Friday, September 4, 2015

The Last Sunset

It used to be all zeros and fives, but it isn’t anymore: the game has changed. And the guesses haven’t. In the Barker Times, every car price ended in those two particular digits, it was just, it was fair; humid enough for snails, dry enough for laundry.

Everyone knew the zeroes and fives. Everyone expected this to continue, it was the wink- wink, nudge-nudge of the morning game show world. When did things get so vicious? When did car prices end in 2’s and 7’s? Why did they do it? What do they want?

She wears a floppy sundress and a hat with a homemade showcase showdown lectern atop it. She's eyeing this blue Nissan Versa very carefully, ignoring the screams of the studio audience entirely. She has one dollar left in the Lucky Seven's game, and she needs that dollar to buy the car. This last number in the car's price must be exactly correct.

"What'll it be, Loretta?" Drew coos.

She bites her knuckle, then whispers: "Five."

Drew gives no visible response, it's the right answer, the just one, the one we've been taught, and maybe Drew Carey knows all that. But it's wrong, the last number for the Versa is a three.

A three! Car prices don't end in threes.

I’m yelling at the television now. At the DVR, oh you mighty cable brain disk, above all. Give me answers.  Your blue eyes only take you so far; your dreams are still mine.

And Carey! Have you forsaken us? You know there’s an injustice here, a cosmic shaft collapse in the spine stew of pricing games. You are no carny, you are a professional. Things round up or down. Have the capitalist mind scanners gotten to you too? Sucking the soul out of our last bastion of sanity like fish tank algae. God damn it, this is our only chance. I’ve defended you so often, my candles burn, a dollar each, late, filling the salt soot with chemical infection, allowing me to see in the night. You’re the Pierce Brosnan of Price is Right hosts; that’s a tremendous responsibility.

This change in pricing games is a slight shift in the rhythm and drift of distant icebergs, but one nonetheless.

This is my last sunset, the final light before dark. I have nothing left to give here. There are still hills to take, but this one I’m giving back. It never had a theory, never had a formula, but it had something, and whatever that was, that adolescent lust, is gone, and not to be found again. So seal it off, sort it, give it a statistic; I’ll love and miss you always.

I wrote the above on a cocktail napkin late one night at a bar filled with only the elderly and bikers, than ate the napkin.

Three days later I sat on my balcony, listening to the vibrating grind of the nearby ocean; counting the planes in the sky that flew south, specifically. Jasmine colored butterflies and wasps that sing Mississippi Delta Blues at dusk. Reading my books, scratching my skinny arms, distant and distracted, firmly taken off the Mainline and re-inserted in some cosmic vegetable platter whose dip was acidic and led to heartburn; the sun was hot and close, an enemy and friend, that which was concrete and perhaps false.

Things were static; proven, just. Like I had stolen a precious old painting and everyone had forgotten. And that painting was in a safe, that I knew, calmly, was never going to be cracked.

There are two rocking chairs on my balcony; both face east but also slightly south. Towards to the ocean, towards the moonrise and rocket blasts, sea turtles and ghost crabs. The chair next to me is empty on this day, as it can be, rocking lightly in a sea breeze.

And I looked right, the chair still empty, looked down and sipped from my tall drink of vodka and Fresh Florida OJ and looked back up again. A Google Mercenary appeared; rocking slowly back and forth, facing southeast, toothpick tweezing in one hand, clenched fist as the other. Well, well, well, the Nick of all Papagorgio’s.

“We hear your gonna stop writing the Long Sunset pieces,” he growled.

“Stopped a long time ago, I’d say. Haven’t posted anything on there in over a year,” I replied casually, undeterred by his sudden hallucinogenic appearance. Cars in the turning lane, do indeed, usually turn.

“We noticed. We gave up on you a long time ago though, so we shrugged at the numbers. We can always find more numbers.”

He had a toothpick in his left hand and idly scrapped at caps in the teeth of his lower jaw, which I couldn’t help but notice in the bright afternoon sun, were colored green, blue, yellow and red. Slick bastards.

“Well, doesn’t affect me either. Say le vie. I’ve got my sights on other projects,” I mumbled.

“Like that short story? It sucked.”

“Was a metaphor.”

”A metaphor in sucking, we’d say. Existential bone dust, I think my review remarked.”

“You review literature?”

“Apparently not,” he smirked.

My cheeks were hot and flushed. I was trying to disguise it but I was worn out: by the day, by the days, by the mornings, the nights, the weekends, the hunt; the spiritual conquest that gives consciousness meaning, weight and brutality. Pelicans who try to taste their mackerel. He’d caught me at a bad time.

“So why are you here? You said you don’t care that I stopped posting the Long Sunset-“

“We don’t.”

“-you know I’m 30 now? I’m not even sure this bit is funny anymore.”

“Look it’s not,” he said as he leaned forward and flicked his toothpick into my finely maintained and densely fertilized garden, causing me to wince slightly. “But it never was.”

“So what than?”

“This Drew Carey business. It has to stop.”


“You know how many people watch the Price is Right, still?”

“Couple million maybe.”

“Nope. Try a couple thousand. It’s been cancelled for 15 years on network television. We broadcast it into a very specific and targeted amount of households as a ‘specialty product’ ” (and he used the air quotes) “We maximize consumer purchasing trends. The show is only supposed to be viewed by true freaks of the American Capital class, of which, you used to be. Carey is in on the whole thing, he gets a cut.”

I didn’t believe him, and yet knew that every word was absolutely true.

“What, you thought Google made all that money every time people hit the search button? How would that even work? That’s a phantom industry peddled by the media elite. The real money is still in daytime network television programming. Always has been.”

Made sense, actually.

My neighbor biked by on her way to the beach, I waved, she waved back. The Google Mercenary flashed a single thumbs’ up at her. She didn’t respond to it. Or so the best I could tell. Dangerous times.

“So what, you forgot to turn my signal off?”

“Nah, we don’t make mistakes like that buck-o. Guess we just hoped you’d come back around at some point.”

“To what?”

Now he sighed and leaned back in my rocking chair; facing east, the ocean-breeze gently moving his thin brown hair around as if it were magnetized by a piece of metal at a place where his brain would ostensibly be. He almost looked concerned, if he had that in him, which I doubted.

“I don’t know. Anyway, this is the last one you were saying?”

“May just be.”

“Not just being dramatic?” he leaned forward with his hand covering his mouth in the direction of the street, “Or drunk and dramatic”, then he leaned back, hand removed, “because we’ve seen both, and are tired of each.”

“Well probably at least a little of both. But that is my intention, this is the last sunset.”

“All right then. Hope you have backup plans.”

“By the way, is that why Barker quit?”

”We killed Barker, he didn’t quit. Rolled down the electric Plinko of life, kimo-sabie. He went softly.”

“He hasn’t even died in real life. He’s still alive.”

“Pff,” the Mercenary sniffed “You really think he’s alive at 92 after all that scotch and unrestrained pussy we put on him? Guy was 22 when World War II ended.”

I didn’t like it. It was true, but I didn’t like it. He was being rough, disregarding any formality. He knew the game was up, the fat was finally in the fire, the time to move on had actually come. So I was getting the full view, the parts of the cavity the dentist discards before you can get a good look, and I didn’t want anymore.

Not only that, but I wasn’t sure what he wanted to hear.

To digress quickly, I started this blog - a word that still gives me tremors; but that would be an entire different dissertation on the difficulty of explaining yourself as a writer when that’s not where your paychecks come from - one night in my room facing west at my apartment in Northpoint. A vibrant place, infused with animals, drugs and distant airplanes. I used to sit by the window and listen to families of deer as they trotted across one of East Orlando’s last piece of pure unrefined natural brush swamp. You’d hear them racing each other, the smaller doe’s footprints tapping at a higher frequency, distant on a cool fall night.

Then the raccoon's would show up and we’d feed them. We named them. They had characteristics. There were armadillos and skunks and maybe bears. One night I was certain a prop-plane had crashed out in the isolated dark swamp; it had not. After heavy rains I tried to fish off the porch but my line never made it to the waters edge. One night we blew out the fire sprinklers by accident and the place flooded. We became the raccoon's.

I was living in a tree house on a sinking swamp.

I learned that you could listen in to the air traffic control of Orlando (MCO) online, and then watch, while looking out my western window, as the city lights growled with the human orange heartbeat, as the planes distantly came into view. The conversations between pilots and controllers were always routine, and routinely quite boring, but yet, amazing; modern metal tubes gracing the humid scrub with humans fully at control.

There were some good times, some fun times, a lot of them actually, and than also there were many nights when I could not leave my room, and hid from the stars of another static night. All dissolved in the electronic jellyfish glue.

I posted a surf forecast.

The Long Sunset became, unwittingly, a composition of my life through my twenties. Drinking, politics, Florida, dental surgery, comedy bits, more politics, rants, some fiction, pieces of my life, my mind and fingers.

My brother died. The Long Sunset became an outpouring of grief, a well with which there was no bottom, and no water. I miss him in ways I’m not clever enough to produce language for, and I can no longer find the place within myself to write about him and his meaning to me. Not here, and not yet. I think I did actually have that touch at some point; but it has been lost, evaporated with the compression of time and the weariness of the soul. He was here when these pages came to life, and lived throughout them; an imprint that was unclear in its definition, but total in its truth.

I am proud of the things I wrote about him in these pages. I hope they remain here always. In the ether; the candle wax that never burns away.

And there is more, much much more. I’m proud of some of it, and can’t read all of it.

Writers in the 21st century have one thing acutely in common with each other: they can’t escape what they’ve done in the past. This isn’t a new or insightful commentary, but there was a time before the internet when something written was either a.) published, therefore at least thoroughly vetted, and probably somewhat good; to the writer and at least one other person or b.) was buried in the writer’s “papers”, and only to be set free to the public under circumstance of death or taxes. Well, well, well, the 22-year old writer that was me has already published a kick-ass version of his papers online, and he even did it, helpfully, when he was 22.

It’s difficult for someone following a link to this site to appreciate the spectrum of the writer and the person that shows up as they scroll. Even with the years clearly marked and docked; there’s a stamp of solidarity in that I must take account for everything written here over the years, and equally, that everything written can be shown within the harsh light of what was put down before it. I link this page in my e-mail signature, which can, sometimes, be sent out to serious people with serious thoughts, and I have no ability to act as a guide to the pieces that I still believe in. That’s the essence of every published writer, of course, but The Long Sunset has never been published: paper has never baptized the words and certified the content as it only can.

This place is something slightly different, but it feels no less important. It may actually be more important.

In saying that, I feel the need to start on a new platform, in this new decade of my life, and continue my writing there. And the one thing my generation truly and deeply understands at this point, perhaps more than any that has come before it, is the platform. I think we will all just continue to reinvent; we now have the ability to do so on an immediate level. I’ll be back somewhere soon, in my next evolution as a writer, and I look forward to that.

The Long Sunset will remain here, I would never delete it, but it will stay in stasis; in a green water filled tube slowly being laser-cut with a Death From Above tattoo. And for who knows how long: bits of early millennial digital graffiti twisting and spinning down the dark parade route of infinite communication. I will always love it, and I wish it the best.

I’m looking to refocus and recommit. I don’t feel I can do it here; that’s not a judgment to these pages, but its where am at. Wherever that is.

“Are you done?”

“What?” I’d zoned out. Did I say all that out loud?

“You’re just rambling, you lunatic, open your eyes. That building is on fire!”

I stood up from my rocking chair and leaned forward on the balcony looking north and east towards the nearest tall structure. He was right: A tremendous building was burning in the distance. Great flames danced and spun into the sea breeze air; you could see people calling out for help, plants wilting on windowsills. The mercenary joined me on the ledge and I could see tremendous fear in his generally sanguine face. Did he see this coming? Did he know this was the end? Smoke drifted west, dark red pelicans circled the building; its dimensions warping and collapsing with each fresh burst of oxygen that fueled the inferno further.

“What can we do? Can we help?” I said, slightly panicked. I’m always slightly panicked.

And that fear that was there, just for that instant, the crack in the seawall that allowed me to see a single moment of the mainframe, was entirely gone. It was replaced, as all things are, as they must be, by a furious look of intense hope. He grabbed me by my shoulders with a grip and a grin: “Of course we can.”

He clicked both hands simultaneously and pulled a flare gun out of his suit: it shot straight pole-ward and bloomed like a lotus flower into blue, green, yellow and red flaming balls. The sun was getting lower on the horizon, the fire was burning distant and true, the wind had come to be perfectly still.

Of course, a helicopter darted in low and fast down my block; cutting around raised PVC sprinklers and buzzing the top off of every hibiscus tree. It landed with the precision of a Russian figure skating team in the front lawn, rotors still grinding, pilot at the helm gnawing at yet another toothpick like he was a pencil sharpener, his face generally indistinguishable from the hallucinatory mercenary that stood next to me, who at this moment, slapped my back and said simply, “let’s do it.”

We went through the apartment and down the stairs. All the windows in my place were open now; the rotors were blowing everything around: papers, pictures, books, lamps, rum, hair, dog toys, a telescope, the married couple that live next door, sitting at their dining room table still, waiting for a revolution and finally getting it.

As we ran out the door I grabbed one specific picture out of the air, and stuffed in my back pocket. It was of a dog and girl.

“Go, go, go, go.”

We piled in and took straight off. The two suits said not a word, communicating only in a complex series of eyebrow gesticulations. We rose up quickly from the flat land of the thin island. The smell of smoke was quick and immediate. I had no fear.

The ocean below, to our east, was purely flat; a vast distant azure blanket of secrets only skin divers knew.

At some point we were over the burning tower, it was dissolving below us like a sand dune. We couldn’t see people inside, at this point, but they must be in there.

Now, what?” I asked. The mercenary put over-sized headphones over my ears and pointed at them calmly.

Very clearly now, I could hear his voice and it alone: “We stole this from Musk. He owed us one. Did you know the Telsa was actually the first Google car?”

I shook my head.

“It was. You ever read his stuff about interstellar travel?”

Before I could answer, he held up a hand and began to speak to someone else in his headset.

”Seventeen seconds out? Roger that. Modulation? Six point eight? Are you sure?”

He flashes me a thumbs up, and makes a goofy impressed face.

“Thanks boss.”

Taking his suit jacket off now he taps the identical looking helicopter pilot on the shoulder, who looks back at him and without saying a word, nods, then salutes me, then does a barrel-roll out the open-air door into a straight freefall. I couldn’t see if he landed.

And the suit jacket isn’t actually a suit jacket, I see now, it’s a dark black kite. He throws it out the side door and begins to let it filter out.

”Location of the modulation is at a premium. The kite is a marker. Is this to much plot? I don’t want to ruin your little story,” he says. “Oh, and hold onto something: eight seconds incoming. My name is Rocco, by the way. Not number one.”

I hear a distant orchestra come to life now, the strings sound beautiful. The sun is glowing bright gold; taking its final stock of things for the evening.

And I look out east and see the ocean stirring suddenly to life. From the north and the south the water seems to be coming together and rising, the shoreline is pulling out and exposing an uneven sandbar, the eastern horizon becomes obscured and less than trustworthy. Physics working on a quantum scale: things that are not possible, proving themselves to be just that. Aquatic faith at it’s maximum and most delirious. 

A tower of water has risen out of the sea that matches the burning building that rests on the dune in front it to the square inch. And it begins to advance, a column destined to hit its mark, built for nothing else.

Suddenly smoke no longer rises from the flames, and the flames themselves lose their physical animation. It all becomes still. Waiting for the moment of impact. There can be no doubt now. History is but a mutually agreed upon fable.

It isn’t quite a wave, but an aquatic cylinder, I don’t have the budget to pay for anything more complex. And I’m at this point no longer sure, nor do I even care, at this late hour, who’s actually flying our Google helicopter. I just sit there, headset on, vodka flowing in my heart valves, mind numb and soft, sweet and limber, as that brick of saltwater advances on the burning building, fifteen stories in height but so very fragile.

When the wave hits the building, there’s a thud, and then casually, the great volume of water transforms immediately into a pale light mist. And the fire is out. Just like that.

I look west and see the final speck of the sun before it disappears to the dark side of the earth.

“Not bad, right?” He says.

We’re on the ground now. We landed. Everyone is filtering out of the building, slightly wet, but no worse for harm. They come out in pairs, laughing and gesturing towards the sky and ocean. Trying to explain to each other what they saw and where they have been. If humans still made pyramids, this incident would make a hell of a hieroglyphic.

My old friend looks pleased, but in that moment I can’t help but wonder if he, in fact, started the fire. And maybe I’m showing that suspicion on my face, because his mannerism go suddenly flat, he looks me right in the eye and then takes his sunglasses off. He does have normal eyes, in turns out, emerald green ones, and they can see the dusk falling between every palm tree.

“Do you really want to know?”

It’s a good question, it’s the question. It is the long sunset.

I think I say no; procrastination being my general default setting, but before I can answer I realize I’ve been transported back to my balcony, sitting in my rocking chair and facing east, watching as a faint glow cracks the surface of the horizon to the east, and that radiant glow slowly spreads to every corner of every place I’ve ever known.

And it’s dawn now, but for only so long.

Saturday, August 2, 2014



PT Oliveri 
Words: 6,919

            He cracks the fold out of his newspaper with one solid predatory snap. Cuts an orange in two directly down the middle, examines both halves for clarity and color, chooses the one he deems from this inspection to be the most edible and puts it on a slim blue saucer. He throws the other into the garbage immediately. After this, the newspaper is neatly arranged on the table, at a readable distance, and the saucer follows. Once both objects find their symmetry, he puts his long hands through the sides of his hair, evenly, and sits down.
            Cutting against the grain of a hot morning sun, light slices mercilessly through a window whose glass rarely opens. Frogs grow quiet; crickets find God. A light breeze blows east to west, of note to no one but Sam Sullivan, as it massages the gills of soil and gives character to face of a distant body of water. Planets of poets pour their ink down the wells of unbroken hearts, and the day begins. Timed and metered, the twenty-four neither past nor future, mutually of themselves. Sam does not immediately begin reading the newspaper or eating the orange; he lets both exist momentarily in their own structure, secure and appropriate. And he soaks in his own moment here, before the day grows long and the shadows reverse polarity.
            When he does eat, after this moment of silence, he does not peel the skin off the orange. He’s been told from a young age that the sound of his chewing is alien. His mother tried her best to change the noise, a distinct guttural chomping beat that he could not help but make, with very little success. And so after many playground teasings and moments of childhood anxiety, he began to take matters into his own hands and exclusively ate foods that could create their own personal sonic drama. Peanuts still within shell, hamburgers on severely toasted bread, popcorn kennels by the handful. His mouth became a rock-mixer; his teeth coarse and flat. But everyone began observing only what he ate, and not how it was eaten.
            This is what he told himself anyway, and it was also true to fact, but the story, the lifelong mastication production, wasn’t why he ate oranges with the skin on as he sat entirely alone in his five bedroom house at seven in the morning. It only gave the act a false meaningful resonance. Sam ran time in steady streams of persistent checked consciousness. He owned no clocks (that he was aware of anyway), but knew the time of day with consistency. Connection at its maximum.  
            At this time in day, he searched for a story. Something within the pages of the newsprint to arouse his suspicion or open itself for judgment. As he did so, the thick warm morning air moving with minimal effect around him, he cleared his throat with nothing to say, like a shallow pool going through a filter cycle. His blue pants fit tightly, owned to some time spent with an iron, his tie knotted ascot, his cufflinks were small and precise gold maps of Argentina. Sam wore those particular cufflinks every Tuesday. Tuesday in the Spanish language is martes. Today was in fact lunes, and when he thought of this he double checked the corner of his slender newspaper to be certain.
            Yes, indeed, it was lunes. And she might still be in Argentina, petting small dogs and wiping away the tears of sailors. He decided to keep the cufflinks on anyway. Perhaps the exact day wasn’t that important.
            On the nape of his tanned neck he felt the latest heat of cube condensed sunlight. Then he saw this headline: “Man Killed in Freak Lawn-Mower Accident”. C1, mid-right, font, thirty-six courier new.
            And into the large empty home he let out a quick laugh. He didn’t read the article, he didn’t need to: the headline had told the entire story. So with this, he folded the newspaper six even times until it formed a small cup. He spit five orange seeds he’d been rolling around in his mouth into the cup (they landed on a portion of a full color photograph of Vinny Testeverde) and proceeded to take this cup, itself now a trash can, to the trash can. The seeds had felt like infant teeth. At the stucco sink, near the trash, Sam took a moment to stare out his precisely rectangular window and into the green and brown world beyond it. A grin met with the corners of his mouth, full and sweet, and he was aware of it fully.
            “Freak accident?” he said aloud, and laughed again. “Freak accident indeed.”
            Now he is slicing molecules and moving dust. Booming down a poorly maintained highway in a very well maintained piece of chrome material. Making his impact. A full tank of gas, the radio silenced, seats leather, teeth flossed without blood. Seven lanes in all, of which he would use three legally and the fourth when it would suit a direct purpose. And in those rare cases, that lane was a neon path to more road and more speed. Sam didn’t glance around for cops like a jittery mockingbird, and he didn’t need to; fearing judgment was for those looking to be judged.
            He did, however, notice the man in the green overalls who waved at traffic each morning. The man’s curly hair was untouched from both comb and care alike, and sprung up wildly from atop his head like a poorly conceived metropolis now abandoned. And every morning, the green color of the overalls looked a shade darker, and new portions of the folic city went abandoned.
            That man would wave at the oncoming cars everyday anyhow, in some frantic way, as he did as Sam passed him on this sunlit morning. Today he added a smile to the overall persona, large and unbridled. Did he begin to recognize cars that passed with consistency? Maybe he was counting them; taking inventory of something he could call his own. The thought thrilled and shook Sam simultaneously. He did not wish to be counted. But the feeling lasted only as long as the tiny instant that man flashed by his oval vision, just one more frame in today’s cell.
            And now, it was Sam as the measure of consistency, as he strolled towards his office in a leisurely gait. Brick and handsome, it’s construction a compliment and relic to a long defunct piece of an industrial downtown. The building stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter, as if it were aware of its other aged limitations and tried to make up for them whenever possible. The birds that lived around it in a small canopy of tightly clustered oak trees seemed generational; their noises and clicks meaningful to this particular district and no other. Sam had spent one summer trying to catalog each species and individual but lost interest in the idea quickly. The small birds were of a world to themselves.
            He looks up quickly to take stock of the letterhead of the building made in blocky Gil Sans Ultra bold print: Sullivan Toys. It looks even, needs to be cleaned, lots of rain this summer, mold finds a way, but otherwise good. It looks good. He considered not putting up a sign with the companies name at all, in fact had this very sign itself removed for a period of about four months, but eventually grew tired of the general vagueness that created. Stamp objects: file them. This building was one such thing.
            In the final few steps before the air would become environmentally controlled, he took note of the wind increasing in velocity and swinging slightly more the south. A sign of something, surely, something atmospheric and distant, something coming together without purpose, something the future knew well about but the present did not. Something.
            His office is roomy, but neither neat nor cluttered. It serves its own purposes and projects a defined image, one Sam has been careful to define and cultivate over the years. No pictures, a few minor awards (still left on the ground), the dominant colors are black, blue and white. His one large window faces due east and on the wall directly opposite of this is a large oil-based painting of a jagged coastline, one whose cliffs rise in unison to a crisp green flatland edge: a strong choir with one master.
            And the flat-lands run far past that sudden vertical dune cliff, stretching for miles to hazy mountain ranges. The edge of those mountains are virgin and distinct, cutting clear to snow-caped peaks where, if one looked closely, the individual hairs of the artist’s brush could be seen quite clear. Placed on each pinnacle with the care of a gardener during the summer solstice. And connected to those many sharp pinnacles is air: the in-categorical expanse of Big Sky. The sky reaches in the color of flat baby blue, to the very top of the canvas, and at that point, the canvas edge, where that world stops and this one is said to begin, the painting ends.
            From across that great land he re-traces his footsteps, picks up every seed left to mark the way, and returns to the walls.
            “Yes, ma’am. And good morning.”
            Dark sharp eyebrows, Gothic beauty and shoulders that carry the weight of that responsibility with simple ease, she’s layered, each pixel fitting her canvas.
            “Dana wants to speak with you,” she says.
            “In regards to?”
            Now she steps into his office fully, conspiratorially, and shuts the door partially behind herself, hands still on the door knob. She has a large smile; it signed every yearbook in school.
            “That idea of his.”
            He narrows his eyes, scanning all available frequencies but connecting to nothing of use. She just keeps staring, holding the gaze, waiting for the wind to move the clouds.
            Oh, Christ, right,” he smiles slightly. “Right, right. Well tell him to come in I guess, I dunno.”
            But she doesn’t move quite yet, she’s waiting for all the clouds to move, for his mind to find the next sentence, the inevitable one.
            “OK, fine,” Sam says. “If you were me, how would you talk to sweet old Dana about that idea?”
            “As in what production decision I’d make?”
            “No, as in, uh,” Sam quickly glances out his office window at the sun in stasis, “what feeling would you want him to leave my office with?”
            “This sounds like a business school question Sam.”
            “I never went.”
            “I know you didn’t. You turning down his concept, I take it?”
            “No, I am not turning down his concept, the world around us is and has.”
            She pauses at this, concerned but for various reasons he thinks. Maybe for Dana, maybe for Sam, probably not for the world, or whatever the hell she must have thought he meant.
            “Make him feel like he nailed it, Sam. Like he has Park Place and he’s a simple roll from Boardwalk. And not only that, but he has the money he needs to buy Boardwalk, and no one else in the game really does if their being honest.”
            “They could mortgage.”
            “But they won’t. And Dana knows it. He’s that far ahead in the game. That many times around the board; many chests from the community. He’s going to win the game, and at the same time know the games origins, a full master and commander. Make him feel like he’s not only the smartest guy in the room, but he’s smarter then the guy that designed the room.”
            “E.W. Woodridge.”
            “Smarter than him.”
            “I think I can do that. Dana is pretty smart too, you know, it wouldn’t be a complete fabrication. More of a gentle intelligence though.”
            “How about this,” she glances up and stairs briefly at the ceiling collecting her Easter eggs, and then regains eye focus. “Just be nice to him.”
            Sam has his head cradled in his hands and he’s leaning forward, trying to be as expressionless as he can, but looking, he assumes, more like a sea-drunk sailor just waiting for the orders from the currents below. The light of the now fierce sun cuts through the blinds and forms slats of neon glow. A few small black ants crawl around in general disorder on his desk, processing thousands of tiny pieces of vital information in a way that is both silent and incalculable. Foot soldiers in the digital confetti of consciousness.
            “So I’ll send him in than, you’ll be nice and you’ll do it for me.”
            “And for Dana?”
            Especially for Dana.”
            Out the door she goes, searching for Dana in the bullpen of Modern Capitalist Americana, a scientist sifting through samples. As Sam waits, he stares at that these ants, distantly, and as he does so this short film writes itself, and then plays in his head:
            INTERIOR:  large kitchen, many appliances, all beige. Coffee dripping slowly, wall colors a deep mocha
            (DANA and SHEILA sit across from each other. Directly. Closely. Leaning forward to get even closer. Uncomfortably close. DANA is tapping his left leg rapidly, twisting his coffee mug in his small pale hands.)
            SHEILA: Sweetheart, he’s going to be love it. I married a little genius. You know that. Just be confident.
            (CUT TO: full shot of the refrigerator with many happy photos. Hold this shot for a beat longer than needed.)
            DANA (CROP IN CLOSE): But what if he doesn’t?
            (SHEILA reaches her hand across the table and takes DANA’s into it.)
            SHEILA: He always has. Right?
            DANA: He has.
            SHEILA: So?
            DANA: So?
            SHEILA: So, what are you worried about? Sam loves your ideas, you are a mainstay in the company. A cornerstone. You’ve told me that yourself.  
            (DANA leans backs and sighs)
            DANA: Times have changed. A good idea isn’t good enough a bad one sticks around longer.
            SHEILA: Do you know why I love you?
            DANA: It’s not my cooking.
            (DANA and SHIELA laugh simultaneously)
            SHELIA: No sweetheart. It’s your heart. And that makes great toys. Toys from the heart.
            (DANA smiles, reaches his other hand across the table and pats the top of SHEILA’s hand.)
            DANA: And this heart will always be yours.

            Sam Sullivan looks right, up from the ants, and once again at the glowing beams of light hitting his white wall from the distant sun. He looks at the single minimalist clock on the wall and swears to himself those beams should be higher by now….
            “Mr. Sullivan, Dana Forte to see you.”
            Dana steps in, shuffles in really, almost bumping into Jasmine as she disappears back into the office ether, vibrating lines of economic fear out of whatever soul he must have. Sam thinks he can almost feel them, vibrating the air, making his shirt jump as if he were sitting on a large speaker at a small club. Dana is dressed neatly, of course, a full head of black hair, every garment cleaned and ironed the night before. He works the sidelines. Dana’s something of a stock character, a vivid one, but something Sam thinks would exist against his own will if it ever came to that: he’s something this office grew around, and Sam likes him for that reason alone. His wife’s name is Sheila, they send a glossy photo-card of their family sitting in front of a staged barn every Christmas. And Sam has every single one, sorted and numbered, in a red binder he keeps, with other things, in a flameproof safe.
            “Dana, sit my friend.”
            “Hey Mr. Sullivan,” he says and adjusts his tie, blinking rapidly. “Drive in this morning go fine enough?”
            “Avoided all the lizards.”
            Blank stare, it could almost be called wide-eyed. He won’t let him hang out on the branch. Be Nice.
            “No problems, Dana. Just sautéing the conversation a bit. And Sam for christsakes, I’ve been telling you to cut that Mr. Sullivan shit out for, what, twelve years?”
            “Fourteen. Awe hell, you know these pitches make me nervous.”
            “It’s just an idea. People only remember the good ones. We don’t have space for in our tanks to store the mediocre,” Sam says. “And hey, you’ve got a couple of the toys around here with your signature on them.”
            He kicks his feet up on the desk and leans back a bit. A relaxed posture being the most overrated aspect of appearance and underrated of social cues. And this minimal act does seem to set poor Dana at ease, a bit. He looks slowly around at the large desk and all the shelving in the office that contains a nearly pornographic amount of action figures, model cars, plastic pirate ships, ray-guns and assorted toys that decorate it like thick mullet in a shallow river.
            There’s a basketball sized glow-in-the-dark moon that sits above Sam’s right shoulder. It would open to reveal a group of Moon Martians (Dana had dubbed them Celestriels, in the initial design phase) hard at work on some sort of interplanetary laser-beam. Evil laser-beam, perhaps, but it was your call. The whole contraption played Frank Sinatra tunes recorded only from 1958 to 1961 out of a speaker in its base. They didn’t sell worth a damn, and Sam still thought of it as a divine concept.    
            “Hit me.”
            “Fake beehive,” Dana blurts.
            “Fake beehive?”
            “Well,” Dana looks like he wants to go back in time and devour those two words like soft linguini. “Not a great phrase I guess, but here’s the concept.”
            “Looks like a beehive, has fake little bees, highly detailed of course, is as intricate as an actual beehive. Have you ever seen the movie Antz?”
            “No, I have not Dana.”
            “Underrated, Woody Allen as an ant. Funny. Right? Of course it is. Anyway, kids love movies about bugs. Kids love bugs. Kids love the feeling of control too, especially things smaller than them, that’s most of the reality of toys. And so kids get to control this hive, you see, and in that way kids get to control bugs.”
            “Does said fake hive produce honey, Dana?”
            “Your god damn right it does. My prototype has a little side compartment that you can load up towards the top, it filters down as honey. Could use actual honey, but that’s sticky”- he’s getting going - “probably expensive for the parents too. But you could also use some sort of substitute, perhaps even a candy. Something edible. I’ve been talking to a few of our freelance chemists who think they could produce something that transforms as it spends time in the hive. Plug the hive in at night, it glows a soft yellow, maybe makes a buzzing noise, some white noise, works as a nightlight too. But as it’s plugged in it makes that honey, or whatever, the little fake bees working for the kids into the night. Following orders. I don’t know Sam, I love the idea; it just came to me one night. I woke Sheila up. Explained the whole damn thing.”
            He’s a little out of breath now, but no longer nervous, enveloped in his creation like an astronaut in distant orbit.
            “What do you think, Sam?”
            Sam is still leaning back in his chair, gazing east. Wasps of conditioned thinking sting his soft tissue, he swats them away.
            Dana’s idea is a distant hum, although not altogether an unpleasant one, but the sun concerns him immediately: It has not moved. Not since he walked into the office this morning. He’s sure of this, suddenly, terrifyingly.
            “Does the sun seem normal to you Dana,” he whispers.
            Dana glances at his wrist, and the small olive colored watch his sweet-faced wife attaches to it every morning. She feels the palm of his hand as does so and smiles. Sam has seen her do it.
            “Looks fine, I reckon, you feeling all right buddy?”
            Sam is barely breathing, he’s transfixed, in-mortis, lost in the mountains of Argentina and staring at the sun. Has it moved? No. It absolutely has not. Sam reaches out and grabs his desk, hoping it too does not begin to tremor along with his very being. Has he died? If so, when? And if when, why? And into terror his mind dips further. The sun does not simply stop moving mid-sky, and if it has, he doesn’t have the mental strength to stand up to it again.
            He feels the urge to swallow his hands, then his skinny hairless arms, straight through to his broad shoulders until his entire being is covered in the warm comfort of his gums. His breathing is swift and quick.
            Dana is looking at him with concern, but for a variety of reasons.
            “I love it,” Sam exhales, heavily. Touching ground for a moment. Inhale, at normal levels. Maintain grip on desk. “I really do. It’s a phenomenal concept Dana. But…”
            He’s licking his lips to be certain they are there, and to fully ascertain their purpose. Sam looks out at the sun again, and then at his minimalist wall-clock: it reads 11:00 AM. And yet he is doubtless, the sun has remained transfixed at the position that could be no later then 8:00 AM, at minimum. He puts his hand up from the point of the general horizon to the sun: four fingers. It has barely risen; it is not rising. The sun has stopped.
            “But?” Dana says from some distant landing pad.
            “Seriously, Dana? The sun looks fine?” his voice is cracking slightly now, his chest heaving in a way that must be visible: “At nearly noon the sun is usually directly above us, you can’t even see it directly,” and then he points at the sun out his bay window, “But right now we can see it. It’s right there!”
            “Sam, the sun looks normal to me,” Dana holds his palms upward as if accused of some serious crime for which execution is certainly imminent. “Honest to God.”
            Sam blinks fourteen times; he visions the color spectrum, with his tongue he feels his left canine, then his right canine, then he starts to worry about swallowing his own tongue. How could he not?
            Two hands through the hair: even, metered, substantial. The chance of precipitation this week, in order, in Jefferson County: 10, 20, 10, 0, 0, 60, 10. Sam cracks his neck slightly and tries to not look back out the large window in his office. Dana is looking back at him with those wide frantic eyes again, like his memory has been frozen or extracted, like he needs to be reprogrammed, like his general is leading him into an un-winnable battle with frogs whose tongues and toes are longer and stronger. Frogs who have prepared for battle, and can not wait for it to begin.
            He feels his hands shaking so hard he feels like his wrists may dislocate.
            “Love it Dana.”
            “What?” Concern visible on his sweet face.
            “The idea, love it.”
            “Oh, right, the idea. Great. Fantastic! You sure you’re feeling all right though?”
            “Yup. Love it. Here’s the thing though.”
            “Lawyers?” Dana squeaks.
            “A kid gets a fake beehive, loves it, I love it, makes honey. Jars of it. He wants more honey though, for him, or her, although I must say bug related toyphelia tends to more strictly fall into our male demographic, for whatever reason, but either way, Dana, they want more. The toy has been great, has nurtured their curiosity, has made them mountains of Sullivan Brand Honey-“
            “I was thinking Zeewax-“
            “And they want more. But Dana, it’s only one beehive, only one toy. It can only make so much honey. With that big backyard, what do those kids end up doing next?”
            Dana shrugs, eyes still wide, tie somehow now finally disheveled, as if the mania looming in the room is consuming one piece of him at a time like a coal engine.
            “They find a real beehive, and when they do, do you think they will show it the respect it deserves? And then what happens when they don’t?”
            And Sam still has not taken a full breath in. He’s talking on borrowed oxygen. He is mission control: Moses to Dana’s brain stew, delivering verdict and transfixing generations.
            “Lawyers,” Dana mutters.
            Sam nods matter-of-factly.
            “The toy won’t work. Breaks my heart to tell you so, but it’s a brave new world out there. We have to check every angle. We cannot trust our hearts.”
            He looks right for just an instant, not out of need, merely habit, and no doubt, the sun is stationary. Sam Sullivan’s sun has ceased its celestial path.
            Pure horror.
            Dana dejectedly rubs his hand across his broad forehead, he says something under his breath, as he stands, no longer looking at all at Sam in all his panic, and begins to head out the door. Back to the drawing board.
            “Dana,” Sam hears himself say. Or someone say.
            Dana looks at the ground, mournfully, he looks, to Sam anyway, to be shaking slightly himself, but he brings enough of a compose to turn back around with one hand on the door.
            “It’s a great idea.”
            The door is left half open as Dana slumps out of it, and when he does, Sam is directly at the window, staring, not fully connecting with what he sees, hoping it’s an illusion, a hallucination at worst, but it is not. Hallucinations show the mind at work, show the dimensions in spaces; he’s blank, gazing at this static orb, under a beam. Some explanation is needed though, something to logically define this stasis of orbit. The sun no longer moving in the sky is not possible. This thought is so immediate to Sam, so true, so definable. Physical reality: a concept that must hold up under questioning.
             Three fire alarms, one extinguisher (yellow), sixty-seven pencils in his desk, fourteen sharpened, fifty-three not, fourteen millimeters of lip balm-
            “Are you all right?”
            When he turns around to look at her he moves with a spastic childlike reflex that causes the collapse of a navy blue lamp nearby. Numb arms moving like waterlogged harbor ropes in a receding tide.
            “Has the sun moved Jasmine?” He asks in another whisper.
            She stands motionless, if she were in on it, if she were playing a part in some manipulation, some scientific experiment, a stress-test, she was hiding it quite well. Quite well indeed.
            “Has it moved?”
            Sam nods. He thinks he does anyway, he hopes he has, at least. She’s not answering, not yet, and then time reverts, internally, his personal film once again rolling. Click, click, click, click, click.
            Don Sullivan died of a stroke on a very cold southern day. Cold by any definition, no matter the latitude, and it warmed little by the day he was buried. And even in the bitter cold the whole town attended; soldiers summoned by society and emotion to the mortality clarion song.
            They held it in a small church surrounded by an old-growth forest. Deep long limbs creaking and cranking without leaves, without cover, swaying in the distance, shimmering for warmth, bounding off of each other occasionally, the slowest of ninjas, as mourners filled the building. The trees, this forest, surrounded the place of worship, gathering it in its thin arms, protecting it from the noise of the outside world. This was part of the concept in forests: protection from some initial level of reality.         
            Don’s wife Laura Sullivan had asked that everyone sign the guestbook: a guestbook she would cradle in her arms as the crowd later filtered out of the musty church. And everyone did oblige. She made a secondary request, on that cold morning, and Sam was sitting right by her as she said it, sternly, straightforwardly, to the pastor, as if he must have some ordinance in the guestbook arena. She asked him to announce that anyone who signed the guestbook, in-lieu of the usual stock consolation, name their favorite Sullivan Brand toy.
            And everyone did. Some left descriptions; memories of when their lives were effected by something small and plastic that Don Sullivan hand stamped with his name, and in most cases, in those early days of the company, had created by hand himself. Some, indeed, brought the toys with them to the wake, and as they walked past the large black open-casket, with pictures of Don in happy times scattered around it, stories from the ether lain forth, and with Sam in a small itchy ill fitting green suit watching quietly in the front row, they dropped those very toys into Don Sullivan’s new wooden home. The collection of toys mounted over the course of the afternoon; people coming up in small groups, sometimes alone, often even with multiple toys (it was as if they were dropping something off at the Goodwill of distant eternity) and they found space until eventually Don himself was partially buried in the plastic, wood, paint and lead of his own creation.
            Sam, his mother, and one other close relative were the last there to watch the casket close down on this diorama. The funeral director had asked that they leave before the top was shut, as was protocol for the time and the place, but his mother refused for reasons she never really explained.
            She also refused a ride home from the legions of good-hearted men who offered, who begged, to drive her and her small son home that day. A lady in distress aught not drive herself home from such a thing, not in the South, and not anywhere. But she was steadfast, and she held her chin aloft as she marched over to her large beige Mercury, guestbook firmly in had, her only son trying his best to carry a small nursery of flowers in her wake, and she drove both of them home.
            It was cloudy, as well as cold, Sam could still remember this. Clouds that did not move.
            His mother made little eye-contact on the drive back. None actually, to be more exact. She held her gloved hands at the proper point on the wheel, in a classically Victorian way, not that she was in any such fashion, but it fit the mood. She showed no emotion as Sam sniffled and wiped tears on the various pieces of cloth in the car he could find around him. The reached the driveway with zero incident, the air a sullen jelly of tension around them, and he moved to get of the car, back to the cold air, inside their house and then somewhere even more distant.
            He felt her arm grab him in his process of pushing that massive door open, firmly, but with no menace, and Sam finally did dare to look over to her and found her eyes distant and twitchy: outlined in a color that tried to be red but was something more, something worse.
            She turned to him and laid that guestbook on his lap, then she took both of his hands and pressed the small palms of them on the cover. She rubbed her eyes, car still idling, clouds low and true, birds silent, unwilling to aid the atmosphere during its arctic assault.
            “Everything written in here is now yours,” she said. “And I’m so sorry.”
            She hugged him deeply, and that evening, as the sun set and clouds began to clear, they sat together in the car and cried until the neighbors finally came.          
            Sam had told two people this story: one was in the foothills of Argentina, and the other was still standing in front of him, in this current moment, unsure of simply which way we she needed to tell him the sun was moving.
            “Has the sun moved?”
            “To me?”
            “To you.”
            A deep distinct pause, it wrote a novel just by existing, and a breath in.
            “And you are absolutely sure of this?”
            Her eyes narrow, lips part slightly, he thinks again that, if she were programmed, if the lines were being written for her, this would be the time she herself would realize it, and if she did, he was sure, she’d have the courage to tell him so. But she doesn’t, because she isn’t. She knows that the sun is exactly where it is supposed to be in the thin sky above them. It’s his courage that is peeling.
            “Has it been happening again?”
            Sam’s pockets are empty laundry sacks magnetically devoid of the metal he now seeks; she’s right, and the swing is fully on, the cat is in the weeds, orders are orders and it’s time for action.
            “I’m going home.” He announces and then nods. Announcement made, now nod. Nods follow announcements.
            “Stop at Dr. Durham’s office first, please Sam.”
            But he’s moving past by her already, slithering around her slim figure like a vapor cloud of charged neon, caught in a wind of panic and solar pain.
            “Uh, cancel my appointments please, Jasmine,” he hears himself saying over his shoulder, to the wilted daisy leaning on his door-frame, and he doesn’t hear it, but he knows that tears are welling up in her soft blue eyes. Assistants in the office began to turn heads at the commotion, phones are put down, cubicle meerkats observe the unfolding tundra with concern.         
            “And I’ll be back next sunrise. Have my faxes re-directed through the Canadian affiliates. Also-“
            “Sam, you all right pal?”
            He’s storming towards the staircase without breaking stride.
            “Fine, Dana. Also, more clocks in this office, please. Make sure they have the proper time too. Every clock in here is broken.”
            Out the door, down blue stairs and into the sunlight that stings Sams skin like wasps freshly released from an oven. The feeling makes him weak, he absorbs the issue at hand in a physical way for the first time. He gets into his car and locks the doors; the gears ignite and preserve, they seal off the fate unfolding around him. The sun is hovering in a position unflinchingly from that which it was when he arrived: it is now officially noon, eastern standard time, and for a brief moment, just a pixel in the ink of a newspaper, it flashes through his mind that if this very sun remains transfixed there, at that spot in the sky, he’ll have seen his final sunset. The longest sunset. And fear grips him concurrently, flexing his fibers, shaking his skeleton, dragging its empty cup across the bars of his cage, just making noise; as it is hungry.

            Page one, line thirty-six, penmanship average, Jessica and Philip Granger: “We loved your Action Tommy Rolling Paratrooper (the one with the removable legs), and our son (James, he’s pale, with blue eyes) spent years playing with it. Your were an inspiration”.
            Page eight, line fifteen, penmanship remarkable, no toys, Bowie Robertson: “I will miss you, my friend. We will meet again.”
            Page six, line seven, penmanship average, Daisy and Chuck Cumberland: “The Seven Oceans Drum Set. Steven played only the Indian and the Pacific. They made the most noise. You will be missed.”
            Page fourteen, line seventy-eight, penmanship precise, Margery Blankenfield: “I still have a set of the 1967 Silver Snails Race Team. You never won. Love always. xoxoxo”
            Page six, line sixteen, penmanship below-average/childish, David Reynolds: “They always stare at me and I will never give them away and I will love them forever.”


            The wood floor in his home was a solid and cool comfort, once he reached it; the feeling slowed his particles down and demanded that he blink: letting him organize from a center and project outward. The mail hadn’t come all day. Sam was certain it never would, and if it did, he was prepared to accept that as well.
            He hadn’t cried alone in years. The last time being when he’d clipped a box turtle driving home from the market one Tuesday. It had died, but not until after many strange blood soaked hours in his large blue guest bathroom. After the collision, he’d scooped it up and placed it on his front seat, racing off into the evening towards the nearest hardware store to buy their most intense glue. He’d thrown a twenty at the cashier and flew back out.
            That evening, the little light-bulb sized turtle had squirmed and dragged itself around the edges of his bathtub; it made a noise indefinable as it did so, a primal high-pitched moan that religions were created to soothe and civilizations had fallen apart because of. It was a deep and distributing noise: something between bewilderment and pain, something above both those thoughts that Sam projected simultaneously on the tiny reptile. And Sam had glued away all night, trying to solve that olive-green shell puzzle, hoping that he could, knowing that he would not and he could not. Fences that cannot be redrawn by hand; he thoroughly investigated all limits of hope.
            When the small animal had had enough, and he’d later think, for its own sake if not his, it shivered, shuddered slightly, then remained still. And Sam had cried. Alone with a dead box turtle, the injury caused solely by him in a moment of poor coordination. His locomotion on this Earth metering out a pain that could not be retracted, could not be fixed, could not be healed; his station on the watch tower on the wall of the cosmos causing a pain he had shut himself off from. There was nothing to calculate and nothing to sort.
            He would not cry now: not for himself.  
            The call he was making was long distance. Across meadows and oceans, pools of life and vigor, tides heaving and vexing, if they still could; across mountains breathing smoke, fire piercing the sky, ice cracking, soil shifting and settling, worms grinding into the core, across massive bands of insect spiraling up into the atmosphere, clouds of matter, many brains and many eyes.
            “And you didn’t go see you doctor?” the voice said softly on the other end.
            He was naked now, hoping to absorb something from his floor, hoping to become part of it maybe, something primal again. Everything remained still and abstract on the walls above him, steady as the ribs on a large whale, encapsulating.
            “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy,” she cooed. “I can’t see the sun. I’m inside. We have no windows.”
            “Can you go outside for me? Can you look once there?”
            “We live in different hemisphere’s my little hummingbird, my sun cannot be yours. You have your own. You have to take of care it. Maintain it. Pray toward it if you have to.”
            There was a thumping deep below the solid wood near the center of his house, vibrating outward like an emerging butterfly. He could feel it on the soles of his feet, the energy lapping back and forth like a paintbrush. Growing stronger, gaining territory, making its presence known. Looking down to his side on the floor, neck craned, he thought the wood panels were moving a bit, perhaps simply re-arranging, trying to find a position that felt better, that fed the fog.
            “Yes, ma’am”
            They hadn’t been talking. Silence had held on for some time that was unknowable, especially now with the ultimate timekeeper stopped still.
            “I was lying.”
            “About what dear,” he was twisting his fingers around the phone cord, slipping through hole after hole, tumbling idly into one area of reality to another, his finger the guide, the cord the ladder, looping and spinning, his heart and head distant.
            “Our sun hasn’t moved either,” she said.
            He said nothing.
            “Everyone is panicked, I knew you’d end up calling and you did.”
            “Is there a plan in place? Did your government see this coming? Someone must know something.”
            “We know as little as you do. We wait for the sun to set. It won’t, and it hasn’t. But we are safe, deep inside the Earth.”
            If she was lying, he was fine with it. She was lying. Maybe it was mercy, maybe it was why he was calling her anyway; it was certainly why she moved to Argentina and Sam could only call her and not see her. This felt like the last time he’d talk to her. Their final sunset. Moonbeams, beehives, and flares dropping in a distant sea-lined sky; the concluding pieces on a cake made at the last second.  
            “Good,” he said. “I’m glad. I’m glad you’re safe. Make sure everyone is at peace there, help them understand. Bring light.”
            “I will. You take care, O.K? Don’t worry about what you see. You know what is true and what his false.”
            “It’s just a freak accident I bet,” Sam said.
            “I think so. A skip in the tape is all.”
            “Take care,” he said.
            He pressed the button to disconnect, and disconnected.
            Sam Sullivan stood alone in his home, his body feeling now serene, distant in the way a galaxy is but close like a fading heartbeat, and he turned slightly to stare out his large bay window and into the sun. Deep into that unmoving sun. Directly into the center of that star. Eyes beginning to tear with pain, then shimmering with bright colors, many, many colors, until there was one color, the one he wanted to see, as the sun now finally began to set.
            His last toy. The only one he’d ever made.