Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dr. Electro, Episode VIII

 Letters from Josh

 Bobbing across the Deep  11/10/20                                                       Letter 31

  Howdy, folks!  How’s everyone doing over there?  We’ve got lots to talk about today - a new installment of Dr. Electro, plus some philosophy and astronomy.  Pull up a chair - it’s good to see you!  

  Well, I buried a friend yesterday.  This was, obviously, a ‘bummer”, to put it mildly.  However, there was something transformative about this event.  I saw how much he was loved.  I marveled that men who he had coached in high school in the 60’s returned to pay their respects, and realized that what you do does matter.  More importantly, I saw that it’s possible to live a life that justifies the terrible cost associated with living.  I’m sad at the loss, but absolutely encouraged and inspired to make “it” count. 

After the funeral, I loaded the telescope in the car, and headed out for a spontaneous observing session at a dark sky site nearby.  I felt like I was a ship on an ocean of Infinity, folks!  Man was it needed, too.  So, I set up on this porch that’s cleverly called the star deck.  (Ha, what a delightful bunch of nerds we are, right?)  It was only me and the owls to keep company.  When it’s that dark, you’re extra thankful for gravity. I mean, sure, it’s the thing that breaks dishes, but a few cracked plates seems a small price for remaining on Earth, and not hurtling into the blackness that stretches overhead.  I sometimes think if I tripped and fell, but upwards instead of down…

Anyway, the stars glittered, and the telescope conducted me many leagues across the Deep last night.  Peering into the eyepiece, I glimpsed a tiny wait, two...maybe three?  It was the glimmering of Stephan’s Quintet, a group of galaxies where some of them are over 200 million light years away.  Anyone remember the beginning of It’s a Wonderful Life? There’s the galaxies/angels talking about George Bailey, and that’s what I saw!...!  WOW! 

As my ship bobbed like the cork of an ant’s bottle of wine on a mighty swell, the mist from the nearby creek started to creep onto the field. It rose with mystery, and I sat back and marveled at the Distance.  

And now, with the splendor of the stars still etched in my mind, it’s time for..Dr. Electro!  We left Murphy at the door, ushered in by a short man long in mystery, while Dr. E. and Rutherford converged on the scene via the sewer.  

Dr. Electro - Episode VIII - Noah’s Arc 

  Entering the door behind the short man, a marvelous scene greeted Murphy, lighting his bewildered face with an electric blue.  The giant hulk of a warehouse was far from abandoned, yet it’s age leant a majesty to the industry stretched out before him. Great metallic shapes loomed out of the murk, with an army of workers welding, cutting, grinding, and assembling vague forms in the gloom. 

All of this was strangely quiet, furthering the air of mystery, and Murphy wondered why he hadn’t heard anything on the street outside.  “Best step this way, guv’nor” a voice at his elbow urged.  Murphy jumped in surprise - the short man had materialized unexpectedly - and then ducked, as a giant I beam started to swing silently where he had just been standing.  Following the foreman, for that’s what he appeared to be, they wound their way past great piles of steel, machinery, scurrying workers, and all lit by the flickering blue of the arc welders.  They reminded him of industrial fireflies, illuminating the oily night with their spark, the acrid smell of hot metal stinging his nostrils. 

“ORPHANS?!  I do declare!” a British voice thundered as they emerged from under a tunnel of great iron beams, everything still strangely hushed.  A tall, gangly man in rusty overalls peered quizzically over his glasses at the strange pair that had apparently just emerged from a sewer grate in the floor.  “Hallo, chaps!” intoned the hearty Englishman, greeting Murphy and the short man.  “Quite a little party here!”  Exchanging a round of handshakes, rusty overalls attempted to clarify the murky matter in what was already a confounding environment.  “I’m Noah, head arc welder on Project Dynamo.  Welcome.  And you are?”  “Rutherford, by Jove!’ exclaimed Rutherford.  “This is Dr. Electro.  Now, what about these orphans?” 

Uptown, on a quiet street Mabel strode slowly and deliberately through the drizzle.  Any artist would have jumped up in a fit of inspiration - the scene cried out to be captured in an oil Nocturne, but the street was empty, save her cigarette smoke that mingled with the fog.  The click clack of her heels echoed on the steps descending to an English basement, shrouded in gloom.  If the smoke had eyes, they would have been surprised to see the door swing open.  Someone had been anticipating her arrival.  To be continued...

No comments: