He hands you a bouquet of pink lilies, velvety soft beauties dripping dew. You put your face into the flowers to smell them, they lick your nose. He says “I’ve collected the tongues of all my lovers and arranged them just so.” You recoil as the petals move and wrap around one another.
You realize that until this moment you’d never considered what happens to lovers tongues when they aren’t loving you. You put the lover tongue bouquet in a decorative vase, fill it with water, and display it on the mantle. You enjoy the way the light hits them in the afternoon, mindful that one day your tongue will be a petal too, you hope for good light.
Starlings, like elementary particles, have their own spin and can react to other starlings’ movement in a less than a hundredth of a second. Information flows through flocks of starlings instantaneously which allows the birds to behave like fluid molecules at constant speeds.
Scientists would rather believe that starlings behave like liquid helium than that flocks possess empathetic or telepathic links. Starlings store their telepathy in the hollows of thief feathers. the smaller the wingspan the faster the bird the shorter the flight time. Thief feathers enable starlings to steal the dreams and emotional synapses of others in the flock, passing experiences back and forth. In this way starlings behave more like a writhing pile of lovers well past thinking or a sophisticated botnet army.
Did you know that panopticon surveillance fell out of favor around the same time scientists started studying starling murmurations? It’s a strange thing to think that the ornithologists studying starlings had a hand in the design of our current mass surveillance systems. But really, it wasn’t a leap from learning how starlings share experiences to collecting our experiences over a digital murmuration network. What’s most fascinating is you see the same failings between bird scientists and the NSA, tracking of data without understanding empathy.
National Audubon Society and the National Security Agency are anagrams in their acronym forms.
But I suppose I’ve said to much, haven’t I? Anyway, that’s what I know about starlings. I hope you have a pleasant day.
The trophy wives gathered for brunch at the usual spot. Those that married pro athletes compared diamonds; artists’ wives compared hardships.
“Oh honey it’s 11.2 carats, for the first few weeks my finger ached from lifting it.” She looked tired.
“Dinner last night, was ramen and curried catchup, but we’ve finally saved enough for ultramarine!” said a mousy haired girl.
They all said no thank you to the pastry plate. The athletes’ wives only drank their carbs and the artists wives could only afford the chicness of black coffee.
Shelia leaned in to the table and sighed “I’m lonely and my heart is breaking, this Faustian bargain is erasing my name.”
“Don’t be such a downer, Susan” the tired blond beamed.
There was a lackluster clink of their glasses. They all took another drink.
Once, mother and I calculated the sum of my sick days and determined I’d lost two full school years of classes to pneumonia. It dawned on me today that the spottiness of my early education was more than just incongruous learning, it was a strange way to time travel.
I would sleep, fever, and dream for days at a time, too weak to care about dates or whether the sun or moon was up. When I woke and was able, I’d build elaborate worlds out of modeling clay and construction paper. I spent from morning till night in my stories and fantasy.
After some weeks, I’d arrive back to my same desk at school, same teachers, same friends, same chicken-fried steak. But the classes had advanced, and my friends had memories of learnings and events that I didn’t. I just had these disjointed thoughts. That’s what I mean by time travel. I had a memory of school, long bits of absence from time, and then there I was in the future again.
So, when we wonder “where did the time go?” I’m more inclined to think it did slip away, somewhen. We fall down these rabbit holes and can’t remember when we’ve been. I wonder where all that extra time collects?