An Allegory.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The solution to the Happy Ending Problem, while noteworthy within its field (geometry) was not as interesting as the story which would develop around it some years later.

The full theorem was discovered and described by a young, relatively unknown undergraduate of Castle named Meredith Kabah. Her peers would describe her as being shy, isolated, and “having few known friends.” One of her acquaintances in the school’s chess club had doubts as to her even having any sort of family: “I think she might have been homeless, to be quite frank. Meredith’s tuition and expenses were covered by a full academic scholarship -- outside of that, as far as I could tell, she sort of lived on campus. In the library, mostly, but I think she might have been sleeping in the bell tower.” Despite being somewhat of an outcast, most of the testimony surrounding Meredith was in agreement of a certain intensity she seemed to have. One of her elective professors described it as “something in the eyes.”

The breakthrough came as a surprise to her faculty peers and instructors, who remember her as being “mostly indifferent” to mathematics, instead focussing much of her time entertaining “an unnatural preoccupation with the school’s chess club, and the game itself.” It was not until Meredith quit the chess club that her talents in the mathematics field would emerge. The paper which put forth the theorem came just four days after her official resignation, and was soon followed by five supplementary papers, all of excellent quality. Past this, however, things seemed to slow down. Meredith spent a few years doing graduate studies where she failed to produce anything of academic novelty or consideration. She would decide drop out of the field of mathematics all together to pursue writing instead.

Meredith released an autobiographical book a few years later entitled Memoirs where, much to the shock of academia, she confessed to not having thought up the theorem by herself, insisting instead that she was “shown” the answer psychically by an “inter-dimensional” entity which referred to itself as ‘The Janitor.’ This happened, as she describes, “an hour at a time over the course of three days where I was instructed on both the theory and what to write in accordance with it.” These claims of mediumship were described in Memoirs amongst a plethora of other equally fantastical ones, many to do with, drugs, ritual, and obscure metaphysics. Within the field of Mathematics most, if not all of this was either ignored, glossed over, or otherwise separated by some measure from continued academic discussion of the theorem. Philosophically the claims were dismissed all together as “language and historical pseudoscience misapplied.” Critics would accuse her claim(s) as “pure fiction,” citing her admiration towards the ‘trickery of the dark arts” as admission of guilt. Other critics claim that she is invoking a sort of “redundant metaphor,” and the story is to be taken more literally but in the context of spiritual humility.

The initial formulations of the theorem were engaged by George Szekeres and Esther Klein, which lead to their eventual marriage -- this is where the Happy Ending Problem gets its name. It is perhaps sad, then, that Meredith would complete the theorem only to never really know a family, marriage, or even a prolonged relationship with anything other than than a board game. Meredith would die a year after the publication of Memoirs, to the day, from a fast-acting brain tumor.

While perhaps not as interesting as the rest of her life, this foreword wishes to call note to the fact that Meredith’s publisher, four days after her death, received an unfinished “and slightly stained” manuscript of a story in which Meredith’s historical time at the college is loosely implicated. Along with the manuscript was a hand-written note from the person who sent it claiming to have “found the story in the garbage where I work.”

A Psychic in the King's Court

Susan keeps her feet down on the lush grass of the courtyard. She must remain grounded, and present. No time for unseen scenery, or any of that.

Today is all Teresa’s.

They walk, mother and daughter, taking in the sights offered by the bustling campus. Castle is a small but prestigious school which exists on an island-city of the same name. They do not talk much, but then again they never really needed to. Looks are exchanged with other woman such as herself, most of them with their husbands. Susan knows every parent must feel the raging sea of hormones she sees, and the waves of force they deliver. Despite and through all of this, however, she sees potential. Teresa you will be so great. This thought soothes the mother-of-one.

Susan spots another young girl about her daughter’s age. She is wrapped in a flowery dress which gives her a sort of elemental nature. A biology, or chemistry student perhaps? Susan peers into the smiling young lady, taking a look at her soul -- it reminds her of the old alchemists she used to know. (If only she could peg Teresa so easily.) The girl is looking upwards. Susan follows her gaze to the top of the building they approach. It is a bell tower of considerable height styled in a sort of medieval architecture, though quite obviously brand new. This bell tolls for you, Susan. This is confirmed as they walk closer. She spots a small plaque on the wall near the entrance. The building is sponsored by the Bell mobile service provider.

“Can you hear that, honey?”

“Hear what?” Teresa asks, the annoyance in her voice equalled by her general excitement with the big day. She wears an unassuming purple dress. “I can’t believe this little mini-river they have through campus,” she says, brushing off the question with an almost feigned wonder at the small stream which runs down from the overlooking Mount Ajour, and though the campus. “It’s all so natural.”

“It’s sort of a buzzing sound. Do you hear it?”

Teresa shrugs as another question slows her down from the great race that is life. Her hair settles. “Kind of.”

“It’s...kind of loud.”

Teresa walks on, ignoring her mother and Susan grins to herself, trying her best to let these things go. Today is the day, after all. Still, a mother worries. Her daughter’s dress whispers praises to Teresa’s form, enthused to be closer at any given opportunity. So would many of the young men here. Susan has lost count of the number of males she has caught staring at her daughter. She will meet a young man? The one that she saw? Of course, and what will happen then?

Keep walking, Susan.

Her daughter stops, looking back at her delayed mother. “What is it? Do you see something?” Teresa nods knowingly. “...Something, something?”

“No, not...’s not important right now.” Susan shakes her head, more to herself than anyone. “What is important is that my little girl is finally going to college.” The distracted mother continues walking, contemplating on her own scholastic endeavors, or lack thereof.

Susan did not go to a post-secondary school, in fact she did not gone to any school. She grew up in a nomadic carnival, performing as a psychic until the age of twenty-seven. Over six thousand professional aura scans to her name. She is very good at what she does, and would have continued to do if had she not been surprised one day to find, what she perceived to be utter perfection glowing around her future husband. The whitest light in the cosmic black: a soulmate. He saw her instantly -- truly saw her, as she would find out. Susan left the carnival with him for the suburban kingdom where he claims to have originated. In the beginning everything was perfectly aligned, just like their white picket fences. Then fate grew cruel. Michael had taken them both so far, but then he himself was taken, and not by the order of things, but rather the just ‘the order.’ If only he could be here for this.

You’d be so proud.

While Susan is confident with her PhD in the esoteric, and all that remains unsaid, college is completely unfamiliar to the single mother. She wipes away the beginning of a tear covertly.

Their walk around campus eventually leads them back to Teresa’s residence. They stand there at the front door in a visual embrace only the two of them know. Teresa is wearing Susan’s favorite purple dress, it is contrasted now by the by the shades of ivory which grow around them. Concern and worry invade Susan’s face as she prepares to say goodbye to her baby.

The little angel smiles, gently defining beauty. “Don’t worry, mom. I’ll be fine.”

The Master's Wrath

The dean stands with the Jacob, a Bell technician, and they both observe the problem in the device hanging in front of them in the tower room, the highest point at the College. There is no hole in the floor to enable acoustics, for this bell rings at a distance.

“We received an email from someone who claims there is a problem with the Bell...Bell.”

“How do they know?”

“The woman, ‘Babs,’ says she’s with an NGO that does independent monitoring of cellular signals. I guess those exist.” His receptionist had simply stopped and shrugged at this point in the conversation, holding up a sheet of paper. “There’s no header, or anything, but she did email some numbers...”

“Forward the numbers to Bell and ask them to send someone.”

The dean looks around in boredom, exploring the tower he shares with Jacob. In one corner there is a pillow and a blanket. Some sort of squatter? I thought only I had the key... The administrator engages thoughts of the tower further and several instances arise from his memory where he had overheard students posing the question: “Why doesn’t that bell ever ring?” A good question -- as it turns out the bell does ring, just in a way he had never really thought about before. Technology: a new building; it is, however, designed to look old.

Today the administrator feels his job has taken on a new dimension, if only a little.

“Ok, Jacob, what are your thoughts? The dean ventures a question to spark some conversation.

Jacob sets his flashlight down on the black and white tiles of the floor and removes his attention from the open panel on the side of the bell. He seems to welcome the break as his hand immediately goes to his forehead to wipe away some moisture. “My thoughts?” He raises his eyebrows as if no one had ever asked him this. “Ok, well, the other night I had a dream that I was back in my old chess teacher’s classroom, Master Crowley, and he had all these things he wanted me to do, and I couldn’t understand what he was talking about. He would get mad when I made mistakes and throw chess pieces at my exposed eyes.” The technician glances back to the open latch, and the flashing lights on the operating panel inside. He scratches his chin a bit in thought. “ Ok, just try and make sense of that for a second...” He laughs a little, shaking his head. “Anyways, those are my thoughts...I wonder what it all means.”

The dean blinks a few times at this, amused at the extrovert. “I meant...uh...any idea what the problem here could be?”

“Oh yes, the problem. Well, you’re going to have to call the other technician for this.”

“You don’t know what the problem is?”

“No, I know. I’ll tell you, it’s just I can’t do anything about it, technically.”

“You technicians....are very technical.”

Jacob grins, half amused. “Well, you’re going to have to call the Federal technician. I’d say you’ll more than likely get ‘Hoit.’ That guy is...very technical.”

The dean laughs. “Why is that?”

Jacob shakes his head, trying to put the entirety of it into words: “He wears these glasses with really small, rectangle lenses. Comically small, and bottle glass thick. I don’t know if he wants to look like he’s from the future, or...what, but it’s just an awful look. Plus he’s real secretive. One time he even said ‘knowledge is power’ to me. Can you believe it? I is, but it’s like we were playing Mortal Combat or something. Maybe we are... regardless, ask him where he got his glasses and see if he tells you. It’s this big secret and it pisses him off when people ask him. Or maybe he likes it, I can’t tell.”

Underneath his unbuttoned jumpsuit Jacob is wearing a curious black t-shirt: it reads ‘black’ in white letters.

...You’re not too far off being a character yourself. The dean laughs. “Well, some people do have secrets...” He nods at this, content to leave it at that. “Maybe if it comes up...I will ask about the frames.”

Jacob moves on. “Anyways...the problem is in his area.”

“So just what is the problem, exactly?”

“The emergency frequencies. I’m not sure why, but it looks like the array is sporadically broadcasting on a couple of the emergency frequencies. They shouldn’t be, cause there is no emergency. At least not that I can see.” He looks around jokingly. “These things happen. They shouldn’t...” He shrugs. “...But they do.”

“So nothing is really wrong? I mean, I can still use my phone, right?” The administrator takes it from his pocket for a second to check the reception. The dean watches as Jacob struggles to find a polite way to respond to this, so he just continues on preemptively, putting the phone away. “I mean...I want it fixed, obviously, but it’s just a little fluctuation, right?”

The technician bobs is head back and forth. “Sort of. There is something else but it’s...” He trails off, reconsidering his words. “See, the problem, should we leave it unattended, is what happens if there actually is a problem? Say you were to get in trouble, or something. How would we know which one is which?”


He’s an odd fellow, the dean concludes, but still when Jacob speaks it is in the dialect of understanding. He knows what he is talking about -- that is about the only thing one can be sure of while listening to his odd diatribes. Even the man’s ever-so-slight accent has an elusive quality to it. Native perhaps.

Jacob stands up, dusting himself off before walking over to his bag which leans against the small cement railing which encircles the top of the tower. He grabs a water bottle from inside an leans against the railing, continuing on. “You can make a call, though. I was just sort of speaking to the theory of it. You know? Dean? This is a school and all...” he trails off, looking down at the bustling kids.

The dean doesn’t exactly follow, but walks forward to join him at the ledge, looking down as well. “Yes, Jacob, it is.”

Damage Deposit and First Month's Rent. Check.

Eugene stands on a black and white linoleum floor -- both feet on white, incidentally. He notices this as he looks down to inspect what was once a shiny surface. He feels like a chess piece now as he surveys the condition of this section of the playing board. Is this square a strategic move? This is the game, isn’t it?

His opponent waits patiently in that polite chess etiquette.

“Another thing that makes this house interesting is that the land it’s built on is among the oldest settled land in Castle. Some say the old shamans would perform a ritual which moved the Mount Ajour to their bidding. Others say that the mountain simply moved, and their rituals were based around its movement, but uh, regardless...this very spot right here.”

Eugene nods along with the landlord; history enthusiast. Just the two of them, but Mike Palgrean is the type of person you never quite feel alone with. The prospective tenant has quietly stood through three phone calls for the rotund salesman already.

“So what do you think of the kitchen?”

Eugene thinks that the microwave is covered in stains, because it is. At one time nuclear cube had been a shiny black, a sleek device, just coming into the world. Now it begrudgingly serves its baser role.

“It’s uh...cozy. A real collage of styles.”

Dirty microwave or not, time is running out. Sooner or later he has to pick a place. There is that one girl who seems to live in the library, during the day at that spot is taken, and so is his willpower to exist in the housing grey zone at his friend Nathaniel’s place. Eugene is a fourth year student, he has been around the block --this block, even-- quite a few times. He knows what he needs: a room to weather out another year. His last year. It does not have to be fancy, just not the streets.

“Ok, let’s take a look at your room. It’s actually fortunate that you are here when you are, as this room comes with a bed, which is always a necessity right?” The landlord continues, preemptively glamorizing what is to come. The old man in his suspenders has seen it all. He knows which pieces can be sacrificed.

The pair make their way through a darkened section of the hallway and Mike makes no move to light it. Maybe there will be light at the end of this tunnel? Admittedly, Eugene has been surprised before by decent, clean housing. Intuitively he feels there will be no surprise behind the door which they find themselves standing at.

Eugene stands there on the threshold getting ready for what is to come: somewhere where he’ll be alone a lot, thinking about his next move, and then the one after that.

“Alrighty....” Mike Palgrean murmurs, searching for the correct key. The small brass instruments crash into each other lightly. Finally his eyes and fingers find their destination: a key etched F7. “Ok, so this is the room...”

The door swings open and Eugene peers into his value system to see how he had last left it: all of it functional, like the microwave.

One; or the Other

It is the last night of Frosh.

Eugene makes his way against the grain: through the campus events, under the canopy of excitement. He could go around the party but this is the quickest way. The fourth-year’s trip is away from his newly-leased place downtown, away from the booze, and to the small coffee house which sits on the hill. The coffee-craved student has been impressed by the Frosh proceedings this year: a dunk tank, an inflatable castle, a large ‘your face here’ picture of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, and even a psychic fluent in the magical arts. His class didn’t get a blowup castle and he finds this slightly unfair. He stares at the fun to be had walking past, a strong desire to go jump around with the drunken first years. The maturity within stifles this desire, pointing him back towards his destination elevated off in the distance.

At this point Eugene knows the coffee shop and its inhabitants fairly well. The monks there are adorned in their brown robes high, high on the mountain’s shelf. The clergy in the front, thousands of small, roasted brains sealed in storage in the back room. Money in between. The occupants sip tall wares watching far below where antics abound. He must ascend to this plateau, to maybe do some reading or surf the net. Whatever it is he will be safe up there, because tonight the creature is loose. It lives in all of us but tonight the hunt is externalized: an army of spinal cords.

The lone traveller moves off the path so as to allow an approaching mob of Frosh to stampede past him.

Unchained males, waving banners of vitriol and weapons of penetration. They swing not towards the beast, but some opposition. Steel on steel. Their mistresses tie their handkerchiefs around their knight’s lances, spurring on the carnal. These misguided children who adhere to the old gods, all that avails for them is flight. Somewhere off in the distance sirens can be heard, and that is surely where this group shall shore up. It is the sound of the party, drawing them closer.

Eugene moves back onto the path, continuing on away from this. While it holds no relevancy for him anymore, he does admit that when you’re there, it’s good.

The noble retreat from that whole emotional practice. With age comes a shift from reckless warrior to a student of the sciences and a drinker of coffee. Instead of garnishing the complexities of life as a spontaneous drunkard, he moved on to something a bit more lateral. After all, trying to script a genuinely novel life had been hard. Now his fulfillment comes from the script of genuine knowledge --the latest academia-- and how he can better apply his ever-expanding knowledge base to it. He is a bishop of productivity.

The traveller finally achieves his summit and is greeted by the calculated ambience. He can’t really put his finger on the artist at play, but guesses it’s likely available for sale if he wanted to find out. Instead of this he orders a latte and stands there watching the milksmith forge out a blade whose edge will weather the strikes of lethargy. Upon receiving the tool, and sheathing the instrument for heat safety, he takes a seat at an open table.

Beside him a trio of extroverts are engaged in the kind of talk conducted at a volume decidedly worthy of a stranger’s attention, and Eugene is strange enough to listen. Their words crash off each other, trying to break through. They enjoy these little debates; no doubt it’s an ongoing thing. Of the three people one is a female, and one has a beard.
“So I need one philosophy elective, either Vance or Gaard’s class. Which one should I take?”

“OK, definitely Vance. Know why he loves Plato, and the Greeks? He says that those post-Egyptians came to be schooled in the same ‘universal source code’ which saw the pyramids built, among other things. The sacred is the most interesting of truths. Socrates would not even write it down; Plato did in part, giving us the geometric key; and Aristotle would constantly allude to the ‘real’ philosophy, unwritten and passed only in initiate confidence. It’s cryptic, it’s been purposely obscured, but it’s the whole foundation for Western Philosophy. Since then, the discussion has slowly moved away from the’s gotten boring.”

“You haven’t had a class with Gaard, though, she’s about as far from boring as it gets. Did you know she can whistle Wagner compositions? She does, in class, over her phone’s speaker, from her house. That’s how much free time she has on account of the end of philosophy. You see all this idealist stuff is tiresome when today the discussion has arrived at language. Gaard is student of Wittgenstein, and of the power and limits of logic. Not the spiritual hermetics of the Greeks, but the indifferent conclusions of deduction, and we have them. These abstractions of unknowing that Plato mistakes for being somehow more real, Wittgenstein checkmates them with the Tractatus, for it shows all philosophical problems to be simple misuses of language. Words like ‘Truth,’ or ‘truth,’ or ‘sacred,’ or ‘word,’ they have no definition outside of how they are used. It is a simple, elegant argument: that for which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence.”


“Or, what?”

“Well, Femer teaches Hegel.”

“...I just got deja-vu there for a second.”

“Well, Femer teaches Hegel.”

“That’s not funny.”

The coffee shop closes and Eugene makes his way down the mountain path towards the city. Nearing the campus again he notices the inflatable castle is now nothing but a placid pool of plastic, flat on the ground. A certain silence enlists on the campus but he can still hear the sirens in the distance, and the battle. Steel on steel.

Wind, Rain

It might rain. That’s what they said, at least. Teresa heard people talking about it when she awoke this morning to a foreign ceiling. She would stare at it for a long time, trying to figure it all out. The night before she moved from body to mind and back again, and again, and again.

Right now she is walking down the street towards the park. No umbrella. Sometimes you want to get wet, after all. Her shower this morning had washed away the physical grime of the past couple days, but the young student needs something more and the exuberant gusts of wind now billowing through her hair are working very well. The line of trees beside her on the sidewalk dance, stationary flurries and she dances with them. Guilt, lust, and the fumes of the creature begin to be strained from her conscience. She inhales the air deeply, affirmed at the power of nature, even if just a city park.

The dancer in the purple dress calms herself as she walks by a young man who looks to be about Teresa’s age. He is a soccer referee by the looks of his cleats, striped uniform, and whistle. He is familiar to her only through an approximate style she fancies. They have never met before, not him, but that is not to say that they will not. Since coming to the college Teresa has been noticing both in herself, and in others, the nature in which the sexes play both the expedient and the pawn. She glances over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of his backside as he walks away. If he is a referee then surely he himself plays on some sort of team. She wonders what position?

Continuing down the side walk, now nearing the entrance to the park she spots a police officer on a horse who is overseeing a small gathering of people where the road has been blocked off. She walks up to the large black animal and the horse’s head swings around to inspect her, such powerful large eyes, in them her reflection upside down on the black curvature.

“Hello,” she says, more or less to both of them, extending a hand slowly towards the horse’s mane. “What is going on here officer?” She asks of the human, who has now taken notice of her.

“Preparations for the Adjour parade, ma’am. Colorful floats, horseback, and horse-drawn carts and wagons. The whole works. We have one every year at the end of frosh. It ends here at the park.”

“It looks like it will rain.”

He frowns openly at her, studying her likewise expression for a moment. “You seem happy about that.”

Teresa tries to hide the smile she was unaware of having on her face. Suddenly she feels incredibly guilty. “Will it be cancelled?”

“No, we’ll have it.” He nods to affirm this. “Like I said we have one every year.”

The Cave

There is something to be said about Room 9202 of the Arts and Social Sciences building, and the comment lends itself from that of the nature of the building overall, in particular the architecture. The layout is a strange labyrinth: unintuitive, meandering corridors conjoining spaces in which the impression of a room has been established, but without any discernible pattern or methodology. Room 9202 is a near-spherical area, placed in the direct center of the eight-floor complex. It has a fountain.

Going through her first couple days of real class the first year had noticed some of her teachers really stressed attendance. This is one of them. Looking down on her syllabus she sees that Dr. Adam Vance had devised a clever way in which to deduct points from those who did not show up for class. Not overtly or substantively harsh, just clever in the sense that ignorance of the spoken word of class is booby trapped to the rest of the semester. There is a certain warmed passion which radiates from Mr. Vance as he starts the attendance. He truly enjoys his job, the little nuances that come from being a steady hand in a world in a world sparse of his type, charged with flying the banner of the ancients, in all their wisdom.

Dr. Vance is so much different than Dr. Gaard, whose literature class Teresa had just attended prior. Dr. Renso Gaard is a name the first year had heard a couple of times independent of her class, all of the occasions in regards to the woman’s tremendously agile intelligence. She has written a number of books, some of which the College use for instruction. From the podium she lazed at earlier Teresa caught whiffs of resentment, alcohol, and other foreign particulates. Dr. Gaard spewed forth pure genius of a texture too raw for most to handle, like a computer barking out prime numbers. In the first class, someone asked about attendance: “Attendance? Does the amount of time you sit in those chairs relate to how much you learn? Are you an empty cup into which information is poured at a steady rate? No, there is no attendance. There is only the language of the course and what you choose to do with it. It’s all public; I wrote it, and if you apply logic to it you will pass this course. Feel free to get up and leave at any time if a novel idea fancies you. Feel free to restrain from anger if I choose this option as well.”

“All right. I see most of you are here now. For those of you who have arrived late please see me after class and I will add you to the attendance.”

Dr. Vance is medium build if not a little slender. He’s not entirely comfortable teaching, but he’s forgotten this over the years and let a personality develop that is. He walks slowly over to the chalkboard, waiting for the voices and noise to die down. The traditional chalkboard Teresa was used to from High School had been replaced with the white felt marker board. On it, Professor Vance had previously written ‘Philosophy 101’ with a black marker. He motions to the word now as he stands beside it, repeating the words aloud.

Philosophy is a subject Teresa had always had a bit of an interest in, but whenever she asked her mother questions along that line it seemed to strike a nerve with her. “It’s OK to make elaborate guesses, but there are universal laws, honey.” Teresa finds this weird cause she always figured logic was a universal law.
“Today we are going to begin our focus with Plato, the broad foundation upon which nearly all Western philosophy rests. The mathematician-turned philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said that all Western Philosophy is but a footnote to Plato. His Platonic solids, which we will look at in Timaeus, are still taught in engineering and physics as the fundamental shapes of creation. Geometry, mathematics -- these are examples of abstractions, the higher echelons of ideas for Plato. Here we see the utter power of the idea. The idea, at the very top of his hierarchy, is simply called the Good.”

“The Good...” Teresa repeats it to herself.

“...It is perfect in function unto itself...”

The students hastily advance their notes, building cathedrals of theory with small pillars of ink.

“...Plato saw the sublime elegance of mathematics as one of the best reflections of that perfection. For instance, he believed ten was a perfect number. What do you think of ten? You have ten fingers for instance.”

The girl in the purple dress at the front of the class shrugs, putting up her hand. “What about six?” A coy smile flashes across her face as she brings her thumb to index, fingers spread.