Algorithm spake into the glass jar and quickly put the lid back on. Shaking it up for good measure, he buried it beneath the house and covered it with the bones of the neighbour's dog. To make it hold, he unzipped his pants and squeezed out the colostomy bag. Decades would pass.
In the intervening years, including a few undercover as a short order cook feeding gruel to the Spetsnaz, he forgot about the words he buried. It was not until his uncle turned up on a Saturday morning, back when cartoons were playing and not just commercials for rheumatoid arthritis, that it came back.
"I need those words," said his uncle. "Your aunt is dying and would like some choice words to part this mortal realm with."
"How do you even know what the words are?"
"Anna Palanquin. That actress from the movie about the guy with white hair and hotdog vendor on the beach?"
"I think you're thinking of Paquin."
"Well, she came to me in a dream and punched me in the throat and demanded I give back the books I borrowed."
"I don't see where this is going."
"So. She wraps my arm in this wire coil thing, it kept humming some kind of solenoid, and she turns on the juice. My fingers and toes fall off and they spell out your name. And here I am."
They stood for a while and watched as sweat dripped from each other's noses.
"I'm sorry dear uncle. I cannot do that. Aunt Maerie will have to go without."
"But you're her favourite nephew."
"I'm her only nephew."
"Look. Sleep on it. Think it over. I'll come back tomorrow and we'll dig it up."
The next morning Algorithm woke to find his uncle standing over him by the bed. In his left hand, a shovel. In his right, a glass jar. The lid was gone and his uncle's face weathered through sandpaper and lye. He dropped to his knees, both hands emptying.
"I think I found the wrong jar."
Written on Friday, 21 June 2013