Flatland Revisited

Leo Mariani

There existed in Flatland, a peculiar sort of creature. This creature went by the name of Gerry. He was neither circular nor polygonal. Nor was he simply a line like the women of flatland. He was a 300 sector of a circle. He was the illegitimate child of a circle and a crooked line. His mother was bent at an angle of 15 about two thirds of the way up her body closer to her eye. Gerry was left alone at a young age as his mother was his only provider. He never knew his father due to the fact that he immediately denied any involvement when he heard of the pregnancy. He lived in squalor on the south side of the marketplace walls with his mother in the early years of his life. His mother was gone when he awoke in the morning as she went out to beg for food and to walk the streets of the marketplace. She stopped by to see him twice a day, once to bring him breakfast in the morning and once for his supper in the evening. This was the only notion of a family that he ever knew. He lay at the foot of the wall the entire day until he taught himself to move about in the tight space of their home. He spent his day in the close confines of their makeshift hovel until one day he decided to venture out into the marketplace

One day Gerry woke up feeling quite curious and began to wander aimlessly along the great wall. Suddenly, he saw several objects moving in a northerly direction in the distance. He was curious and pressed onwards. He soon came to the source of confusion, and he was not sure what to make of it. Many, strange creatures that he had not seen before were moving about in front of his very eyes. Many stopped to look at him also, and began to chatter about back and forth. A crowd soon gathered and they began to rotate around him. The jeers and laughter were non-stop now, and Gerry soon became very frightened. All of a sudden the familiar shape of his mother appeared before him and took him towards home. The crowd followed and they quickened their pace. Shouts of "freak", "tramp", and "retard" filled the air. Soon Gerry noticed that his mother was traveling in a sort of odd rotational pattern as they made their way. The crowd stopped following them at this point, and Gerry soon found himself in the familiar space of their house. His mother was angry with him and she admonished him from leaving the house in the future, "What did I tell you, Gerry? I have enough problems on my hands, I do not need to come upon you in the marketplace causing commotion like that. The world is a difficult place to make your way in, and you are not ready for it. Food is not free. I am going out now to try and get dinner. That must have been some adventure that you had today. Why don't you take a nap now, and I'll wake you when I return." Gerry got in a comfortable position, and began to think about what he saw. Who were all those strange shapes? Why did they gather around him, and what were they saying? Gerry soon became tired and drifted asleep.

Gerry awoke to the sound of his mother milling about in the apartment. She was crying, and there was blood on the floor. Gerry exclaimed, "What happened ma? Are you alright?" She replied, "It's nothing Gerry. Go back to sleep now." Gerry could not sleep as his mind was filled with unanswered questions. His mother was preparing dinner, and they ate the scant meal. Then Gerry spoke, "Who were all those strange people? What were they so excited about?" Gerry's mom replied, "There are people of all shapes, sides and angles in this world. I am not sure what they were so excited about perhaps it was because they have never seen anyone so young alone like that before. I am going out again and I will be back late tonight." As she left a small trail of blood followed her and Gerry saw it and became more frightened. His mind was full of thoughts now, and he could not help thinking about all those people, that big marketplace, and those strange words that he heard. What was wrong with his mother and why did she not want to talk about it with him? He could not sleep as these visions raced around in his head. Then Gerry decided he had to go back out and answer some of these questions.

Gerry advanced out of their small abode rather cautiously looking for any signs of people. He saw no one and proceeded onwards. He soon saw the huge gate of the marketplace in the distance. There was hardly anyone going in and out now, and he decided to proceed. He then entered the marketplace, and it seemed to look much different now. There was not as much movement and there were several swaying lines along the sides of the buildings. No one seemed to notice him like they did earlier in the day, and this greatly intrigued him. There were a few circles, and regular polyhedra of five sides or more wandering the streets as well. Gerry did not know recognize them as being such, but he knew that he had never seen the likes of them before. He pressed on until he came to a familiar sight. He saw his mother, and he immediately turned around and ducked out of sight. Peeking around the corner Gerry saw her being accosted by a large circle and three small-angled isosceles. He could hear them speaking, but he did not understand them nor could he recognize any voices except that of his mother's. Gerry could hear his mother begging and she screamed, "Please, think of our son! Don't you feel that he is part of you? Don't you care?" The circle replied, "You have embarrassed me for the last time. I am sick of your deceit and lies. I warned you, you irregular whore!" At this point the three isosceles advanced upon her rapidly and stuck her in the sides with their angles. Gerry's mother screamed in pain, and her usual rhythmic oscillations ceased. Gerry sat in horror as blood flowed in large pools from his mother's sides. He let out a large cry and ran towards his mother. The circle turned and noticed him. The last thing that Gerry remembered were the three isosceles bearing down upon him from all sides.