thrice great hermes #91

thrice great hermes


by stanley lieber


Werner didn’t really know the language, but he managed to write the characters all over every surface he owned, and at least some of the ones he didn’t. Examples of his private papers had been sealed with what he hoped were accurate phrases. Some he merely filed away and forgot.

Others he tried to read only a short time after he wrote them. Here, too, he found that the encoding was mostly one way. No idea what he had meant to remember. These, as well, he would grudgingly file and forget. How was he supposed to access them? If he could access them, anyone could access them. The symmetry was obvious, and perfect.

On the other hand, it was likely even the ones he could no longer crack were an open book to his handlers at Disney. Oh yes, he knew about their attempts to monitor his progress...

Pete had sent along another batch of proofs. Werner wasn’t sure that he recognized his own words. No fault of Pete’s. Something was going wrong with Werner’s editor.

The cornerstone of good reporting is clarity. Accentuate the positively verifiable. Excise the negatively misinformational. At times this somber algorithm resulted in short articles indeed. Werner had become fond of throwing in extras for himself to cut prior to submitting a story. Only sometimes would he forget to do the cutting...

Where was he.

Werner drew a firm boundary around the truth. Nothing else could be allowed to creep into his reports, tempting as it might be to embellish—ahem—to add color—ahem—to extend the bare facts into a tapestry better suited to clothe his artistic pursuits. The things he felt he didn’t understand he reserved for encoding. It would be bad form to clutter the articles with poorly explicated digressions. As time wore on he found that the encoded ledger eclipsed his contrary meanderings, both in terms of sheer length and what he had to assume had been a surfeit of fine detail...

These items and more flitted flirtatiously through his gradually awakening mind as he prepared his workspace for another day of reading, collating, and typing. Werner cleared his desk of ephemerals and reset his internal chronometer. It was four hours until lunch.