When they lost track of the inches, the Superintendent of Documents was called in. He always carried a titanium ruler with him that measured part of his leg. His name was Gerald but they called him Goe. He liked lines but really loved circles. Goe had fantasies about being stabbed in the hand with a protractor.
‘Hey Goe, we have a situation.’ The leader said.
‘Let me guess. It’s the inches.’ Goe said.
‘Yes, they’re all gone.’
‘Even the ones close to the corner?’ Goe asserted.
‘All gone.’ The leader persisted.
‘What about by the blocks?’
This had happened before, but Goe was a patient man. Each time this year the sky would curve into itself, forming a tight narrow dome. Light resided within the arc of the sky, murky and opaque. Marks flew like butterflies in sine waves. Segments got smeared by sweaty palms and the law of quadrants folded away.
Goe exhaled lightly and removed his ruler and began the re-measurement process. This would take about seven days. Very methodically, Goe laid the ruler on the floor, keeping track of all the ends, careful not to overlap. Ever since the zero shortage, people were encouraged to only add. He left marks on the ground. One by one. Sometimes the marks would curve, but they were so small it didn’t matter.
By the ten thousandth New Inch, Goe took out a pad from his chest pocket. It was bound by a spiral wire and had yellow paper with light blue lines. These lines continued into the air. He began writing in the pad. There were marks that looks like words. Above, the sky made sounds like the shell of an egg.
’What’s that?’ said the leader.
‘Just a note.’ Goe replied.
‘Does it have something to do with this?’, pointing to the neat sequence of lines on the floor.
‘Yes.’ Goe said.
‘What does it say?’ the alarmed leader inquired.
‘Water is like a circle without a center.’ Goe answered.
‘What does that mean?’
‘Continuity without control’ Goe said.
By now they were shin deep in the flood. The neatly drawn segments on the floor blurred, refracted by the light that came from above. Each time the water moved, a prosaic of recorded measurments underneath unbound like excited tadpoles. Things would never be correct again. The revolution had begun. Goe would lose his job. The animals would drown. The last state of a line before it breaks is an arc, Goe thought to himself. He calmly put his ruler back in his pocket. Goe had always thought to himself, he liked the direction his circle was headed. When the last wave hit, he started speaking very loudly.