23

Mr. W.W Watts

On average every 23rd wave that crashes onto the shore is twice as large as normal. W.W Watts knew that because he had inherited 23 chromosomes from his mathematically capable mother and another 23 from his only slightly less numerate father.

W.W. Watts understood numbers well enough to have a vague sense that he was part of a distribution-sensitive rule-consequentialism, a reduction ad absurdum that had somehow taken over his life.

For the last five years W. W. watts had been living in an unpleasantly cacophonic and dirty bed-sitting room at 23 nadir mansions on the northern edge of the dip. The filth and noise didn’t bother him though, he’d abandoned the conventional privileges of Western Europe, which he regarded as fragile illusions anyway. No, w.w had been compelled to pursue only one goal: before he died he was going to solve the 23 enigma; W.W. thought that Einstein, Leonardo, Godel and most especially the film ’23’, were all mathematically mistaken, their ideas had nothing to do with the symbolic order, no one else had come close to grasping it because they were all looking in the wrong place. He’d devoted almost his entire adult life to disentangling this mystery, and now he was really on the brink of solving it. Really.

All W.W had to do was find a slightly more powerful computer and exactly the right location for it, Streatham’s equivalent of the “jerusalem equinox angle”, a mathemagical latitude that would reveal the hidden and true meanings of numbers that had so far eluded the rest of the human race.

W.W stubbed out his 22nd second cigarette of the day, he knew of course that the average smoker has 23 cigarettes in an average 24-hour interval and so he would have one more smoke before he finally went to bed at 23:23 , before that he would test out a new position for his computer, using a compass and scientific calculator to move it a few millimeters to the east, all the while it would continue to chomp through the millions of numbers he’d fed into it throughout the day.

At 6:23 the alarm clock would wake him. at 6:46 it would be ok to get out of bed and brush his teeth 23 times. He’d wait another 23 minutes before washing his face, 23 more before dressing…in that time it would take 23 seconds for his blood to circulate throughout his entire body, he’d calculate how many circulations had taken place, he’d place his feet firmly on the soiled linoleum floor in the tiny kitchen area. his feet and long legs could sense the angle of the earth, it felt odd, out of kilter, as W.W. knew, the axis of the earth itself was out by 23.5 degrees. somehow his life had become an instrument for determining the height of inaccessible objects. every morning he wished briefly that he was 23 again though he knew it was pointless. His job wasn’t to coerce numbers, his jobs was to mobilize misplaced mathematical instincts; still, he longed for the rightness of being 23, it just felt then like the environment was calibrated to his specifications, he knew there were infinitely many more prime numbers, but none of them would mean as much to him as 23 .’the others just aren’t the same’ he muttered to himself shortly before falling asleep, ‘when I was 23′ he sighed, I was really in my prime’ .

Published by Rejected Short Stories

"Now I have restored some of my words that I want to tell people what it feels like to go through such an experience- the contents right flushed out of your brain. What it's like a whole load of other people's stuff pumped into it. Most of what they put in my mind was bank account numbers and bioinformatics data flows rearrange forever. A swirl of unstable figures, flows through me in all directions, such as rats and fleas self-replicating and voracious attacks of my brain, only animals was not, it was language."

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