Free-fall Hero Refuses Help. (extract)

Roy Exley

Too nervous to press on, but too reckless to rest, with her momentum oscillating precariously either side of the primordial mean - equilibrium threatened - our 'hero', (who is actually a 'heroine', but for the sake of emancipation shall hereon-in be termed 'hero') was caught in that limbo that can ensnare us when the levity of our urge towards fame wrestles with the gravity of our rationale. An enforced pause to reflect that, increasingly besotted with the power that it offers us, our affair with the internal combustion engine is destroying its own arena of operation while draining the earth of its finite resources. Despite our hollow, repeated justifications of the poisonous nature of its means, by the greed-driven glory of its ends, well aware that we continue to delude ourselves, she was searching for answers. Our 'hero', hard pressed to deny the facts and figures as a recipe for looming catastrophe, her focus feverishly restored, regained a clear perspective on that ever-receding horizon of the ecosphere. It was at this point of brief repose that a mood of anarchy kicked in; covertly addicted to a personal high, afforded by the inhalation of noxious exhaust gases, she navigated that ever-narrowing highway between imagination and infinity. It seemed inevitable that she would fall one way or the other, either into the maelstrom of unbridled fantasy or the abyss of an ineffable infinity.

Cruising the margins of consciousness, those that we miss, the details we dismiss, in our daily dash for progress, she gathered together the remnants left by those derelictions of perception that ease us, by degrees, into that no-mans-land of contingency. These remnants, a surreal, eclectic patchwork of faded signs and significations were, admittedly, hard to handle, but through some skilfully manipulated digital permutations, she managed to concoct a flickering nexus of mesmerising optical signals, which, when displayed in echelon through a neon charged tube, viewed from it's end, seemed to be in a perpetual state of convergence without ever achieving a vanishing point. These flickering images were interlaced by hovering lacunae of what can only be described as nothingness. Contrary to the general trend towards convergence, these lacunae appeared to be moving centrifugally, while floating ever closer to the viewer, threatening the thinly fortified walls of the viewer's illusory ontological fortress. What might, in other circumstances, have been the vanishing point in this hypnotic vista was, as the point of genesis for these mysterious lacunae, encircled by their swelling train as they set off to lay siege to the viewer's sense of being.

Our hero, while realising that the city, even at its most benign, never was a level playing field, and certainly not a bed of roses, felt its vice-like grip on her mind more keenly than ever, as the buzz from the noxious fumes took a hold and her eyes stung from the lachrymatory by-products. The anarchic implosion on her mind of all those missing details, signalled that it was time for radical changes, if the vanishing point was ever going to be realised, a change of both tempo and emphasis were critical requirements. Anarchy and revolution, like the ecstatic sating of desire, have always been no more than temporary diversions from, transient salves for, the interminable itch for change and advance that plagues the human mind. It has been said that the human brain is simply a mutant form of central nervous system -- amygdala gone mad - which along with its progeny, the internal combustion engine, is an aberration of nature that has run out of control. There is no stopping its insatiable appetite for novel experiences and sensations and its greed for possession.

The city of routeways, entrances, exits and chambers was not the one our hero was diagnosing in her search for that malfunctioning vanishing point - those worn and tedious sites had run their course, tired and eroded, they were to be left to the habitual attentions of the masses. Those masses - who, in the long run, she was determined, would be rescued - were quite capable of transforming rectilinear mazes into vicious circles through the comforts of their routines. Lost in these vicious circles and deluded by the accrued pollution pumping through their veins, these masses had become dependant upon, had begun to metabolise, those previously toxic pollutants. The one sure way out, the only positive prognosis was through that ever-elusive vanishing point. Via Aeternum, the long forgotten by-product of alchemical investigations, seemed to our hero to be a possible way out of this dilemma. She had heard that the sudden acceleration or deceleration of ideas through the action of vertical g-forces on the brain was an efficacious technique for achieving a cerebral simulation of that phenomenon, the via aeternum. This vanishing point had to feature somewhere among the consequent sensations of that somewhat hazardous route, if not experientially, then at least cognitively. How its achievement would be utilised as an agent for change could only be determined once the vanishing point had been reached. She had to clear her brain, de-toxify it, the obvious answer was to spend some time at the top of the mile-high Panopticon Tower, at the city's hub, the affluent voyeur's ultimate choice of destination. There she would be high above the city's pollution layer. She realised that she would need a guise to gain access, but of course, she thought, why not kill two birds with one stone -- de-toxification and via aeternum simulation in one fell swoop - she would join the sky-diver's club, as the top of the tower is one of their premium launch platforms, there are always ways and means.

A week later as she was about to launch herself into history, she observed the undeveloped cumulus humilis scattered thinly across the bright blue sky, a sure sign that air conditions were stable. As she extended the tip of the Tower (the vanishing point for those spectators on the ground, almost six thousand feet below) to an infinitesimal degree, the feeling of intoxication that it offered was in a completely different league, it's not that the earth moved but the heavens seemed to revolve around her. Free-fall skydiving without the aid of a parachute, as is common knowledge, relies entirely upon the power of psycho-kinesis so a clear, sharply focussed brain was absolutely crucial. One of the security guards rushed forward to offer her some assistance, but she declined it, and that same instant leapt - as in that famous Yves Klein photograph - into the blue beyond, within seconds the grey-brown blanket of the pollution layer loomed up and enveloped her and as she hit it, although negligible, the deceleration that she experienced prompted her brain to implode, she was sucked down into that neon-filled tunnel and, ricocheting off the crazily surging lacunae, almost instantly hit the vanishing point, which along with her physical body spontaneously de-materialized. Simultaneously, every internal combustion engine on the planet coughed, misfired and spluttered to a stop. Her disappearance was of course front-page news in all the national dailies and webzines - 'Free-fall Hero Refuses Help then Vanishes!'

© Roy Exley.