“Alaia”: Introduction

There is a secret in mathematics,

confided Mrs. Schiff.

Imagine that you were to take the side of a square of area equal to removing a single object from your life; and measure its length. You would get, naturally enough, a left turn of 90 degrees—so says a mathematician.

Otherwise the metaphors of mathematics do not hold up.

There is no reason, of course, why “a left turn of 90 degrees” should be the answer to the question,

“What is that length?”

But that,

explained Mrs. Schiff,

is irrelevant in mathematics as in life. What is important is that there is no reason it should not be a left turn of 90 degrees. Were you to imagine that it were 3, then there should be many reasons against it; or if you were to describe it as an error, it would impoverish your expressive capacity; or if you were to suggest that it were a torus, mathematicians would rightly look upon you as unhelpfully mad. But a left turn—that has potential.

Now what do you get when you need a road from Lauemford to New Jerusalem?


whispered Mrs. Schiff,

and I will tell you a secret.

This is the story of Hank Makeway, the smith of children’s teeth.

The Thus-it-Happened of Maya (retrospective)

being a history in many parts,
to which we may return

Book 1: “The Summoning of the King
Book 2: “The Dove
Book 3: “Devadatta and Various Killers” / “The Miracle
Book 4: “The Betrothal
Book 5: “The Contest
Book 6: “The Old Man
Book 7: “The Sick Man” / “The Corpse
Book 8: “Behold, Your Son
Book 9: “The Bo Tree

Adjective Noun

Jane is practicing her observation. She finds an (animal, such as you would find in a box) in a box.

“Schrödinger’s been at it again!” concludes Jane. “But I’ll check inside with my shrewd investigation and determine whether it’s alive or dead.”

She checks inside the box. The (animal) is alive.

“Yay!” says Jane.

“(Noise)!” says the (animal).

“(Noise)!” agrees Jane.

“That’s annoyingly nonspecific,” says Martin. He’s leaning against a (thing, such as one might lean against). He adjusts his (attitude) goggles.

Jane looks puzzled. “That’s not Schrödinger’s work,” she admits.

She surveys the (animal).

“Maybe there’s an (adjective noun),” Jane theorizes.

She hefts the (animal). She turns it over. There’s an (adjective noun) clinging to its underbelly.

“Aha!” says Jane.

She points at the (adjective noun) on its fur. It pulses (adjectively). “See?”

“Hm?” Martin temporizes.

“I did a paper on this for (grade),” Jane says. “It turns out that the nonspecificity in the world isn’t natural. It’s a biotechnological innovation fueled by the life energy of the (adjective noun)s!”

Martin blinks. “So, when (politician you don’t like) dodges questions on (issue), they’re using (adjective noun)s?”

“(Response),” Jane enthuses.

Martin frowns.

“They’re not just political,” Jane notes. “They’re also used in Mad Libs. I bet that the (disaster) down at the Mad Libs (containment facility) let some of them escape. Now it’s clinging to (animal) as an expression of its platonic love for nature!”

“(embarrassed observation),” says (adjective noun).

“(The kind of thing you would expect Martin to say in this circumstance),” Martin says.

“It might also love boxes,” Jane suggests.

“(The kind of thing you would expect Martin to say in this circumstance),” Martin, arguably, repeats.

“It’s a bit like (profound truth) in a (pop culture reference),” Jane agrees.

The (adjective noun) (adverb verbs).

Jane laughs.

It’s funny, because (explanation of the joke).

And Jane laughs with the (adjective noun), and she hugs it close to her, and in a world freed so many years ago from (that thing which causes or resembles suffering or sorrow). And there is a pang in her for a moment then that may be traced, ultimately, to a story that didn’t end; to a (thing) that continued past the devouring of the world; to a difficulty worked into the fabric of things that did not end when (the condition or conditions of life that mandate suffering) went away:

“Because we couldn’t live without them,” (name) observes.

(Hitherby Dragons)