“Far be it from my nature to be didactic” purred Spur “But your thoughts are so often of a questioning nature that I felt I simply owed you the benefit of some of the knowledge I have gained over my many years.” “You are most kind. I look forward to hearing all you have to say.” said Kopec, feeling not at all sure that he really wanted to be taught anything by a lizard!
The light outside the window had now diminished almost to darkness. Kopec took some loose matches from an open drawer. He scratched one against the back of his chair and when it burst into flame, lit the candle. The faint and oddly pleasant odor of sulfur wafted around the table. Spur sniffed and seemed pleased. Shadows flickered across the walls and table top, causing an air of coziness to prevail.
“What a curious situation, that which you call life” mused Spur. “It would appear to me that you are in a most unenviable position. I say that because of the trillions of thoughts that rise into my consciousness everyday from your realm, most are tormented and confused! Yours is a most tortured existence, is it not?” he enquired, lifting the glass to imbibe the very last drops of vodka. “I mean, of all the species on your planet, you are indeed the prettiest, most devious and clever monkeys of all. And yet it would appear to the observer that you delight in creating misery for yourselves. You hoard what is essentially worthless, kill for perceived advantage, die for incomplete and dubious ideas and in general make life difficult for every other species you share space with. Is this not so?”
“Well that’s true to some extent” ceded Kopec “But what about altruism, what about morals and ethical practice, not all of humanity is so ruthless as you make out!” Kopec knew where this was leading; he had conversed with himself over these very issues, many times. “That still does not address my contention, that you live in a profoundly unsatisfactory condition.” continued Spur. “You think you know so much! Your devisers of morals and ethics merely construct guidelines and delineate boundaries from which they may take advantage of others, not ‘in the game’ so to speak. The same applies to what you call religion. Here is a system that proposes to offer insight into all the questions your species may devise about your condition. In practice, it is used to gain advantage over those who think differently, and vice versa, in all areas of life. Not only that, but more of you are killed and maimed in the name of some god or another than for any other reason. If it were just accidental that you died before your allotted time that would be so much more just. Altruism? By this I suppose you mean love of fellow human? Don’t you think this a little one sided, and rather shallow, supposing that all the other species on your planet will be fine without the extension of your ‘love’ to them?” Spur was working up to something rather larger; this much was evident to Kopec. “I propose a few little lessons my friend, offered in a spirit of generosity, nothing more, you may take or leave what I share with you, it matters not to me” Spur proceeded to set up the blackboard, with some difficulty, for his talons were not entirely suited to the task. When at last the contraption appeared to have achieved some stability on the tabletop, he began to tap the board with his pointer. “I think we are nearly ready, Kopec. I’m looking forward to hearing your comments, after the lesson of course.”
There began to appear, in a manner incomprehensible to Kopec, cryptic signs, designs and formulae upon the blackboard. They appeared and disappeared with such rapidity that his mind began to whirl, as if he had been drugged. All he could see was the board; the rest of his surroundings became entirely peripheral. There was a rhythm to what was being offered. Spur seemed to dance, his head bobbing and swaying, the pointer like a conductor’s baton inspiring a symphony of meaningless scribbles. In due time, a change began to settle upon Kopec, and by and bye he felt that something important was being communicated to him. The symbols seemed to stir deep meanings that were not accompanied by words; the formulae became self-evident truths pressing in upon his resident consciousness as if to replace it. Spur disappeared in a whirl of lights and intermittent sounds. Kopec quite suddenly found himself miles above the planet, looking down on cloud formations and ahead to a beautiful indigo curve. Voices weaved in and out of each other. They consisted of laughter, wailings, cries, questioning voices, soothing voices, angry voices, screams of passionate joy and passionate outrage. There were absolutely trillions of them, and yet in spite of their density and insistence, Kopec felt a peace he had never experienced before. He imagined for one second, that he was Spur.
Occasionally, the blackboard would come back into Kopec’s awareness, and yet he could not see where Spur was. The information was still appearing and disappearing from the board with dazzling speed, but the orchestrator was nowhere to be seen. Kopec would then find himself assuming his previous position, floating above the planet. This time however, changes to his eyesight seemed to be occurring. Instead of merely observing the overview, it was as if a microscope had been affixed to his eyes. Kopec looked deeply into the clouds and through them, to the Ocean below, and below that to where trillions more voices assailed him. These were not voices in a language he recognized but they imparted meaning to him anyway. They offered up a desperate cry of alarm, as if living in a perpetual state of panic and vigilance. Moving from there, he found himself standing alone in a desert. The winds howled around him, throwing sand against his cheeks, stinging them and bringing tears to his eyes. As the dust whirled around his ears, he again heard multitudes of voices, some sighing or moaning, some hissing in a way reminiscent of Spur’s voice and yet more issuing the same feelings of panic as those Ocean voices. Kopec began to feel deeply saddened, as if in the midst of his peace, an island or mountain of pain had been raised.
In a moment, all returned to where it had begun. Spur stood beside the blackboard, brandishing his pointer and Kopec opened his eyes, feeling as if he had spent months in another country. There had been a lesson imparted, there had been information transmitted. Kopec wiped his brow as Spur tucked the board back into the dark recesses of his left wing. “I assume you have topics to discuss Kopec?” questioned Spur. “I am of course, always and completely at your disposal!”