Best of SOTSOGM: An open letter to Mr. Kelly, Dr. Gregg Matthew, and the Royal Schace Courier Service

>> Friday, November 02, 2012

You get all this crap in your e-mail junkmail folder, right, and most of it you ignore, but I started thinking it would be funny to start writing responses to them, and/or use them as story prompts.

This one, from August 24th, 2010, was one I think my Dad really liked, though I sort of thought it ended up being a bit too much of a Lovecraft pastiche, myself.

But I've always really been fascinated by the idea that a higher-dimensional creature appearing in our space and time would only appear as a three-or-four dimensional cross-section of itself, much the way a sphere passing through a two-dimensional plane would appear to be an expanding and contracting circle to any inhabitants of the plane.  (Oh, go read Flatland
if you don't know what I'm talking about, for goodness' sakes.)




YOUR TRUNK BOX‏

From: Malvin Kelly (malvinkellyjr@yahoo.com)
Sent: Tue 8/24/10 4:41 AM
To:


Customers Service Hours
Monday to Saturday
Office Hours Monday to Saturday:

Greetings!!!

I have been waiting for you to contact me for your Trunk Box worth 1,650,000.00 (One Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars), being compensation fund for 150 scam victims, but I did not hear from you all this while. I have deposited the Trunk Box with royal shace courier service, West Africa, You will have to cantact Dr Gregg Matthew on his email address with your full shipment details and your full name also with your telephone number and note that you only have to pay the delivery fee of $170 and your trunk box will get to you within 48 hours. His email address is drgregg98@live.com Tel. number +2348067900087

Regards

Mr. Malvin Kelly


Dear Mr. Kelly, Dr. Gregg Matthew, Royal Schace Courier Service:

I can't say whether I'm grateful that you found my trunk box or whether I am sorry that this happened in my lifetime. I fear, too, that this reply will come to your eyes too late. I hope, I pray--no, I don't pray. Prayer might attract the roving eyes of the mad gods lurking just outside our sphere of awareness, just beyond the dimensions we self-congratulatory hairless apes flatter our limited senses by calling "space" and "time," mere words that cannot convey the incomprehensibility all that exists, of all that we are so mercifully oblivious to. I hope, as I started to say, that the locks on my trunk box remain fused, the tumblers melted and the keyholes themselves still soldered shut.

Do not attempt to open the box. And if it has already been opened... it it has already been opened, this letter goes into the world in vain, for there is nothing for you but my hope that your death was a brief experience for you.

The less you know, the better. For a start, let me be explicit: there is no money in the box, only pain and madness, eternities of torment and inconceivable tortures. I realize that some unscrupulous or ignorant fool may have said the box contains 1.6 million dollars. That figure comes from a joke made by Dr. Henrik Esperanza, my onetime friend and mentor, referring to the funding he received, some of it from a benefactor who will not be named and the balance from the Department Of Quantum Metaphysics of the Miskatonic University in ancient, eldritch Arkham on the banks of the Miskatonic River that runs sluggishly from those evil, lurking hills to empty into the sea beside haunted Kingsport. I was in the room with Esperanza, damned though he didn't know it, and poor, doomed Feldmann when Esperanza made the ill-advised joke. "This trunk," he said to us as he patted the top, "contains 1.6 million dollars." We knew what he meant.

Dr. Esperanza, you may recall, was one of the leading physicists in the country until his supposed retirement and sudden absence from the field. His seminal paper, "An Alternative Explanation For Certain Observed Variances From Expected Values Derived From Einsteinian Relativity" turned the scientific world on its head, but it was Esperanza's notorious article with the innocuous title "Wave-Function Collapse And Entanglement In The Non-Quantum Environment" that led to Esperanza losing a prestigious position at Berkley and near-exile to a small private college in the Massachusetts wilderness. It was not so much the "radical" nature of Esperanza's mathematics, which really did little more than add some interesting hypothetical restraints to a Riemannian manifold in order to demonstrate how gravity might be thought of less as a force and more of a manifestation of the universe as a non-Euclidean space--a variation on Einstein's work, really; what was shocking and unprecedented was Esperanza's lengthy "Section XVII," almost as long as the rest of the article together, which left the domains of theoretical physics and advanced math to suggest explanations for such mysteries as the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony and Amelia Earhart and the appearance of individuals like Kaspar Hauser.

This might have been treated as mere fancy, had Esperanza not concluded Section XVII's weird speculations with a mathematical proof of the existence of God.

Or gods, more accurately, and not of the relatively benign variety human ants worship on Sundays and certain holidays. Esperanza's proof, if you followed it to its logical conclusion, dictated the necessity of creative intelligences of unfathomable malignancy and hostility, beings whose nigh-incomprehensible motivations might be described as a passive-aggressive, hateful lusts, the desire to make something so that it might suffer; imagine, if you will, some scientist cloning a fly just to pull its legs off and you might have some idea.

These are oversimplifications, but such is all I can offer. Esperanza's work didn't give his creative cosmic forces a choice in the matter: by existing at all, they had to unwillingly create the universe in a sort of "observer effect," and conversely the universe itself required them to exist as creators. In Esperanza's tortured version of space and time, dimensions and extra-dimensional beings had to exist together at once, forever, or neither of them could, and "neither" was not only impossible by observation (we are here, after all), but Esperanza mathematically proved it with A3fxc23≠Q, a proposition Stephen Hawking attempted to disprove without success until Esperanza's article was withdrawn and banned.

Esperanza did not take his exile lightly.

Indeed, he had become crazier or more profound, depending on who you asked. Those of us who admired him thought he had grown wiser; he certainly looked wiser, or at least as one might expect a guru to look: his hair had turned grey and grown out, and he had cultivated a rather outré beard that dropped almost to his waist. Those who disregarded and disrespected his work suggested he belonged in a mental hospital or prison.

Esperanza's last project, the 1.6 million dollar project, was simple enough to describe. As non-dimensional entities beyond space and time, Esperanza's gods were infinite in size--that is, they were all sizes. Bigger than the universe, smaller that the quanta whose existence Esperanza was attempting to disprove.

Small enough and large enough, in other words, to fit into a box like the one you may have in your possession.

We stood in Esperanza's study when he made the joke about the money. Feldmann snapped that this was all very amusing, but why were we here. Esperanza smiled a knowing smile. "You are here to see what I plan to unveil before the world next week." He patted the heavy metal storage box, which stood up on one of its short ends so that the lid was facing us.

I said yes, but wouldn't he tell us what that was. And Esperanza said, "God. Well. One of them."

I think our laughter took him aback. Esperanza turned a furious crimson but after a moment joined in himself, and it was his slightly-crazed laughter that silenced us. I thought for a moment that, as much as I revered the man, wasn't it possible his critics were right about his mental state?

"Watch," said Esperanza, and he bent and pulled from beneath his spaghetti-sauce-flecked Hawaiian shirt a key on a chain looped around his neck and unlocked the first lock on the trunk box.

Then, the next.

It was when Esperanza put the key into the third keyhole that Feldmann abruptly said, "Is this safe?" Esperanza smiled and turned the key....

The box was empty.

I don't know what we expected to see. I may tell you that there was something of the professional magician in Esperanza's mad eyes. I'd thought of them as "passionate" before that day, thought of them as burning with a search for truth, but now I saw they were merely the sad, tired eyes of a lunatic. We would take Esperanza away, I thought, Feldmann and I, to some place where he could rest and take his mind off mathematics and such.

Esperanza looked at Feldmann and at me, then he turned and looked in the box. He'd stood aside triumphantly when he flung it open, a magnificent stage gesture, and now he seemed perplexed at our lack of awe, or of any real reaction other than pity, really. Esperanza came around and looked in the box and cursed. "It was just in here!" he shouted. I wasn't sure if he was shouting at us, or himself, or the empty box. Esperanza dropped to his knees and crawled partly inside it--it was, I would say, four feet by two feet by two, as you know if you indeed have it, roughly the size of a steamer trunk or chest. He patted the sides of the box and thumped the bottom with the palms of his hands. "It was in here!" he shouted again. "The seals and magnetic charms and the modified curvature of time--it has no way out!" he shouted. The sight was increasingly pathetic and my heart broke to watch my onetime hero's crazed despair at the dispelling of his treasured delusion. Esperanza spun around so he was sitting inside the empty box, looking right at us. "I tell you, gentlemen, it was in--"

And then the god smote Dr. Henrik Esperanza.

I don't know how else to describe what I saw happen inside the box. Esperanza was dismantled in space and in time, his atoms flung apart into tiny pieces while his history and future were picked over and discarded. The air turned cerulean around him, something like the Cherenkov radiation effect you see in a submerged nuclear reactor when a particle moves faster than the speed of light in the submerging medium, except the medium was reality itself and the particles were not merely quanta of matter or energy but quanta of time itself, all time, past, future--present, you could see discrete bits of the moment we were in being flung aside as Esperanza's entire existence was shredded. The glorious, hideous luminosity was perhaps not so much a physical manifestation as a psychic observance.

Esperanza finished his sentence and he never finished it. He'd been saying "it was in here" and he kept saying it to infinity, the last word stuttering like a digital file skipping.

I was paralyzed, I am ashamed to say. I could do nothing but stare and, I think, scream--my throat was sore and ragged for weeks after. Feldmann, though, poor, doomed, damned Feldmann, charged forward--I don't know if he meant to close the box over what was left of Esperanza or if he meant to pull Esperanza out of it, but he came close enough that the god was able to reach past whatever held it within the confines of the box and I saw it drag Feldmann in. I think he died more quickly than Esperanza, if either one of them are dead; I think his time and space were spaghettified like matter falling into a black hole, and surely the process killed him before the god had a full hold on him.

I pray--I hope he died quickly, anyway.

I fell to the floor and when I came to I was alone but for the box and its contents, and the trunk appeared empty. Appeared, but I knew the god was in there, waiting and watching as it watches all things, always. I crawled around to the backside, hoping that whatever process Esperanza used to confine the thing would hold, and I pushed the box over so it collapsed shut, closed lid on the floor. Then I went to Esperanza's garage and found the tools I needed to forever physically seal the box.

I took steps to hide it, and thought it was well hidden. But now and again I would hear of the damn thing's re-emergence somewhere in our awful, cursed world. I think that in the process of closing it and shutting it I must have damaged Esperanza's work and now the god seeps out a little; the box, anyway, no longer obeys our crude understanding of the rules of the game. Or misunderstanding. Of all of the miserable things in the universe, Esperanza probably came closer than anybody to understanding what the rules really are, and now he is dead and immortal, Prometheus chained to a metal chest to have his heart ripped out forever. And ever. And ever. And ever.....

I will not be coming to collect my trunk box, thank you.



Sincerely,
R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets



6 comments:

TimBo Friday, November 2, 2012 at 12:41:00 PM EDT  

How about a story about a multidimensional zombie bear-God who falls in love with a human?

Eric Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 2:21:00 PM EDT  

Oh wow. Phiala, that is beautiful, utterly beautiful. Now I want to send Tippett a thank-you note and a Cthulhu plushie.

Warner Monday, November 5, 2012 at 8:02:00 AM EST  

Flatland references, that book was a long long time ago.

what was the sub-title? 'A romance in two directions'?

Eric Monday, November 5, 2012 at 1:00:00 PM EST  

"A Romance of Many Dimensions".

Eric Monday, November 5, 2012 at 1:01:00 PM EST  

Oh, and "The Dot And The Line" was "A Romance in Lower Mathematics".

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