The Janus Trick: Door #25
by Jason Fischer
Jason says: This is the first entry of an ongoing chronicle, as trusted to me by a nameless individual who has rediscovered the Janus Trick. As far as I can tell, these episodic narratives are the only record of his journeys through the Significant Doors...
It’s the back door, the one made of chipboard with the bottom half covered in muddy puppy scratches. You reach up and twist the handle, an indoor fitting covered in paint and salvaged by Poppa. Very carefully, you step into the kitchen. Always with the right foot first. Those who use the left foot never end up where they mean to go.
Nanna only has a few grey hairs, not the silver patchy locks that you last saw her with. She’s made your favourite, scones with jam and cream. You sit at the grown-up table, now as then, even though your feet don’t touch the ground. You’re in sandals and shorts, scabby knees and a little knitted vest, but you’ve got the knowing of ages in your head, the wisdom of times yet to come.
But what good the knowing of computers, when the only ones about are the size of refrigerators? What good the understanding that two towers will fall, or what the market will do over the next twenty years or so? Some of the information is slipping, and it may be sometime till this brain grows and accepts these knowings.
You try to tell Nanna about the Janus Trick, and she humours you. She’s got the impression you’re talking about one of your cartoons, or maybe a comic book. When you mention the imminent passing of Roscoe the fox terrier, she gets a dark look. The scones are gone, and there is nothing but banishment to bed.
You sit on the edge of the overstuffed bed for ages, watching the sliver of afternoon light creep across the high-ceilings. You’re running your hands with wonder all over the stuffed frog she sewed for you, the one wearing the bull-fighter outfit. It’s still some years before the arthritis will take away all her little enjoyments; her knitting, sewing, flute-playing.
She comes in later, and makes you say the Our Father and Hail Mary before tucking you into bed. She says “Holy Ghost” which sounded funny at the time because at school they made you say “Holy Spirit”. With the added weight of years this makes you cry a little, because Nanna was the last person you ever heard saying it that way.