The Artifice of Eternity
Joshua J. Mark
Break

It's not wise to become friends with someone you know, from the start, is going to leave you.

But that's anybody.

I hold a glass of Dewar's neat in my right hand and, with my left, turn the little red thingy on the kitchen counter top over again. She called it a 'modern day hourglass'; I call it a cheap piece of shit she layed out thirteen bucks for one morning at one of those shops in the mall where they sell useless crap everybody has to have 'cause someone they know has one,' 'cause someone else saw it in a catalog'—and the salesman at the place gently intoned, "It's multi-purpose, you know."

Now there's a job I'd like.

Anyway, it's this little four-inch high plastic thing with red liquid inside and angled plastic ramps and small chutes zig-zagging away in there and you turn it upside down and watch the blood-red liquid dribble-drop-drop down until it's filled up the bottom of the thing—then you turn it over again and the whole show repeats itself.

Multi-purpose?

What's the single purpose? What's the purpose at all?

Like watching some strange and ultimately meaningless transfusion; everything, in the end, winds up right where it started. Gravity takes everything down. Planes fall from the sky and humans are so much softer than the earth. Entropy siphons the energy from every system until there's no energy left. Until there's nothing left.

Ah, but this meaningless piece of plastic will outlast us all. The artifice of eternity.

She said it took exactly a minute for the red stuff to completely make the trip down to the bottom.

If that's so then I've just spent seventy-five minutes watching the little red thingy do its thing.

Well, and drink, of course. One must do something, after all. Idle hands are the devil's workshop, and all that. This isn't my first glass of Dewar's. Doubt it'll be my last.

It's just not wise to become friends with someone when you know, right from day one, that they're going to leave you.

But that's everybody.

That's all of us.

Joshua J. Mark is a freelance writer and part-time philosophy professor at a local college in upstate New York. He spends much of his free time wandering around in the woods with a neurotic white dog named Sophia. His non-fiction has appeared on sites such as Ancient History Encyclopedia and Suite 101, and his fiction in Espresso Fiction and in assorted print journals.