[Ray Bradbury died today]
I was filching my seventh cup of caffeinated splendor from the coffee machine when a coworker came rushing towards me. He had mustard on his shirt and concern in his eyes. “Hey man, how’re you holding up? You all right?”
After taking a rip of coffee, I proceeded. “Rodrigo, what the hell’re you talkin’ about? Why wouldn’t I be all right?”
“Oh shit, I thought you heard…Dude, Ray Bradbury died.”
“Bwahahaha,” I sprayed coffee all over my dress-pants. “That’s hilarious!
Rodrigo was befuddled. “Hilarious? I thought you’d be upset. Isn’t Bradbury your favorite author?”
“Of course he is! Bradbury straddles the lines between science fiction and fantasy and parable like no other! He’s an avuncular horror-master, a winsome conveyor of the fantastic! Fahrenheit 451! The Illustrated Man! The Martian Chronicles! How could Bradbury not be my favorite?”
“So,” Rodrigo ventured forth cautiously, “you love Ray Bradbury but don’t care that he’s dead?”
I once again found myself struggling to spill the coffee past the bulwark of laughter and into my gullet. Finally successful, I wiped an errant tear streaming down my cheek and broke into a smile. I’d help my coworker understand.
“Ray Bradbury can’t die. When he was twelve years old, Mr. Electrico imbued him with the power to live forever! And now, regardless of what’s happened to his corporeal form, Ray’s going to be with us forever.”
[Ray Bradbury is going to live forever]
My voices are still speaking, and I am still listening and taking their wild advice. If some morning in the future I wake and there is silence, I’ll know my life is over. With luck, on my last day, the voices will be busy and I will still be happy.
[May I Die Before My Voices]
In the morning he would not have needed sleep, for all the warm odors and sights of a complete country night would have rested and slept him while his eyes were wide and his mouth, when he thought to test it, was half a smile.
And there at the bottom of the hayloft stair waiting for him would be the incredible thing. He would step carefully down, in the pink light of early morning, so fully aware of the world that he would be afraid, and stand over the small miracle and at last bend to touch it.
A cool glass of fresh milk, and a few apples and pears laid at the foot of the steps.
This was all he wanted now. Some signs that the immense world would accept him and give him the long time he needed to think of all the things that must be thought.
A glass of milk, an apple, a pear.
It was quiet in the deep morning of Mars, as quiet as a cool and black well, with stars shining in the canal waters, and, breathing in every room, the children curled with their spiders in closed hands, the lovers arm in arm, the moons gone, the torches cold, the stone amphitheaters deserted.
The only sound, just before dawn, was a night watchman, far away down a lonely street, walking along in the darkness, humming a very strange song…”
[August 1999: The Summer Night]
We are the flesh of the universe which wishes to know itself.