Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Short story: The Salamander

I wrote this a while back, and tonight decided to edit it and rewrite it on the computer. Here be the fruits of labor. Enjoy.
Deep within unnamed woodland in a generally unexciting part of the world, marked with moss-laden trees and fallen, rotting logs and teeming with all kinds of wildlife of varying interest, there lived a member of this menagerie of forest life. This particular creature happened to be a salamander; a red salamander with a pattern of black spots along its back. It’s not the world’s most unique salamander.
This salamander is basking near a rotting log, and as it does so, we wonder: What does this lowly amphibian know of the world around it? Does it even recognize the vastness of space, the constant rate of all time, and the difficulties of basic existence? Or does it simply wallow in its ignorance, enjoying not having to feel for or about the rest of the world?
“What makes you think that?” Said the Salamander. “I could be just as full of deep philosophical thought concerning life, death, space, reality or anything else of that nature as anyone else, Mr. Disembodied voice!”
I know, for I am the narrator and I have omniscience.
“Really? Who made you narrator? I know I wasn’t asked to give my opinions on the matter, nor anyone else I know. I would think that whoever makes these decisions would desire to gain the input of those directly affected by it.” Posed the Salamander.
Is it wrong for me, the narrator, to be taken aback by all this? Here I am, making the best attempt to tell a story, and I have my position challenged by a salamander of all things! Every minute of every day and further along the timeframe I describe the lives of countless people, places, and things all over the space-time continuum in painfully articulated detail! And do I get anything in return? No, nothing but the general satisfaction of helping people visualize places and creatures they could never see before in their pathetically limited lives! I do the work nobody wants to do, but everyone needs, and I think I deserve some respect.
“I’m very sorry. It was just an inquiry. I guess I was taking what you were saying too seriously.” Apologized the Salamander.
No, it was me. I shouldn’t have blown up like that. If you felt that my narration was demeaning, you had every right to question it.
“Well…on second thought, what you we’re saying was more rhetorical, and I shouldn’t have been taking it to heart as much as I did. I mean, as far anybody who listens to you knows, maybe it was all true. They don’t affect me, so maybe I shouldn’t care.” The Salamander said. “Besides, it’s not really you that is saying those things, right? It is whoever your boss it, right?”
It is pretty hard to describe how I do what I do. I can say that I act independently, yet I am guided by someone else. Maybe I am actually that someone else, so am I guiding myself? Am I fictional construct who works under them? Or am I them? But if I am them, wouldn’t I know? Maybe I’m questioning myself to keep my or their presence unknown to everyone? But by acknowledging my own existence, and the existence of them, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of that?
“I see what you mean.” Quipped the Salamander.
Indeed, I don’t even know if I can explain it to myself.
“One last question…” Said the Salamander. “Who would want to read about the lack of philosophy in the life of a salamander?”



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