By John Thomas Tuft

The stranger arrived unannounced, as strangers so often do. He stood in the public square and began proclaiming, “In three days there will come the death of imagination.” People walked on past him, scoffing, “Imagination could never die. That’s preposterous.” At noon of the first day after he had been proclaiming his message for hours, a woman approached. She had a puzzled look on her face. “We don’t need imagination anyway. We have a special book that tells us all we need to know. It has all the stories we need, explains all where everything comes from, and why we are here.” The stranger looked at her with great patience and asked, “What if something new comes along, or what if there is new knowledge?” She replied, “Oh, we make everything new fit the old.” The stranger shook his head. “Then I cannot imagine giving you the green dot.”

The stranger moved along, still proclaiming, “The end of imagination is near. If you do not have the green dot when imagination ends, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Light.” A group of theologians and pastors were just leaving their weekly luncheon and heard him say this. “My good fellow,” said one of them, “this is quite the epistemological syllogism, wouldn’t you agree my fine colleagues? We pursue the thoughts of the Great Guy in the Sky, historically and righteously, so without imagination what would be the eschatological purpose of things, let alone a green dot?” The rest all nodded in sage consent. “How does one even possess a green dot?” asked a pastor, fresh from seminary. “Unless you receive a green dot, you can never enter the Kingdom of Light,” said the stranger. “Well, there you have it!” announced a senior pastor who had all the theologians’ books on his shelves. “It’s discriminatory and biased.” And they moved on.

And it was night, and it was the second day. The stranger took up his place and made his announcement. “In two days, imagination will vanish. Receive the green dot so you may enter the Kingdom of Light.” A television news crew arrived and assured the stranger they simply wanted to tell his story.  “Are you making a political statement?” the ever so eager to prove herself journalist inquired. The stranger stood there in silence. “The cameras are rolling, sir. If you don’t make some noise how will anyone get to hear you?” she pushed him. The silence of the stranger became deafening. The journalist tried again. “What’s your story? If imagination disappears, won’t that be the end of stories?” The stranger finally said, “Without a green dot, you can never see the Kingdom of Light.”

At that moment, an Amazon delivery truck was passing by. The driver stopped to consider this spectacle. The reporter thrust the microphone in his face. “Sir, what do you make of this green dot conspiracy?” He shrugged. “I’m just trying to feed my family, make a living. What’s a green dot going to do for me?” The journalist faced the camera. “And there you have it. People are saying if you don’t have a green dot, you won’t be allowed to make a living, worship as you please, talk to the Great Guy in the Sky even. Where will it all end? Now, back to you in the studio.” The stranger helped her pack up her equipment and got her something to drink in the heat of the day. Before she left, she turned to him. “Do you think I could get a green dot?” It was only much later that she considered his answer. “I imagine that’s up to you.”

And it was night, and it was the third day. The stranger took up his place and made his announcement. “In one day, imagination will vanish. Seek the green dot and enter the Kingdom of Light.” The entire town had had enough of this foolishness. Social media was lit, as they say. They were the butt of the internet memes. And they gathered around the stranger to demand that he leave them alone. Just at that moment, a child named Johnny was walking in the square, tapping a stick on the ground before him. Johnny had been born blind. The stranger called the boy to come to him and Johnny came.

“Johnny, what is light?” the stranger asked. “I have never seen light,” Johnny replied. “Is it music you can touch all the way to your feet?” he asked.  “Is it the warmth of the sun that I can drink? Is it the vibration of my stick when I tap a rock? Is it the excitement of my puppy when we play? Is it the feeling in my heart when I know my mother is smiling?” The stranger smiled. “Johnny, what do you dream?” Johnny reached up and took the stranger’s face and pulled it to within an inch of his own. Slowly his fingers traced the stranger’s features. “I dream of you,” whispered Johnny. Then he felt the wetness of the stranger’s tears and pressed his lips to them. “I dream of light.”

The stranger touched his finger to Johnny’s forehead. “I’m giving you a green dot.” But the people grew angry. “There’s nothing there. That’s no green dot.” But it was too late. It was the end of the third day.

Words are magic and writers are wizards.