The Musician

The Compiled Journals of Partner Lem

Day 257, 0 NE

I was walking through Prower the other day when a sound came rolling down the street like a tumbleweed. It wobbled and stretched and hummed and grew louder as I approached. There was a jittery metallic twang, then another. At first, I thought it was an insect or a bird. Then the whole series of sounds repeated into a rhythm.

I rounded a corner and found a man sitting on a chair in a dusty side yard. A long stick rested on the ground between his feet and rose between his knees to rest on his shoulder. There was a stainless-steel bowl attached half-way up the stick. A single wire was strung from the base of the stick, over the rim of the bowl. The man was hitting the wire with a dowel held in one hand while sliding a length of copper pipe up and down with the other.

The music he was producing was awful. It gave no consideration whatsoever to who I was, what I was doing, or feeling. If anything, the music imposed its mood upon me. Still, I watched the man for a long time. His thoughts were elsewhere and he never noticed me.

I keep thinking of that man struggling to construct and repeat a melody. I think of his wincing face, his closed and twitching eyes, his brow furrowed with concentration. He was outside of the drudgery of time and the dirt of his side yard.

I know we will find ways to fill the gaps the System left. Not only am I certain of this fact, I am convinced that was the System’s plan.

There was nothing the System did not control.

The System did not make mistakes.

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