Whatever Happened to Scott Carey?
Scott Carey had it made.
He had a good job with an understanding boss.
He had a beautiful wife who loved him
(of course, there was no other choice
for those were the rules of the game
for both the genre and the medium in 1957,
thank you very much Will H. Hays,
not even you could prevent bad things
from happening to good people).
If only that strange cloud
had been seen and avoided
before it was too late.
If only they hadn’t been so close
to all that Atomic testing.
If only they hadn’t chosen
that fateful day to go out
for a recreational boat ride
If only, if only…
if only he had not begun to shrink.
None of the doctors,
none of the medical experts
had ever seen anything like it.
They tried to give them hope,
Scott and his lovely wife Louise
who stood by him
and loved him through it all,
for as long as she was able
even as he continued to grow smaller,
she as confused as he but undoubtedly
very glad that it wasn’t somehow
all about some other woman.
But they, all the doctors,
all the consulting scientists,
all the researchers who were unable
to set up double-blind experiments
(after all, he was the only subject:
he was truly unique),
they themselves had no hope.
They shook their heads;
they took prodigious notes
and wrote their papers and when
he finally made the newspapers
and the early TV media the reporters
surrounded his house and penned
him up and he became
a prisoner in his own home.
Who can blame Scott Carey
for feeling sorry for himself for a while?
“Why me?” he surely asked.
“In all the boats in all the oceans
in all the movies in all the world
why does this have to happen to me?”
Well, why not him?
Are these not the fractal results
of Chaos Theory in action?
Or perhaps this is that famous action
and/or inaction at the Quantum Level
where we must make impossible choices
again and again – or perhaps not.
Or simply the process of entropy
manifesting itself as a universal constant?
The last we see of Mr. Carey
is after he has fought off the cat,
after he has taken out the
tarantula (Are all movie spiders tarantulas?
Is there not equal time for The Black Widow,
for the Brown Recluse, or even
the slightly less dangerous
but still nasty Wolf Spider?).
And so poor Mr. Carey continues
to inadvertently invade the micro-cosmos,
walking amongst molecules and atoms,
weaving his way through quarks,
mesons and bosons, most likely
making significant discoveries
he is likely unable to understand
or able to share with those
who might actually understand them.
Is he walking the entropic high road
or is he dancing his micro-cosmic boogie
on the end of an infinite Möbius Strip?
And as The Incredible Shrinking Man
continues to shrink past the molecular
universe into the sub-sub-atomic,
what does he breathe?
Or does he breathe at all?
Has he transcended that human need,
having transcended being human
as we know and define it?
Has he transcended humanity
by going beyond the ken of space-time
through some private micro-wormhole?
Is he far gone from our world?
Gone from our world and yet,
is he not still there in that
not quite paid for house
where he and Louise began to doubt
their sanity and finally reality itself,
where no one could see the molecular
jungle in which he fought so many battles,
let alone the battles themselves.
Where are you now Scott Carey?
What have you learned from your
wild descent into diminutiveness?
What have you seen in the world of Small,
where “minuscule” is more than
an infrequent adjective frequently misspelled?
What do you know that we should know,
we who not only were left behind
but were left behind remaining Big
and still dependent upon the macro universe?
Do you have our answers?
There is no sequel in the works
(with or without Will H. Hayes’ approval)
to help explain the ineffable.
Indeed, it would seem no sequel is possible.
So, where have you gone, Scott Carey?
Where are you now that we need you?
Richard Bruns is a zen pantheist, retired photojournalist, graphic designer, and racquetball teaching pro. Five decades of publications include Fallout, Arx, Bonsai: A Quarterly of Haiku, City Miner, Golliards, Berkeley Barb, Berkley Tribe, Fiction West, Sonoma Review, Napa Valley Register, Racquetball Illustrated, Racquetball News, and, most recently, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Easy English Times, and frogpond. His photographs have won three Best of Show and 100+ awards in NorCal Professional competitions. In August 2014 his photos were featured in a month-long show at A-1 Piano Store in Seattle. Richard is married to Judy and has two grandchildren and two cats. (Photo courtesy of Judith Colson)