An Extended, Steam-Powered Metaphor

I am heading very quickly into the UNKNOWN.

And there’s something kind of spooky about that. This UNKNOWN, a territory that stretches further than the distance between New York and California. It is vast, an expanse that boggles the mind and contains any number of horrors and wonders. There are dragons there, of course, and they may eat maidens or they may just talk in annoyingly obtuse parables. There are trolls and riches and demons and angels and all kinds of things litter the roads that wind and twist and snake their way through the UNKNOWN. And these roads are treacherous things, it’s a foolish notion to walk along them unaided. One must have a plan to travel through the UNKNOWN safely.

My plan is a rough-hewn construct; really nothing more than a skeletal structure, steel girders riveted together in a rapid fashion, rust streaking it from where I neglected it and left the parts in the rain. And this construct is what’s going to carry me deeper into the UNKNOWN; a mechanical titan that totters about on shaky legs and runs on steam and has guts made of cogs and whirling gizmos. It creaks and groans and does not endow feelings of security upon its operator. It’ll stumble on obstacles, most likely, faltering on treacherous ground.

But it’s what I have made for myself. And I am fine, for the most part. I’ve never been big on grandscale plans, much to the chagrin of everyone who knows me. My plans extend, maybe, five years into the future. But they get creakier and more wobbly the further out you go. Most people, I think, do not march into the UNKNOWN in such devices. They have sleek and shiny vehicles that run on hopes and dream and common sense and foresight and an IRA and job security.

In 13 days, I’ll be testing out my plan. And we’ll see how far it takes me. And if it breaks down, deep in UNKNOWN territory, I have no doubt that I’ll be able to make another one right on the spot.

Dylan Charles

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