Searching for Peace (Through the eye of a needle encore)


“Whatcha doin’, Biff?” said the fox.

“Searching for peace, fox,” I said as I leaned into the carpeting on my living room floor, looking intently through the eye of a needle.

“Think you’ll find it that way, Biff?” said the fox.

“Nope. Not here, fox,” I said. “Finding about a billion dust mites and some cat hair from when Kiki and Gibson were visiting. And a bread crumb. But no peace.”

“Maybe you’re just not getting into it enough, Biff,” said the fox.

“Whadaya by that, fox?” I said.

Suddenly, I was falling into to the eye of the needle. I wasn’t any smaller, but the needle had taken on the proportions of a giant obelisk and I was heading straight for the eye, which seemed to be rushing at me as I fell toward it and the two edges of the eye rushed at me like two metal columns joined at the top to form a domed gateway that I fell through.

Did I mention I was screaming?

The fox did this.

I landed safely on the carpet, though upside down, surveying the jungle of carpet around me as I balanced on my head. It was kind of cool. The carpet fibers were of wavy and what everybody’s worst hair day would feel like. Something moved a few feet in front of me (which would be less than an inch in non-carpet distance) and I heard a voice calling out: “Hey, Biff!”

“Yeah?” I said, not really knowing who or what I was talking to but, as my vision cleared in the dimness of the carpeting, I started to see about a billion fat spidery bodies with plump double pincers instead of faces…like blobs with short blobby legs.

“Hey, Biff!” said the one in front of me. “We’re dust mites. We live on the skin you shed every day when you do Tai Chi and Qi Gong in your living room. Boy, Biff, you shed a lot of skin. Take a look around.”

I looked around and saw a lot of patches of skin. My skin. And these blobs were eating it.


(Note to self: Cure for dust mites…scrub harder in the shower.)

About a billion dust mites were making giggly sounds with puffy bodies wiggling like gelatin about to melt. They were hanging upside down from the carpet fibers. Standing on my head was starting to make sense.

“So,” I said. “I hope I’m not squashing you when I do my stuff in the morning.”

“C’mon, Biff,” said the mite. “Take a look around. There’s mites to spare. You keep the population down. Otherwise we’d be spilling out your windows and doors.”

“Guess I can find solace in that,” I said.

I was kind of relieved they weren’t pissed off and about to eat me. But…come to think of it…they were eating me. Sort of.

Didn’t see the fox anywhere. Must’ve finally hibernated. Strange thing though…I still had the needle I’d just fallen through in my hand.

“Biff,” said the mite, “we heard about your search for peace. How’s it going?”All around me, mites hanging from carpet fiber wiggled and giggled as they chewed on pieces of my skin.

“Not really sure, mite,” I said. “It seems to be coming in bits and peaces, like a giant jigsaw with missing pieces and pieces that should fit together but don’t.”

“Sounds like life, Biff,” said the mite. About a billion dust mites stopped wiggling and giggling and chewing and turned toward the mite that was talking to me…and I swear they seemed to be nodding in agreement.

So I thought about this. The mites turned their attention to me as I thought. I’m not sure how I knew this, but I did. Maybe I was developing some kind of mite sense. When you’re surrounded by about a billion of them…

“So…you’re saying life is like a fucked up jigsaw puzzle?” I said.

“At first glance,” said the mite. “Pieces will always be missing. And some parts will never fit together.”

About a billion mites bounced up and down hanging from their carpet fibers, making clicking sounds with their pincers.

Clicking sounds.

I’d heard that sound before, when I was doing Qi Gong in the morning. It was dust mites. Clicking in my carpeting. About a billion of them.

“So if my search for peace is like life,” I said, “then I’ll never find it?

“No, Biff,” said the mite. “I mean that you’ll eventually find something…something that makes the search worth it in spite of the missing pieces.”

“So,” I said, “the search goes on?”

“Missing pieces and all, Biff,” said the mite.

About a billion dust mites wiggled and giggled and bounced and made clicking sounds across the firmament of my living room carpet.

“Look into the eye of the needle, Biff,” said the mite.

I looked at the needle, right into the eye, and it grew to immense proportions all over my living room, and I was falling upwards through those gargantuan columns again and standing in my living room with the needle in my hand.

Did I mention that I was screaming again?

“So, Biff,” said the fox. “Did you find peace in your carpeting?”

“Not really, fox,” I said. “But I think I’m going to start walking a little softer when I do my morning workouts.”

The fox grinned. I felt a cold chill racing up my spine.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that, fox,” I said.

“So you talked to the mites?” said the fox.

“About a billion of them,” I said. “And I’m still not a hundred percent certain what really happened in my carpeting, but I think my search for peace is starting to make little more sense.”

“How so, Biff?” said the fox.

“Not sure yet, fox,” I said. “But I’ll figure it out.”

(To be continued. But not in a carpet.)

“You could have warned me about the needle, fox.” I said.

“Hey, Biff…what doesn’t kill you…doesn’t kill you.”