The Eyes - tired of wandering from clock, to computer screens, to train windows - glance instead at the left wrist.

Where, earlier, I, Fist, had scribbled this:


"That?" I explained. "A mnemonic, a note, of a record required to be looked up. Excel or Access, for the day after this."

But The Eyes, depressed and drooped, said:

"Uh uh. It is another random office order, from a chain of command, that works like a machine. Life ticks on like a clock, numbered and mathematical. And like the record you request, you are no more than statistical, just as the warmth of a computer is no more than electrical. Random, without value, and producing nothing. And - let's be fully honest - what more is the body than a cipher, for the success of your species, coded in such famous spirals?

"More, Fist, more? Just as the 190 will be washed away from the wrist, so will you and every life be removed, one final day, from the whole of the universe, when nothing becomes of time and space. No touch or trace, no internet page, no recorded speech, no faded photo will remain. Nothing escapes that Law."


"Ahh, shut up," said I, Fist. "Like you did in school, where such things are taught to tame creatures such as I and you, who, once upon a time, combined like this: I pressed down upon your closed lids, and in the inexplicable magic of defiance, we made amongst the bruised colour of night, galaxies of uncountable and enduring stars."