Short Story

Sand Fleas: A Holiday Story

by Thomas Wiegandt
(Written on Crete 1976, originally in German)

Everything is a question of an initial impulse – what follows, is just a limited chain reaction. This thought somehow got in to my mind on a hot, sunny day while lying on a beach on Crete. It seemed almost impossible to lift my limp body from the sand. Basically, that was a lack of motivation, but in that moment, I couldn’t do much about it.
Lying in the sand had finally become unbearable, but ages must have passed before I finally managed to get up. I was standing on my feet now, but everything around me still seemed distant and far away. I obviously had overdone the sun worship.
The blood red sun was drowning in the sea, when my feet began to move, slowly. I was wondering where I was actually going to go to. I did not know, it certainly would be a surprise. Besides, I had decided on purpose not to waste a thought on a fixed aim, at least in my holidays I wanted to allow myself the freedom of complete aimlessness.
It was nearly dark when I arrived in the village. It was one of the small fishing villages one accidentally arrives at, and which had been totally spoilt by tourism with its inhabitants loosing their friendly hospitality and now only worshipping money. So I decided not to stay there but to give my aimlessness full rein. I kept walking away from the village towards a dark, violet silhouette of steeply rising mountains in some distance. A little later a car stopped, gave me a lift for some miles, and dropped me at a crossroad. Meanwhile the moon had risen, casting a silver light over the rugged mountains which seemed to be not too far away now.
It was then that it became clear to me that I was aiming for the peak and that only a dark ascent would lead me in to the lighter regions, freed of the illusion of individual perception and embraced by sweet oblivion being in unison with nature. They say that it is only one step from a mountain peak to the starry sky. A hallucinatary step maybe, but sometimes I think that I actually have done exactly this and that even I myself had been pure light before infinity spat me out again as refracted light, shining through the prism of a creative god with all his subjective inadequacy. Playing a game of creation out of boredom.
Forgive the gods, they say, because they don’t really know what they doing, as they only lead a shadow-like half-existence in the other-world. Still, they are also the ones responsible for the sand trickling through the narrow waist of the hour glass, causing the sand-fleas to jump in panic. They are easily entertained, and they cannot help themselves but to play this unpleasant role which had been assigned to them by others. Infinity has punished them by conjuring them up in thoughts all the time, though their names may change gradually, or even randomly over time.
I felt pain, and saw that my knees were bleeding. A journey without aim can be quite troublesome. I do not know for how long I was creeping uphill in the dark. Suddenly, I came to the realization that I had to forget everything, past and future, and I saw a new mysterious formula written in glowing letters. It read: 3+7=9+0, and everything in front of my eyes went black – or was it white – I am not sure at this stage anymore. Maybe it would be best called beyond.
In this beyond space I find myself now listening to my own music, over and over again. Time is dissolving and disappearing in patterns that dance through space, shapes and forms being freed from all their fading colors. I feel the pure vibration in its primitive essence, purified through ecstasy. You don’t exist anymore, and I am gone, too. We are like stars beyond the imagined universe, created by a divine but careless thought, and then being placed somewhere in space forever to sparkle forever more. From time to time we let go and touch down lightly, occasionally it could be a crash landing too and then we hit rock bottom. We realize that we are alive, living beings. Our eyes then shine like the sun and the moon, illuminating the space and we are offering ourselves to the celestial bodies. They may take us up on our offer someday. That’s right, we will be then in a land where you are me, and I might not exist for a spell. Panicky people uneasily call it ecstasy, as if the word was contagious, whereas the actual state is, even very much so. Here the written word inevitably ends and is silently transformed into random action.
I was still creeping uphill when it was dawning. The night kissed the morning, and it was very cold. Exhausted I noticed that the peak had come considerably closer. Being finally so near, I had totally forgotten, what I had been looking for. Anyway, I did not know how to express my gratitude to the mountains properly, but I think I somehow did.
A quantum leap must have occurred, that is my only explanation. And even despite the strict prohibition against carrying any secret thoughts in my luggage, I chanced it this time. Anyway, as far as I know, nobody has ever been caught and fined so far for doing so. Maybe nobody has even ever been checked. This is probably because hardly anyone ever tried. Does this make sense? In other words: Most quantum leaps are completely mindless, maybe even totally unconscious. Some two-legged animals call it nothingness. The nothingness only exists in secret thoughts, so secret, that they permanently forget themselves. They must have forgotten everything over time, except the nothingness. Definitely time to move on – eventually. But unfortunately, this is not the end, even if most by now will long for it, some will fear it at the same time, and others will just conveniently deny it. But then, there are a few that evoke it. It is true, and it does exist, the end without end. It is said that time is getting lost all the time like the serpent that swallows its own tail, thus creating the magic circle. Out of this circle, endless spirals rise and fall forever. They form the vibrations which some minorities among the two-legged-animals talk about much too often, the heretics that dreamt up flower power at best. Everything comes in waves and it will come again and again, slightly changing – forever. A straight line is an impossible and preposterous concept, though, funnily enough, the vast majority of the two-legged-animal believes in it most of their lives. And then again, it could be even worse, but let�s not go there. All that I have thought once, but now I reject it. I would not necessarily call it wrong, as there really is no right or wrong. It’s just the temporary fantastic fantasy of a young headestrian heading higher all the time. Maybe it is just a dream, from which I hopefully soon will wake up and find myself lying on a beach, trying to forget everything but the initial impulse that kept me awake during this holiday near ancient Knossos on Crete. I like to give my regards to the sand-fleas they kept me awake too.
P.S.: I decided not to kill Minotaur after all, I am just going to ignore him from now on, assuming that he is not a she, which really makes no difference, you just never know in ancient Greece.