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Literary Brummagem
Tuesday, May 9, 2006   |    Fiction

Clouds: Important!

by Russell Bradbury-Carlin

Clouds are fascinating. Day after day we flit about our lives and pay little attention to these fluffy airships. We shouldn’t ignore clouds, though. No, there is much—much, much, much—that is too important about them. Let me take a moment and give you some facts about clouds. So pay attention and learn:

Clouds are an important part of the ecosystem.
Clouds are repositories for all of the moisture that is evaporated from the oceans, lakes and even the glass of water that sits beside me now. In fact, almost half of the water in my glass has disappeared since I started writing this - all stolen by the clouds that pass over us. Occasionally, clouds do return some of the water they swipe. They do this by emitting rain or snow. Clouds only do this when they think we are beginning to suspect that they are hording too much water.

Clouds are everywhere.
There is no part of the earth’s atmosphere that does not at one time or another contain a cloud. They may take the appearance of thin wispy streaks or a huge pile of dark ominous sheets, but they are always above us. In fact, if one considers fog as a type of cloud, one could say that they are also among us as well as above us. To continue this line of thought—general moisture in the air is a kind of a dispersed fog. I may have been called paranoid before, but this means that we breath in clouds, too. So, in fact, clouds are everywhere all the time. That isn’t paranoid. Just because I wear a surgical mask covered in clear shellac doesn’t make paranoid, O.K.? It makes me safe.

Clouds are not pieces of floating cotton-candy.
No, that would be silly. They are also not really drops of water, either. Everything I said above was a lie. I didn’t intend to lie to you. Sometimes I just can’t control myself. Anyway, the truth is clouds are really disembodied spirits. Think about it. After we die, our spirits fly out of us and go up to heaven. Except any rational human being knows there is no heaven. The idea of some kind of paradise floating in the sky is a myth. So where do the disembodied spirits go? They float up and become clouds. Of course they take moisture with them and that’s who is actually stealing all of the water—including all of the water from my glass, which is now empty. Actually what worries me is Bobby—the guy who lives in the bushes at the end of my street—who died recently. He didn’t like me too much. He always jumped out of the bushes and threatened me—wearing his chocolate pants and bearskin shirt—he would scare me so much I would drop my container of Tang (which I kept in a special shellac- and gauze-covered cup to keep the spirit-ghosts from stealing the water, leaving only Tang powder). Anyway, since he died I am pretty sure that I’ve seen a particular cloud follow me everywhere. It’s often in the shape of chocolate pants, but not always. Then, the other day it was foggy and it was a Tuesday. I think I may have been breathing in Bobby despite my mask.

Clouds are scary.
Remember that. I’m pretty sure the Bobby-Ghost-Cloud just stole my glass, too. To be safe everyone should gather up a lot of shellac and surgical masks. It is our only hope. Hurry! Run out now. I hope you learned something.

Russell Bradbury-Carlin gave up his corporeal existence long ago. He now exists only as a series of bytes and electrical impulses distributed through out the internet. You can visit aspects of him (the humorous parts, anyway) here at Yankee Pot Roast and at McSweeney's, Science Creative Quarterly, The Big Jewel , as well as other sites. But if you are interested in visiting with him in his most condensed form, check out his Web site, All My Shoes and Glasses. Please note: if you visit his site between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., please be quiet--that is when he sleeps.