Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Boy and the Box

As to Aloysius, I am reminded of the account of the boy and the box. This wasn't a very big box or a very pretty one. It was battered and shaggy, with those banjo eyes with the lavender circles around them, with the clay feet clear up to the eyebrows, pepper-colored, and looking older than it was. I am talking about a box? Sure, a box.

The boy opened the box and he noticed at once, though he didn't take in the full implications of it, that the box was much larger inside than outside. He began to unload things out of it, treasures, misunderstood and complicated treasures, old gold with deep incrustations of sea scum, rough maps with the lettering in Chaldee, live birds of the psittacine sort, Arabian gumtrees, clavicles of saints, kidskin scrolls, astrolabes, gnomon dials that will read correctly only at the location of Cos-Megara, the third city of Atlantis, the stones named Shamba that are found only in variant readings of the Apocalypse--all the things that are commonly found in old boxes, but in unusual profusion here.

Then the boy noticed that, however many things he unloaded out of that box, the box still stood full. The box is Aloysius Shiplap, and I am that boy.

-R. A. Lafferty, Arrive at Easterwine: The Autobiography of a Ktistec Machine (1971)


Philip said...

Entirely off topic but I have a spare copy of MFSF March 1975, which contains "Three Shadows of the Wolf". I'd be happy to send it to anyone who would like it.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Ooh, I'm tempted to say 'me! me! yes, please!' but I feel I might have an unfair advantage with receiving comments first and also the shipping to the UK would be a bit steep.

Kind of you to offer!

I'm trying to think if I have something I could offer to swap you, but I think my only duplicated stories are those I have individually in anthologies and mags that are also have in the collections Nine Hundred Grandmothers, Strange Doings, Does Anyone Else Have Something Further to Add, Ringing Changes, and Lafferty In Orbit. So only if you don't and can't obtain any of those might you be interested in some of the individual stories I have.

Hm, an internet Lafferty swap meet?

Philip said...

I am English, live in London; postage would be minimal. In any event, I would be happy to repay your efforts in this small way. I have pretty much all published Lafferty in one form or another by the way.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Philip, if I may enthusiastically lay an approbative Americanism on you... You are THE MAN!

My email is danielottojackpetersen [at] gmail [dot] com if you want to contact me to get my address.

Are there any other Brits (or Brit residents) out there? I feel a wee Lafferty get together coming on.

'It was all strong talk with the horns and hooves still on it.'
(R. A. Lafferty, The Devil is Dead)