GLOUCESTER, MA -- For an undetermined amount of time, a man who covers himself with shreds of foliage, mainly twigs and leaves and branches, has been terrorizing children and adults alike at Burnham’s Field. As bizarre as it may sound, no one has ever seen the man setting up his mound, nor is it known whether he collects his items there at the field itself or if he brings them in a large compost bag of which he then dumps all over himself. Both seem entirely plausible. But that is enough about the history of the strange man. Truth be told, if you live in or around Burnham’s or its surrounding area: you know about the man. You know how he lies completely still with nothing but his feet poking out from one end, usually facing East towards the sea. How he wears a pair of black sneakers with no label or indication. No one has been bold enough to approach him, until now. I approached him. It was a wet day; the ground acted as an overcompensated sponge, an inch above sea level. I could see nothing of his body save for his protruding feet. “Hello,” I said timidly. And to my surprise, he immediately answered, “Yes! Who is it?” he said, in a relatively normal man's voice. Not too high, not too low, a bit of gruff like he’s a smoker. I started molding an image of the man in my mind like he was a bust of clay. Just from those four words, I could see him. The clay was transforming, like there was the invisible hand of Michaelangelo, working diligently but simultaneously extremely quickly on the earth brown bust behind the veil of my own eyelids. “Why do you lay here?” I asked. Again he quickly responded. “Oh, it’s just a simulation.” I was put back by his answer. “What are you simulating?” Before I could even finish the sentence he already began retorting: “I’m simulating the feeling of the mother’s womb of course.” I took a step forward and knelt beside him. “The mother's womb?” It was a strange assertion to make from under a pile of leaves and foliage. The desire to relive the sensation that is the divine bliss of floating in the water balloon that is your mother's womb. I asked him: “Why do you desire a simulation of the womb?” His feet twitched. “My body aches for the plucking of my soul from the void.” I threaded my brows. “Elaborate.”
His feet began pumping upwards and downwards, casting waves of the cold rainwater all over my secondhand pair of flower boots. He started: “For every being plucked from the void, laying in wait and torment are the souls of billions of others who will never have their lottery number cast and caused and life lived here in this dimension or there in the rolodex of the unlimited other possible dimensions that we as humans so hastily to define in groups of threes. Three dimensions, three parts of the Holy Spirit, Three Godfather movies, there should be no limit in the trilogilogical sense. Hence, why I simulate the mother's womb.”
I straightened my legs and flattened out the pleats in my pants. My feet were wet and I was uncomfortable, so I hopped on the green tracks out past the tree line and rode that roaring engine back to the castle.
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