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Mr. Jordon T. Langley, Part 8…finis

“I have all the clothes I need and I’m moisturized and blown dry,” said Mr. Langley.

“Do you feel ready?” asked the camera.

“I do.  At least as much as possible.”

“Good enough.  You won’t know you’re feet are wet until you step into the water.”

Mr. Langley stared at the camera.  “Uh.  What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m not sure.  It seemed like the right thing to say.”

“How do I look?”

“Perfect.  And what are you going to do if a woman speaks to you?”

“Ask her about Egypt.”

“Right.  Excellent. Let her do most of the talking. Be a good listener.”

“I will.”

“I think you better have a snack and then get ready to leave.”

“Okay,” said Mr. Langley.  “I don’t know what to eat.”

“Toast is always good and it won’t make you sick.”

“What should I put on it?”

“What would you like to put on it?”

“Jelly.”

“Then put jelly on the toast.”

“Ok.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” asked the camera.

“I think so.  I just can’t move my legs.”

“Seriously?”

“I’m telling them to move, but they won’t.”

“You’re going to see behind the scenes at the museum.  You’re going to see things the public has never been privy to.”

“Privy?  And a preposition.  Good for you.  And while all of what you’re saying is true, it’s not helping me move my legs.”

“It’s just fear.”

“I know that.  But if I’m going to get there, I have to leave the apartment.”

“Just finish your toast and think of camels and pyramids.”

“I can do this.”

“You can.”

“I’m brave and I know things about Egypt and cells.”

“Tonight is not the night for cells.”

“Okay.  I know about Egypt. But what if everyone else knows more than I do?”

“Unlikely, but even if a couple of people do, so what?  You don’t have to speak, if you don’t want to.”

“Preposition.”

“I know,” said the camera.  “Love them.”

“Me too. I’m going to use them a lot more often,” said Mr. Langley, walking to the table.  “I don’t care who doesn’t like it.”

“You do that,” said the camera.  “Now keep walking to the door.”

“Okay.  Wait!  “I’m walking!”

“Yes.  Just go.”

“I won’t be late,” said Mr. Langley.

I’ll be here,” said the camera, sarcastically.

“Do you want anything before I go?”

The camera stared at him.

“Right, then.  See you.”

“Have fun.”

Long after Mr. Langley had gone and night started coming on full strength, the spirit floated out of the camera, went to the window and looked toward the stars.  He stretched, did a somersault or two, and shook himself out.   “I don’t think he’ll need me much longer,” he said to the plant on the windowsill.  The plant did not respond immediately but then said, “They grow up so fast.”  The camera agreed.

Suddenly, there was a thud against the front door and he raced back to the camera. He heard the key slip into the lock and watched Mr. Langley, and the woman in his arms, fall through the open door and land on the overstuffed chair to the right.  They were laughing and talking about camels.

Mr. Langley got to his feet, picked up the camera and shoved it into a drawer.

“HEY,” yelled the camera.  “I don’t like it in here.”

“Excuse me?” said the woman.  “Did you say something?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Langley.  “I wanted to know if you would like something to drink?

“I would, but I’d rather see the book you were talking about, first.”

“Sure,” he said, pulling  a gigantic tome off of a bookshelf.

They looked at the pictures and snacked on crackers and jelly.  They chatted and he put his arm around her.

“It’s getting late,” she said.

“You can stay here if you like.”

“It wouldn’t be an imposition?”

“Not at all,” he said.  “I can sleep on the couch.”

“Or you can sleep in the bed, with me.”

“Or that,” said Mr. Langley.  “The bedroom is right over there.”

The woman smiled and went into the bedroom and closed the door.

Mr. Langley opened the drawer and pulled out the camera. “She’s staying overnight.  What should I…”  He shook the camera.  He looked into the little glass thing on top.  He spoke to the shutter.  But no one was there.  He was overcome with deep feelings of loss.  But then he remembered what the camera had said, over breakfast.

“You do realize that once my job is finished, I’ll be gone, don’t you?  I mean when you can function in society, make a friend or two, you won’t need me any longer.”

“But we’re friends.”

“You need to make friends in your world.”

Mr. Langley looked at the empty camera and simply said, “Thank you.”  The he tucked it back into the drawer and turned toward the other room.

 

 

Jordon T. Langley, Part 7

“Who ARE you? asked the camera, the shutter open all the way, as he watched Mr. Langley walk in.

“It’s me, Jordon Langley.”

“I know that.  I mean, wow!  You look forty years younger and you’re actually kind of handsome.”

“I am?”

“Yes.  It surprised me too.”

“I like the clothes.  They’re comfortable.  The Consultant said I look good in black.”

“You do.  Very nice,” said the camera, appreciatively.

“My hair feels weird.”

“But it looks great.  I think you’re ready for your class on Saturday.”

“I have to get used to looking like this,” said Mr. Langley.  “I don’t exactly feel like me.  They rubbed cream on my face.  Moisture.  They said to use it everyday.  So, I bought it.”

“Do whatever they told you to do.   And you will get used to the new you in no time.”

“I talked to a bunch of people today.”

“Was it hard?”

“At first.  But then it seemed kind of natural.”

“It will get better.  Everything will get better.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Why are you doing this for me?”

“You asked me to, when you picked up the camera.  Only someone who needed my help could have found me.”

“Really?”

“Yes.  The truth is, help is available for those who want it.  But they have to want things to be different than they are, and be willing to do whatever it takes to become who they think they want to be.  We show ourselves, but if people aren’t ready, they won’t see us.  You were ready and I was there.  You wanted more out of life, even if your conscious mind didn’t realize it, so you saw me, picked me up, and here we are.”

“Are you all cameras?”

“Hahahahaha, no!” laughed the camera.  “Do  you do know who Harry Potter is?”

“I read all the books and saw the films, so yes.”

“Well, like the portkeys, in Harry Potter, we can look like anything.  When the person is ready, we will appear in something that’s around the person.  Nothing messy, or gross, just things that only the person will notice.  A friend of mine once went into a dying flower because the woman she was trying to help loved plants.  She always bought the sad ones at stores, where they were never watered.  She would take them home and nurse them back to health.  So, when my friend saw the woman walking down the alley, she jumped into a plant someone had thrown away.  The woman picked her up immediately.   I knew you liked cameras, so when I heard you call out for help, I was right there for you to find.”

“Does that work all the time?  And you said ‘she’.”

“No, it does not work all the time.  Some people fight themselves.  Refuse to listen to their inner voice, if you know what I mean. I used ‘she’ because you need gender to communicate in this place.  I mean we aren’t ITS, so we have to be something, right?

“Yes, and it is hard to describe things without gender attachment, or assignment.  Even boats are he or she.  You seem like a he.  So, we do label everyone and everything.”

“That too,” said the camera, trying to nod.

“Are you trying to nod?”

“I am.   I thought I was being completely unsuccessful, but you noticed.”

“I did.  What does that mean?”

“I have no idea.”

“You’re not one of those alien lizard people, like the guys in Washington, are you?  You don’t want to take over my body or anything, right?”

“What?”

“Is that your true purpose?”

“What’s wrong with you.” huffed the camera.  “I’m just trying to help make your dreams come true.”

“I was just checking.”

“Well, checking is always a good idea, but if I wanted a body, it wouldn’t be yours.”

“Why not?” asked Mr. Langley, looking down at himself.  “What’s wrong with my body?”

“Nothing at all.  It’s a perfectly fine body, I’d just want to be French, or maybe Spanish, or Italian.”

“What’s wrong with being American?”

“Really?” asked the camera.  “How much time do you have?”

“Is this one of those things where I’ve never been anything else, so I don’t have anything to compare being American with?”

“Exactly.”

“Okay.  I get that.”

“You look good in jeans and you’re hair looks great.  Wear what you have on with your new jacket, and things will go well for you in class on Saturday.”

“Thank you, but what do you mean?  Wouldn’t things have gone well for me the way I looked before?”

“Sure, if you didn’t want anyone to notice you.  If you didn’t want to talk about EGYPT with the others.”

“Oh.  I get it.”

“Good.  Now, here’s something you need to remember.  If a woman talks to you, don’t panic.  Remember she wants to talk about your favorite subject…”

“Cells?”

“No, you twit, EGYPT.”

“Oh, right!  I should have known that.”

“Yes.  You SHOULD have known that,” said the camera.  “Don’t think of her as a woman, think of her as someone who loves Egypt and has interesting things to say.  Then remember that YOU love Egypt and have interesting things to say, as well.”

“I wonder if she’s seen the pyramids.”

“There IS no she.  Not yet.  Have you seen the pyramids in person?”

“Yes.  I went to Egypt to celebrate the death of my parents.”

“Excellent.”

“It was, but it’s a totally different culture.”

“Duh.”

“I knew that before I left, but knowing something and encountering it are two different things.”

“I think I like you.”

“I thought you always did.”

“Well, it was touch and go for awhile, but not anymore.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Do you really believe that the people in Washington, are reptilian aliens?”

“Yes.”

“I like that you aren’t afraid to say what you think.”

“Depends on who I’m talking to.”

“I think all sentences should end with a preposition,” said the camera.

“I agree.  There’s nothing wrong with prepositions.  Someone just didn’t like them and made a bad rule about when they should be used.”

“That’s the truth,” agreed the camera.  “So, tomorrow you will do a bit more shopping, right?”

“Yes.  I’m meeting Drake at ten,” said Mr. Langdon

“Drake?”

“The consultant.”

“Wanna see Ra, the Sun God?”

“Sure, who wouldn’t?”

“Well, take a look and then I’m going to crash for the night.  Just look into the little glass…”

“I know where to look,” snickered Mr. Langley.  “Wow!  He’s a lot bigger than I expected him to be.”

“Everyone says that,” said the camera.  “Absolutely everyone.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jordon T. Langley, Part 6

“I called several places and the most expensive one said they have a consultant on staff.  He just had a cancellation, so they can take me today.  They also have their own salon.  I have an appointment in two hours.”

“You are doing great.  If you really hate something, tell the guy, but be openminded.  You need to find your own style, eventually.  Right now, use the training wheels.”

“Okay.”

“I’m sorry about your parents,” sighed the camera.

“They’ve been gone for years.”

“No, not that…that you had them.”

“Oh.  Well, the thing is, when you have something you often don’t know there’s anything else you could have, so it’s not so bad.”

“Are you telling me you didn’t know there was MORE out there?  That you didn’t realize they weren’t…mmm, different than other parents?”

“I guess I knew,” said Mr. Langley, softly.  “I really did want a bike.”

“You’re killing me,” groaned the camera.  “You didn’t have a bike?”

“I didn’t have much of…anything.”

“Did you at least inherent a lot when they died?”

Mr. Langley smiled.

“See, sometimes justice does actually show up.”

They both laughed.

“Before you go, let’s talk about women.”

“Uh, what about them?”

“You may have to speak to them.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because they actually EXIST and might be in your class, or at the store, or pretty much ANYWHERE!”

“I never thought of that.”

“You’re like brand new, but really old.  How is that possible?  You went to school right?”

“I did.”

“What kind of schools?”

“Religious ones, where they beat us.  It was all boys.”

“Of course it was.  How could it possibly have been any other way?”

“Did you ever see the Blues Brothers?”

“Yes.”

“All of our teachers were like the Penguin.”

“OMG!”

“I have a PhD.”

“Seriously?” asked the camera, in amazement.  “In what?”

“Molecular biology.  I like cells.”

“Okay, I’m going to ask a silly question but, WHY were you working as an accountant, if you’re a molecular biologist?”

“Fewer people around and I didn’t have to talk to anyone.”

“If I could write, I’d write a book about you.”

“Thank you.”

“See, still don’t get sarcasm.”

“I think I better be on my way,” said Mr. Langley, standing.

“I’d tell you to call, if you have any questions, but, well, you know.  I can’t answer the phone.”

“Oh, right,” he said, smiling.

“You know you laughed and smiled today.”

“I did?”

“You did.”

“I guess I’m changing already.”

“I guess you are,” said the camera, happily.  “Now go have fun and be brave.”

“I’ll try.”

“Not good enough.  You have to BE brave, not just try.  Do you understand?”

“I think so.”

“Take risks and come home and tell me all about it.”

“I will,” he said, opening the door.  “I promise.”

Jordon T. Langley, Part Five

“It’s an eight week class, starting next Saturday.  Eight Saturday’s in a row and they accept a donations of two hundred dollars.”

“A DONATION of two hundred dollars?”

“Yes.  That’s what the man said.”

“What if you don’t want to donate any money?”

“Then you can’t take the class.”

“So it’s NOT a donation, it’s the cost of taking the classes.”

“Yes, but they call it a donation.”

“I call it a rip-off and a lie, but did you register?”

“Yes.  You said I had to register.”

“Okay, that’s a start.”

“It’s a class of twenty-five people.”

“Good, you’ll meet like-minded people.”

“Okay.”

“Do you have any siblings?”

“No.  My parents didn’t even want me.  They said I held them back.  They wanted to be professional dancers, but couldn’t fulfill their dreams because I had to nap.”

The camera stared at him. It’s shutter clicking open and closed so fast it was hard to see.  “Dancers?  They wanted to be professional dancers?  Did they dance?”

“Not that I know of,” said Mr. Langley.  “They never did anything.”

“Think carefully about your answer to this next question.  Were you raised in an asylum?”

“No, we lived in a house.”

“Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure,” said Mr. Langley. “I mean I don’t know what an asylum looks like, exactly.”

“Were there other people living with you?  Were they wearing hospital gowns and just wandering around.  Was there medication?”

“No.  Nothing like that.  Just us and Corporal.”

“Corporal?”

“Yes, my father’s boyhood dog.  He had it stuffed and it stood by his chair.”

“Are your parents still alive?”

“No.  They were on vacation in Iowa when their car was picked up by a tornado.  You know, one of those funnel clouds.  That’s how they died.  They traveled farther than they planned to go.  I mean the tornado…”

“I know what you mean.”

Mr. Langley nodded.

“You’re not planning on ever having children, are you?”

“No.”

“That’s good.  Really good.  With genes like yours, well, it’s just better not to pass them along.”

“Okay.  I’d need a female to have kids anyway.”

“You’re smarter than you look,” said the camera.

“Thank you.”

“You don’t pick up on sarcasm, do you,” said the camera, flatly.

“I’m not sure.”

“Okay, moving on.  You need a whole new wardrobe.  You need to burn the one you have.  Do not donate it to the poor or homeless, because it will just depress them even more.  Do you understand?  Burn EVERYTHING and start over.  Do you have money?”

“Yes.”

“Go to a SALON and get your hair styled.”

“What?”

“A salon.  You know what a salon is, don’t you?”

“It’s for ladies, isn’t it?”

“Ladies?  Who uses THAT word anymore?  It’s WOMEN.  You have to catch up, Langley.  Really.  And men do go to salon’s as well.  You need to get your hair STYLED, not just cut by a barber.  Do you understand?”

“I think so.”

“It will help bring you into the world as it exists TODAY.”

“Okay.”

“Are you really thirty-five?”

“Yes.  Why?”

“No reason, just wondering.”

“They’re going to take us behind the scenes, at the museum, and show us things the public hasn’t seen.”

“For two hundred dollars, that’s the least they can do.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

“You need a jacket.  I’ll go through the GQ magazine that you’re going to buy when you go out.  I’ll help you decide what to get, then I’ll show you pictures so you know how to put things together and stand.”

“Stand?”

“Yes.  Stand.”

“Okay.”

“I’m thinking you should highlight your hair.”

“You mean with a highlighter pen?”

“I’m going to forget we had that small conversation.”

“Okay.  I will too.”

“I think this might be more thanI can handle from here.  You really need a personal shopper.”

“I do?”

“Definitely.  The person needs to pick out your clothes and get you to the solon.  There are other things he can do to help as well.  Call a fancy department store and ask if they have anyone you can use.”

“Okay.”

“Do everything right now.  You can do some things tomorrow but you have to be ready by Saturday.  Before you get started, however, look inside me and you can see Cleopatra.  She was gorgeous and brilliant.”

“Isn’t that Elizabeth Taylor?”

“Oh, sorry,” chuckled the camera.  “I was watching that movie last night.”

“It was pretty good,” said Mr. Langley.

“It was, but look again.  This time it’s the real thing.”

 

 

Jordon T. Langley, Part 4


“Okay, now what?” asked Mr. Langley.  “I have the pad and pen.”

“Write down, DAY ONE.”

He wrote.

“Then write, Each day I will talk to three different people for five minutes each.  I will speak, not just listen.  I will contribute to the conversation.”

Mr. Langley had stopped writing.

“What’s the problem?  Can’t you spell?”

“Of course I can spell.  I just don’t want to talk to anyone.”

“That’s the deal, take it or leave it,” said the camera, closing it’s shutter.  “We are going to add to that list all week long.”

“Why are you doing this to me?”

“Because you’re just too strange to keep going on this way.  You’re like the living dead.”

“That’s my choice.”

“Only if YOU HAD ANOTHER CHOICE.”

“Oh.  That’s a good point.”

“You think you chose this life but you just kind of let it happen, right?”

“I guess so.  I mean no one was interested in me, so I wasn’t either.”

“That’s because you aren’t INTERESTING!  You could be, you just don’t believe in yourself.  You know a lot about Egypt, right?”

“Yes, but no one would want to hear about that.”

“Someone who was also interested in Egypt would want to hear about it, you dolt.”

“Oh, right.  I guess that’s true,” said Mr. Langley, rather surprised.  “I never thought of that.”

The camera screamed.  It wasn’t very loud but anyone hearing it would know it for what it was.  Did you have a mother?”

“Yes.  Her name was Edna.”

“How about a father?”

“His name was Ralph.”

“OMG Ralph and Edna.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Look into the camera,” said the camera.

He looked.  “Yes, those are my parents.”

“Do you see how you turned out the way you did?”

“No,” said Mr. Langley.  “I don’t know what you mean.”

“LOOK AT THEM.  They look like they would torture innocent people in prison.  Did they EVER smile?”

“Not really.  And that’s my father’s favorite coat.”

“I just want you to know that if I could bang my head on the table, I would be doing that right now.  Were they nice to you?  Did they want you to have friends?”

“They never spoke to me.”

“Never?”

He thought for a moment, then said, “It’s time for school, dinner, bed and sit up straight.”

“That’s child abuse.”

“I read a lot.”

“I’m sure you did,” said the camera.  “But you are going to give life a shot.  I’ll show you all the pictures you want to see, except for the future, if you do exactly as I say.  Deal?”

“Deal.”

“Call the Museum of History and see if they have classes about Egypt.  If they do, register, right now.  Go ahead, get the phone.  You don’t have any time to waste.  How old are you?  Seventy?”

“I’m thirty-five.”

“Ackkkkkkgraat.”

“What does that mean?”

“IT MEANS YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME.  You look ancient.  Look at your face, your clothes.  And that hair?  Do you use Motor Oil on it?  Exactly what century are you trying to live in, the sixteen hundreds?  Number two on the list.  I WILL BUY A PAIR OF JEANS AND SIX T-SHIRTS IMMEDIATELY.  ALSO A PAIR OF SHOES THAT WERE MADE IN THE LAST TEN YEARS.”

“Okay.  Where should I go?  Wait, are you crying?”

“No,” sniffed the camera.  “I have allergies.”

“What could you possibly be allergic to?”

“YOU!”

“Oh, right.  I’ll make the call.”

Mr. Jordon Langley, Part 3

“Okay, are you happy now?” Asked Mr. Langley.  “I’ve had an entire pot of coffee and I’m shaking like a leaf from all the caffeine.  Look at me,” he said, holding out his trembling hands.

“Oh, boo hoo.  You humans never stop complaining.  You kill everything, throw us away to rot, and then you act like you’re the ones with the problems.  Aren’t you sick of listening to yourself.  I know I am and I just met you.”

“You aren’t very nice,” he said primly.

“Like I care,” snapped the camera.  “Your species sucks, but we aren’t here to talk about that.”

“We aren’t?  That seems to be ALL that you’re taking about.”

“Yeah, well it’s hard to like you guys.”

“I see your point but now that I’ve had the coffee, could we get on with it?”

“Sure, just pick me up and take a picture of the kitchen sink.”

“It feels weird touching you, since you’ve started talking.”

“I’m a camera.  You kind of have to pick me up in order to take a picture, unless you have a tripod and a remote.”

“You’re too old to know about those things.”

“Says the human, who doesn’t know anything,” grumbled the camera.  “Just do it.”

“There’s no film inside you.”

“I know.  Are you gonna take the picture or just talk until I try and roll of the table and kill myself, so I don’t have to hear your voice any longer?”

“Fine,” he said, and picked up the camera.  He pointed it at the kitchen sink, snapped the picture and returned the camera to the table.  Then he sat down.

“Give me a minute, will you,” said the camera.

“Do you have a name?” asked Mr. Langley, politely.

“Yeah, it’s CAMERA.  And do you know what GIVE ME A MINUTE MEANS?”

Mr. Langley pretended to lock his lips and throw away the key.

The camera sighed and went about it’s business.

Five minutes later the camera said, “Okay, pick me up again and look through the little glass part where you would look to take the picture.”

“I’m not an idiot, you know.”

“Thanks for the info.  I actually didn’t know.  I mean, if behavior is any indications of…”

“Okay, I get it!” said Mr. Langley loudly, as he picked up the camera and looked through the little glass part where you would look to take the picture.

“I…how…this is…”

“Impossible?”

“Yes.  It’s impossible.”

“How did you know I was interested in Egypt?”

“The pyramid statues, the books on Egypt piled on the table, the statues of Egyptian gods…”

“That makes sense.  But this is amazing.  I mean what you’re showing me is pre-history.”

“I thought you’d like to see the truth.”

“How long will the pictures last?” he mumbled, rolling the non existent film forward.  “I mean will it disappear in a few minutes or a few days?”

“Twenty-four hours.”

“So humans didn’t build the pyramids after all.”

“You never really thought they did, did you?”

“I…suppose I didn’t.  Not really, but that’s not something you talk about in public or people think your crazy.”

“You don’t talk to anyone anyway, you could have at least told yourself,” said the camera.

“This is amazing….wait, is that STONEHENGE?”

“Threw the Henge in as a bonus.”

“So it was used for birthing and celebrations and…”

“For pretty much everything.  There are a lot old ghosts around that place.  They’re kind of like the hippies of today, only with different drugs.  Nothing to fear, they’re pretty mellow.”

“How did you do this?” asked Mr. Langley, putting the camera down.

“I thought it into being.  You can do that in a lot of places, just not here.  The good news is….there’s not a single human in any of the places where you CAN think things into being.  You guys couldn’t handle that kind of power.  Look what the idiots you let have power are like.  Imagine if the mad man could think things into being.  What kind of nightmare would THAT be?”

“Can you show me anything I want to see?”

“I could.”

“Can you show me the future?”

“Yes, but I won’t.”

“Why not,” asked Mr. Langley, frowning.

“You wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

“How do you know that?”

“I’ve see what happens to humans who try it.  Their brains look like scrambled eggs.  Some of them never stop drooling.  Others sing the same song over and over until someone puts a pillow over their faces, or leaves them on the side of the road.”

“That sounds unpleasant.”

“Unpleasant?  That’s what you’d call it?”

“What would you call it?”

“Madness on an epic scale.”

“Oh, that’s not good.”

“Dumb as…” hissed the camera. “I can’t find A SINGLE THING that knows less than you do on the ENTIRE PLANET.  How pathetic is THAT?”

“You have issues.”

“You have become one of them,” said the camera.

“I’m going to look at more pictures,” said Mr. Langley.

“I can turn the the pictures off any time I want to.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that I can control you.  I can offer you what you want, and I can take it away whenever I wanted to.  You would be mine.  You’re familiar with that game…it starts when you’re young and your parents can make you do what they want you to do by taking away the things you care about.  Your teachers do it, your boss does it and your government does to absolutely EVERYONE.”

“I thought you were nice,” said Mr. Langley.

“Why would you think that?” asked the camera, surprised.

“I don’t know, I just did.”

“I didn’t say I’d do it, I just said that I could.”

“It’s still a threat.”

“Life is a threat,” said the camera.  “Didn’t you know?”

Mr. Langley shook his head.  “I didn’t look at life that way.  I thought we might be friends.”

“I’m a camera, we can’t really go out to dinner and a show.”

“But we can talk and you can show me pictures of places I’ll never see.”

“What happened to you?”

“I’m not sure.  I woke up one day and decided that living was too much trouble, so I kind of faded.”

“You’re really far down on the pyramid chart and you love pyramids.  Maybe I’ll show you whats inside of them one of these days.”

“I would love that,” said Mr. Langley, excitedly.

“But first, there are things you need to do.”

“What things?”

“Do you want to be a person?”

“I already am a person,” he said, frowning.

“i mean a person other people know exists.”

“Oh.  I’m not sure.  I’m used to being alone.”

“We’ll start small,” said the camera.  “I’ll be your wingperson.”

“You will?”

“Not exactly, but sort of.  I mean we’re not starting with women but I don’t know what other word to us.  Cameraperson sounds stupid.”

“And you don’t think wingperson doesn’t?”

“Just get a pad of paper and a pen.”

 

 

 

 

Mr. Langley…part one

This camera was found in an alley, by Jordon T. Langley, a forty-five year old, accountant, who always wanted to be a photographer.   Langley was…mmmm, a little bit different than most other people who took pictures for fun, or profit.  Years ago, he read an article about people who refused to be photographed because they believed that if they were, the camera would steal their souls.  Mr. Langley didn’t believe in souls, but he was interested in the fact that other people not only believed they had them, they also believed their souls could be taken from them by a box with a lens.

Having no interest in souls, whatsoever, he wondered what else a camera could do, besides taking pictures and stealing things.  He decided to find out.  The next day he handed in his resignation, then went directly to his cubicle.  Having no personal items in his small, square, allotted space, he needed only one very small box to hold the things he took from his desk.  Truthfully, a lunch bag would have done the trick.  Once that task was accomplished, he walked out of the building, a free man.

Mr. Langley had always been single, and there was absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that he always would be.  A dull and boring man, he stayed in the background, unnoticed by others, unless they tripped over him, completely forgetting that he was there.  He didn’t mind.  He had gone unnoticed from the beginning.  His family always misplaced him and when he was in school, his teacher constantly marked absent, because she didn’t realize he was sitting in his seat.  And so it went.  No energy flowed from him to others.  If he tried talking to people, they would forget that he was standing in front of them and merely wander off.  He didn’t take it personally, he knew it wasn’t their fault.  He simply didn’t have enough presence to be acknowledged.

But now…Jordon T. Langley had a quest.   Once home, he took the items out of the small box, undid the flaps, folded the box neatly and placed it the recycling bin.  Then he put his eraser, pens and pencils in the table drawer.   He put his calendar on the stand next to his bed, then made his way into the kitchen, where he sat down in front of the camera to make a list of questions to which he would like answers.

  1. Why do people believe in souls?
  2. What do people think souls look like?
  3. What is the purpose of a soul?
  4. What do some people think the camera does with their souls?
  5. Do those people know what film is?  Do they think their souls are ON the film?
  6. What do they believe will happen to them if they think their souls are gone?
  7. Would explaining how a camera works, remove their fear?
  8. Do they think that souls and personalities are the same thing?  Or is it a question of essence?
  9. Should I visit the tribes/people who believe the camera steals their souls?

He read through the questions a number of times, adding and subtracting as he went,  until he finally settled on nine of the answers he most wanted to know. He did not want to travel to far away places, because people might leave him behind, and he could barely take care of himself as it was, so he put that question on the back burner, until the time might come when it was necessary to go somewhere.

He made a pot of coffee, lit a cigarette, and began to examine the camera.  It looked perfectly normal.  He spoke to it, telling it what he was planning to do.  The camera thought it was a great idea.  Then Mr. Langley realized that the camera thought it was a great idea and that, as far as he knew, cameras were not supposed to have an opinion about anything…ever.  He got up and went to the cupboard for a bottle of scotch.  He poured a bit into his coffee and stirred it with a spoon,…while the camera stared at him.

 

 

 

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