a cryptologist’s final exam

A Cryptologist’s Final Exam


Acid rain. Nuclear fallout. Electricity so cheap you can’t meter it. Madison Avenue. Salve on our face pimples.


Pearly whites. Pearl-handled revolvers. Pearl jam, toe jam, jam til the sun comes up. Kansas City. Pretty little women. Get one.


Lots of room under starry skies above. Everything equidistant from everything else. Never the twain. Oh say can you see? Rin-Tin-Tin and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Chord with this now.


The Nutcracker Suite. Sweet Sue. Soothing music. The savage beast. Round midnight. The witching hour. Atomic clocks on key chains. Late again. For a very important date.


Time travel. Papal clemency. Begrudging forgiveness. The keys to the kingdom. Words starting with z, vows meant to be broken, contradictions in terms. A single termite that devoured a redwood. Woody Allen doing stand-up for Yahweh, more nervous than usual.

VI. The cup shatters. The pieces come together.

VII. Time dots smeared across the vast expanse of eternity. Zen monks filtering brown rice thru inscrutable smiles. The Twelfth Monkey.


They hand in their descriptions and head for the pub, two blocks down and one over.

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