Aphorism 5

In my city, in Wellington, there was a swing hanging from a tall tree on a hill; and it swung people out far over Mount Victoria, breathtaking, the ground: rushing away, rushing back again. But one night a drunk lost her balance at the apex. I suppose she tumbled down, or rather landed with a crunch on a rock. The accident paralyzed her and the city took down the swing at once.

I would say to people: “Now, if some alien were watching all this through its telescope, it would have to conclude that the swing had hung, all that time, in order to paralyze some poor woman — like a mousetrap! Why else would they take it down? The city left in hanging there just long enough to catch her — with the minimum joy necessary.”

Soon the joke got stale, but that alien did not stop watching me. Through my little idiotic zig-zags of passion and counter-passion the alien would draw a straightforward, malevolent line to the end result.Was it worth wading into the baroque stupidity of the truth just to look less sinister in the alien’s eye? Eventually I was seduced, convinced by the alien’s cold logic. And how fast I now travel, how easily!