1: Seeing the Elephant
Several times upon a time, upon a time, upon another, not this time here, or the time you’re probably thinking of, but the other time, two times over, where everything interesting is, Itsy B. Spider lived on a web between things, much like the times. To the untrained independent observer, Itsy slid through the air on invisible connections between between each and all of the very visible things. Sometimes she was between good and great, and other times she was between a rock and a hard place, but most of the time she was between these two and other interesting ends. Because everything is similar to but different from every-other-thing in endless ways, Itsy could go anywhere and meet anybody, which she often did for little to no reason at all.
As it happened, Itsy was between bored and tears when she came across an enormous elephant, larger than some but perhaps not the largest, who was floating in space without any apparent support. Itsy slid slowly up to the elephant’s giant silent eye and said, “Hi”.
The eye slowly opened, and found Itsy.
“Hey there, tiny spider!” bellowed the elephant with a voice that shook the empty space surrounding them. “It’s good to see you, or anybody really, as I’ve been floating here by myself for awhile and could really use someone’s support. Someone, I can’t recall who, said that elephants never forget. I don’t remember you, so I can safely conclude we’ve never met before, but I wonder if you would assist me in something. Would you, a complete and perfect stranger, assist me in something?”
“I’m far from complete, and nowhere near perfect, but what seems to be the problem?” inquired Itsy. “I’ve got all kinds of this time.”
“I have an itch, but I can’t seem to reach it. It feels a lot like apes, which I’ve had before and never forgot. Did I mention to you that elephants never forget? I’m not sure if elephants can get apes more than once! You are teeny, tiny and small, so you can get places I can’t, places that are mine even. Would you kindly check out this place on my back that I can’t quite reach?” asked the elephant, stretching his trunk over his head and as far up his back as he could.
“Sure!” said Itsy. “I’ll have a look or two. I’ve been almost everywhere and seen almost everything, except Antarctica. I’ll analyze your problem rationally and logically, then synthesize it irrationally and illogically, and then come to a conclusion somewhere in between.”
“Whatever works,” yawned the elephant. “Whatever sails your ship and saves it from sinking.”
Itsy slid down and down a strand of her web along the ever-widening elephant’s back until she could no longer see the elephant at all. As she approached the vast surface beneath her, the clouds thickened and the air became hot and humid. After a long, declining and dampening slide, Itsy broke through the cloud cover to find a vast jungle spread out before her.
“There’s a whole world down here”, said Itsy silently to herself as we sometimes do before saying the same things to others.
The welcoming jungle did not respond, but it certainly awaited.