written February 2015
What Axel Landon’s birth certificate, dated July 4, 1876, did not say, was that its existence , as well as Axel’s, was the result of a fifteen minute ya’tun between Jackson Landon and pretty, butter scotch-haired Sylvia Morton, Pinefield’s lone, sixteen-year old prostitute.
The miracle of life.
If the Pinefield Town Council kept astronomically accurate records of all financial transactions within its borders, with the ability to then weigh every purchase against the amount of good that each ultimately brought into the world, it would have been discovered that the five dollar note Jackson Landon spent siring his son on the second floor of the Golden Goose Hotel would be deemed the most cost-effective purchase ever conducted in Pinefield.
Such pristine bookkeeping rarely exists, of course. What do exist, however, are only two other accounts that corroborate Sylvia Morton was once a human being at all.
A sixty-seven year old Deacon of the Second Presbyterian Church, named Sven Pearson, can be credited with the first. In 1901 Sven would discover, folded within the 2 Kings portion of a Bible that resided in the front pew and was thus rarely used, a yellowed paper with the handwriting of a seven-year old Sylvia, still nine years away from her quarter-hour with Jackson Landon.
What a waste of a perfectly good garden! You would think they could stick around past the first page, at least. It reminds me of Mama always sighing, watching from our parlor window dusty Easterners streaming through town towards Iowa, saying to no one in particular, “Since Eden —always on the move!”
April 11, 1867
On the reverse side of the scrap of paper Deacon Sven could just make out, in a rushed hand, a final thought that seems to have just occurred to young Sylvia:
Dear God Above,
I would very much wish to devote my life to the natural sciences. Amen.
A Pile of Rocks
The third and final proof that Sylvia Morton once drew breath is a crude, rectangular slab of Mesozoic geology jutting out of a grassy slope within Pinefield Cemetery.
The rock itself, a fine piece of Oregon marble, was once attached to a mountain-sized slab of Mesozoic geology named Clark Point, situated majestically overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Sylvia’s portion of mountain was dragged two-thirds across what would become the United States by Cotton Sanders, an unusually brawny Rhode Islander and member of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s 7,689-mile Louisiana test-drive.
Because Sylvia Morton was still nonexistent during their return trek in 1806, Cotton Sanders did not lug her future tombstone from Oregon to commemorate her eventual re-nonexistence. Rather, it was to be carved down further into an even smaller rock, in the form of a statue depicting Thomas Jefferson. If Tanowkans had had a word for “statue,” it would have been tau’pan; since the need for a statue had never occurred to a Tanowkan, the word tau’pan was never created.
The Oregon-derived tau’pan of Thomas Jefferson was never created either.
The tau’pan was never made because mighty Cotton Sanders was destined to collapse of exertion, like a pile of rocks,immediately after pulling his cargo upon the east bank of the Mississippi.
“Well how will our President Tom ever be remembered now?” Cotton supposedly gulped weakly, with great concern in his voice, looking over all of Illinois before him, and the rest of the United States still to go to boot.
He then expired.Poof.
Where Cotton is now is anybody’s guess.
The same fate did not befall Sylvia Morton,the pretty prostitute and mother of forgotten filmmaker Axel Landon. Seventy-two inches above her in Pinefield Cemetery— beyond an 1876 bastard birth certificate and a Biblical note to God to be a practitioner of biology the only other record we have— is the scant inscription:
Entrepreneur of the Heart