Previously on the rewound world: four travelers, including yours truly, stopped for a break at a café in the post-apocalyptic Nullarbor Plain. The ancient waiter agreed to serve us credit cards, and in exchange, we allowed him to discuss the weather. The first episode is here.
The waiter shuffled and dealt
the credit cards face down.
I had two pairs, both noble metals,
and a poker face revealing nothing.
Although no trace of natural weather
was anywhere to be found, the waiter spoke
to his indulgence.
Have you seen the fish?
They’re flying low.
What are we to make of that?
After a moment’s silence, he went on.
I’ve coyly wondered whether water
might descend as well. All in a dream,
I’ve seen rivers running, aquatic creatures
fallen with the raindrops, seeking
their ancestral home.
We wagered with the cards themselves,
bluff and counter round the table,
until Deirdre showed her hand.
I’ve looked at cards from both sides now,
credit and debit, and still somehow,
the game’s an illusion, you always pay,
so I’ve decided not to play.
Ada was thoughtful.
A regional reality deficit, perhaps.
I’ll check with my 635 avometer.
The needle oscillated through green and red,
and finally took off to harpoon
an airborne pilchard.
We debated—those who dreamt of winning
favored playing on—until the waiter interceded.
In light of this new development,
and the unlikelihood of any tip or payment,
I declare our Nullarbor Agreement
null and void, and I’ll say whatever
takes my fancy.
His eyes narrowed.
In another dream with fewer fish,
I foresaw your pilgrimage,
your arrival in this place,
and I know all your secrets.
- Both Sides Now, Joni Mitchell (1968).
- Although it’s real enough itself, the 635 AVOmeter (TM Megger Group Ltd) only authenticates limited aspects of reality.
- My views on what constitutes reality were challenged recently when I came across a product in a supermarket that made an unexpected claim:
urban development studies, made with VEE, the visual evolution engine.