To Understand

“To understand titanium levitation, you must first understand levitation.”  

“I do,” I said.

“Do you?”  

“I do.”  

“Show me,” Chevron said.  


“Levitate right here, right now,” Chevron demanded.  

I wasn’t one for demands, neither given nor received—I preferred requests.  Requests and proclamations.  But this was neither.  The tone was off.  The demand insulting.  So I refused it.  Outright.  

“I refuse,” I said.  

“Do you?” 

“I refuse to levitate,” I repeated.  And I very well meant it.  

Macie laughed.  “You couldn’t levitate if you wanted to.”  

“Well, I don’t want to—so the issue is moot.”  I crossed my arms…

And was suddenly airborne.  

Now, a very wise man once said the key to flying is to throw yourself at the ground and miss—but levitation wasn’t missing so much as being missiled from the ground altogether.  The feeling was one of a bounce without a spring, of the wind being knocked out of you and then—of a sudden—being in the wind.  And I was in the wind, now—rising rather uncomfortably high into the trees.  At fifteen feet, the tops of people’s heads appear strange—too flat, or too round, or too shiny.  At twenty, the ground becomes the strange one—patterns start to knit together: you see how this tree root connects with that one; how that path turns into this one; how grass blades melt into a lawn.  At thirty—well, at thirty the air itself begins to shake; breathing is difficult.  Your voice quivers and you feel as a body feels when it plunges into cold water—alone in the universe and utterly surrounded at the very same time. Thirty five feet and the screaming begins.  So it began with me.  

For a good while I listened to the scream more than anything else.  I was sure of nothing but that the screaming was my own.  Then, it wasn’t: “You’ve got it now, Kelvin!”  I looked down—far, far down, and the far-down Chevron looked back up at me.  He was screaming with laughter.   

“I hope you are pleased with yourself!”  I shouted.  

This only increased his screaming.  “I am pleased with you!”  

“Please!  Please!”  The Ambassador said in an all-too-pleasing tone.  In the tone of a request.  “Explain to him why you believe titanium levitation does not work right.” 

Chevron looked nervously at the Ambassador. “I didn’t mean that it did not work right, I meant—”

“Please!  Please!”  The Ambassador repeated.  “Explain.”  

“You see,” Chevron started.  “Everywhere throughout the land, the Ambassador has laid at various depths a coil of titanium piping—”

“In some places just a wire,” the Ambassador noted.  

“In some places just a wire—and down this wire and piping is sent a tremendous charge of pseudo-electrical current.  The current vibrates at a certain frequency of…what is the frequency, Ambassador?”  

“20 nits per…no, 20 thousand vibrations a…or is it 20 an hour so every 24…you know, I’m not certain.”  

“The current vibrates at a certain uncertain frequency,” Chevron continued.  “One that compliments the vibrational frequency of all matter in the vicinity.  Compliments it—or rejects it.  Depending on the master approval list.  Isn’t that right, Ambassador?”  

“Plus or minus a few objects, yes.”  The Ambassador confirmed.  

"Objects that are approved adhere to the ground just as gravity would like," Chevron said.  

"Objects that aren't approved are repelled from the ground just as I would like," the Ambassador said.  

“Unless they're eggs,” Macie interjected...And immediately rejected.  

The Ambassador shot a glance her way.  Had he found us out at last?  Had she ruined everything by mentioning the now-confirmed power of eggs over titanium levitation?    

Then he looked up at me and smiled: “Oh!  You have the eggs; thank goodness!”  

He was right!  In horror I looked down at the pack I was holding.  If the eggs couldn’t resist the power of titanium levitation after all, what hope did civilization have to resist the power of the Ambassador?  As I floated there, thirty five feet over the still-strange looking blobs of hair, I tore open my jacket, pulled apart the Tupperware and gazed wide-eyed inside.