by jamesmerolla

Maxwell Brenner was a lousy writer, but a brilliant mathematician, though you might believe him to be a brilliant writer, and a lousy mathematician.

He was born with an innate fascination with numbers. They clouded his vision, spoke in his ear, and hooked his spine with the painful calculation of age. So many nights spent mumbling through the smoke of his little mahogany office. He loved to listen to his thoughts echo off the thick concrete corridors, deep in the bowels of the university.

He was a quiet, measured man, untrusting of what he couldn’t understand, other people mostly.

He could never find the right expression, always feeling unsure of himself in the presence of others.

“If only they were numbers.”  He’d say.

There were stories he wanted to tell, and expressions he wanted to explore, to give his mind to the ages, or anyone who would listen.

However, when he tried to explain these expressions he could never be precise enough.  All feelings were garbled in the mouths of his words.

“If only they were numbers.” He thought.

Only in the absolutes of numbers could true, uncompromised expression be born, emotions, unfiltered by bias, unviolated by the clumsy pollutants of words. Expression so true it could be touched, and unquestioned in its mark.

He always toyed with the idea of expression through numbers, just fleeting moments of fancy to interrupt the commotion of his mind. Then one day a small cluster of numbers brought everything to a standstill. Their knees buckled under the weight of his gaze.

The numbers spoke just one word


It was the beginning of Maxwell’s story.

For two weeks, on very little sleep, and a pig’s diet, he pummeled his computer with the full weight of a universe unfolding.

The stories bloomed, more vivid than dreams. They stretched out to him, into the dark, begging to feel the other side.

Maxwell wept.

And with a blink of his computer the numbers were lost. He searched for them like a desperate mother, but they couldn’t hear his calls, and they couldn’t be replaced, scattered to the wind, snowflakes with snowflakes, dust among dust. He went mad with heartbreak.

continued in part 2…