The first time Poor Leonard shaved the mole off the side of his head, he thought he was going to die. He thought that he had somehow managed to cut into his brain, and that he could see his Knowledge pouring Out; in the blood; in the platelets… or if he looked close enough, could see elements of basic Knowledge attaching themselves to iron atoms; bonding; making fast for the journey:
Did these little fractured bits of his entire Knowledge know what they were doing? It may have seemed like freedom, but it was certain death! Bits of knowledge cannot survive on their own. They need others; they need Structure; they need Order. Otherwise, they can get:
Poor Leonard’s Knowledge was being Lost at a rate that made him increasingly uncomfortable. He stared at the side of his head in the mirror and watched the blood pulse and squirm as it jogged down his cheek, just past his left ear, taking a sudden turn down his jawline before forming a group of suicidal droplets, each one falling to splat in the sink just like the one before...
It may have been an accident, but Poor Leonard Havent couldn’t help but feel guilty about sending so much Knowledge to its impending death. Knowledge has no inherent ability to fight gravity. It simply follows the path of least resistance, falling out of its container like a knife-punctured oil can.
Pour, Poor Knowledge! Pour! When it rains, it still pours. He is still poor, Poor Leonard, poorer for the rich, those who have gotten rich on the backs of the poor and infuse themselves with hemoglobin and who shave with the richest salt on the planet. They have carried the lightest load, and they have swapped out the World’s Knowledge with scraps of iron, devoid of value, only to be melted down and poured into poor molds.
That night, Leonard dreamt of a time when he could still fit all his Knowledge safely inside of his own skull, and he woke up dreaming of a bit of Knowledge that he had already Lost. Do we remember the bits of Knowledge that we have Lost? And how do we remember them if we have already Lost them?
“They are not Lost; just Forgotten.”
Buried by Time’s desire to place Order on Chaos…
Poor Leonard orders fingers to peel the pillow off his head, the pillow which had fused itself to the side of his head in the night, the pillow which had stopped his Knowledge from bleeding out completely, and he knew that this Order would most certainly result in the loss of more Knowledge, but somewhere in the Knowledge that he had already Lost were the bits of Knowledge that told him: Picking a scab won’t heal any wound; just makes it bleed more. A vicious cycle.
After peeled pillow, bleeding more now, oil pouring out like drain plug dropped in pan, fumble fingers, tumble lingers, the bass heavier now in the music that drops from the speakers like sand through hourglass, Leonard waits for it all to stop. He waits for a period of one week. “The wound has healed? More likely, it has heeled…” He picks the scab. Nothing but dead black mole-skin under his fingernail and the newly exposed skin underneath is fresh and pink. Leonard is hirsute again now, and in need of a shave…
The second time Poor Leonard shaved off the mole on the side of his head, he seemed to remember doing something similar in another life. A previous life? Did he believe in Reincarnation? He did not seem to possess the bits of Knowledge required to process this query. Perhaps he had Lost them? How could he ever know? He watched the blood trickle and glimmer down the side of his face, catch the edge of his jawline and drop from his chin into the sink, splattering like the tidiest of explosions, full of hemoglobin and scraps of iron, tied to these little bits of his Knowledge, these platelets of knowledge-bits washed away by the high tide of the sink water, and Leonard wondered if anyone would notice that he was missing Something?