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This is Jacket 16, March 2002   |   # 16  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |    

Spencer Selby

Cycle Synopsis: from a sequence

Cycle Synopsis (3)

Five workers are proceeding down a country path. It begins to rain and one of the men starts to walk faster. He sees sheep in a meadow and thinks he recognizes a large oak that gives relief to these animals. At that moment a truck passes, carrying his four companions. The truck is a late-model pickup with a tree painted on its door. It is driven by an Indian from Brazil named Urimba. Urimba used to be a shepherd, but gave up that life for a show he saw on TV. In this show it only rains when something bad is about to happen. The main character is a young Indian who drives a late-model pickup every morning to his job at a golf course planting trees. He passes five workers proceeding down a country path. It begins to rain and the truck gets stuck in the mud. Then comes a commercial counting sheep sacrificed for a tranquilizing drug.

Cycle Synopsis (4)

A lady had two sons who were born at the same hour on the same day, but are not twins. On her 20th wedding anniversary, she decides to clean out the attic. She asks her sons to help, one with clean face and the other dirty. Clean Face finds a bag of pebbles and two bottles left by the previous owner. Dirty Face laughs as wine is spilled all over the floor. The resulting mess reminds him of designs painted by servants who have no children. In their free time these servants roam the countryside collecting pebbles that look like eggs. They decorate and sell these eggs to rich pregnant women who want only sons. The magic eggs are packaged in pairs, one clean and one dirty, but are not considered twins.

Cycle Synopsis (5)

A detective is making his rounds in a large hotel. Suddenly he hears a piercing cry for help. The detective checks room after room but finds nothing. He returns to the lobby and is handed a note instructing him to go to 505. The detective does so and finds a beautiful woman lying on a large bed. She is sleeping and the detective can’t seem to wake her up. He calls the night manager who contacts a doctor staying in the hotel, attending a conference on sleep disorders. The doctor arrives and immediately recognizes the  woman. He informs the detective that she was a patient of his who disappeared in the middle of treatments for a recurrent nightmare that takes place at a large hotel by the sea. Her dream always starts with a loud scream. It reminds her of a movie about a detective leading a double life. The protagonist of this film searches for the solution to a crime he himself committed. In a hotel by the sea he finds a woman in trouble and can’t wake her up. The movie ends with the detective giving the keynote address at a conference on sleep disorders. He concludes his speech with the tale of a patient who dreams of sleeping through the most significant episode of her life. She screams but no one can save her from the men who try to help.

Cycle Synopsis (7)

Devi Monad was strolling down the sidewalk when she was startled by a pair of dogs leaping and barking behind their chain-link fence. Taken aback, the teenager darted into the street, and was struck by an oncoming car. Though she wasn’t hurt badly, Devi refused to let the matter rest. She sued the driver of the car. She sued the owners of the vicious dogs. She even sued the manufacturer of the chain-link fence. By the time the case reached an appeals court, Devi had finished law school, her father was a judge and the vicious dogs were both dead. Devi graduated top of her class, and went to work for a corporation always being sued by unhappy consumers. Devi’s first professional case involved a teenage girl frightened by animals not properly trained. The girl’s father owned a chain of hardware stores and lived in a big mansion. Devi knew she couldn’t win the case, but that didn’t matter. Her goal was to tie things up in court as long as possible. By the time all appeals were exhausted, she would have a daughter of her own and two dogs barking at anyone not authorized to approach her property. Devi Jr. would be smart and go to law school and work for a corporation always being sued by unhappy consumers. Both of them would live long and prosperous lives. They’d visit Grandpa Monad’s grave every Sunday and thank him for inventing the world’s first chain-link fence.

Cycle Cynopsis (9)

A lighthouse keeper lived alone on a remote peninsula of rock. One night his light went out in a storm. The keeper worked furiously to make repairs, but he was missing a crucial part. Similar components were only a few miles away, in hold number five of a cargo ship heading toward port. Not seeing the light off Cape Destiny, the ship’s captain had to make a quick decision. Under pressure from above, he stayed the course, with disastrous results. The ship broke up quickly and sank. The captain was swept to shore on a container from hold five. Debris littered the beach, which ended at the keeper’s house. The storm had subsided and between clouds a bright moon appeared. The captain lay on the sand unconscious. Moonlight reflecting off metal was replaced by waves crashing in the keeper’s ear. Under pressure from above, the keeper returned to work. By morning he should have the light fixed, and then he could get some sleep. But morning never came because a crucial part remained on the beach, silent and motionless. Not man or machine, keeper or captain, metal, rock, sea or sand. Just a piece in darkness of a uniform regret.

Jacket 16 — March 2002  Contents page
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