Pyramid Ship

Early on in Alaska I dreamt of a technician. He was on a massive ship fashioned after an Egyptian pyramid. This beautiful behemoth was somehow floating, glittered in gold and majesty unlike the seas had ever seen. The builder was a friend of the technician. And the technician was enjoying it like everyone else on board: sipping warm liquids and laughing and appreciating the beautiful make.

One evening his friend called him in. “It’s time,” he said. He wanted the technician to destroy the ship.

Stunned. This gorgeous palace, an aesthetic oasis in league with Gatsby’s mansion or Babaji’s Himalayan castle, was an Olympian feat of creation. It inspired admirers out of friends and strangers alike. They fawned over its intricacy, its shine, and everyone seemed to claim a piece as their own. “Do you know the builder? We once drank ourselves to the floor in Mexico.” Or: “the starboard deck is perfect for sunset and groups no larger than six. I know exactly how it’s meant to be enjoyed.” Most common: “I’ve been here since the maiden voyage.”

The ship seemed to all, even the technician, a flawless gift. It brought joy and pleasure yes, but more potently (although few would dare admit it) it brought purpose. By mere proximity you felt a part of something greater. There are few treasures more guarded than such sense of purpose.

The builder saw it differently. He certainly understood the power of what he had made, power he still held and wielded in weaker moments, but now there was a darkness running through the walls of the entire enterprise, one that the patrons refused to see but which gnawed at the builder’s gut. He explained to the technician the blindspots, weak points in the ship’s construction and the unusual sub-culture that existed aboard. He drew trajectories from his original intentions to the present to the future calamities predicted with precision, described in detail with their probabilities of occurrence. The technician followed his friend, focused on his words, slowly letting go of something he loved, knowing the builder was right.

The next morning the technician was dragging a heavy duffle across the snow-tipped top of the pyramid. He was alone with thoughts and tools needed for the work. This was intricate sabotage. There were electrical components to be wrecked, bar-tenders bribed, navigation programs quietly hacked and replaced with malfunctioning variants, pheromonal chemicals laced in hallways, people politely asked to… anyway, it requested all things the technician was good at: affecting large situations, keeping everyone safe.

Three days later the ship was empty. And it was on fire. The technician and the builder watched in silence from a life-boat. Hours, the better part of the day passed, as the pyramid cracked, split and sank to arctic depths. The builder, lost in thought, began to row them away. The technician was lost, too, and oriented. He destroyed something beautiful. He deployed his gifts to tear down his brother’s magnificent achievement in service of something next. He looked over his shoulder at his friend with the oars. Head bowed, the builder moved his strong shoulders and stared at the floor in front of him. Those blue eyes were familiar to the technician. They had a look of making. There is more to come, they said.

Ryan Lane

Contributing Wordsmith at Definitely Not Bees

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