A detective and his client are seeking what lies beyond the obvious sea. The detective is in a supermarket, the usual refuge in case of an apocalypse, and his client has wisely left the building. (The detective sequence starts here.)
The ceiling and the roof have vanished,
breakfast for a bivalve, and a curling snake
of sulphurous vapor scorches my eyes,
runs bitter in my nose, my throat,
like the small red chillies
one should never purchase.
I hear a disembodied voice, reproachful and despondent,
in synthetic darkness.
I tried to warn you, a scavenging bivalve
found the supermarket—
a tasty concrete treat.
I’d like to help, but there’s nothing I can do.
You’re a goner, I’m afraid.
Who is kneeling over me, offering words of comfort?
Is it my client, with matching axolotls
clinging to each shoulder?
My vision’s been dissolved
by the bivalve’s acid reflux,
and I must make sure.
I reach upward with one hand.
Might I touch you,
and verify your identity?
I run my fingertips gently
over the contours of her face, her lips,
a little longer than strictly necessary.
Uai! Her teeth are just as sharp
as I remember.
I’m slightly disappointed
with the imminence of my death,
but my client must press onward
to solve the maritime mystery,
and from my final place of rest—
a mattress of melted chocolates
and assorted sweets—I’ll assist her.
I’ve kept extensive and professional
records of this case, diarising day-to-day.
Even now I’m making notes
of my unexpected passing,
although my penmanship’s a little shaky.
I’m gifting it to you,
all the vital clues with annotated explications.
Doubtless you’ll discover what is waiting
beyond the obvious
after I’ve departed.
And if you find it in your heart …
I cough theatrically, and move to a penultimate whisper.
… you might continue with the diary,
even write a few kind words
about your friend and colleague.
Will I get my deposit back?
my client asks, and I nod
for the very last time.
I suppose that every now
must have its day of natural creation,
and here I am with the detective’s dog-eared diary,
reading his so-called records—
impossible facts and crenellated fiction
his fascination with himself,
self-absorption projected onto others
a quantum mechanical flutter:
the incorrect Copenhagen interpretation
and a page of nonsense
about his death, just so I’ll
write his praises in a eulogy
while he’s loitering in the supermarket
stuffing himself with sweets.
Logic and its lack:
The bilking paradox in time travel arises because effect comes before cause, ie, an event causes a change that precedes it, creating a contradiction. (There’s an example and a little more explanation of the paradox here.) The situation in “unauthorized biography” is similar. One way to avoid the paradox is to postulate an alternate, new and improved, universe whenever someone time travels, or here, when reality becomes notes in a diary.
Death by chocolate: various restaurants.
Explication: one of the words I find amusing.
Copenhagen interpretation: everyone is entitled to an opinion.
alternate realities, part above