(originally posted 11/11/2019… and I still aspire to be the YBa2Cu3O7 of flash fiction)
Recently I was wondering how many stories I’ve written for this website so I started counting.
It’s a formidable number.
“the weirdo connection” was number 663.
“a strange confession (25 seconds… both times) was 664.
“suicide school” made 665.
Which means that the next story I write will make 666.
Let the one with understanding reckon the meaning of the number of the beast,
for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.
-Chapter 13 of The Book of Revelation (Textus Receptus manuscripts of the New Testament)
- The number of the beast. Also a triangular number, a repdigit (and therefore a palindromic number), a Smith number and a prime reciprocal magic square.
A lot going on for a number.
Sort of like stories in general. Looking at the world the way it is and then writing about how it could be. A lot going on. You want devils in your world, you got ‘em. You prefer Roman numerals? How about exactly one of all of the symbols less than 1000 in decreasing order?
666 stories. All and none of them about myself. All and none of them true.
But you really want to know why story number 666 seems special to me?
Because 666 is the molar mass of high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O7. Part of the crystalline chemical compound family, yttrium barium copper oxide is famous for being the first material to become superconductive above the boiling point of nitrogen.
Did you catch the word ‘famous’ in that sentence? Have you ever heard the names Georg Bednorz and Karl Müller let alone YBa2Cu3O7?
Apparently ‘famous’ is a very relative word. Like most words when you think about how they are used and manipulated by flawed intellects. It might be a poor workman who blames his tools but you have to admit my raw materials are pretty shaky.
Which is why I want this, my 666th story, to be as odd and awkward as the first 665. When people look back on things they’ve written they often refer to them as vehicles that have made them laugh or cry or think profound things.
There are tons of writers churning that stuff out. Bookstore shelves are clogged with the stuff. I aspire to be the YBa2Cu3O7 of flash fiction. ‘Famous’ because almost nobody on the planet will have ever read a damn thing I’ve written despite the fact that I really come into my own above the boiling point of nitrogen. If you’ve ever read something I’ve written and have an understanding of what I was going for just realize it’s because you’ve invented it out of your own experiences. You can laugh or cry all you want… just don’t blame me. It’s all you. Most of the time I don’t get what I’ve written until months later (if ever).
Let the one with understanding reckon the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a Manion. His molar mass is YBa2Cu3O7.
Devils be damned (but not forgotten), our imagination will always be more important than reality.