The Creator of Moments

Through thick windows she hears the thrum of a helicopter. The windows vibrate. The bass line rises and falls as the vehicle passes overhead, most likely on its way toward the coast. In the helicopter’s wake, the lab hums. The surface of black coffee unleashes concentric rings. The movement catches the attention of the building’s lone occupant. Distracted from an array of screens, she smiles at the memory of a childhood dinosaur movie.

“Boom,” she whispers.


Within seconds, the sound dissolves into the past.

As does the memory.

Sunlight lances through skylights to throw deformed squares upon the floor. Between the creeping squares she sits patiently, waiting for algorithms to work their magic. As numbers convert to actionable information, the whispers of an air conditioning unit set on “max” distract. She’d like to adjust the setting. But no. Orders are orders. The machines must be protected from the region’s unrelenting heat.

Goosebumps march up dark arms, ceasing their advance after taking cover under rolled sleeves. The sleeves end in crisp kaki cuffs positioned just over peeking triceps.

Periodically, the triceps strut their stuff.

On the flipside of sinewy arms, biceps smile at the innocent indiscretion.

The primary computer chirps. The screen refreshes, prompting a return to the task at hand.

The woman enters commands. She pauses, considering an alternate course of action.

She flexes fingers, long and graceful.

She peeks at the clock in the primary screen’s lower right corner.

As if plotting a move across a chessboard, she rubs hands together. She enjoys the sensation of recently applied La Mer. The scent of lotion lingers.

Her hands are strong; prepared to take action.

Prepared to strike.

A crisscross of boxer’s scars add flavor to otherwise feminine knuckles.

Tipped with manicured nails, 10 fingers end in 10 sharp points. And wiggling those fingers, she offers herself a crisp nod.

She types in a series of commands and sets a program in motion. In the background, the code runs its course.

Over the horizon, unborn moments rock in the arms of uncertainty.

The desired course of action comes into focus as she bites at a hangnail. Retrieving her mobile device, she sends fingertips dancing across a glass interface.

A series of gentle clicks is layered over the background noise of air conditioning.

Fingers move quickly, expertly.

She radiates confidence, for she is the creator of moments.

The gentle clicks correspond to numbers, coordinates if you will, meant to acquire a target on the other side of a continent. Each number is accompanied by the click of a pointed nail, the tips of which remind her of sharpened spears.

Spears now unsheathed.

The entered code is simple; packaged and tagged to a designated signal. The code is a shortcut to a future moment delivered with the authority of a guided missile.

With the code entered, the woman leans back in her chair. The chair moans. It is a pleasant moan; a moan akin to the moan of a dog when you rub his belly. The woman presses send.

Now, she waits.

She’d love a smoke right now. It’d go well with the coffee. And it’d help arrest those marching goosebumps too. Get ‘em in line. From the cigarette’s tip, smoke might uncoil, first along an expected path, then subject to the variables of uncertainty; subject to the chaos of time. From flared nostrils, smoke might billow as if from the snout of a dragon. By habit, she scans the desk for a pack of American Spirits. No such luck. She shrugs broad shoulders, resigned to a smoke-free day.

She crosses athletic legs. Absentmindedly, she bobs her right foot. As the numeric code leaps from her device into the blue sky above a slender line of sunlight moves back and forth across the tip of a polished black boot. She watches the line bend around her boot.

Miles above the earth, the code is transmitted, whispered, and shared among a gaggle of gossiping satellites.

“Here you go,” whispers the first.

“Pass it on,” directs the second.

Dots are connected to form the arching trajectory of a spear.

Instructions smooth the way, rushing from point to point.

Packet received.

Confirmation of inbound data packet integrity.

Confirmation of inbound command.

Command activated.

Intended target located.

Intended target acquired.

The target’s location is acquired via the signal of a cell phone, left idle to rest between a man and a woman. Though idle, the phone chirps its location. The cry is not unlike an unwitting baby bird calling for a missing mom.

Sitting 4,500 kilometers away, the patient hunter smiles.

She wonders what the targets are doing right now. She wonders if they will be surprised.

Hurtling through the atmosphere, the spear quivers.

The path is smoothed by data’s whispering messages; by the worker bees of a digital world.

Incrementally, data course-corrects to reroute spear to target.

The flight is peaceful.

On the far side of a continent the targets continue activities cocooned in their work-a-day moment. The woman sits with legs up, working commands into a laptop. The man, now settling next to his partner, scrolls through encrypted messages on his iPad. Most messages share recent activities and require no action. They are meant to keep him abreast. He deletes them by the dozens. The woman clicks commands into her rough and ready laptop. Unlike the spear thrower’s sharp fingernails, the target female sports a French manicure, squared and bordered with a thin white line.

Around the pair, time unfolds in a routine manner. They sit in silence in a room awash in tumbling sunlight. The sunlight passes through a wall of glass doors. Though the man and woman happen to have shared many moments of love together over many years, the present moment is not a moment of love.

It is a quiet moment of routine. This moment and the next are blank sheets of paper.

Whitewashed and humming a neutral tune.

Each, an unpainted canvas.

Each, an opportunity missed.

The man tilts his device to the woman to display a message. She nods, distracted.

He reaches for her hand but she’s busy typing.

Slowly, he returns to his iPad. He continues to scroll through messages, stabbing them with a thick finger.

“Mind if I play some music?” he asks. “It’s too quiet.”

“No. Ah, that’s fine.”

He selects an oldie, a personal favorite.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were…”

The man shifts in his seat as music fills the space between.  Dust particles come to life, dancing their way through probing shafts of sunlight.

Though the man and woman sit three feet apart, they are as distant from each other as they are from the launcher of the spear, 4,500 kilometers away.

An invisible clock ticks, marking the arrival of a moment pregnant with opportunity.

Waiting to be wasted.

Waiting to be filled.

With horror, love, or perhaps beauty.

This one, with intent.

The arriving moment is a moment of two parts; one, a blank sheet of paper, whitewashed by routine and the other shaped by intent. Shaped by a creator.

Like pearls, moments are either gathered passively or crafted.

In passing, each moment is draped upon a string of memories. The string, like the supply of moments, is fragile. Should the string break, pearls fall to the floor and scatter, their moonlike gleam lost.

Rushing toward earth, the spear burns bright.

Spit from the last of the gossiping satellites, the inbound moment engages its mark.

A packet of data screams her last command, “Incoming!”

The sun shivers, startled by the spear’s unexpected arrival. Meaty beams of sunlight bend to accommodate a plunging shadow. From above, warm air is pressed toward the earth.

Between the targets, an idling cell phone comes to life.

For an instant, the room is silent, engorged with possibilities.

Love unfolds as the man and woman reach for each other.

Then, an explosion as the inbound moment finds its mark.

Colors scribble across a whitewashed canvas.

As if sprayed from a wall of shattered glass, airborne sparkles fill the room.

The sparkles, the uncoiling colors, and the rupture of silence engulf the couple.

One of two pearls falls to the floor, soon lost in within a dark crevice.

It is the passive pearl.

On the other side of the continent, the spear thrower collects her bounty. With the confidence of a warrior she speaks over the hum of air conditioning.


She smiles as a moment foreseen unfolds 4,500 kilometers away.

She has the right to smile. For she is the creator of moments.

This one but a phone call launched from a lab in LA to her parents in New England.

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