I wasn’t sure how to approach this thing [Follow the Leader, a blogging challenge I’m participating in on another site] as a writer, rather than a spectator, but this one’s a gimme. Biking and making up stuff, that’s what I do anyway. I thought I’d bike to the store and back, see what there was to see, and take it from there. Maybe the person who drops all the banana peels on the sidewalk of the bridge over the Starkweather is conducting a cruel experiment. Maybe the person who carefully picks up their doggie poo-poo, wraps in a plastic bag, and then leaves it lying there has some interesting mental illness.
But nah, turns out I found about a hundred pages of somebody’s journal down by the lake. They were soaking wet and squished together, intermingled with the pages of a microscopically printed New Testament. It’s in the oven now, drying out while I put away the groceries. Haven’t read any of it yet–the handwriting was too small for me to read with my contacts on. So, let’s see what’s there.
– A list of stars, in order by their proximity to Earth. The nearest, Proxima Centauri, is 4.3 lightyears away.
– Bible verses copied out, some in Greek, with MEM in big letters at the top of some. Whoever wrote this has memorized a good portion of the Bible.
– A list of all the known moons in the solar system, with their stats.
– In big letters: Remember our Mother Earth She’s just as important (Interesting observation, for a litterbug.)
– A list of all the James Bond movies.
– The ingredients of air.
– A poem. [first two lines are illegible]
…the same deeds he saw all a similar path
an itching of a few centuries
the socks are warm and softly pleasant
soon ice will form in a week or two
certainly the way to the throne
his itchings are in the innermost particles
the outmost form the dome of pinpoint light
the tranquil base where the eagle landed
– More information about Van Allen radiation than you really want to know.
– Notes about sermons, either his or someone else’s.
– A handout about a free Thanksgiving dinner at a church.
– The Athanasian Creed.
– A bunch of other really boring stuff about church history.
– A list of every Wisconsin regiment that fought in the Civil War.
– A list of all the moon voyages, including the names of the astronauts and the lunar features they explored.
So, tons of data–more like a notebook than a journal. A lot of work went into it, so you’ve got to wonder why somebody left it behind. It could have been stolen from the person who wrote it, maybe along with his wallet or briefcase. Or maybe the writer gave it up as a voluntary simplicity thing. Or maybe he’s got a terminal illness, and is casting off all his worldly possessions before he dies.
You’re right, that’s not what I think.
I think he often came to sit by the lakeside at night, enjoying the light of the full moon on the water and pondering the stars. Then, last night, they came for him.