• Jill Campbell

The Legend of Longitude


“What’s the point?” He said, shrugging into his white ermine coat.


He stuck the microphone under the nose of the first unsuspecting wanderer.


“The point?” The wanderer asked.


“Exactly.” The man smiled, or was that a snarl? As he answered he flashed his white teeth and rolled his white eyes as he trudged on. He’d chosen a line of longitude, the Greenwich Mean, it turned out.


The mike mashed into the face of the next unwitting witness. She blurted, “Why Greenwich Mean Time?”


His snicker became a snurk as he stared. He gave the woman a finger, his third, of course. The single digit he’d snapped from the white kid glove he wore on his left hand. He nipped it off with a chortle, “My point precisely.”


His exactitude and expertise had been admired the world over. And now? With this epic journey? His reputation would soar. No doubt.


The third person he accosted, threes constitute the magic balance number, was a tiny thing clothed head to toe in Tards: unitards, leotards, bastards. “Bastards? I couldn’t be, could I?” The child appeared far too innocent. “Please Mister, Missus?” But his eyes gave him away. They were pools of bottomless hope, unrequited love and remnants of chairs flung across rooms in frustration.


The man turned away. His burning desire was passive, though his actions belied that craving. He craved escape from participation. Maybe escape from the race he seemed to be in. More likely from the human race.


Continuing south bound on his chosen line, his white beard became accompanied by white locks atop his brow and his skin bleached colorless by the sun as it tried to scorch through his ermine robe.


He felt the heat. After all, he was nearing the equator, that pinnacle of balance, and he had done his research. Only hummingbirds and Macawcaw Caws lived here. Suddenly he was stabbed by helicopter hummingbirds which dive-bombed him in desperate dive for peace. He bent his head. Even bent, pursuing the passive, but being assertive (bordering on aggressive), he couldn’t avoid the King Kong hand that reached down and grabbed him in a terrorist grip. The man did not resemble anything tasty for the massive ape, who dropped him like a wet bag of marshmallows. Dragging himself semi-erect once more, the man tramped on.


His mutter morphed to a mumble, his mumble to a rumble. Soon he thundered. He thundered on.

The thunder broke open skies above him. Lightning flashed.


The light struck his precious ermine which burst into flame. Nevertheless, the man had traveled far enough south that he dropped and rolled in the snow. He dropped all pretense, put out the Greenwich Mean fire with the chalk-white snow.


Exhausted from his long, mean trek through policies and politics, treachery and tragedies, he slipped and slid down a crevice under the glacier of time,. He left mean time behind. Flamed and frozen out, the man had nothing left to cover his Grinchy ego. He was stripped from mean to clean.


The Legend of Longitude is the purest of pure truths. It is the truth of fiction.

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