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Papa's Room, a bedtime story
Papa's Room, a bedtime story as seen through the eye of the Juvenile Instructor


Papa's Room
a bedtime story

by Gus O Kahan 1986

presented by:
ex libris literary guild ©06





























collect all 37
bedtime stories

He can't remember when he bathed last. Most of his time is taken up
with research, watching its coming to pass. Round-the-clock he works, his
curiosity still demanding full attention. He sits, hiked over his paunch,
stooped in a hunch, looking into his little screens, his compulsion to munch
being his only distraction. The constant hum of his Grand Switch Board
is part of the ambiance.
He finds his passive research suspenseful; the munchies go with the job.
Besides, what else is there to do while being so fully occupied?
Among the clutter he perseveres, just to see what will happen--how it all
comes out.
Yes, he has some serious character disorders, but he is the only one we
have. There was a time when he didn't but that was before we came along.
Now that he's created it, his work can't be left alone; through the years his
methods have changed. There was a time when he loved to tinker, making it
up as he went along, but that was long ago. In the beginning things had been
different somehow.
Now he sits around picking his nose and, all the time, wanders back and
forth from the refrigerator to the Grand Switch Board, the unit that's
coupled into the Big Room -- the room he never goes into anymore. He used
to spend a lot of time in there, but now he sits on his high stool with his
paunch pushed over the edge of the control panel, of his tiny work area.
Cluttered with crumbs, wrappings, and cigarette butts, his workspace is also
jammed with his self-made equipment; creativity doesn't leave time for
maintenance. Underneath layers of crud his control panel flickers
information from sensors in the Big Room. The glow of hundreds of tiny
monitor screens blink bits of information for his entertainment and interest,
time and labor saving devices which he installed for his convenience,
inventions to save wear and tear on fallen arches. He used to make many
trips in and out of the Big Room back in the beginning, hanging and moving
things, rearranging objects for aesthetic reasons and practical
considerations; he had wanted everything to be just right. Worn and haggard
from decision making, he is content now just to watch. He sits and eats,
enjoying the fruits of his labors, watching it come to pass.
He munches and peers at the screens through coke-bottle glasses. The
flickering little screens sprawl across his Grand Switch Board, allowing
him a more leisurely life style than before. It's wonderful what his tinkering has done,
creating so many labor saving devices with such facile efficiency.
He had had lots of ambition in the beginning when
everything was shiny bright and new, but since then time has worked him and
his projects over a little; things had not always worked according to plan.
His perfectionist bent has since broken into a somewhat laissez faire attitude:
he prefers eating to action anymore. With headphones in place, he sits and
nibbles as he watches the monitors; the flickering lights play against his limp
pudgy features and give the tiny room a greenish yellow glow. The toilet is
clogged again and the hall light is out. Puffy balls of lint-like material swirl
about his feet when he shuffles down the darkened corridor to the fridge and
twirl again on his return. His slippers echo a scrub-brush rhythm in the
hollow hall while galaxies of fuzz rotate about his naked ankles. Odd but a
redecoration has never occurred to him what with all there is to do and
so little time to see it done.
Once active, he now prefers a passive approach to the strains of
conscience that once plagued his projects. He peers into the screens,
earphones secured to balding head. We would call his Grand Switch Board a
console: he does too. His clothes are of a functional nature owing to the
fact that he has never paid a heating bill, a bit down in the knees and shiny in
the seat, but suitable for his purposes. Having no one to dress for
eliminates his need for good hygiene or neatness. He sips tea for warmth in
the wee hours, muttering to himself, fascinated by what might happen next.
We would never know by his appearance of his scrutinous eye for detail:
the minutest detail.
The switches on the console connect to operations in the Big Room. They
lie, clustered in groups around the many monitors, in a slurry of dried food
and cigarette ashes, obscured by smears of jam, droppings from ketchup-
laden ham sandwiches, and pizza. The keyboard sitting before him is disused,
the circuitry shorted by spilled soft-drinks and crumbs from sweet pastry;
the many keys are stuck to the point of dysfunction. The runes signifying
key function are worn to a blur of non-recognition. The creator has
forgotten their meaning, even though he was the one who assigned them
significance. The key codes are obliterated by stuff glazed to a polish by the
brush of his threadbare shirt sleeves. Forgotten, his microphone -- moved
aside on its flexible shaft -- was once a large part of his work, valuable for
messages and pronouncements, but due to faulty circuitry his
communications became garbled and misunderstood. It sits unused; he
hasn't bothered to fix it. Besides, passive research doesn't require direct
interaction anyway.
He had dabbled with other means of communication, even experimenting
with robotics. Using an android with a swervo unit he called his automaton;
he sent them forth into the big room to do his bidding. They moved about
the big room preening his pet projects -- damming and diking the spillage of
entropy -- but they too seemed to be just a Band-Aid where a truncate was
needed; their mission he did not clearly define. Leaving the power of
discretion in the hands of others weakened his self-esteem, control being his
most potent tool. They didn't always do what he thought appropriate,
injecting their tangents left him feeling unappreciated. Things had gotten
out of control, they were unmanagable -- untrainable and not at all obedient.
He recalled and dismantled his hirelings, they still sit in bits and pieces on the
kitchen table, waiting for his intended modifications.
Despite the general appearance of disorder he manages to keep a few
monitors free of food and ash. These screens he keeps very clean, polished
to crystal clarity. The images' color and intensity are true to life, as if he
were right there in the Big Room. He pads back and forth from fridge to
console with half-smoked cigarettes tucked behind his ear, keeping an eye on
his favorite screens, ignoring the obscured flickers of the rest, much like
daylight is ignored by we who watch the soaps. Although he has forgotten
most of the objectives of his project he perseveres, knowing his purpose in
the scheme of things has been petering out. His life's work seems to have
taken on a purpose of its own, but he can't tear himself away -- besides,
where would he go?
He lives simply, with one exception: his refrigerator is state of the art,
and morsels he keeps there bear a striking resemblance to stuff found in a
tiny corner of the Big Room. He thinks he would die if he didn't have his
fridge and what he calls a microwave. Placidly sitting before the screens, he
munches, waiting to see what happens. He has to know how it all comes out.


mormon orthodoxy:
"As man is, GOD once was; as GOD is man may become."
mormon neo-orthodoxy:
Changing the world one
Mormon at a time through
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