleep is destiny unfolded. A warm mouth beneath a tree unpeeled, a ripe banana wristwatch, a Fielding statue at the great park. Images upon images bleed fast through Harver’s mind. He’s scared, he’s happy, he misses love, he’s alone, he is crowded in.
The Egg House is a big wooden structure with multiple decks and porches and small windows and ceiling fans that chop away at the smoke and the talk and the smell of the eggs they cook all day. It’s the biggest place to be out on the edge of the crater. It’s the center of humanity for most. It’s the centrifugal engine of all life in this place, this far away place, a place etched away in the corner of the universe unplagued by God and his soldiers of misfortune.
They are far from Earth now… Farther than any of them have ever been. It was a high so high that none of them thought they would ever come down… And now, they don’t want to come down. There’s something in the air here, the shallow thick air that tastes like butter mints and paint. There’s something in the rain, the snow, the chill, the heat, the eggs. The eggs are eggs plus. There’s always a little extra something added that sharpens the corpuscles, unfamishes the blood, lifts the fog and makes the whole world seem like polished glass.
Harver closes his notebook and relents to the growing madness of the people. He sees a woman looking at him… But the restless edge of his heart and soul rust from the weight of love, the weightlessness of joy. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the small plastic pill bottle. He swallows another mood stabilizer and washes it down with water. What seems to be water. Nothing is defined as it used to be. We are no longer Earthlings; we aren’t any sort of Ling… We are puppets or masters or anything in between, Harver thinks, knows, believes, distrusts. A cluster of royal captains shout and laugh… their princely lives off Earth seem to suit them well.
Harver suddenly gets cold and pulls on his beat down brown leather jacket. He tucks his notebook under his arm and exits The Egg House, the Exeter, the exile, the existence, all in the same. Once outside he sees the green and blue suns are beginning to dip away. The devil is playing with his chips. He’s betting on frailty and poverty and hate. All the things that destroyed Original Earth, well, some of the things, Harver thinks. The wind plays with his hair. He’s disheveled now, sour, sweet, bitter, and blessed. He wonders as he walks along toward the inner guts of Crater City, if his skin will simply just split tonight and all that he is will spill out onto the floor of his domicilian cubicle. Where to next? Harver wonders. The vastness of all space is deeper than anything that’s ever been.
The wind kicks up as he turns onto Castleberry Street. It’s a place of narrow walkways and tall thin trees and lamp posts that squirt liquid light of orange and basil green. It’s a place of tall buildings, squat buildings, windows, doors, lights, tears, falling souls, nightmares, and beautiful dreams. His building is number 117. He activates the lomtick clock tick, the amber lock, with a wave of a hand and the peering of an eye. He steps onto an air pedestal and is immediately lifted with great speed. Harver almost feels as if he is flying. Almost? He is flying. It stops at level 42. The lock disengages. He steps inside. He goes straight to the one window and looks out.
The world still breathes and then Harver thinks, the world will still breathe long after he himself stops breathing. That pains him, and he wonders if he’ll miss the world or if the world will miss him. The new world, that is. How could the new world possibly miss him.
In the lonely edge of the end of another day, he regrets much. He laments the losses; he winces from the tragedies. He sits sown in the one chair and is quiet for a long time. He listens to the rhythm of his own heartbeat, but then it changes, it slows, then stops completely. The notebook slips to the floor, and Harver now floats above the rim of the crater, his soul tenderly grazed by the hull of another royal ship.