Brody awoke to the oddly metallic taste of numbers on his tongue. At first he believed it was blood -- this tangy, tart sensation that reminded him of the time he had fallen head-first down a slide during the distant but potent days of his childhood, around seven or eight, his nose bonking the edge of the curved metal and his mouth gargling the foaming red nostril spray that, secretly, despite the resulting, obligatory tears and snot-fuelled sobs, he found sweet, almost comforting.
Now he was an adult, and he did not want to taste blood. It hinted at all that was yet to come. But this particular taste, on this specific morning, was one that he rolled around in his mouth while his eyes still adjusted to the weak, almost timid morning light that gradually snuck its way between the blinds, like a shy girl sticking out her tongue in the general vicinity of her class crush.
I can taste a seven, he thought, spry and lively. That's at the edge of my mouth, the right hand side, just above the tooth that I think I'm going to have to get yanked soon. And four -- I can feel you, too! At the tip of my tongue, balancing on the edge, cool as a November night after six. Ah, and nine! You taste like someone has sneaked some rum into my coke! Right on the underside of my tongue, a hidden gem that will leave a spry, mournful aftertaste.
None of this made sense, of course. Morning thoughts never do. But in this nonsensical assemblage of numbers and tastes, thoughts and sensations, he found a clarity that had been missing for months, possibly years. Some secret of the cosmos had chosen itself to be revealed to him here, at this time, in this frumpy bed. All those mathematicians jumbling numbers around! Numbers only! Don't they realize the connections that exist between the most unlikely of allies?