• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 03

On Puzzles, Patterns, and Pairings

The pair in orange jumpsuits works diligently. Upwards of six hours a day and always under the glow of four bright, five-bulb lights. A small, 10 by 4 radio box streams tunes. Mostly Elvis. Sometimes Rush. Bruce and Lennon, too. The lights are tall, much taller than the pair. The wall, too. Of the pair, the one the right is taller. Able to reach the wall’s highest elevations. The one on the left takes the lower portions of the wall. Always. Legs bent, torso straight, the right arm brushes thick, elastic glue while the left places shards of delicate ceramic – one after the other. Each piece different from the one before. Patterns of blue paisley, red plaid, and gold geometric squares soon meet. Side by side, but never one of the same. Raspberry petals lock destinies with sky blue gingham checks. Red pears hide in tiny wood boxes. Cream rectangles shake hands with electric blue triangles. Grey goldfish in turquoise seas swim with purple grapes in orange bowls. Long cream noses brush thick, plum lips. Brows of brown, black, and metallic green hues meet eyes the color of the rainbow. Waterproof markers seal futures. Opposites both distract and attract. Like oil and water. Milk chocolate and horseradish. Slabs of bologna and filet mignon. Full sized pieces – glass bottles, mugs, pitchers, line the wall’s top ledge.

A small, battery-powered clock tracks time. Progress, too. As the hour hand strikes 4, work ceases. Palms open toward the heavens as coins drop. One, two, sometimes three. Quarters on some days. Copper pennies and nickels on others. Fingers speckled of paint poke and prod. Quick mental calculations. Then, without fail, the pair in orange jumpsuits nods and turns. A car is always waiting and always empty. The pair chooses to walk. One foot in front of the other. Laces tied tight. Always. The walk is short, just across the gravel path. The pair lifts their legs, clothed in drapey, industry-grade acrylic, and crosses a fence’s wired base and torn opening. Their bodies squeeze, barely, through the broken wire, yet soon they emerge on its other side.


On Puzzles, Patterns, and Pairings

Palms meet and their heads tilt back, slightly. Their eyes focus on a building, bathed in light, in the distance. The pair walk side by side. Close but never touching. Soon, they are bathed in light. I can no longer see them. As they walk, lights flicker. One by one, darkness settles on the path.

Q1. What is the wall?
Q2. Why is the pair clothed in orange?
Q3. Which form of transportation offers the greatest degree of freedom?
Leg, Cab, Bus, Van
Q4. Which of the following is least like the others?
Elvis, Rush, Lennon, Bruce
Q5. Does glue bind or restrict?
Q6. Which of the following is least like the others?
Pairs, Pears, Purees, Pairings
Q7. What word is missing from the following list?
Light, Lamp, Post