1. The Note

Tuesday the Emptiness opened its hungry jaws and swallowed my soul. I felt it sliding, sloshing, falling into the abysmal darkness, and for a moment I could not hear my heartbeat over the deafening sound of my longing. But my fears slowly disappeared in the light of hope that slipped through the cracks of the walls that formed the temple of the Utopian Dreamers.

* * *

The Guard looked over my Note carefully and turned it over again and again. He clicked his tongue and raised the visor, scratching his chin with his gloved hand. "This is all you've got?" he grunted, and the metal armor clanged back into place.

I rocked uneasily in my swivel chair and nervously spun to the right and to the left. "Er, um, yes, actually..."

"And you expect to get In with this nonsense? You've got to be kidding!"

The guard stared at me through the visor and I looked away in embarrassment. Then I remembered the Wizard, and I jumped to my feet in defiance as the Wizard's wisdom of the Power of Words jangled in the back of my mind.

"Why yes," I said with confidence, and I stared back at the guard with the same bull-dog ferocity I received. (But out of the corner of my eyes I watched my chair roll backwards and plunge into the moat. Fierce scraggly crocodillic monsters snapped and snarled and devoured the chair, rollers and all, and they seemed not the least bit perturbed that I wasn't still seated.)

"Oh," the guard swallowed, glancing once again at the Note for something he might have missed. "Well, okay, then, but close the Door after you, will you, I've got to get a bite to eat." He handed me back the Note, jumped into the moat and rode away on water skis pulled by a crocodillic team of tap-dancing, hat waving crocodiles.

I tucked the Note carefully in my vest pocket, making a mental reminder that once again the Wizard's wisdom had won out against the odds of chance and persuasion. Then I turned the door knob and entered Inside.

©: 1992-2015 Robert Alan Silverstein

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