Short Story From Arthur Chertowsky

Eyes and Ears

My bad habit of not using my reading glasses and instead holding books a few inches from my face progressed to reading with just one eye while the other eye remained shut.

The shut eye can no longer focus on anything.

My reading eye experienced a torn cornea.

I started buying audiobooks.  The first book I listened to was about the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.  Decades of research went into the book, and it had a twelve hour listening time, but it took about twenty four hours to listen to it because I’d fall asleep and then have to spend a lot of time backtracking to pick up the narrative where it left off.

Aliens are real, the cover-up is huge, and I feel alone and afraid.

I developed otitis in both ears, a constant itch which, if memory serves, is caused by tiny living creatures setting up nests in your ears.  The prescription eardrops foam up in the ear canal and temporarily quell the itching.  My hearing has warped, maybe from using the drops, maybe from the nests of creatures who’ll never be conquered, who’ll never leave.

The second book I listened to was Liz Cheney’s “Oath and Honor.”  I didn’t fall asleep much listening to Ms. Cheney’s first-hand account of people and events before, during and after the January 6th, 2021 insurrection.

People who love dictators are real, they are many, and they are everywhere.  My warped hearing changed some of Ms. Cheney’s words, making funny phrases, but I understood enough.

Wanting to escape into another world, another time, another place, the third book I’m listening to is a non-fiction scientific exploration of Neanderthals, our much-maligned ancestral cousins.  The book is advertised as taking sixteen hours to listen to, but the charming lady scientist author/narrator sets the scene for each chapter with a richly descriptive tableau of life hundreds of thousands of years ago, and that sends me off to dreamland, and then it’s back to backtracking, so I expect the book will take many days to read.

But am I reading?  Reading with the eyes is work.  Listening is also work.  I’m reading.

Oh.  I’ve developed tinnitus.  My particular noise from this affliction sounds like a heartbeat listened to with a stethoscope.  That drumbeat, and the itching, and the warping of words, might end my adventure with audiobooks.

The Neanderthals, though, I’d like to know how it ended for them, or, rather, how at least bits of themselves managed to survive.

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