Chapter 1: Mystic Mark the Magic Man

When does anything ever begin?

"More than ten billion years ago", says Markus and gestures as if he could somehow show her the past. But all she can see is him sitting on the back of a chair, balancing impossibly as he continues. "Suddenly our universe emerged into existence, which it had never had before. Suddenly it was real. Suddenly it was ... alone. At the moment of beginning, it was just a cosmic seed. It was not just smaller than we can imagine, it had literally no size at all. It was a point. Just like a circle has no volume, so the cosmic seed had neither volume nor area nor length. There was no space, and no time. Yet all of space and time was contained in that seed. And all that was and all that ever will be, was contained in that seed."

Markus, or Mystic Mark the Magic Man as they call him now, makes an expansive movement with both arms. "From that point onward, space and time has exploded outward in four dimensions. But originally, everything was in the same place and the same time. Not only that, but everything was of the same nature. There was no difference between energy and matter, between magnetism and gravity, between time and space even. Not only were all things of identical nature and occupying the same space – they were literally one. Just like 1 can never be 2, so all these things were one and could not be otherwise. The sound of a tree falling in the forest was the ear. It was not just of the same nature, it was the very thing. You and I were one. Hitler and Mother Theresa were one. The farthest star, the lowliest germ, all things were truly one and the same."

"Yes, but ..."

"By now, we experience separation. The three dimensions separate along time, a hypersphere where the present moment is the surface. All other moments are equally real, including the center, the moment of beginning. Do you understand what that means? Just as all things were one, so all things still are one! Most dimensions did not expand outward along time, but are still in the same place at the same time and of the same nature. Time and space are simply properties, energy levels associated with parts of cosmos. But in its very foundation, all is one. All that ever was, always is, everywhere."

"Including my car keys?"

"Absolutely! You car keys are everywhere!"

"Then why can't I find them?"

"Because you search for the photons reflected off the surface of your car keys, which depends on a clear line of sight between your eyes and the keys. If you would but reach out with your mind and touch the Pattern of All Things, you would not need to see or hear or feel. All that you wanted would come to you. Why don't you try? Close your eyes, reach out for your car keys. Don't just imagine, for imagination is harmless dreams. Decide. Don't just see with your mind, reach out with your mind. All things are right before you."

'This is silly.' Nina can imagine herself as she stands, eyes closed, hand reached out in empty air, calling for her car keys. 'This will never work.' She visualizes the car keys, tries to feel the cold metal, suddenly hard against her palm ... yes, like that ... wait! She opens her eyes and stares at the car keys in her open hand. "Did ... did I do that?"

Markus shakes his head sadly. "No. You did not even begin to reach out. I suppose you were busy making words and images in your head. So I gave up and placed them in your hand. You simply are not ready." Markus jumps down from the chair. It does not move in the least, doesn't even vibrate as he jumps off it and down on the floor. Markus seemed barely to interact with space and time even before he became Mystic Mark the Magic Man.

"I shall have to be in Oslo in five minutes, to take part in some arrangement of generosity for the benefit of hungry people. Dinner for Africa. Various famous people are to be there, so as to draw in those who wish to also be famous. "

"You don't seem enthusiastic."

"Should I be? I am to be an attraction, like pop stars and pretty girls."

"I thought you liked pretty girls."

"I still do. I am still human – I just see beyond the surface. I sense so much more of reality, and I can touch it. We have all been playing a game, and I have lifted my eyes from the game board and looked at the room we all are in."

"Sounds like something out of The Matrix!"

"A thought provoking story. But the basic premise is wrong. It says, 'there is no spoon'. But I say: The spoon is everywhere! Indeed, the spoon is all there is and ever was."

Nina looks at him. Is it really 15 years since they first met, when she was 10 and he was 18? There seemed to be a vast ocean of time between them, that could never be bridged. Now, she seems destined to grow old while he remains the same, thirty forever. And yet, the vast gulf is still between them. As if they did not really live in the same world. "Make sure to wear a black suit. A tux would be nice. Do you have a tux?"

"They are everywhere. How does this one look?" He shimmers, and then he becomes clearly visible again, wearing a conservative tux.

"A bit longer on arms and legs, I'd say."

He nods, and the arms and legs fuzz and reform.

"Much better. You are quite the looker now."

"I based it on one of the guests."

"Shame I can't be there and see you in action. It would have been fun."

"It will not be humorous, Nina. But I can transport you home to Norway in a moment, if you want."

"Thanks, but I have fossils to date."

"I could help you with that another time."

"My job doesn't work like that. Have to show up now and then."

"Till we meet again then, on the fifteenth."

"Au revoir."

He is already fading out. Ceasing to exist at this point in spacetime, starting to exist at some other coordinates. "Wait ... the fifteenth?" But the air is empty.