Editor’s Note: Preface
Old Alexius is a figure that most have either not found or have found uninteresting. Most have not found him because, as legendary figures go, he is relatively new. His accomplishments are also insistently minor. When the world prays for a miracle, it yearns not for such petty miracles as an Old Alexius. There’s no point in going halfway if you believe in such things. No one, late at night, posits the notion of a talking tiger and then through divine will seeks to make that possible. None except, we suppose, for Old Alexius himself. Surely, though, if a talking tiger is thought of as a mediocre miracle, then he is still a miracle.
I met Old Alexius in person as he was entering the sixteenth and final year of his life. In a coat of decaying stripes and with loose teeth falling at a slow drizzle from his mouth, he was not the picture of majesty that first piqued my interest more than a decade ago. Nonetheless, we struck up a relationship waiting for a delayed Go train out of Toronto headed to some remote exurb where the two of us both lived. From this remarkable coincidence was spawned a yearlong correspondence. During this time it became quite apparent that I was the only person to take anything other than a purely scientific or charitable interest in him.
Gradually we won one another’s trust, until, before he died, he committed me to revealing a book of insights he had written. As always, he was self-effacing and claimed it was nothing of significance to anyone other than himself. “A collection of trivial musings and trite observations” was the way his lawyer described it. After his death, I attended the funeral and afterward received the book in the mail from his lawyers. Inside there was nothing. Blank page after blank page. I called his lawyers, inquiring if this was a mistake or a sick joke. They told me to wait, because Old Alexius hadn’t lived long enough to make the world ready for his writings. This plainly did not square with the tiger’s denigrative characterization of his own work, but I kept it on my desk as a memento nonetheless.
After a year of waiting, one day I opened the book on a whim and found that the first page had been filled in. I examined it closely and found the handwriting unmistakably resembled Old Alexius’ erratic and scratchy script. I took it to a forensics lab and it was confirmed. I wondered if I were being possessed late at night and, somnambulant, wrote this down unconsciously. I set up a surveillance camera, watched for many nights, and found this was not the case. Every morning, regardless of whether I had been sleeping or not, another page filled up with more and more ink. When I accepted this, more or less, and began reading it, I discovered an intimidating truth.
They were reviews and thoughts based on future events. Albums not yet released, films still in production or only released overseas, commentary dated well in front of its apparent time of writing.
What, then, is this blog? Well, it will be a few things. First, and most essentially, it will be a record of what I found in the completed book. I feel obligated to report the tiger’s work, despite how paranormal its creation seemed. Second, I will use it to tell you a little about Old Alexius’ life, as much as I can. To his writings I will add only scant editorial comment to clarify aspects of his biography and to situate you, the reader, in the mindset of this formerly majestic talking beast. This is a venture of little renown and even less importance, but I find a trace amount of nobility and solace in the notion that my friend’s strange and prescient work will find an outlet, however, humble, in the world.