Friday, November 19, 2010

The Real Fun of Vivian Darkbloom

I am a weakish speller.

In the department, I bury messages and play games. I talk quarks and hadrons, quarks within hadrons, and the flavors of quarks. Up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Hear me speak. Watch me. My hair stands like burning flames. My mouth is crinkled, eyes slipping downward like melting candlewax. I start off with something like, I have observed the most distant planet to have a triple form. There are a few chuckles in the crowd, those whom I’ve slipped into their mailboxes Torchwood and King’s Lead Hat, and more people get it each year. It beats talking gluons and vector gauge bosons, inverse beta decay and electron antineutrinos.

Call me Vivian Darkbloom. But I know nothing about butterflies, or that young girl. Humbert Humbert is an anagram either way. People ask me if I take drugs and the key there is the tense; present no but the past? The future? Hmmmh.

A colleague from biology walks into my office. Moon starer? No, that’s not me, go up two, take a left, take your first right, then go straight until the moor at the end. Room? Yes, but the guy is also a moor, believe it or not. We have a good laugh. This guy’s straight and narrow, pens in front pocket, but we get along. Coffees, lunches, spitballs from the math building roof.

There’s someone out there anagrammatizing your dissertation. Did you know this? He’s starting, “Though this is the air where Quentin takes the hodge of the podge. There is no amity, only that queer shake.” It’s not sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. He’s going beginning to end, so he indicates online. The whole 160 pages. Says there’s an experimental work in there, a greater meaning. A never-ending cycle, are words he used. Circular, revolving.

Who is this guy? Suddenly I’m unnerved. This treatment—it’s, there’s a word for it, I’m sure.

Greg House? Sound familiar? Didn’t indicate he was a former student, someone with an axe to grind. The worst thing to fear is the bored anonymous soul out there who somehow has picked you to exact his boredom upon.

House? Never heard of him. That shipwreck of a dissertation though. Death, it starts in ice. I wrote it and didn’t know what I was talking about. That was my true defense. So, why is he taking my penchant, turning it against me? I suppose I should be amazed someone picked it up, read it.

Maybe you could cease and desist.

There’s a word for that in biology, isn’t there? Tip of my tongue.

Yes. The word’s death.

Voices rant no more.

Later I ponder that it’s all over. All coming apart. Higher mass decaying into lower mass. The constituents falling apart, moving toward free existence, everything moving to liquid, formlessness. End is a car spin.

I find this anagrammatizer, his project. His site, hinged on my dissertation, expands daily. Page by page, a meter like a thermometer tracking blazing fever showing progress, hit counter increasing, the turnstiles of curiosity, leaving quark epoch in dust. Hey, you coward, I shout at the flickering screen. There’s a brief write-up in the odd news. He’s a mini-celeb. No one contacts me.

Down this hole, frightened, I stop circulating my anagrams. People stop by, call, e-mail: what’s wrong? A rope ends it. I focus on lectures, papers. It’s all bad news because I know where it all leads.

I see now after the final explosions, the winter over all. Here come dots to spell out the last epoch. The fine game of nil. A weakish speller, I am. Not anymore.

Now—I’m a dot in place.


  1. Magical language in the idle periods, like that second paragraph. Fun reading, Christian.

    Just a heads up - the URL I used to get here from Mad Utopia didn't work. Not sure why. I know your blog's URL and just used that instead. Maybe your edited the piece and it changed?

    The one in the collector is:

    The real one is:

  2. Thanks, John, for reading and the heads up on the link.