Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Odds: Twenty-Four (Part II)

On Saturday, February 24, 2007, I went off to the movies to see five films in a row. I saw Music and Lyrics, The Number 23, Rush Hour 3, The Astronaut Farmer, and Reno 911!: Miami. In that order. Now don’t worry, I don’t have an eidetic memory. I wrote it down on my calendar. That’s about as many as I could see at the theatre (yes, that’s how you spell that word) in the town where I went to college before they closed for the night. Trust me, I timed it out many times. That second movie was terrible; just the worst. It’s about a guy who is obsessed with the number 23 (obviously) and seems to think that it’s controlling every facet of his life, or something like that. He turns out to be a serial killer, or something. I don’t really remember, and it was really confusing because...eeso baaad. The plot was evidently lifted from a preexisting theory known as the 23 Enigma. It is probably one of the most famous examples of apophenia, which is the assumption of patterns that do not exist. 23 only seems like it appears all over the place because you’ve had the notion that it does, and every time it does show up, it confirms your suspicions. This psychological phenomena, and related conditions, are some of my favorite that do not involve language.
I decided to call this story The Odds because it’s kind of about the lottery, but perhaps I should have instead called in Tangent, because there is no way you have any clue just what the hell is happening here. There’s this psychological phenomenon involving language called logorrhea where you basically can’t stop goddamn talking. And so I’m using this story as a mean of spitting out my thoughts as they come, mashing up my personal experience with this bullshit story about winning the lottery. I don’t really think it through that much, and I believe that it shows. Just remember that you don’t have to read it, and I fully expect this to be my least popular stories, besides that godawful Siftens Landing; Jesus Christ. What am I doing right now? I mean there’s meta...and then there’s this. This thing. It’s freaking me out. Are you freaking out?
Moving on. The 23 Enigma is important, because that’s what this lottery story all comes down to. For the most part, numbers only hold relevance as you expect them to. Twenty-three doesn’t appear any more often than any other number, but someone arbitrarily settled on it once, and now people can’t get away from it. For me, however, Twenty-Four is one of the numbers. Twenty-three actually is too, because it’s one of the LOST numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42). But Twenty-Four was the very first number I chose, long before I had any aim to play the lottery. Are you ready for another tangent story about my childhood? No? Good. Here we go. When I was thirteen years old (don’t worry, that’s not one of “the numbers) I was...crap, I need to go back further. When I was a little baby child baby, I fell in love with science. I had a laboratory in our basement that was really just a microscope, a book on genetics, and some graphing paper. Dexter would be disappoint. At some point I was going to be a Quantum Physicist, a Biochemist, and a Meteorologist. Respectively, I chose these from Quantum Leap, a science field trip I took in fourth grade, and doing well in meteorology in seventh grade. Tell me please that I’m not still such a basic bitch.
Come eighth grade, I start failing science class. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s all because of balancing chemical equations. Damn. I remember standing in the hallway where the grades were posted for a couple minutes, rapidly resigning myself to the fact that science was absolutely, positively, inarguably not my thing. But writing was. I was always good with language, and don’t remember having to learn the alphabet. I had intended to write science textbooks, but now I needed to shift my paradigm over to writing full time. I experienced two years of experimentation; Quantum Leap and Harry Potter fanfiction, mostly. Following a trip to the Florida Keys in the summer of aught-two (yeah, I’m using that word wrong, but I don’t even care cuz I’m a rebel), I found inspiration for my first novel, and things really got started. But one thing I determined during that experimentation period was that I would always write in terms of Twenty-Four. My novels would each have twenty-four chapters, my anthologies would be published in collections of twenty-four, and—after I started writing television—my TV series would contain twenty-four episodes per season.
Despite all of the rules I’ve set up, broken down, rearranged, and twisted throughout years of honing my skills, the Rule of Twenty-Four has held strong. In fact, I believe that it is the only early thing to survive my tenure thus far (save for the Anti-magic clause of 2003), and I see no reason to change it now. There isn’t really any specific reason why I chose it, however. Sure there are twenty-four timezones and hours in a day, but can you think of anything else? I just now looked it up on Wikipedia and found there to be very few uses of the number significant enough to publish online. It’s a nice enough number that’s easy to utilize in everyday life, so it’s not outcast like Eleven is, but I dunno. I like it despite how great it is, and I don’t think there’s anything more I can say on the matter. I have to get ready for class, but I may write more tomorrow after reading it with a fresh...perspective. Heyo, perspective reference. I can’t be stopped! If you read this in published form, independent from my website, then that doesn’t mean anything to you. But I’m currently running a series of microstories that each belong to a different character’s perspective. Now does it make sense? Crap, I’m gonna be late. Hey guys, I’m back. It’s tomorrow and I’ve added very little to this story. I guess I’ll just have to settle with what’s here. I know you won’t like it, so I just hope that you’re at least okay with it.
Do you see that? I think Forty-Two is on his way.

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