Building a business

Man stands in an emp­ty ball field at home plate. It’s night, half a moon, maybe less. A few clouds scud across the sky. A dull glow on the hori­zon, some dis­tant city. Enough light to see, but bare­ly. The wind moans through the bat­ting cages. Lonely.

The man holds an old, well loved wood­en bat in his right hand. Work boots, well worn jeans, untucked shirt, fore­arms scratched with many cuts, t‑shirt flecked with dark sliv­ers of glass. Stub­ble, un-combed hair. Skin creased. Eyes intense.

Behind him an enor­mous pile of light­bulbs. All the way behind him to the fence, twice as high as he is, they flow down to his feet, per­fect in their man­u­fac­ture. The ground direct­ly around him cov­ered with shat­tered white glass and the met­al screw bot­toms of bro­ken bulbs. Thousands.

Hold­ing the bat loose­ly, he turns and steps back. Shoes crunch­ing on bro­ken glass in the qui­et. He leans and reach­es for the pile of bulbs, picks one up. Steps back to the plate, faces the mound. Turn­ing the bulb in his hand, he inspects it. White glass, per­fect­ly com­plete. Flip­ping it in his hand, he catch­es it by the bulb. In one smooth motion, he light­ly toss­es it up, brings the bat to his shoul­der and swings mightily.

The bat catch­es the bulb per­fect­ly. In slow motion the bulb shat­ters, fil­a­ment giv­ing off the briefest small spark that dies in the night. The met­al screw bot­tom flies crazi­ly into the black­ness. A slight stag­ger as he fol­lows through the swing. Glass crunch­es again. He paus­es, breathes, wipes his mouth. Turns, and selects anoth­er bulb.

Repeats process. This time a tiny sliv­er catch­es him under the eye. It bleeds, but not much. Pulls out the sliv­er, smears blood. Wipes his fin­gers on his jeans. Turns, selects anoth­er bulb.

The stars swing ‘round over­head. The mound of bulbs shrinks and moves and grows like a breath­ing being. The man swings again and again. Glass shat­ters, screw bot­toms veer unsteady into the night. The moon begins to set. The bro­ken glass around him ever deeper.

Over and over, they break, unable to stand up to real­i­ty. Over and over, he swings.

The lights of the city sput­ter in the dis­tance. Light is not unavail­able to him, but it is his own light that he seeks.

The man swings, the bulb explodes, again and again. A thou­sand times. Ten thou­sand. Ten thou­sand and more.

He turns again to the pile, selects a bulb. Holds it, inspect­ing. Per­fect white bulb, per­fect screw bot­tom met­al. He spins it in his hand, hold­ing the bulb. Paus­es, breathes in. In one smooth motion, he light­ly toss­es it up, brings the bat to his shoul­der, and swings mightily.

The bat catch­es the screw met­al bot­tom per­fect­ly. Sharp, grunt­ing exhale at con­tact. The con­nec­tion, the angle, the pow­er, all in align­ment. Slow motion, the bulb shiv­ers but holds, arc­ing away, rac­ing off toward the fences. The man watch­es, mouth open, hop­ing. Intense silent prayer fol­lows the arc. As it flies, the bulb tum­bles, the screw bot­tom met­al now lead­ing the way. The screws catch the air and it begins to spi­ral, to spin.

We see its des­ti­na­tion now, in the dis­tance but clos­ing rapid­ly. A row of black poles, sen­tinels at the far edge of the field. A sock­et looms on some far lamp post. The bulb flies clos­er and clos­er, rid­ing the curve of its arc, drop­ping out of the sky toward the sock­et, slid­ing through a per­fect trajectory.

Still spin­ning, it clos­es through space to the sock­et, halv­ing the dis­tance infi­nite­ly. At 1,000 frames per sec­ond we see the puff ring of dust pushed out of the sock­et as the bulb enters it. The spi­ral motion forces it to seat itself, the bot­tom makes con­tact. The bulb blazes bril­liant­ly, reflects off the cloud of dust motes shak­en loose by impact.

Tem­po­rary vic­to­ry, her­ald­ed only by the scream­ing lone­ly night. The far off seething city knows nothing.

To the left and right of the blaz­ing light stand more sock­et­ed and bulb-less posts, black in the night. They stretch all the way around the ball field, to the edge of the world, each empty.

Back to the man. He sees the light in the far dis­tance, his pupils widen then con­strict back down. He smiles crooked­ly, rais­es a hand to his eyes to shade them.

Turns back to the pile, selects a bulb.

Trust me kid, you’ll nev­er run out of bulbs. Just don’t run out of game.

NFH

1 thought on “Building a business”

  1. Pingback: Satoshi Nakamoto might be the world’s first AI. – One man's search

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