Ordination into the Open Order was not as easy a thing as it would seem from the name.
The Open Order, after all, was not Open to all comers. It was not an catch-all, a dumping ground, a wastebin, no matter how much some of the other Ordinal Orders might think it so.
Certainly, all who found their way there were welcome to sit and pray in the Open Order’s clerestory prayer racks. Many did, although the wide open (of course) windows meant that few stayed for long, despite available food and water, warmth and shelter.
That was the first test of Ordination: to, unknowing that it was a test, pray or at least sit quietly in a prayer rack for a double handful of days, sleeping in the tiny warm pod for ten nights.
The zeroth test of Ordination was, of course, to find oneself in the Open Order’s cathedral to begin with. Where it stood – between possibilities, next to probability, open to everything – that was less easy than it would seem. And less hard, as well, since, as mentioned, the other Ordinal Orders saw it as a waste-basket for those who did not fit in their directions.
Old Tyler had slipped between notice and mention and found himself hobbling up the stairs. For ten days and ten more, he sang to the open winds.
Onyx-Black had slipped there between school transfers. She had huddled in the back of the prayer rack until the wind called to her and then, for eleven days, she had sat with her feet dangling, telling stories to the wind.
J-alpha-7 had lasted five days before she went exploring, got lost, and finally ended up back in the BAELZ.
Others came, and lasted or didn’t, asking for release or diving out the windows, seeking for a new world. The Ordained of the Open watched, and waited, for those who would move on to the second test.
Ordination into the Open Orders had Nine tests, although some whispered that there was, in truth, no end to the tests, simply another step along the way to true Openness.
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The Department of Never had left a Notice on Neil’s door.
He ignored it the first day, tired from work and grocery shopping, foot-sore and soul-tired. The second day, there was a a second Notice stapled above the first.
His eyes glossed over it, found it pink, and ignored it again.
The notice the next day was a slightly darker shade of rose, with larger letters. Neil had a late-night poker game with his friends, and ignored it. If the Department, the Nonesuch, the Agency of No really wanted to talk to him, they could come in and talk to him like normal people (not that they were normal. Not that, if rumor were true, they were people at all).
The days passed. Neil had a busy work-life and almost as busy a home-life (not that it happened at home. Usually; his home-life happened at other people’s homes, in their man-caves, in their dens. Or in bars, including the Nevermore and the North Pole, and quiet seedy clubs)); he ignored quite a bit, not just the Notices from Never but the menus from Number One Chinese and Mark’s Pizzeria, the angry notes from his landlord about why he never attended the floor events, and, sometimes, phone calls from his mother.
(Bills were paid automatically, so that he didn’t ignore those).
On the ninth day, the Notice on his door was red, and Neil finally read it.
For a moment, he thought that was all it said. He squinted at the letters, black on bright red text.
The Non-Division wishes to inform you that there has been a change in the scheduling of this sector, 9-5-9-8, subsector 9. As of the Ninth of November, Yr 99, we are cancelling nighttime.
Neil looked at his watch, which told him the day was the eight of November. He looked at his scheduler, which told him that he had plans for the next nine nights, most of which were, to put it succinctly, night-life sorts of plans.
He sat down in front of his door. “No. No.”
The Department found him there when the sun rose for the last time, still nattering on, no, no, no.
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If you have boosted The Giraffe Call or its stories, please let me know and I will add more couplets.
If someone wants to art any given couplet, I will write two whole stanzas for any art I can use when finishing/posting this.
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