The False Enlightenment (II/III)

The problem with Meredith exploding is that she gets everywhere. She turns into water and foam and salt as she explodes. There is even a cute little octopus. These pieces are vigorously distributed all over, so that the monster’s shiny tie gleams with water and the red Persian rug is all salty and the octopus is over there being cute and drying out on the hard concrete floor.

Meredith evaporates slowly over time and gets into the ventilation and then the sky.

Meredith leaks out over time and gets into the ground.

The remnants of her run in rivulets down to the sea.

People say that when you die you return to the universe. The lie of independent existence cessates; the impulses that make the self do not dissolve but rather retreat to their primordial forms as part of the larger world.

So it is with Meredith.

She is not a god of the sky but there is Meredith in the sky.

She is not a god of the ground but she is there in the ground with the vegetables and the worms.

She spreads up into the fruits.


The monster is making a sandwich. The sandwich is on whole wheat bread. He puts tuna on one side, from the can. He spreads the other with mustard. He puts a leaf of lettuce on it. Then he is discontent.

“It needs tomato,” he says.

So he goes to the garden patch outside Tina’s house and he selects from among the fruits.

“Don’t eat me,” says the Meredith in the tomato.

The monster hesitates, wary, as he always is, of suddenly finding himself in a moral fable.

“Are you a magic tomato?” he asks.

“I am a magic tomato,” Meredith confirms. “I don’t want to be eaten.”

“Of course not,” says the monster.

He takes hold of the tomato. With a twist of his wrist he pulls it off the plant. He says, “But it’s your own fault, you see.”

“It isn’t!” protests Meredith as he carries the tomato into the house.

“It’s because you’re in denial regarding your own nature as a tomato,” says the monster, “that this upsets you. It is because you have chosen to conceive yourself in a fashion that denies the flavor of your meat. That’s the only reason we’re even having this discussion—because of the essential dishonesty in you that levies minimization against the flesh.”

He touches his hand to his forehead. He has been working on Jenna for some time and he is tired.

“Here,” he says.

And Meredith catches her reflection in the tie and she sees in it the nature of tomatoes: the ripeness, the redness, the moisture. That she is a thing that may be consumed.

It dissolves the boundaries of her world; and, following that, he cuts a slice from her.

There is no pain, because tomatoes have no nerves and also have no brain.

But there is an ambiguous sense of loss and dysfunction.

The monster tastes the slice.

He frowns.

His stomach makes an unhappy noise.

He goes still.

“What?” asks the tomato.

“You are salty and you taste unaccountably of octopus,” says the monster. “You are a salty octopusy tomato and you aren’t edible at all.”

“Oh,” says Meredith.

He tosses her into the garbage.

There in the dark the tomato thinks, “I have suffered a false enlightenment.”

“It’s funny,” Jane says, sometimes, “that we named the lens Necessity.


“Well, it shows the monster in it.”

“He’s not invisible to Necessity,” Martin says. “He’s just not part of it.”

9 thoughts on “The False Enlightenment (II/III)

  1. So the monster’s shiny tie displays the nature of things. But not necessarily the nature of the thing being reflected.

    We’ve just seen a couple of legends revolving around the breaking of mirrors. I wonder if the tie is connected.

  2. [quote]“He’s not invisible to Necessity,” Martin says. “He’s just not part of it.”[/quote]

    it’s nice to see martin say something sensible for once ;)

  3. Don’t mind me, I’m still boggling over the exploding babies and talking sandwiches in a canon entry.

  4. I think that the puzzle of the breaking of the mirror has finally been solved. It was a reference to the breaking of the mirroring of the site from to It just jumped up two stories instead of one story.

    I think that Meredith is a god that was created from Jenna. That’s why she can explode and so on. At some future point she’s presumably going to become one of the Tower players, right?

  5. I don’t think Ink went through all that just to end on a soon-incomprehensible joke.


    What freaks me out is the implication that all the Histories we’ve seen so far were being viewed by the Dynamic Duo on a history-viewing lens called ‘Necessity’. (Because those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it?)

    The entry-topping quotes also referenced a broken lens.

    And while the quotes used to only appear on entries made after the site move, I just noticed that they’ve been extended back to every entry following ‘The Mirror Breaks’.

    These are things that make me go ‘Hmmm…’ (But not, unfortunately, ‘Eureka!’)

  6. And (since you can’t edit posts anymore, the lack which may well kill me) that this was a really cool freaky entry and that the degree of overanalysis really be read as the degree of appreciation.

    And it’s ‘the mirror cracks’, not ‘breaks’.

    And salty octopussy tomato would go excellently with seafood pasta. Merchandise!

  7. There have been implications that the Tower crew were viewing histories before — for instance, Jane broke in with an observation about toothbrushes during part of Siddhartha’s life story. And we had legends about Liril and Micah shortly after histories about them, implying that Jane had some way of knowing what was going on with them.

  8. Ninjacrat writes: “you can’t edit posts anymore”. No more quote-tagging either?

    I have to admit that the nearest similarity I can think of to commenting on the new site is how Mole felt when he and Rat unexpectedly stumbled on Mole’s old home. Spring cleaning from last year sort of half-done and left around, people you know stumbling over everything, looking for the stuff that you haven’t thought about for a while but know that you left around somewhere. Someone is going to have to be Rat and assure us that it’s a very nice place really.

    Ninjacrat again: “I don’t think Ink went through all that just to end on a soon-incomprehensible joke.”

    The mirror cracking didn’t really have much to do with Ink’s story per se, did it? The plot wasn’t affected. These new histories do talk about the broken lens, so perhaps the mirror was also the lens called Necessity (and also the shard of melomid)?

    But in general I think that the different levels of Hitherby story are mixed, and that it’s quite plausible for the “mirror cracking” to be not just a joke, but a reflection of an event from upper level to lower. The last time I went into this in (Forward-fill) Emeline I bored everybody except perhaps ADamiani, but if a story gets accidentally deleted from the site, doesn’t the fictional Hitherby universe change?

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