A little girl picked along a stream weaving through the cedars and pine near her mountain home.
She looked left and right, under her feet, across the water and all around, picking up a shiny stone here and there, placing each one in her apron pocket.
After awhile her apron grew heavy and her stomach grumbled, so she left the stream and walked home, leaning on the quiet trees she passed along the way.
Her father was just arriving with two buckets of water on a plank settled across his shoulders. He saw her waddling towards him and laughed into the sun.
She heaved her swollen apron onto the great stump father used to split wood, spilling out the jumble of stones in an oracle’s dice throw.
“Mama mountain laid eggs!”
He reached into the pouch at his waist and held out his hand, wide as the stump, showing her a single dark red rock.
“And what will this hatch, daughter?”
She wrinkled her tiny face in thought, while the hatchet in his other hand swung in a blur over the stone, casting a flock of hissing sparks into the fire pit at his feet.
Her eyes grew wide and she smiled.
Soon steam began to rise from the pot hung over the fire pit. He scooped some out into a clay bowl and handed it to her. The warmth spread into her little hands, and behind his beard, the father smiled.
The infinite universe is apprehended through the compression algorithm derived by multiplexing peripheral input of limited array of spectrophotometers, mass spectrometers, pressure plates and gyroscopes, honey whether you do or you don’t believe, we can at least agree, something mysterious in each one of us, something dangerous and petty, violent if necessary, perverted and unsanitary, vestigial and involuntary, pentangular plenipotentiary to enemy territory, the immortal and the way of the monastery beckoning back to the caves and trees, in the dark ages, the shaded places of history whereby many peaceful graces worked the land with fellow hand and hand far from the walled and wicked cities, filth and grime in every crevice, paved with misery, lapping up luxuries but dumpster dive for decency, disposable identities, life-size cardboard intimacy, in a grand sort of Ad hominem fallacy, prithee praytell what in the living hell is the moral of this droll and dilatory postmodern tribalist twenty-four hour newsrecycling convenience story, a cultural no-go zone of sedimentary slaves in existential promontory?
She jostles the gearshift left-right-left-right-left, yanks the handbrake back, switches the engine off, opens the door, swings her boots out, launches up from the low leather seat and spins the door shut with a flourish fit to finish a Viennese waltz.
She pulls off her glove and a triple amputee octopus over the number pad. The outer door is still closing and she’s inside already, whistling down the hallway, leaping up the stairs, her long trenchcoat flowing behind like a battle standard on the arched whip of her lean torso, and over her shoulder: a wood handle shovel glints with the green exit sign as she disappears around the corner.