Saturday, June 19, 2021

A Government of, by, and for Ed Calkins

 An excerpt from the BryonySeries novel Ruthless by Ed Calkins, the Steward of Tara.


A desk and chair have no place in a women’s restroom, but that was the image in front of Trudy as she hoped to leave not only the restroom, but the funeral parlor. Lights were off, but she could make out a computer monitor on the desk’s surface. She didn’t dare turn around to look at the reflection’s source because that would mean placing her back to the full-length mirror. That might be Eddie’s only chance to take her unawares.

              “Mirrors and light”: he had a theory about that. It wasn’t an original theory. Plato’s cave had been around far past its usefulness, but Eddie referred to it. back when he was still creating serious poetry. The theory compared the perception of reality to a pair of men standing backs to the entrance, looking on each other’s shadows and thinking that they faced each other. He’d finally started leaving that idea alone, but then the evidence came in about the speed of light, which is constant. For example, when Eddie threw a newspaper from his truck, the newspaper added the speed of the truck to the power of the throw and went faster than Eddie could throw it. Conversely, the light from his headlights was not added to the speed of the beam, which went only at the same speed of light everywhere.

              Eddie explained this in a novel, stubborn way, claiming that the true source of light does not move. Eddie claimed that his headlights, like all light, were invisible until they reflected off some unmoving “dark matter mirror,” which resided everywhere in the universe where “vision” is possible. One could see the mirror, not the light. This also changed the way he thought of time and space. Eddie used to infuriate everyone when he talked about space travel, saying that if people ever launched a probe at the nearest star, the star was just as likely to get further away the closer they approached it, just like objects reflected from a mirror get farther away as people approach the mirror.

            Approach the mirror.

            It made sense now. Trudy took a step.

            Did the desk get closer or farther away?

            It actually got closer.

            The “mirror” was an entrance, like some hole in the fabric of reality. That or these new pills, while great for depression, were going to present some interesting challenges.

              Trudy stepped out of reality and into the darkened office.

              Just as she did, a light went on and a young, good-looking man opened the door, flicked on a switch, and stepped inside. Trudy was trying to think how to explain herself when she gasped in recognition.

                But the boy apologized.

              “Sorry Trudy,” the boy said. “I’m not supposed to be here. I’ll come back later; it’s nothing I can’t do at another time. Just please don’t tell Ed Calkins you saw me here. I don’t want to star in another limerick.”


              “Ah, it’s your first time,” he replied as if he instantly knew everything she didn’t. “Please call me Glorna from the other Tara of Ed Calkins’ imagination, the one without humans. You know me because I’ve starred in your dreams.  Actually, you’re a queen in this realm, which is Tara with humans.  A queen like you can call me anything you like. If I’m ‘Clint’ to you, well that’s fine. I have been watching cowboy films, so I know everything about cowboys.”

              “Except how to raise cattle,” Trudy quipped.

              “What does cattle have to do with being a cowboy? My queen, you’re confused. Herds of cattle are in Ireland. Cowboys live in the American west and have nothing to do with cows. It’s just a name. Cowboys break laws, rob banks, kill outlaws for bounties….that sort of thing. No cowboy would be caught dead doing rancher’s work. I know. I’ve watched all the movies.

              Trudy didn’t argue but looked back at the place she’d entered. Gone. The room was different, too.

              Glorna pointed at the wall. “Don’t worry. When you wish to leave, I’ll open the portal. I’m a wood sprite from way back, so I’m omnipresent in this office. You probably want to know where you are right now, but I can’t tell you. I’ve never been outside this building, you see, because I’m from the other Tara. I can tell you that we’re more back in time rather than forward.”

              Pointing to the knives on either side of his belt, Glorna quipped, “I feel like I should have more advanced weapons.”

              Trudy felt the belt around her own waist. It was also a knife, but it should have been a…what?

              “Don’t expect to name anything that hasn’t been invented yet. The only place that’s allowed is the other Tara, and The Steward of Tara won’t make that mistake again.” Glorna explained. “Just please don’t tell Ed Calkins I’m here. I’m supposed to be under house arrest…you know, for cowboy things.”

              “There was something on that table here.”

              “I’m sure there was. Are you ready to meet them?”


              “Your subjects, my queen.” Glorna bowed low and stayed bowed until Trudy passed. Then he rushed forward to open the gate.

Illustration by Nancy Calkins for "Ruthless"

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