In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image was that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept was Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.
The fourth element was Fire. Creation and destruction in one flickering tongue of orange and blue. Flights of doves heralded the work of The Ancients who were well satisfied with their Four Elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. They scrutinized their physical world and called it a good job. But here was that know-it-all, Aristotle, showing up with another element, Aether, which he couldn’t even define.
“Ok, smart guy, you tell us what it is and we’ll consider adding it to the list.”
“Well, it’s…it’s everything else.”
“You mean anything that’s not earth, water, air or fire is aether? That’s what you’re saying?”
The most Ancient of the Ancients smiled and looked around. His colleagues shifted and were glad they weren’t Aristotle.
“Point to it then.”
“Point out the Aether for our edification, Aristotle.”
Over dinner later the Ancients laughed and retold the story of Aristotle’s ensuing tantrum. With each retelling, embellishments were added heightening the hilarity around the vast dining all. As mounds of fruit were brought in with the wine, the most Ancient of the Ancients happened to notice a young man leaning insolently against the great mural at the far end of the hall.
“Who is that young man?” he asked his most trusted servant, a dignified older man whose eyesight wasn’t what it used to be.
The general hilarity and hubbub of the meal subsided as the Ancients watched the elderly servant traverse the great hall to summon the young man to stand before them. These were men unused to being fixed with the level stare of anyone least of all a mere youth. It made them cranky.
“Who are you and what are you doing in our presence?”
“It is very troubling when such august leaders are so quick to ridicule that which they can’t see or touch. You seem to think that Aristotle’s notion of another element to be unworthy of consideration.”
“You have not answered my question, young man.”
“I am here to agree with Aristotle’s assessment of your list of elements. It is incomplete.”
At this, the Ancients began to sputter and shout behaving in a very un-Ancient way. The most Ancient of the Ancients rose majestically and motioned for his colleagues to calm the fuck down.
“And yet I bring you the most unyielding Element of them all. Your four Elements are all at the mercy of this one.” said the youth.
“And Aristotle’s Aether?”
“Even that is subject to the inexorability of this final element I bring you. And, between us, I suspect Aristotle just made this up about Aether to mess with your heads.”
“All right, all right. Speak up, tell us what silly child’s tale you bring to interrupt our meal. There are, as all know and understand, Four Elements of which everything we see and know and touch is made.”
“And all are inferior to and subject to the force of Time. I’d love some wine, by the way.”
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved
Read AleXander Hirka‘s version here: