So, here we go again!
Time for you to be thrust once more into my exciting world of painstaking, possibly pointless research.
How’d you like to spend the day with me doing what basically amounts to bursts of frenzied, highfalutin note taking?
Then of course there’s notes on notes.
Then notes on notes on notes.
Well, you get the idea.
And let’s not forget the joys of gradually X-ing off lines that all but stretch on forever in sneaky false starts and brazen deadends!
Notes, then un-notes, that’s the way!
I’m prepared for my task today . . . a task which absolutely no one has asked of me (nor probably cares about).
Got the old sardine tin cracked a smidge, and I’m nursing a fresh cuppa, all steamy and minty.
What could be better?
Well, I’ll tell ya!
Today I found the FIRST PAGE!
Yes, it’s true (can you believe it, after all this time?).
Being honest, it happened by accident.
But yes, I’ll bet my jolly stars this is in fact it!
I know, I know . . . I can come across a tad excitable.
I’ll work on dialing it back some, sure.
But there was just something so utterly surreal about seeing the words at the end of this new page align with those at the start of what has to be Page 2.
I imagine it might be how seeing earth from space would feel.
And then, like a baby taking its first breath, I just knew.
I saw, sudden as a bang, how the whole thing must fit together.
It all makes s…
That would mean this note you’re reading now has to come first, yeah?
And if you’re reading this first, well then you haven’t the foggiest idea who I am or what I’m rabbiting on about.
Sorry, let’s start again, shall we?
This will all make sense, I promise.
So, my name is Archer Catrael.
I’m 47, marginally overweight (read “snuggly and jovial”), and I work in data banking with a large, multinational advertising firm.
I have THE BEST job in the entire world!
One afternoon a few months ago, I was busy corralling some stray wranglers (loose files) here at my cubicle.
I find I tend to do best with the more thoughtless tasks . . . whether that’s wrangler-herding, setting soppy dishes to soak, or just contributing to general office morale . . . in the slow, sleepy hours just after my lunch break.
Anyway, I reached to grab this stack of report papers I like to lay out every few days or so.
But as soon as I yanked and did a sort of half-heave sideways, I felt my fingers brush against something thick and heavy hidden underneath, way down at the bottom of my cabinet.
There should not have been enough space there for anything to fit.
But I knew I’d glanced something other than then the cool metal bottom of the drawer.
Curious, I reached back down into the dark and began to trace the thing’s straight edges.
I was thankful not to feel any sudden movements like sprouting limbs or spikes.
Testing its weight ever so slightly, I guessed the mysterious object to be perhaps a large book or picture frame.
But after carefully wriggling it free from its snug and secret hiding spot, I was a bit deflated to discover a mere plain-looking stack of old stapled papers.
There was no signature, label, or anything else beyond the lines of text that stretched to fill each page.
The staples were uneven and rusty, and had forged a trio of ugly red rings to forever tarnish the surrounding white.
I chucked the document to a pile of odd bits and pieces to get to later (outside my sacred slow afternoon time).
The next morning, I skimmed the first couple pages.
It became obvious right away the thing had been stapled out of order.
As I zipped along each choppy, over-punctuated line, I picked up on hints of themes too personal and complex for me to grasp.
It did not seem at all work-related, that’s for sure!
I snuck it home with me that night to browse through one last time, expecting not to find anything worthwhile.
I planned to shred it and forget it the next day.
I’ve actually got “shredding and forgetting” down to quite a science now after so many years of wasted-effort lists intentionally ballooned with false-conclusion ties and notes (to fill the time).
So I sat to examine the first few pages again, and had to force myself to keep slowing down and really thinking about each line.
What could it be saying?
Still confused after the second page, I sludged on.
I’m quite a trooper when it comes to soldiering my way through disparate, hostile assemblies of boring words and figures for no good reason.
Anyway, about halfway through the third page, I forget exactly what it was, but a certain phrase seemed to leap right out at me, reminding me of something . . . well, something very specific.
That’s interesting! I thought, and continued to wade back out into the sea of endless type.
Then it happened again, as if from nowhere . . . the writer basically posing some query almost identical to one I’d wrestled with for years (and long given up on).
This went on.
Every now and then, just small, very particular things in the words seemed to reflect my own life, as well as my relationships, and other topics closest to my old heart in eerie ways.
I began to hold the uncanny feeling that the writer must be someone I knew.
Could the document have actually been left for me to find?
But those moments of illumination or connection occurred only for the briefest of stints, at random intervals.
Most of the text was still incoherent, dense, and dry.
Yet moment by moment, I continued deciding to let curiosity get the better of me.
Migrating to my kitchen and rummaging through drawers, I knew it would be a mission to pry up those thick, massive staples knotted through and clamping the whole thing together.
I had to wedge in a corn skewer and jimmy them up, one-by-one, tugging from side to side to gradually tear each metal shard from its tunnel-and-groove home like deep roots from soil.
Regrettably, the whole top-left corner of every page got somewhat garbled in the de-stapling.
Still, all remained perfectly legible.
It took me weeks to read and re-read the whole huge thing, then months again to piece it all back together, a page at a time.
I can’t overstate how often I wondered if I should really be allotting so many hours (much of my work days) to this chancy side project.
But mate, I couldn’t stop!
In fact, it seemed to be whenever I was closest to quitting I’d glance at a few random lines again, and the most vivid new tie-ins would present themselves from nowhere like sparkly fairies emerging from a pond.
The ridiculous feeling that the document had been scribed and left just for me to find and fix grew unshakable.
I even began having these bizarre, recurring dreams of mysterious, colourful creatures hiding secret treasures from other times in dark cabinets for only me to one day discover and decode.
But back to what I started with…
Today feels like an ENORMOUS VICTORY since I finally found what has to be PAGE ONE!
It really makes all my work thus far seem like not such a dismal pissing away of precious (company) time.
I wish I could go through the whole document and show you every place where it connects with my life.
I would likely have done just that if I’d written this first note yesterday.
But now I’m almost sure I’d be missing the whole point if I did.
In the end, it’s really not about me at all.
I’ve been trying, and will continue in notes like this, to show you what I believe the document is in fact about.
But you haven’t seen any of my other notes yet, so my guess is I’m still coming across here as a wee bit dimwitted, batty, fanciful…
And I’m okay with that.
I’ll do my best to wear such labels well if needs be.
Honestly, at this stage, there’s simply no way to escape my compulsion to share.
So here we go…
The first page begins like a note-to-self, though here’s a portion referencing notes to others:
If you include all this, it will seal the deal, giving you something to work for.
That would be spending time with Mangelo.
It would be moving toward that good life, and knowing everything so far can still be redeemed.
Maybe you just saw the very last outline of the very last…
All you knew was it was everything you’d ever felt or known.
Everything you’d ever seen.
There was no distance there.
It just was.
But what was it?
Yeah that still probably doesn’t sound like anything, eh?
Another bit from the first page goes:
You’re a person too . . . Mangelo’s best friend.
But where might H.O. Christianson factor in?
I’ll say it this way: As clues give weight to hunches, finding the beginning (now near the end of my quest) seems to confirm every suspicion that’s formed and bubbled up as I’ve worked so tirelessly to piece this all together—suspicions boiling down to what I believe the document is really for, and why.
Yes, it goes on to talk of many other things—non-human things (if I’m reading those bits right), things that use people as tools, all sorts of mystical stuff…
But sorry, I keep getting ahead of myself.
Let me collect all my other notes and start yet again, one last time.