Clipping Time: The Beginning
Laura Driver has a sheen of actuality
as if all my 913 online friends congealed
into one blisteringly supple, life-sized
entity—a kidney-punch delight
of fleshy human shape
She appears today, at my front door
holding a package under her snick-sign tablet
It’s the NOS vintage Stronglight chainring
I found on eBay: 47 teeth and a 122 mm BCD
in a gold-tone aluminum alloy
I snick-sign. Laura smiles. My package changes hands
We’re going to have babies and those babies, babies in turn
They’ll snick-sign, or use some other new contractual method
They’ll smile like we do, most likely, barring massive change
and Laura’s will meet Rillian’s, just as Laurel’s met Percy’s before now
In ancient Asia Minor, structurally sound foot-bridges were built
leading to this ricocheted moment in my structurally sound timeline
Much like the animated feathers of a returning shuttlecock
cresting the net during Mrs. Laurel Driver’s Battledore tournament
circa 1730 on the greens of what would become Morgannwg Ganol
they’d also lead Laura Driver here to my not so structurally sound front door
Wales UK is the starting point of this time-clip queue, a transgressor’s favorite
It’s the place we begin, in a narrow-focused wonder, that cues our end
Only, (as the traveling players said to R & G) every exit is an entrance
to someplace else—catching us unawares
Time transgressor tagged. Trapdoor shut. Camera sealed. Reverse clip in five … four … three …
There’s a print of the painting, At the Well, wall-mounted outside the clip-camera door. It’s beautiful and profound. I mean it’s deeply, truly beautiful and stare at it you will. The subject matter, not surprisingly, involves a young man and a younger woman.
It involves images of desaturated plants and sky and earth—not surprising. Also, the painting involves technology—the well, with its pulley and bucket—not surprising. But, if you look at the painting closely, it might surprise you to see the well stands between the young woman and the young man, separating them. A tool is the focus, not our human lovers.
Is this the intended message of a classical, handcrafted oil painting from the 1800s? Surprising? Is Knight, the artist, telling us we’ll be divided and conquered by our quickly evolving tools?
Maybe that’s too much re-rendering on my part—a common side effect of jumping through time. But why would Knight arrange his master work thus? Unlike history, it cannot be rewritten. So, the placement of humans hoping for love on either side of the well—a symbol of Life—must be meaningful, right? Encroaching technology accessing us through our primal desires, through our springs of life.
Two … one … reverse clip complete:
Now, standing by the … deep hole where water dwells … time has shifted. If nightingales want to sing and dance, let them act it out truly and well.
I clip-flash, appearing in my normal, overly casual stance next to the fountains.
Mrs. Laurel Driver is a woman of florid design. She has a rhetorical public posture comparable to a boxer’s stance—haymaker body language. She often floors her guests simply by walking through the room and they love it, and they come back for more. This is the day of Mrs. Driver’s spring Battledore tourney on the lovely green space outside her ancestral home, near Pontypridd.
Davies and Triplethorn dehydrate themselves with Mrs. Driver’s driest martinis; never playing, only lounging and commiserating over past woes. The twosome is sitting to one side, with a keen view.
Triplethorn was recently back from the Caribbean Islands where he’d fought for the British government against the pirates (1722–25). He’d stayed post victory for monetary fulfillment—or, what others might have called pillage and plunder. Davies, on the other hand, was the hardest of the hardened war preventioners and a growing star in the British peace movement. Neither of their pillage-or-peace views keeps them from sharing a drink. On this particular tourney day, they often and repeatedly toast to the end of Fatalism in their time. With a chuckle and a clink.
On the green, Mrs. Driver serves the first round of Battledore. Feathers up; her arm spring cocked, sprung forward; cresting net, the shuttlecock flies with the energy of a child leaping for money from her father’s hand.
Percy, in the uncomfortable position of opposing Mrs. Driver in this first round, is brutally distracted by the flow and bounce of her lacy skirts. From his point of view the shuttlecock arcs out of his eye line in one moment and returns 283 years later to drop at his structurally sound feet. Only now, the feathers are plastic and the first round of Mrs. Driver’s tournament long over.
There’s a woman—somewhat familiar in her appearance, strong stance, and directness—holding a brown box with emblems covering one side. She hands Percy the package, and then a tablet. He’s excited, and notices an expectant look, as if he should do something. Shaking his head, he begins to speak. The woman smiles and quickly says, “Snick here, please.”
Instead, Percy asks, “Who are you?”
“I’m Laura. It’s nice to meet you.” Bending, she picks up a plastic shuttlecock and hands it to Percy. “Is this yours,” she asks.
Flutter of light. Hollow click.
Then Percy is back, Battledore racket in hand, and the gathered crowd cheering Mrs. Driver’s success on the green. Laughter comes Percy’s way, but it is the understanding laughter of shared mirth and a deep awe in regard to Mrs. Driver. His fondness for Laurel is well known. And, again, shared.
Percy tries his best to appear nonplused by the strange event, as he notices that no one else seems to have been a part of his hallucination. What luck.
The evening sun casts a nostalgic glow across the wide green space. Empty chairs, tables, and a sagging Battledore & Shuttlecock net look like remnants of a forsaken battlefield. Only Triplethorn remains, standing in the doorway of the main entrance to Mrs. Driver’s villa. His gaze is lost in the personal events of some far off place, as he smokes a stubby cigar.
Mrs. Driver, herself, and Percy stroll along the edge of a line of cherry trees.
“You experienced a ‘Cassandra’,” Mrs. Driver is saying. “It happened to me for the first time two years ago.”
Percy gives her a cautious look. Maybe she’s jesting, he thinks. At my expense.
“During mine,” she continues, “I viewed what seemed to be known as a ‘news broadcast’. In which, a well lighted person spoke of a hurricane. She referred to the storm by a female name. When I returned here, I thought of the event as equivalent to a time hurricane. A disturbance so great as to effect time, but so subtle and quick as to be nearly imperceptible to others. No one around me noticed I had been away. Later, I decided to call it a Cassandra in honor of the future woman who birthed hurricanes.”