After Zero, Before Two

November 13, 2007
By
The clock is staring at Leonard again today. Its hands move around taunting him. It is more than he can take.

He told them to count out thirty-two dimes for him at the bank this morning at eight o’clock exactly. Thirty-two, a nice even number. Half of which is sixteen. Then half is eight. Half of eight is four. Four is two times two and is therefore perfect. A perfect even number. One mustn’t divide two in half though, for then the result would be one. Of course this is okay, Leonard supposed, because one is a part of everything.

After all, Leonard is only one. He would like to be a two, but he is always just one. He was a two once for thirteen days. Thirteen. She wouldn’t stay for fourteen days, or even thirty-two days. Only thirteen. What a terrible way to end it. Leonard was devastated.

Once, not twice -twice would have been better- once a friend of Leonard’s got him an abacus to count his Numbers. He couldn’t use it though. Not the way it was. Five beads, every column had five beads. He threw it at the wall and one of the beads came off. Four, four was nice for Leonard. He tried to get rid of more, but instead knocked two beads out of one column, making three. He buried it in the back yard. He still can’t go out there most days, except to count his flowers.

All flowers must have four petals. These petals must be evenly distributed without imperfection. Any flowers that grow five petals must have a petal removed or be plucked from the soil and discarded. If a flower is removed from the garden and therefore creates an odd number, an additional flower must be discarded. Leonard’s garden is dying a slow death.

Leonard’s friends, they try to help him everyday. Try to get him to overlook the little things. Things like the number of grains of salt he puts on his eggs each morning, or if his sheets are really one hundred thread count. They brought him to a doctor once. Little did they know, the doctor was in room 505. Leonard still won’t go back.

Tomorrow, Leonard tells himself, will be the day that he stops counting. Tomorrow, he will go get help. Maybe he’s right. Maybe tomorrow Leonard won’t be so afraid anymore. Maybe tomorrow he will meet someone that will make him a two again. Tomorrow will be better than today. But for today, the clock stares at Leonard in increments of five, and it is more than he can take.





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ExCearulo said...
Oct. 15, 2008 at 11:54 pm
Very well done - When I read this I could really feel his frantic anxiety. Keep it up.
 
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