No, the title is not the usual snarky sarcasm.
He walked into the office with these things under his arm. They were fairly transparent, blobby things — one short and bulbous, one tall and amorphous. He set them down on my desk very very carefully so that they each balanced on an impossible edge at an impossible angle. And then he sat down across from me and took off his backpack.
"I need your help," he said.
I looked at him. Looked at the fragile amorphous blob, the tall one.
"Asimov," I said.
"Asimov, great!" he said.
"Not his robot stuff. Not Foundation. This one's called The Gods Themselves. Not what he's known for.
He didn't know it.
"Here's what I'm after," he said. "I've got a show coming up, and I want these to be animate."
"Asimov," I repeated. "The beings he created look exactly like that. Only there are three of them, not two. Three genders, and they fit together ..."
"Yes, they're supposed to be able to merge..."
"Asimov called it 'melding' ... it's how they reproduce."
At some point he mentioned something about when he used to play wind instruments.
"Alchemical air," I said, mostly to myself.
"Alchemical air. You blow glass, instruments, alchemical air. Oh. And earth: Your garden..." because I know what a horticulturalist he is.
He wrote that down in his notebook: Alchemical air.
"And fire..." I realized, thinking of the great heat entailed in his metier. "So that leaves...."
"Water," he said. "I'm very aware of how hydrated I have to be to do what I do..."
"Balance," I said.
"Balance," he said.
I looked at his pieces again, and laughed. Suddenly I saw them with these tiny plastic humans 1950s style set at the feet of these transparent obelisky things. It changed everything. The pieces became enormous. Like they were supposed to be enormous. Like they were supposed to be at least eight feet tall or something. I told him my vision.
"I've been struggling with scale," he said. "And that's it, that's what they need so that you can see the relative scale. At least until I find a way to make them large..."
There was more, much more. But that's the essence of it. I have no idea what he came into the office for. Why he was asking me for assistance since I know nothing about his art, his show, or him. No idea how I could help him.
He wanted his pieces to be animate. There was no way I could help. They already were.