Saturday, 1 November 2014

The First, Last and Greatest Work of Sabastin Dolmce

Only later did he come to know of the period of his incarceration, and that to by pure chance. Rifling through the basement of the The Grand Tomorrow he came up on some papers dated nearly 200 years back. Rotted, invaded by termites and dampness they were only hanging together feebly. And it was in one of these papers during a cursory glance that he came upon a faded photograph that resembled his image in the mirror. In a forgotten language there followed a whole article underneath. Time had done what Ipthakir had not and had taken away the last evidences of his infamy and he let it be. He wasn’t anxious to scratch at healed wounds.

His new life can be said to have begun on the day that the sea won the battle over the walls of his cell in the Ipthakir penitentiary. The darkness that prevailed in that room for over 200 hundred years was cut through by the rays of the sun that fell into it. Mikel Honbrot though did not realize this. He had only been conceived at that instant; he still had to become conscious and self aware. In the absolute solitude of the cell he had forgotten his own existence. And so he lay there oblivious to the crash of the sea from an outside that he didn’t even know existed with the sunlight slowly falling on his pallid emancipated body. The sea, relentless in its forward march, continued its push on to the land and ventured farther and farther into the cell. And finally one day a huge wave rolled in up to his feet, soaking it in that bluish frothy permeability for the first time in 200 years. The waves slowly washed over his body embracing him in its wetness and in a stupendous thundery afternoon with all the noises and yells and screams of labor, it dragged him out of the womb and set him awash in itself.

He floated like that for days on end oblivious to everything. Born but unable to do anything for himself. He watched the fishes floating in the sea, the life teeming beneath him and he still could not bring himself to believe in his existence. But then one fine day the sharks that prowled the depths swarmed about him, sniffing and poking and prodding. And finally one of them came and took a bite out of him and then suddenly in the blinding presence of pain, he understood that he existed. His existence was affirmed by the existence of the sharks that viewed him as their prey. The next shark that came close to him- he peed on its face; sending it running scared, pained and with the salt of a hundred seas in it eyes. The other sharks withdrew from the horrendous apparition of the man who squirted poison deciding to find more lucrative prey.

Mikel Honbrot meanwhile started to swim. He didn’t know his name or anything about him. All he knew was that he existed. But when he opened his mouth some crude words came out of him and he recognized them to be some form of language. With the aid of this sounds he knew that he could find his way in the world and thus started to swim towards an unseen land on that heaving breast of eternal life.

He walked on to the shore naked, to the amazement of Derrick Longhill and his family who were sunbathing on the beach. He walked by them without a second glance and headed straight to town. There he sat down on the sidewalk and decided to beg.

Ocindia Juarez taking pity on the despondent state of the man gave him her husband’s dresses which had lain unused in the bottom drawer of the Persian chest ever since he had gone off to fight for Pedro Garcia and had decided to settle in the island city of Sevonu. She had decided to rid of his memories by ridding of his dresses so that in the twilight of her life she could take part in all the revelries that were denied to her by the adolescent infatuation which had spelled disaster for her in the form of Frederico Juarez and the 15 children she begot him.

With just the clothes that he had on his back Mikel decided to move on and find somewhere that he could rest and enjoy his new life. A steady job is what he desired, something that brought forth no memories and something so simple yet so restricting that he couldn’t have moments for idle thought which as Octavia Juarez had told him before he left town as a last piece of advice where the abode of the raccoons that eat health and shit diseases.

Along his travel to find a home he came upon a fork in the road. A weathered sign on the side said that the right path led to the town of Jose Enrique. He felt a shiver run through his back. Somehow the name of the city engendered in him a deep and dark foreboding. If he had taken that route he would have found out all that he ever was but in the end he would have ended up back on this same fork in the road, in the same condition as he was in now. He turned his back on that accursed place forever and walked along the path to the left and his wanderings finally led him to the city of Quetzcal.

The city of revolutionaries, conservatives, scientists and philosophers welcomed him with open arms. In the fumes and the heady beat of the city he felt in himself a craving for philosophical diversions and yearnings for words strung together with invisible threads set from the yarns of an unknown melody. And so he settled down in Quetzcal as a bartender in The Grand Tomorrow. This meeting place of the intellectual, revolutionary and conservative elites of the city nurtured him and made him forget his beginnings. It was here that he heard of the endless revolution and the endless reprisals of it. Of the meek surrender of the state to its own in contrivable cruelties. Of a civilization that rose above the ashes of another one as the world itself was evaporating bit by bit.

He met the greatest and most respected men of Quetzcal which included the ignoble Marcel Pitt;the colonel of the revolutionary party who had survived 8 bullet wounds, 2 of which had went through his head, because of the simple fact that his head was filled with clay;the reporters of the yesterday who were the only people in all of Quetzcal that knew the ancient languages of the bygone era; the scientist Jin Hin Jingua who was obsessed with the creation of a door that need not be opened to enter a room; the philosopher Fernando Musliera with whom Mikel now under his chosen name of Alejandro Yepachin had  a heated argument one day when Fernando stated that the land was slowly being eroded by the air when in fact, as Alejandro advocated so vehemently, all the erosion was done by the sea.

It was among this motley group of men that Alejandro finally came into contact with Sabastin Dolmce. Dolmce was an uproarious and self-taught scientist who with the same vehemence with which he searched for the next big scientific discovery was also looking for the next big bar brawl. His heart was a fickle one and after just one drink he would renounce his own father as a bastard that couldn’t get his stick up even if the Queen of Amoria danced the samba in front of him naked. But even in his fickleness Dolmce showed a rare lucidity at times and it was in one of his drunken diatribes that the esteemed scientist Jin Hin Jingua finally unlocked the secret for the door that need not be opened. So many men gathered around Dolmce whenever he came to the bar to have a good laugh as well as to listen closely to his ramblings as there were pearls hidden in all the muck of the oyster flesh. They would buy him drinks which sometimes back fired tremendously on the generous sponsor especially once when he called the Chief Inspector of Police who had bought him a drink a hooker worse than the whore of Babylon and told him the only reason he always stayed ram rod straight was because he couldn’t bend over after the president had raped his ass with the flag pole.

Some days, after having his usual drink, Dolmce would start his diatribe and make Alejandro his prey. He barraged him with a lot of consequential and inconsequential ideas, and the words never seemed to choke in his throat. They were like a gigantic bout of diarrhea that wearied the neighbor rather the one who was contracted.

And it was among one of these diatribes or barrages upon the patience of Alejandro that Dolmce denounced Einstein. He had of course started the day by praising the man who he considered, which he repeated again and again, as the father of modern physics. The man was a genius and rightful of being placed ona throne and worshipped by every man who ever decided to pick up the torch which was in fact handed down by him. But as he piled drink upon drink into his supremely arrogant liver which believed in its immortality along with him, the diarrhea of words went from praise to blasphemy. He ended the night by holding Alejandro close and shouting in to his ears that Einstein was a fool and imbecile for ever having thought the blunders he did and should not only be forgotten but his honor besmirched by the lowliest of accusations.

After this particular night, the mere mention of Dolmce was taken by the scientific community in contempt and he was frowned upon and avoided whenever possible. Dolmce never had any shortage of benefactors though and there would always be someone ready to buy him a drink or two in The Grand Tomorrow. Dolmce continued to inhabit the bar as usual but as the days wore by Alejandro saw less and less of him. He noticed that Dolmce was absent more than he was present and that even when he appeared he managed to go home not drunk or without having taken a single drink at all. Soon the people that shared the mass abode of alcohol lost interest in Dolmce as their pastime of the torrent of a blubbering fool, was denied to them.

But one day, about a year after his final drunken debauchery, he burst into The Grand Tomorrow as if he had never been away. He started a drunken bout and was even generous enough to buy everyone assembled a drink. A toast was raised then to the return of the singular man, hailed as a blubbering fool by many, to raucous cheer. After which he called Alejandro over and told him over the ruckus that the man he was looking at was going to change the world. That Dolmce would be hailed as the best of the best soon enough.

But as fate would have it, that night ended disastrously. Because of his abstinence from liquor for so long he got rowdier than usual and ran out on to the street and climbed on top of a tree and started shouting out revolutionary propaganda. He managed to incite everyone, who had gathered under the tree to watch the deranged spectacle of a drunken man’s boisterousness and his equally shaky wisdom, into a kind of mass hysteria. The police was quick to respond, and their response was as expected. Raising guns and bombs against flesh and bones they quickly managed to reduce the riot to a panic stricken marathon of people who were trying to remember the vestiges of their life before they had been incited by the tumorous wisdom of Dolmce. In that panicked fleeing, Dolmce was shot 5 times. Twice in the stomach, once in the back, once in his neck and another in his right leg. The sixth and final shot that was intended to have come off a soldier’s rifle which was aimed at his head was stopped by the Chief of Police who recognized Dolmce and managed to get him dragged out of the mob and sent to his home.

There the doctors who treated Dolmce managed to pull out 4 of the bullets that had entered him but were unable to find out the one that had entered through his back after much poking and probing. Finally in their consternation they accredited the missing bullet to the fact that Dolmce was spineless which was made as a passing comment by his single servant Priyo, who cleaned his house once a week. The spine, which should have stopped the bullet, being absent, they announced that the bullet could be anywhere within the body and thus could not be found.

Dolmce lay thus, confined to his bed, trying to breathe his last day after day but finding that each of the breathes he was counting even in is sleep where not is last. He marked off 846720 breathes before deciding that within the day he would be dead and he requested Alejandro be brought to his bedside before his death.

Alejandro to respect the wishes of a dying man appeared at his bedside as soon as he could. Dolmce didn’t look any worse off than he had been yesterday but he was convinced that the time of his demise was near. He asked Alejandro to open his bedside drawer and take out the papers that contained his life’s work.

‘Alejandro’ he said. ‘That work is the greatest thing I ever did in my life. I think I was only able to stay alive this long so that I may pass it off to you. I dare not give it to any other as they may strike out my name and publish it in theirs to garner all the fame. But you I am sure will never do that. Remember what I told you on that day long ago about how Einstein was an idiot. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So I set to work to prove this and I have proved it. That is my life’s work. Publish it after I die so that the whole world knows that a great man has departed them forever.’

Alejandro nodded his ascent at what he thought were a dying man’s final delusions and got up to get going when Dolmce suddenly grabbed his hand.

‘Remember to publish it Alejandro.’ He said hoarsely. ‘Else I will haunt you till the end of days.’
Alejandro retired with the papers to his house where he set upon the task of trying to make a cursory run through delirium as he believed it. But when the bells rang and the messenger boy came to his house to inform him that Dolmce had passed away, he found the delirium saner than he could have ever imagined.

In alengthy introduction to a mathematical paper on his idea, Dolmce had propounded that the universe was infinite. If it were just this, the paper would have no merit as it had been postulated a hundred times over. But what made this paper different was the fact that he had set out to prove this by proving that light, that phenomenon that was said to be the speed limit of the universe by Einstein, was infact a variable.

The theory of the expansion of the universe was something taken for granted, but Dolmce asked why everyone turned a blind eye towards one of the natural consequences of such an idea. If universe was constantly expanding, then light which travelled through the universe was also expanding as well as it was an integral part of the universe as such. This of course would mean that the expanding light is travelling more distances than before. In an expanding universe the light was by nature of its extensions covering more distances that it should if it had a finite speed. So therefore the speed of light must be a variable. In effect the speed of light was constantly increasing. He surmised that we could live in an infinite universe and be unaware of it because light would also attain a speed that would make the infinite appear as finite. He then set out to prove it mathematically and seems to have arrived at the same conclusion which he had postulated. But Alejandro who wasn’t a mathematical expert could not say how correct his calculations where but the mere hypothesis frightened him.

His philosophical mind took the ramifications of the hypotheses to its extreme. His mind conjured up infinities that appeared finite. And what pained him most was the haphazard and fleeting memories of the Ipthakir. If the cell in which he had stayed was infinite how was it be possible that he had ever escaped it? He could still be ina part of the infinite cell and being infinite himself he could not fathom it. The philosophical implications boggled his mind and as thoughts of Ipthakir crowded around on him he felt like he couldn’t breathe and things he had locked away in his mind forever started coming to the surface. Old wounds were being scratched at. The feeling of non-existence began to overpower him again and he couldn’t bear it. He stood up and lit a fire with the sole aim of getting rid of the apocryphal document.

From nowhere a wispy figure appeared by his side and it’s boomed around in the room.

‘NO ALEJANDRO! DON’T! If you do that I will haunt you till eternity’s end. I will drive you mad. I will make your life a living hell.’

Alejandro looked at the ghost of Sabastin Dolmce under the steady flickering light of the fire and whispered.

‘Some infernos are worse than others.’

He tossed the papers into the flames and watched them burn.


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