The anthropologist appeared in late July, when the sky was still a cornflower blue & the earth rumblings had stopped. He ate escargots & spoke of published books & of academic lyfe & provided instruction on how to become a better person.
The anthropologist also did this thing with his h&s.
He drank whiskey & smoked Djarum Blacks & said things like, “White Cube is something new & wondrous that will never happen again.” The anthropologist would pause & then continue, “Because we are in an important moment in time right now, where limitations & regulations cannot affect the kind of world-changing work we are doing, literally, the sky is the limit.”
After that, the earth rumblings would come back for a little bit, but with less frequency. At night, the anthropologist would recite poetry & sleep by the pond & play guitar & spend the better part of his days photographing plant lyfe & investigating rock formations near & around the White Cube construxion site.
But not once did the anthropologist take a picture of White Cube or anything around White Cube.
“It’s because I cannot look directly at it,” the anthropologist explained. “The thing is, anything made of black magicks & the like—” & he pointed to White Cube, “is much too wondrous & magnificent for me to even know what to do with.”
The anthropologist asked Marfa Preitzborne-Huffer what she thought of White Cube.
“I don’t know,” she said. “My mind does not think of things like that.”
Marfa Preitzborne-Huffer, see, her purpose was to identify light leaks & fume compounds, & then nothing else.
The anthropologist respected that & knew he had already said too much so he stayed for another three (maybe four) hours & took off on a specially designed yacht, made of (some of) earth’s rarest materials: holmium, samarium & a bit of ytterbium.
But b4 he left, the anthropologist looked back & said, to a few of us, “Don’t mind the light, it really is just false promises & a whole lot of kumbaya after that.”
Simonette de Gaulle wrote down what the anthropologist had said & by the time she finished & looked up, just like that, he was gone.
Constantinople de Renobles contracted pulmonary embolism & Santiago Jules shook his head & said, “That’s because he works in the mines.”
It was during one of the lunch hours that Constantinople de Renobles coughed up syrupy blood & freaked everyone out. Sallie Umberto got some blood on her top & screamed, “Surely, it’s the end for me!”
The following evening, a doctor appeared on a slightly antiquated moped.
He wore light grey Hartford slim-fit cotton trousers & a mauve Marc Jacobs bamboo-print crepe shirt.
His hair was neatly combed & loosely crimped & even in the August heat, not a drop of sweat could be seen on any part of his face.
Susanna Reauchambaud remarked, “Impressive.”
The doctor introduced himself as Achilles Yorembein & gave a speech on the dangers of working in the mines & scuba diving at night. He told Sallie Umberto she would be safe. Constantinople de Renobles however, “That’s a different story…” he said.
Constantinople de Renobles died that same afternoon.
We stopped work 4 the rest of the week & took time to celebrate his lyfe, “Because that’s what he would have wanted,” San Marita de Renobles (Constantinople de Renobles’ third wyfe) said.
The moment it happened, when Constantinople de Renobles finally reached the end of his lyfe, it is said the ghost of his soul could be seen leaving the body. As a result, Alexia Martène did a sign of the cross & Jossua Primm cried.
Patrique Barnaby, our spectroscopist, said, “If Anthropologist had been here, he would have been able to save him.”
Eventually, the death of Constantiople de Renobles became but a distant memory. Matthieu Van der Strijt planted a few palm trees in remembrance, but that was pretty much it.
Marques Framberk, overcome by a sudden depression & acute anxiety, threatened to quit because he felt he could find a better salary elsewhere.
Giancarlo Daviici, our workplace efficiency consultant appeared from behind a sphere & said, “Marques Framberk, you are the total gas containment expert. You are the only total gas containment expert we have on this isl&. Without you, who will tell us about total gas containment?”
Marques Franmberk remained silent.
Giancarlo Daviici then pointed to Charlie Francis. “Charlie Francis is our broken glass housewares specialist. We need him just as much as we need you. If you leave, you will be ab&oning us all.”
Marques Framberk grumbled something & then returned to work.
That evening, at the campfyre, after a dinner of roasted peppers, curried shrimp & toasted garlic, someone told the story of Constantiople de Renobles & the rubber tree.
Meanwhile, the foreman called Marques Franmberk into his office to let him know he had earned himself a $0.03 raise.
The thing is, everyone here was just as important as everyone else. Without one person, we were no person.
We completed White Cube on a Tuesday afternoon sometime in October. White Cube’s colourway was a simple mix of two parts cosmic latte & one part anti-flash white, but in this light, it looked almost pure white.
It wasn’t long b4 men in suits appeared & then women in dresses—of all colours, shapes & sizes. It was a bit of a spectacle.
There was a lot of commotion too, but also, to go with that, a lot of laughter.
The foreman told us, “Go wear your best clothes. There’s going to be pictures & after this, you’ll be famous everywhere.”
Tareeq Gamm measured all of the women & Bertrand Yamasaki, the men. By evening, everyone had a custom outfit.
Press releases & news crews arrived from around everywhere. One news reporter said he had flown all the way from Canada & another lady said she’d missed her flight but made a deal with an animist & was lucky to have gotten here as quickly as she had.
A man named Pippin Quell coached us on what we were allowed to say & what we were not allowed to say. We were h&ed documents we had to sign. Pippin Quell said, “Memorize these questions & then memorize the answers. Do not memorize both at the same time; you will become too confused. Memorize just the questions first & then, after you are comfortable enough & feel you have memorized all the questions, memorize the answers. If someone asks you a question that is not on the list of questions, say either, ‘I am sorry but I cannot answer that,’ or, ‘at the moment, I am sorry but I cannot provide a comment on that.’”
Needless to say, there was a joyous celebration & nobody asked questions they were not supposed to ask.
Following the gala, we were granted a resting period of three weeks. The foreman said, “Have fun. Do whatever you want to do.”
We ate fancy dinners & read interesting books & watched intellectual films. Ursula Mantriesta showed us how to scuba dive at night & Salman Wendigo gave a PowerPoint presentation on how to start a business.
Overall, we learned a lot & the entire three weeks was a good time.
At the end of the three weeks, the foreman produced blueprints from his bungalow & said, “This is our next project.”
It was called Black Cube.
There was a bit of discussion, followed by an interesting moment where the foreman appointed Yassine Matternack as Chief Construxion Officer. Yassine Matternack then turned around & made Kevelk Dosche Project Manager & Kevelk Dosche, in turn, made Greg Batnick (a professor of fluid dynamics at a small university in Barcelona) Assistant Project Manager
Together, the three began to draw plans for one of the eight pools we were to include as part of our final design for this new project.
The foreman also named Jahred Lindley & Alexei Maternel Lead Terraformer & Original Surveyor, respectively.
The anthropologist was flown in that evening to swear them in. He left shortly after.
Later, after the officiations & signing of documents, over the campfyre, Alexei Maternel said, “I’m beginning to think this is the best job I’ve ever had, truly!”
A film was shown on the projector in December. A documentary documenting the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It was called Tokyo Olympiad. We began at sundown & by the end of the film, a crescent moon could be seen. The night sky was a mesmerizing sort of evening green.
Ramon Colon said a few days later, during a quick game of football after lunch, “I don’t underst& why they had to use slow motion & orchestral music like that. I get that it’s being used as a sort of leitmotif, but for whatever reason, it really didn’t gel with me.”
We organized a racewalking competition after the football match & Phyllis Salvador won.
The prize was this new type of bar soap invented by Wasiim Gaultier, designed for an overall better showering experience.
Five months passed & we were almost finished with the new project. We built a functioning satellite radio tower but something was wrong.
Travis Martinèque, who knew about satellite radio towers, said one of his calculations had been off. “We have to start all over.”
We dismantled the satellite & destroyed a few pieces in the process.
Grayes Armitage said, “Why did we have to start all over? Now, the destroyed pieces are going to take weeks to get here. Can’t we just salvage & remake part of it, instead of do nothing but sit & wait?”
Travis Martinèque was not very good at explaining his craft so no one really understood what he was trying to say when he explained to Grayes Armitage that, “The melting point of the magnesium does not allow that we mix it with the zinc.”
The very next day, the anthropologist appeared & had lunch with us. He said, “I won’t be here too long, I’m afraid.” He played football with us & then went to speak with the foreman.
b4 the end of the day, the anthropologist took Travis Martinèque with him, away in a plane (this time).
The foreman appeared during dinner & introduced us to Luis Yaq’am & said, “Luis Yaq’am will be the new Travis Martinèque.”
“I am from Portugal,” Luis Yaq’am said.
& that was that.
The next morning, once we commenced building the new satellite radio tower, already, we could tell: Luis Yaq’am was much more proficient at his craft than Travis Martinèque.
By around 2:00 AM, the tower was back up & this time, we were already hearing sounds from outer space.
In August, there was a day with hornets & what felt like a very dry heat.
The foreman said, “Do not come out from your bunkers, there’s hornets & a very dry heat.”
Dante Peters said out loud, “But, I need my walkman,” & walked out to retrieve his listening device, but the hornets were quick to get him.
The foreman cried out, but there was nothing anyone could do.
A man in a beekeeper outfit appeared with smoke & fyre & leaves.
He did this all day, the thing with smoke & fyre
It took a long time but eventually, the hornets, they went away.
& the dry heat also, it left with the hornets (& the man in the beekeeper suit).
We buried Dante Peters near the second well & the foreman said, “Tomorrow, we have to make up for today’s lost time.”
After lights out, Antoine Fincher talked about the man with smoke & fyre. He said he once knew a man who reminded him of the man with smoke & fyre, & showed us this picture:
We were offered one day of vacation by the foreman so we explored nearby caves. We stayed out late & it was 3:32 AM in September so everything looked super beautiful. The stars in the sky shone very brightly.
Steffan Poplionovius took pictures of the moon & focused on the reflections of things off the surface of other things.
Reymon Fantaglio said, “Is that Pentax or Fujifilm?”
Steffan Poplionovius said, “No—It’s Olympus,” & raised his camera in the moonlight, above his head, so Reymon Fantaglio could see the camera was in fact an Olympus.
We spelunked & went cave diving & did this until maybe a little after morning. Animal sounds dominated most of what was going on around us & we were tired & we knew work was supposed to start in three hours but we didn’t care.
Cosmatos Panamos started a fyre & told a story of crazed villagers & savage cannibals as we ate a breakfast of eggs & cantaloupe & waited for the factory whistle to signal that it was time for work.
In November, two famous men appeared. One sang songs & the other filmed films.
The one who sang songs wore Maison Kitsuné wide-leg striped stretch-cotton seersucker shorts & a very nice & new-looking Saint Laurent printed cotton-piqué polo shirt. The film director, who was much more simple & elegant, wore a blue Boglioli slim-fit cotton suit.
They were making a music video for one of the singer’s songs & wanted us to appear in a h&ful of shots, working on what we were working on.
The singer pointed to White Cube in the distance & said to the foreman, “I really enjoy the idea of White Cube, it’s an incredible thing.”
For three days, the film director & his crew & the singer kept stitching together different shots while we pretended to work, each of us, on a section of the new project
We were specifically told, by the film director, “Do not look at the camera.”
Everything felt like a party. They used smoke machines & strobe lights. Yves Renquin even had an attack & we didn’t find out until later that this was because he was an epileptic.
One of the assistants, toward the end of the shoot, made us sign release forms & Arturo Deville, pointing to a line on the second page said, “I can’t read or write. What’s that say?”
L&ing crafts appeared in early February.
Paul Agabbe said to the foreman, “I received a telegram from the Company asking me to work another job somewhere that is someplace else, for a little more pay. I think I am going to go do it.”
& at first, it was just a few people: Pedro Granible, Therèse Jules, Franc Quer & Ubary Ra’am. (But then Paul Agabbe too).
Almost everyone was leaving.
Then, on a Monday, the anthropologist appeared almost out of nowhere & visited with the foreman in his office for a little bit.
There was something off about the anthropologist—something that seemed different. Almost like he wasn’t the same anthropologist from a few months ago.
Pretty much, by the end of the day, the foreman called a meeting in the lunchroom & announced the new project had officially been called off & there wouldn’t be anymore funding. He showed us a telegram to prove this & said, “Ask the anthropologist if you’ve any questions.”
The anthropologist played some songs & sang on the guitar he’d brought along & told a story of when he had been a young man & how he had worked very hard to make his fortune & how now he was living in South Africa (where he had always wanted to be) & could never imagine living anywhere else & how he saw time as nothing but a flat circle.
After his song, Simonette de Gaulle said, “Anthropologist, what happens next?”
The anthropologist looked at Simonette de Gaulle, pointed to White Cube & smiled, “Do you remember what I said to you, all those months ago?”
& in that instant, a bright light shone from behind the structure. The earth rumblings returned & White Cube appeared even more magnificent & more white & more gleaming than ever b4.
The anthropologist snapped a pic & sang a new song & strummed a few licks on his guitar & Simonette de Gaulle began writing things & the anthropologist shouted lyrics: “Palm trees to remember that which cannot be remembered,” & “racewalking competitions to the rhythm of the setting sun,” & “sleep is death, but only by the second well,” & “scuba diving & starting new businesses for a new lyfe away from here,” & “there’s few things in lyfe I fear more than I fear myself,” & “the concensus is that there is no consensus,” & “White Cube, White Cube, White Cube, White Cube, oh how there can never be a Black Cube since there was already a White Cube.”