Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Puppet on a Chain

I sometimes wonder if the modern medical profession is just an extremely elaborate front for a conspiracy of epic proportions, replete with elements that are found in every other science-based-suspense-thriller that makes a half-hearted attempt at becoming popular fiction.

The doctor is the mad scientist, barely managing to keep his psychotic alter-ego under control as he faces his patient, the stereotypical image of professional concern and scholarly contemplation, all the while calculating which of his latest evil experiments would be furthered by the addition of another naïve test subject. The protagonist of course, is the unsuspecting patient, a lab rat, way out of his depth and falling deeper into the rabbit hole with every passing minute, spun into a web of dark and deceitful forces far beyond his comprehension, let alone control.

Unfortunately, this is where the uncanny likeness ends. Because reality does not permit improbable coincidences that let the protagonist survive against all odds and suddenly find a heroic path to vanquish the forces of evil. Real life does not suffer lab accidents that give birth to superheroes.

Image copyrighted to Patricia Jessup, “Puppet on a String”, Acrylic on canvas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Delicate Sound of Thunder

It was a lazy Friday evening, the sort he would usually spend curled up with a good book, or watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He left the bedside windows open just so, transforming the unseasonal downpour into the subtle hint of an occasional stray water droplet striking his face, drinking in the pungent-yet-sugary-sweet fragrance of newly drenched mud that delved into his subconscious to pull out ephemeral images of nights soaking in the first rains, of childish enthusiasm, of adolescent trysts and times gone by.

He took his book and moved up to the terrace, lost in the surreal world of Toru Okada and his missing cat. The awning over his head offered barely sufficient protection against the capricious rain, and the rattle of raindrops on metal pulsed with an intensity that impinged softly on his senses. Deeply moved by the meandering yet powerful narrative that kept jumping between the real and the metaphysical, he felt a vague sense of disquiet that seemed to resonate with Toru’s frenzied struggles to make sense of his own existence.

Feeling the need to climb out of his deep dry well, he stepped out into rain which had now petered out into the slightest hint of a drizzle, seconds passing between each drop landing on outstretched hands. He left his book behind and found a relatively dry spot, lying on his back to gaze at a sky striated with sinister jumbles of menacing clouds.

Midway to the horizon, he noticed a mysterious spot incessantly radiating lightning bolts, some small and harmless, some massive, arcing across the night sky through the cloud cover. Mesmerized by this magnificent display of nature’s muscle, he lay on the ground as the lightning slowly drew near; questioning if he was witnessing the divine might of the Gods in action, or an unremarkable scientific phenomenon.

In a while, it stopped drizzling, and a gentle zephyr blew through the sparse tree cover, soothing and encouraging birds and insects alike to twist and shout. Reveling in the music of the night, he turned his back on the soundless source of nature’s fury, to lie on his stomach with eyes closed, relishing the comforting feel of the cool breeze. Feeling truly at peace after a long time, he glanced upwards. And noticed the antenna over his head as a lightning bolt came arcing down out of the silent night sky.

Image copyrighted to Storm Thorgerson, album art for ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder’, Pink Floyd live album, 1988.