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Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind

by Bertil Falk

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Chapter 1: The Bureau of Salvation

part 2 of 3

Teresia Nightmare was a super collector of time-segments. From the ceiling of her collect-chamber life-size time-segments were hanging. Square things. They were not visibly marked off from their surroundings. Most of them consisted of short dramatic events like the murder of King Gustavus III and the similarly short murder of Abraham Lincoln. The moment when Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot dead at the corner of Tunnelgatan and Sveavägen in Stockholm was also there.

But all the time-segments did not consist of well known historical murder moments. There was one square on the floor. Its content: the chief editor’s room of Teknikmagasinet in 1983. Chief editor Anders Palm is sitting or was sitting there, feet on his desk, smoking a big cigar while he told subeditor Ahrvid Engholm the agenda.

“We’ll become millionaires, so we can take it easy and just smoke cigars!” Palm says. He is in love with the world’s most beautiful woman, from Finland. Once upon a time her beauty was without parallel in the known universe. The segment itself should not be confused with a copy, for this is said to be oh, yes it is the very event itself caught when it happened. Its length is about 35 seconds and is repeated over and over and over and over and over again and again.

“We’ll become millionaires, so we can take it easy and just smoke cigars!” is repeated over and over again by the cigar-smoking chief editor.

One could step into this artifact from the 20th century and shake hands with Anders Palm and Ahrvid Engholm. However, they would not answer when spoken to. As soon as one stepped out of this time segment, the two men would resume their original behavior. Palm and Engholm cannot leave the segment. They must stay there and repeat themselves. A fact, which is a consequence of their existence being limited to the six invisible walls, floors and ceilings of the time cube.

Quite close to this time segment, there was another square cube made a few years later. The technically helpless popular science writer Anders Palm is sitting or was sitting there by his desk, but it is another desk this time. He tried in vain to found out how a computer works in order to be able to write an article on a computer about how a computer works.

The world’s most beautiful woman is standing by his side: Raisa from Finland, nowadays (thenadays?) Mrs. Palm. She shows him what to do. She straightens up and walks to another part of the room, whereupon Anders Palm comes crawling after her on all fours like a faithful dog, kissing the floor where she has walked. This repeated course of events had no fault until an unexpected problem came up.

When someone entered the time segment, it had to be done slowly while observing every precaution, so that the figures caught in the segment did not escape. One day, a third cousin of Teresia Nightmare, Orvar Chan, who was on a visit from the constellation of the Sea Horse, was alone in the collection room. Then the “accident” happened. Chan entered the segment with Mr. and Mrs. Palm, for he wanted to experience the scene from the inside.

As ill luck would have it, a big split came about in the invisible side of the cube as Chan carelessly tramped inside. The split was open long enough to permit Mrs. Raisa Palm to walk straight out of the secluded sphere and her limited existence into the reality where the cubes were kept. After her, Anders Palm was crawling, eagerly kissing “the soil where she had walked.”

When Chan tried to leave the cube, he found himself caught inside the time segment. Repeatedly, he now had to spend the limited 35 seconds available to him, trying to learn over and over again how to use the old-fashioned computer from the 20th century, which was a waste of time since he:

  1. already knew it, and
  2. this kind of computer had been out of use for a number of milliennia.

Anachronistic loops, time coils and other anachronisms were nothing new, but this particular kind of mixed time had never before happened in the universe. The event might or might not have temporal effects in connection with The Last Judgement.

In the silence maintained in the monastery town, Urbanus Collectus was allotted a small cell. It was illuminated by burning wax candles and lacked all modern conveniences. There was a bedstead of tree, a shower room with two alternatives: ice-cold water and colder than ice-cold water.

An old-fashioned 4-D TV with only one Vatican channel was in a corner of the room, but Urbanus Collectus preferred reading the Revelation of Saint John the Divine straight from his digital manuscript before he said his prayers at bedtime.

When he blew out the candles, he saw the body of Jesus, blood-red in neon light, writhing in pain on a crucifix on the wall. Some seconds later he was asleep after the most upsetting day of his life.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2008 by Bertil Falk

Open Challenge 285...

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