“the device is used to spot paradoxes,” explained the man as he slapped it against his thigh. “if there is a paradox, these lights here, here, and here will blink swampy moss green, night-shade eggplant purple, and laundry blue.”
“and—those are colors?” i asked.
“yes, the colors of paradox.”
he pushed his chair back and walked toward me. the device dangled in his hand like a strangled bunch of metallic carrots. it whirred and hummed against his side.
“show me again,” i said.
he nodded, gave the awkward device three quick shakes, and dropped it to the floor—not a sign of flashing lights. the device purred but remained inert.
“but first can i touch it?”
nodding, he reached down and grabbed the device by what looked curiously like a stem. he offered it to me.
“don’t worry it won’t bite,” he chuckled.
it didn’t bite, but it kept buzzing. i carefully examined the contraption, testing its weight in my palm, listening for the source of that noise, turning it to explore its edges, grooves, and nubs.
i handed it back to him.
“OK. i suppose i’m ready.”
again, three shakes, and then he tossed me the device. nothing happened. it murmured in my hands just as it had a moment earlier on the floor of beth’s living room and when slapped against the man’s thigh. and then, it suddenly lit up. a carnival of greens, purples, and blues flashed through my fingers.
“a paradox!” shouted the man.
CONTINUED IN THE NEXT POST (wherein the mysterious paradoxes are unraveled)