30-Day Flash Challenge, Day 6
It was the peyote that finally pushed me over the edge and showed me how to move around the fold. I had been riding the yellow dragon for months in an attempt to visualize the fourth dimension.
A two-dimensional being lives, sleeps, eats, fucks, and dies in a world with height and width but zero depth. They cannot see out of the flat plane of their existence because they can’t turn their head in that direction.
This idea also applies to three dimensions. I can academically accept that there might be a fourth dimension. An axis that is perpendicular to the three I know, but try as I might, I cannot turn my head in a direction that is simultaneously perpendicular to all three. I can’t even imagine it. So, I thought, ‘Why not try peyote?’ It sounds like an excuse because it was an excuse. I’d never done the drug, and I was looking for a reason to try it.
“Okay, be calm. Breathe deep, visualize a healing white light.” I listened to all the self-guided drug trip instructions. Eventually, I tossed them all overboard for my script.
“Which direction is orthogonal to height, width, and depth?” seemed like a good koan.
That and this goody, “How can I turn or move in a direction that points outside of this space?”
The latter is a little more cerebral, I agree.
After my 112th dosage of peyote, I discovered how to move my arms and hands into the fourth dimension. I never could figure out how to turn my head into the fourth dimension, but the instant I learned the trick with my hands and arms, I knew no safe contents in the world were secure from me. Just as we three-dimensional beings can see inside any closed container within a two-dimensional world, I can see inside, indeed even move into any closed three-dimensional containers now that I’ve master reaching around the fold.
That’s what I call my trick; reaching around the fold. It’s not in any way fold-like, so I have no idea what I meant. All I know is while I was tripping, the phrase came to me, and it struck me as brilliant.
I could never explain my trick to Ian, but once I figured it out and moved ‘fold-wise,’ even one time, it stuck. And retroactively, if not in any way I can put into words, the solution seemed obvious.
Taking the peyote and imagining the flips and twists I used to be able to pull off when I was an amateur acrobat was what made my insights possible. Riding the yellow dragon, I would lay flat on my living room floor and begin remembering, slowly walking through my last performance of my floor routine. I stop my mental replay before the career-ending landing, of course. A torn ACL destroyed my hopes of ever attending the Olympics.
I buried those dreams seventeen years ago. Now, I needed money, a lot of it, and I needed it yesterday. So, with my newfound abilities, the safe cracking thing seemed like a low-risk place to get established with a crew. Early on, I understood a ‘name’ was the last thing I wanted. The best safecrackers don’t have names. Nope, I wanted quick money, but I also needed to preserve my anonymity.
But all of that changed earlier this afternoon when I found the glasses. I study them carefully. They look like an ordinary pair of glasses, but the itchy memory of putting them on earlier makes me want to vomit again.
They looked ordinary, of course, because all I could see of them was their projection into 3D space. But the pair are very much four-dimensional glasses. I have no idea who owns them, but I found them when the crew I’m currently running with pulled the McCormack heist today.
I was feeling around inside a battered SENTRY 3000 – a good but not top-of-the-line vault. I’d extracted the money and uncut diamonds, but I was eager to see what else was in there. We had budgeted 16 minutes to get in, and it turned out we were in, with alarms offline in five minutes eighteen seconds. That left us some wriggle-room. So after I’d taken the loot we’d come for, I felt around to see what other treasures might be lurking inside the squat vault.
The instant I felt the glasses through the fold, I could tell they were special, somehow. I pulled them from around the fold. Then, without a second thought, I shoved them into my inner jacket pocket. It was only later I learned just how special they were and wished I’d never taken them.
We were back at our hideout. We divvied up the loose cash. Vince kept all the diamonds; it’s his fence; we have to trust he’ll come back once he has moved the diamonds. They’re uncut, so we are supposed to get market value for them. If you’re not an idiot, nothing about moving uncut gems screams ‘criminal.’
I was practicing putting money into and out of our hideout safe. I mostly do this for show. I need the others in this gang to think what I do is difficult – it is not – or impossible to learn – it isn’t that either, but it does take a bit of peyote and patience. Everyone has a job to do, and if they knew at all how incredibly easy what I do was, they’d expect me to do more. And I am a lazy man. So I act it up, pretend what I’m doing takes lots of concentration, is dangerous, etc.
Once I took the glasses, a clock started running. The entity or being who put the glasses there inside the 3D vault now knows that I know. So something will happen next. It’s a tennis game. By taking the glasses, I had served the ball; but I’m playing blind here.
Or I was blind. Now I have the glasses, and I can see everything.
I’d almost forgot about them. But then, with my right hand slipped around the fold and into the practice vault, I pulled the glasses out with my left and flipped them on my head.
It was like going from stone-cold sober to the highest on acid I’ve ever been in a nanosecond.
The glasses bombarded my brain with sights no 3D creature has ever seen before. I could see everything. Everything! I could see inside the safe, and I realized that could be useful. But I could also see inside my arm. Inside the skin, inside each muscle, each vein, artery, nerve, each closed part of my anatomy was now open to me. In a white highlight that seems to gently envelop everything I’ve had the stomach to look at for longer than three seconds at least, there is a sort of inverse penumbra, a white depiction of everything in that object’s past and future. I could see inside everything, including the future and the past.
The predictable outcome of such a tsunami of stimuli was understandably nausea. I pull my arm from the fold, whip the glasses from my head, drop to my knees, and threw up.
So now, I’m playing tennis blind with a creature that could literally turn me inside out, or worse. If pulled me outside of my dimension entirely, I’m not sure I would know how to re-enter this realm. The way I operate is always to leave my feet, legs, torso, and head inside this dimension and move from here. If they pulled me out of this dimension, I might get trapped in theirs with no idea how to return home.
So is this a helpful entity, or do they mean me harm? I have no idea. All I know is I’m running blind here.
This story is a prequel to Around the Fold.