Ben Hassner

The man sat over the edge. He scratched his silver beard and yawned, eyes gaping at the darkness below. His legs dangling, he reached to his side, searching for the ancient fishing rod that has been lying there for centuries. Eternity isn’t very long, thought the man as he reeled in the long fishing line. He continued to stare to the emptiness beneath his feet. He was well aware of the fact that he wouldn’t be able to fall, even if he wanted to. He was placed at the edge of the skies, looking down at a dark and clean blackness for all of time. He was to be there until the Beginner decided his time was to be terminated – but time was a slippery one, and the pair’s constant game of tag provided the fisher with his only audible entertainment.

He readied the rod.

His task was simple – he was to fish out the Golden Globe from its cover between the soft clouds, to let the skies dance in fiery colors. Not that he could see those colors. He was blind, of course. An old, blind fisherman, pulling the sun across the endless skies.

He loved the feeling of the tightening of the line, telling him it was time to reel in the trophy he cannot touch, the golden sphere of light that chased away the darkness every morning. His eyes could not see, yet his ears were used to hearing the gush of fire that would get closer and closer with every tug on the reel. Every morning, his nose would smell the sweetness of flame, along with other smells of things he knew yet never experienced. A warm loaf of bread. A mother’s smile. A summer’s eve. A mug of steaming coffee.

The fisherman shuddered. The closeness of the Globe was an itch in his mind, accompanied by a desire to possess it, to hold it. Yet he would never feel the warmth. He would only imagine it, smell it, hear it. But not touch it. He would feel the flames licking up at his feet, calling him with passion. Yet he knew touching it was impossible. It wasn’t allowed.

He threw the rod behind his head. Another yawn. He quickly lifted the rod over his shoulder and threw it down to the darkness. He knew the hook would be looking for its companion. He knew the pain and exertion that would come with lifting the Globe across the skies, then setting it back down. Yet the Beginner gave him simple commands.

“The Globe must not break,” said the Beginner, in a day that seemed more a dream than reality. “It must not be touched by any object. And it must pass the heavens that are my realm once a day, the peak of its route at my feet.”

The fisherman didn’t answer. A tongue he also lacked, and his little knowledge of words turned his existence into a very quiet one.

The hook met the Globe with a metallic clink. The fisherman shut his unseeing eyes and began reeling in his catch with all his might. He wasn’t a muscular figure. Nor was he tall, nor fat, nor handsome. He was a short, bearded man, wearing nothing but a loincloth and a cape. His balding scalp shone against the night’s sky, revealing a seemingly old and worn-out figure. Yet his existence was only the trip of the Globe across the heavens. He was but nothing else; a sturdy man, lifting a gigantic globe across the skies every day with every fiber of his being.

The stars winked. The Globe rose across the darkness. The fisherman managed a slight smile, an emotion wiped off his face the moment it came into being.

He kept pulling.


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