First / Second, pt. 1 by Donnie Boman




Technically, the second dog died of a broken heart over the passing of the first. That is the only rational explanation. In terms of the irrational, the death could have been caused by a myocardial infarction. We like technical, logical thoughts. So. Broken heart.

The second left only four days after the first.

We saw clouds of mourning after our first dog died. A cloud of sadness. A cloud of loss. A cloud of doubt. We became enveloped by them. We became cloudy.

The clouds floated along. We floated along with them for a time. Inside them, rather. On them or actually above them, rarely. The mourning clouds carried us around, allowing us to be passengers. We were a little numb. Or a lot. Watching the sky fall away.

Cirrus, stratus, cirrocumulus, altostratus, cumulonimbus. We moved through the terrestrial mesosphere, the stratosphere, the troposphere. Not without effort, but none on our part. Energy was required to accommodate the move from level to level, from state to state. We had none. We were drained. The clouds had their own gas. We’d moved beyond ground rules into cloud rules.

Tears and condensation mixed and became a sad solution, quickly falling to the surface from an unsustainable weight. It was a poor substitute for rain, and no crops were bettered by it.

We drifted from the edges of the vapor to the center of the condensate from time to time. Encapsulated and embraced by the cold and the claustrophobia, we were unable to see what was coming. Where we’d been. Where we were. Time slipped in and out. Fast. Slow. And even what was left of our circadian rhythms was shattered there in the sky. Sleep did not come easily, but when it did, it was uneven and unrestful.

Did you know that there is a difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest? A cardiac arrest is a stop. Perhaps the full stop. The period. A heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest, but not the other way around. A heart attack is a method of action. Not quite an action. Or not the “final action.” And myocardial infarction? That is to say, “heart attack.”

Is there something that causes the attack or does the heart attack something else? Is the attack, either way, random? Or is there a direction of force towards the attack? From the attack? Directionally caused. Causing. What causes the cause? Why? (Or who?) If the attack doesn’t attack something else, then what? What is it doing if not attacking? Should this be called heart illogically causing an effect that causes another effect, or, rather, replacing “another effect” here, that second effect being “cardiac arrest”?

(Being simple here, I will only include one cause of a cause of an effect, and a cause of an effect, with the second cause also being an effect. This will carry through our logical and/or illogical examples (no causes of causes of causes, et cetera).)

And if the cardiac is being arrested, who is performing the arrest? The heart “attack” provides the search warrant, but who is the presenter? Who is the arresting officer? (However, let us not forget that “arrest” could go both ways, i.e. Cardiac could also be the arresting officer. That is to say: An officer can say, “Cardiac, stop! You’ve been arrested.” This would be the arrest of Cardiac. One of Cardiac’s many arrests, it’s just another Cardiac arrest. But Cardiac can also say, “Stop! You’ve been arrested,” You’re now one of Cardiac’s many arrests, just another Cardiac arrest.)

An illogical method of action is known, but the final “effect” that actually “caused” death is not. We have here an effect preceding a cause. (There is nothing known about the cause of the method. But that is a cause of a cause, and how far back can we go? Oh, we can go far back. What did we do? What could we have done? Was it our fault? Did we cause something to happen? Did we not do something? But it is illogical to pedal backwards, rather, nothing will be solved, ultimately.)

There is an in-between. Between the method and the final effect. There is some sort of chain reaction, perhaps. However short the delay. Please short. No pain. No in pain.

The final effect. This is indeed finality, and which, ultimately, is also illogical. Death. Illogical even more than it is incomprehensible. It may be inevitable, but that is far from being a logical solution or the final answer to this far-reaching equation.

The cause of the effect. The cause of the cause of the effect is, perhaps, known (“heart attack”). And the effect is known (“death”). (Indeed, the effect is another cause, but that is beyond. Logically, logic of an illogical solution.) In-between the cause of the cause of the effect and the effect is the cause (which, perhaps, could have been a “chain reaction,” cascading outwardly and inwardly to produce multiple, multiple causes – going far beyond our simple logic). This is still unknown. That this unknown is unknown is, however, a logical ultimate, however. Because what is the point? That is also still unknown.

So. Known only are (some of) the circumstances leading up to death. Illogical causes and effects. And the simpler, logical cause.

We heard the breaking; the booming, painful cracks. We thought it was thunder. The first death had come to his soulmate. His bonded brother.

The second death. His broken heart. And it was far from a clean break. It was an infinitely compounding fracture. Leading him into an infinite beyond.

—End Pt. 1—


Donnie Boman writes very short stories, very early in the morning, hence, varying his comprehension of logic. He works in a library where he gets to nerd out and talk about books and cataloging and searching databases all day. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife.