This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Goetz stared at the bee on his arm, a honeybee, not of the African variety of course, since one would not find Africanized honeybees in this part of the world. He watched it crawl through the hairs on his arm, slowly making its way to his wrist. Perhaps others would have shooed the bee away, concerned about its sting. Not Goetz. Goetz would have liked nothing better than to be stung by the bee, a reminder that he was mortal, perhaps a very final reminder given Goetz’s rather severe allergy to bee stings.
The bee flew off, looking for pollen or maybe just a better companion, and Goetz focused on it, calculating its trajectory in space and time, an ever-changing spiral pattern with no single definable speed, given that relative time changed each moment of each moment as the bee flew out of sight.
A black lab approached and sat before Goetz, its tongue lolling out of its mouth. It had an orange collar, Goetz’s favorite color for reasons unknown to him. Goetz reached out and gave the dog a pat on the head, and the dog, sensing he had found a friend, edged in closer for more attention.
“Brutus is a good name for you, now isn’t it?” said Goetz to the dog now named Brutus. Brutus agreed and barked once. “Did you know that the speed of light is not constant, Brutus?” The dog wagged its tail and barked again. “I thought you’d know that. Smart dog you are. And did you know why it is not constant, my friend?” Brutus cocked its head sideways. “Because time is not constant. How can the speed of light be constant if time is not? A puzzle for you.”
Brutus wagged his tail, its tongue lolling out of its mouth. Clearly, the dog did understand, in much the same way it understood that time near this strange man was moving slower relative to the time passing for outside observers, all of course due to gravity, something the dog felt just like it felt its own heartbeat.
“If I had a bone, I’d give it to you,” said Goetz. “But, alas, I do not, so you will just have to do with my company, as meaningless as that may be to you.”
Goetz, thought it would be nice if time could stop and he and Brutus could spend all eternity together, static in a universe unmoved by such concepts as force or time. The moment passed, as did all such moments, and Goetz laughed to himself, for he had nobody else to laugh to or for other than, perhaps, Brutus, loyal dog and fellow physicist. Goetz wondered in that instant if time was no more than a force, a force pulling together otherwise meaningless snapshots of energy, matter, presence and soul. It seemed unreasonable enough given that everything was entirely unreasonable when broken down far enough, down to the instant, if an instant could even exist as anything other than a concept.
“You know they say that entropy only increases in time. Things get chaotic; the strange order that once existed falling away and disappearing into a pool of confusion. That’s what they say, anyway, dear Brutus, but I think they are wrong. I think that as time passes, things become more ordered. However, I think that also means they become more meaningless. That is to say that meaningfulness is inversely proportional to order. I’m afraid that is a truth that you and I have to deal with here in this park on the sixth of June in the year two thousand fifteen at nine thirteen in the morning, if you can even accept the claims of digital watches."
Brutus scratched his neck with his left hind leg, shivered and got up on all fours.
“You see, Brutus, this is all just…well, it’s nothing really. There isn’t much to it, since it is becoming more and more meaningless, if that is at all possible. I mean, once something starts to become meaningless, isn’t it already completely meaningless? I don’t see how there can be shades of meaninglessness. So, you and I having become somewhat meaningless are now utterly meaningless as are all things that exist around us and by extension all things in all creation. I just thought you should know that, my dear friend.”
Brutus ran off into the park, realizing that in this meaningless state, further interaction with Goetz had become totally unnecessary. Brutus considered abandoning his owner, but dismissed that idea, realizing that dinner would be soon and that he would likely get delicious scraps to compliment his less than satisfying bowl of dry dog food.
Of course, Brutus did not know that the food was, in fact, dog food, nor did he know that he was a dog. He didn’t know much about anything other than the fact that time was not constant, and that his meaningful world had suddenly become quite meaningless, facts he now knew because of his brief interaction with Goetz.
Goetz saw Brutus’ owner standing in the middle of the park, calling her dog, a brilliant dog by all accounts and one that Goetz hoped to see again. He pulled out a notebook and pencil from his backpack, a backpack he had found sitting in this same park on one quiet Saturday in June, perhaps the very same Saturday he currently occupied. He found a page in the notebook and wrote, “Brutus agrees that time is not constant, as expected. Now, how do we prove it?” He put the notebook and the pencil back in the backpack, got up and walked to the other end of the park, to another inviting bench, hoping the bee would return.
This day held special significance for Goetz, physicist and philosopher. It was his birthday, his thirty-seventh birthday, a birthday of special significance since it was the twelfth prime, twelve being significant because he first realized who he was on his twelfth birthday, and at that time realized who he would be on his thirty-seventh birthday. Of course, all he now remembered was that he once knew who he was and what he would be, in this moment completely uncertain of who he was. He smiled to himself, finding comfort in the order of things and the utter meaningless of it all. Perhaps he would disappear on this day, never to be heard from again by all the countless souls who had probably long forgotten him, a design of his own, and not a sleight on their part. It was best not to be remembered or worried about, to not have home or family or obligation. It was best to fade away into the single pattern of existence, nothing, the ultimate order, not even a memory, not even of one’s self. Soon enough, it would be over and flesh would be rendered by time and elements, leaving bones and then nothing at all.
Goetz wondered where the bee had gone and if it remembered him, hoping it didn’t but still hoping it would return to crawl on his arm and, perhaps, sting him.
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