A report from NG
Think of the smallest possible particle you can imagine. Concentrate all of your energy and attention on this image of infinitesimal proportions. Do this five times each day in five-minute sessions for five days in a row. On the sixth day at the sixth hour, do it for six minutes. After the six minutes are up, don’t open your eyes. Stand up and spin around rapidly until you can’t stand up straight any longer. When you eventually fall over you will wake to find yourself a speck in the vast expanse of space.
Whew! Here at Ghost Paper Archives we’re still celebrating the appearance of Fustus. Direct contact with an inter-dimensional being is more than we would’ve ever hoped for after only a few months’ work. It’s tremendously validating.
There’s been some debate among the Archive as to how seriously to apply ourselves to the dematerialization technique revealed by Fustus. We know he’s a meddlesome entity and belongs to a clique of transcendental bad apples. The opinion of the Archive has largely been: “You go ahead and try it; I’ll watch from a safe distance over here.”
Well one of us had to try it, and I’ve got nothing else going on. So here’s my report.
Imagine a particle. A provocative directive! Lately all I think about are particles. My imagination is full of monsters measured in parts per million.
The real challenge has been to imagine this particle for only five minutes five times a day, as directed, instead of thinking about it constantly and factoring it into everything I do.
I imagine a virus, a single tiny virion carried on a breath like a beachball on the sea. It’s waiting to drift onto the shore of a new island where it can establish itself and choke out all other life.
A whole island of beachballs. The particle likes this idea. It’s really the only idea it has.
Or, I can imagine an even smaller particle. A chemical component of some polymeric resin that until recently had glued together a house. The house was a home, full of family memory, but now it’s floating in the atmosphere along with the rest of California’s forests. This tiny particle, which the house spat out as it collapsed in flames—I can only imagine it as a point of absolute blackness. Toxic, cancerous, vengeful.
I imagine them all, all the tiny monsters. They’ve already gotten into my little apartment. They’re hanging here, poised in the air. To bring them into full resolution I have to become their size. I’m the tiniest flake of scurf. A flake of a flake: that’s me.
For five days in succession I imagine monsters, as directed. In this apartment there’s little else to do. I imagine monsters until I’m surrounded by them, under siege. I don’t so much envision or meditate or ponder. I fret. I brood. Anxiety hijacks the imagination, fills it with conspiracy and ill portent. Times are hard for daydreamers.
There are so many things I can’t control. The trajectory of politics and discourse in my country, the convulsions of a planet in extremis, and just . . . entropy. I am small, so small and afloat, pushed helplessly by whatever current comes along. It’s only by chance I haven’t yet run into a narcissistic beach ball or a point of toxic darkness. Perhaps I’ll never dematerialize, but my existence has certainly begun to feel immaterial.
My only defense is to imagine myself smaller and smaller, to increase the distance between myself and everything else.
On the sixth day at 6:00 AM I think: I’m really getting the hang of this! I am an atom. I am blind and spinning, doing my atom dance. I’m enveloped in the distant electron cloud of myself. I can shrink away from all that, too.
As I become evermore subatomic—neutrino, quark, preon—I’m not sure how much longer I can stay in place. There’s not much of me to stay in place with.
And here it comes. The sixth and final minute. The sixtieth and final second. An eternity in a blink of an eye. Do you see me?