“It’s so peaceful,” thought Halycon Sage. “So peaceful.” He appreciated the quiet. No traffic noise, no blaring radios and televisions, no booming, conversation-stopping aeroplanes. (He always thought of them as “aeroplanes”.) To his knowledge, he had never been in one, though his quick transitions between New York and the South West surely required some explanation.

He was sitting in the laundromat. Like a historic murderer, with whom he had nothing else in common save his Indian blood, he enjoyed peacefully watching clothes dry.* It was odd that one drier worked. Preiczech evidently approved of them, though not unreservedly, as the other eleven sat like monoliths. Did some dryers elsewhere work, or only this one at this particular location? He was beginning to suspect that Preiczech had found an alternate way of controlling his invisible, world-changing mega-army (or mini-army) of Nanobots. The whistle designed to call them had been destroyed; still, Preiczech was always full of surprises.

Halycon Sage sighed and shook himself out of his reverie. The motion of the spiraling clothes was hypnotic, but he could not enjoy it yet. Sitting here would not dry his clothes–he would have to get up and put them in the drier. He had spent the morning helping Jenny and Preiczech scrub the massive load and then hauled it down here in the big red wagon. No-Name Stupid could have helped, but he was nowhere to be found, apparently off on one of his expeditions.

His mind on clothes, Sage thought with satisfaction of his ever-more-battered brown fringed jacket with its deer-bone buttons. It was good that he favored buttons, since Preiczech evidently did not like zippers, and every one had been eaten away.

Sage transferred the huge, soggy bundles and stood a moment before what was possibly the last working clothes drier on earth. “Push the red button,” it said. Huh. There was no red button, only a large silver one. He stooped to look for traces of time-worn red paint. Nothing. The button was pure silver-colored, unnecessarily large as though it were proud of itself. Huh, thought Sage again, then pushed the button and thought no more of it.

Such is the way of this world: that an event or phenomenon which can detonate and remake one consciousness is ignored entirely by another, or accepted with the mild surprise of, “That’s weird.” Halycon Sage forgot the button and went back to his daydreaming. He had been wondering lately if he should begin another minimalist novel.


*No we will not footnote this. This is Our Universe, and we don’t like depressing things in it. If you remember the reference, fine, but otherwise, no. Just no. — B. Vasselschnauser for The Management