Not Here (excerpt)

As they swim to shore, the Changer searches for the Not-Here, ahead of them where he ought to be. He is nowhere to be seen. For these few moments, he has forgotten himself. But when they reach land, the Changer will once again be concerned with what he smells like, seeking to return to the smell of his birth. He is not aware that the smell of sweet ginger snaps at birth was the smell projected by his mother and was thus not granted by nature. Nature grants nothing but the playground in which to perceive an array of sights, sounds, tastes and smells. Perhaps ginger snaps were placed on a plate by the hospital bed. Unable to withstand the smell of birth, which for her was the smell of pain, she immediately transferred the pleasant smell of ginger snaps to her newborn son. The more likely story is that he was born smelling like nothing, and his mother simply could not bear this smell of nothing. Therefore, the Changer will always smell like something, even when this something is nothing.
* * *
The Changer is still not certain. Sometimes he picks up a faint scent of his very own, even in the midst of the objects of his world. When he withdrew from this manmade lake, he smelled something like a cross between soggy cookies and a Christmas tree. But the Oral Writer, the Changer, and the Not-Here are not here anymore. Neither are the three geese. They are – each one of them – over there somewhere.

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