The Snow Leopard
Every thing is two things, simultaneously. This is due to the multiplier effect: firefly, lovehate, stopwatch, cowboy, Iceland. I wonder, when did ‘party’ become a verb? Of course, there are a number of ways to think ‘snow.’ Don’t think Dalmatian, Holstein, Rorschach, ladybug; nor zebra stripe, bumble bee, tiger shark, barber pole. Think Admiral Bird. Bird claimed he reached both the North and South Poles, where he discovered the Holy Ghost, the vacant page, the lost horizon, the avant garde. Although these claims have been disputed (most convincingly by indigenous peoples who insist that they, in fact, had been the ones who first discovered Admiral Bird), there is no doubt that these milestones were both particles and waves. That said, some things are never quite themselves, no matter how unified they appear. For example, we must never ask, ‘Is Schrodinger’s cat dead or alive?’ Rather, ‘What is the greatest probability that Kitty merely naps?’ Can diamonds really be a girl’s best friend? Is it illegal in Oklahoma to hunt whales? There is no such thing as time, yet the moment perpetually approaches. In this soulless night, a black jaguar stalks us, its methodical breathing a sign of its immaculate intention. When it draws close enough for us to hear its low, idling growl, to smell its feral scent, you’ll see that its pavement-black coat is actually composed of smoky rosettes. Think nothing of it. With a 910 kilogram-force, the jaguar’s jaws clench twice as tightly as those of the snow leopard. God sings a song so beautiful, even He can’t hear it.
I have a lot of thoughts. You should see them, in real time. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, how old I am, in shark years? Whenever I get curious like this, I remind myself that matter is just frozen energy, that the universe is composed of colorless atoms, not even gray, not even programmed to have fun. Then, before I know it, I’m trying to remember the name of Schrodinger’s cat, and my wife says to me, “Don’t be silly, Gerald, it was just a thought experiment.” Like I didn’t think of that already? But I can’t stop repeating to myself, solve for x, solve for x, all the time wondering if I’m perseverating or if that’s x squared? Of course, it’s a river, any fool can see that, but it’s a river with only one shore, and the rowing is incessant, like I’ve got a hole in my boat in the shape of her smile. Pretty soon, the dead are watching re-runs, and when I pull up a chair to have a beer with them, I suddenly feel like heading south for the winter to look for God, or other Baptists. Form a single line please. These insects have never before seen a human. My parole officer says deferred gratification will be good for me, but from where I sit, I’m not sure if I’m strictly monogamous or merely asleep on the job. As you can imagine, the effects can be cinematic, indeed multiplex. Of course, all generalizations are much too sweeping. While the cat’s away, the mice will play. Still, in this heat, Iceland glides toward the equator, like an ice cube on a radiator. I’m going to have to admit to myself that they don’t make spare parts for it anymore. Nonetheless, when I meet my first wife again, I will pop the big question. You can’t just stand there. You have to say something, even if it means you have to say ‘yes’ to things you want to say ‘no’ to, and ‘no’ to things you want to say ‘yes’ to. It’s been proven by science, beyond a shadow of a doubt. You can’t just make up these kinds of facts. If you could, the ending would be way too predictable.
Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California, and lives in Boston. His poetry and fiction have appeared in: Right Hand Pointing; The Baltimore Review; Off the Coast; Third Wednesday; The Potomac; San Pedro River Review; Santa Fe Literary Review; Barely South Review; Boston Literary Magazine; Short, Fast and Deadly; and other publications. Links to Brad’s poetry and miniature fiction can be found at: http://bradrosepoetry.blogspot.com . “Hatchet Job,” a 51-second, miniature audio story can be heard here: “Hatchet Job” . Brad’s chapbook of miniature fiction is offered by Right Hand Pointing and is viewable here: Coyotes Circle the Party Store.