When Mr. Zeta took off his googles, the traditional eye/headpiece of the church of Google, the others pretended not to notice, hoping he had only needed to wipe sweat from his brow, and had not really intended to allow the piece to fall from his hands to the ground where surely they could get smashed by others who continued to see and do their duty.
But soon it was clear to all bumping into him as he stared into some distance in his own mind, and this not visible to humans, that he had had no accident.
That didn’t keep an accident from occurring as Mr. Zeta’s inert body kept people in line behind him from moving and those ahead to turn around to see why there suddenly was space unfilled. Several people fell and even more cursed the God they weren’t sure did His job if he allowed such idiots as Mr. Zeta to push the pause button on feet and tie up the universe.
Zeta could hear the noise,but didn’t seem to need to respond to it. One might have thought the removal of googles had affected his brain, making him incapable of realizing the harm he had caused. So of course several out of earshot claimed he was a monster who should be put away as a example to all the other monsters who could not control themselves.
The log jam was so great and the authorities so nervous, that eventually he had to be removed from the line. His family was notified, and all said it must be a good thing, and they went back to their sets. Within minutes Zeta was a little less than a memory.
He was brought to a cell and a guard tried to show pity by facing Zeta to the window, outside of which lines had been restored to order. He was brought food from time to time. No one saw him eat.
He was given medications which proved ineffective. He said nothing but refused to join the line.
After a few days, those in charge noticed he’d turned away from the window, and resisted any efforts by the orderlies and guards to be re-faced as the doctor felt would do most good.
Finally, they left him to consider what he had lost.
When the doctor came on his rounds a few days later, he asked Zeta why he persisted in keeping to the wall.
Zeta sighed. “I’m free to see it down.”
Michael Neal Morris has published short stories, poems, and essays in a number of print and online venues. Collections of his work are listed at Smashwords. He lives with his family just outside the Dallas area, and teaches at Eastfield College.
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