October 30, 2011


The goddamn hum was relentless. He didn’t really remember when it started or, to be precise, when he became aware of it. Night time, when things died down a bit. Late, when the wall of white man voodoo subsided such that the signal to noise ratio permitted the 18-wheeler or rice-rocket over on the main road to sing out solo. Perhaps accompanied by the man-made mosquito buzz of flowing electrons in the clock radio a few feet from his head. Eventually even the internal squish and thin throb of his own blood squeezing through his taps. But it would be there…


Low, penetrating. More felt by the entire bag of bones then heard with the tiny trios in his head. Quickly rising. Then more slowly falling in pitch, in a pulse that was big, deep, and slow. At first it was easy to rationalize away: machinery of some sort. Modern society, and all that. But the years exposed a deeper truth: location was not really a factor. Apartments, houses, hotels, and motels. Pick a coast.


It wasn’t until he was older and his own internal noise ratio died down a bit that he really started giving it some thought. Turning toward yet another shadow that he had created by ignoring or flat out running from it. He didn’t think he was so crazy that he was just creating the hum himself, but his half-assed readings of Descartes reminded him to resist being too emphatic with such non-solipsistic notions.

Perhaps it was more a matter of scale, a vibrating rhythm of Mother Earth. But was she generating this herself, or resonating to yet another step in scale? He learned of pulsars, then scaled again to quasars. Enormous energy pulses of the known Universe, communicating across perhaps unfathomable fathoms of space and time.

He learned of Buddhism’s intuitive ideas of the ethereal connectivity of all things. He learned of quantum physic’s empirical ideas of the physical connectivity of all things. He freely formed his own lines of conscious connectivity between the pointer systems of philosophy and spirituality. Trying to be mindful of the trap of taking these things all too literally, as his somewhat less half-assed readings of Joseph Campbell had warned. He fell deeply in love. He started a family of his own…

At some point it all coalesced into his own individual sense of pantheism. That it was all “God”. The names only mattered to us, anyway. Too importantly so. It was all alive on a scale we could not perceive from our perspective inside the bubble. We could no more comprehend cosmic consciousness than the bacteria within our body could know what perverted daydreaming we were absorbed in at any given moment.


One night, he got up out of bed with the feeling that the hum was calling for him. He wandered out into the suburban night, scanning the sky for beacons. He settled on a particularly bright, twinkling point of light:

“Star light, star bright. The first star I’ve seen tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”

He thought a bit about what might be a proper wish. Fame, fortune, world peace…the typical list of nonsense. At which point he smiled. Then laughed outright.

“I wish for things to be such that they are. Thanks for getting me in the game, coach.”

He didn’t really notice when he didn’t really notice the humming so much. Not that it went away. Maybe that it wasn’t so goddamned after all…

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30 Comments on “Hummer”

  1. tsmithtoday Says:

    Aum sweet Aum


  2. Ashley Holt Says:

    I have to look up “solipsism” every single time I see the word. Is never being able to remember the definition a sign that I am solipsistic or not?

    Had to look up “rice-rocket,” too. Not that I mind the homework, teach.

    This is one your best yet. Just as I was considering that I had chanced upon several shooting stars in my time and it had never occured to me to wish on one, I got to your “thanks for putting me in the game” bit. That’s a level of spiritual maturity to which we all should aspire.


  3. Andra Watkins Says:

    If Kenneth Andrews sees this, he will make a filthy comment. 🙂 I learned the hard way.

    You did a great job of weaving story to theme in a personal, meaningful way. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself.


    • Brett Myers Says:

      Sharing?! This is purely…um…fictional…(whistling)

      I’m actually struggling a bit with wanting to write more fiction, for the freedom it, and wanting to stay within certain authentic bounds so people won’t think I’m making much of this up. Besides, I think I have a lot to learn about story telling and narrative in the fiction world.


  4. Liz Culver Says:

    This was a great response to the prompt. The first paragraph really drew me in to the story. I liked the end when he ends up not noticing it so much and not being so irritated by it but more accepting of it.
    I stopped by from Indie Ink. Glad you joined the group!


    • Brett Myers Says:

      Thanks, Liz. I very much enjoyed yours, as well. It shows me I have much to learn. 🙂 The group seems like a fun way to expand, as I am just getting started as any sort of writer. Thanks for the welcoming ‘hi’…


  5. Michael Says:

    Very well done. Didn’t think I’d enjoy it, but I did.


  6. kateshrewsday Says:

    Well I found it cracked with a kind of electricity. Energy but not shallow like Amis: plenty beneath the surface.


  7. Tara R. Says:

    I like how he accepted the hum at the end, and in doing that ‘cured’ himself. The prompt was woven into the story neatly. Well done.


    • Brett Myers Says:

      Thanks, Tara. I have only seen a couple of the other entries so far, but from those I feel a bit like the new guy somewhat in over his head, which I find a fun place to be. Thanks for the feedback… 🙂


  8. snhamlett Says:

    wow– just wow! I love this, maybe because I am a quantum physics and astronomy buff, but mostly because it’s an angle I would never have thought to take. 🙂 Great start for a first entry, now you have left yourself with a lot to live up to!


    • Brett Myers Says:

      Very nice of you to say! I really enjoyed joining the challenge and very much look forward to doing more. I have only read a couple other early entries (excited to read yours and the others this weekend), and I feel I have a lot to live up to from a different angle. 🙂

      I will probably take this week off to write up an idea I have bubbling to the surface (not so much a nuisance), and will jump back in on the next. Thanks for coming by and commenting. Check’s in the mail! 😀


  9. DM Says:

    I thought I left you a comment before…I really like what you did with my challenge. The weaving and lacing throughout, only to end with him accepting the hum and finding himself at peace with it all.


  10. amanda Says:

    Wonderful first challenge response. I like to think about all of this stuff, too. I like that you went in this direction. Very unexpected.


    • Brett Myers Says:

      Thanks, Amanda. I often seem to have a natural, fumbling ability for unexpectation. 😀

      I may need this week just to read through yours and the other entries. Fun!


  11. Ted C. MacRae Says:

    Thank you for your recent subscription to my blog ‘Beetles in the Bush’. Can you please confirm if it’s legit? Thanks!


  12. elizabethyon Says:

    Beautiful! I love your literary style, too. One moment of musing on one small mystery, and the world is alight with spirit, radiant with being. Think I’ll read it again. 🙂


  13. SidevieW Says:

    All things entertwined. Its when you realise that you become part of it all. Maybe that was the ‘off’ switch for the noise?



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