Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Afternoon at Chaim’s

Oh and up into nostrils the offal scent went. The artist’s face – sneering, crooked, flat – seemed little more than a collection of holes, of dots. He had had for months too much of the stuff. All over the carpet. Thick mounds all over the carpet.

A man was coming over. He had not met the man. Nor had the man met him. To meet the man he took into his mouth sips large and small of whatever he could find. Thick sips of sweet and thick and horrible, sips that made his lips sputter or whistle or smack. Each sip a miniature cataclysm.

Racks or rows of the things. Tall but at the bottom steeped – like everything here – in thick mounds of the wet hot wet stuff. Thick heaping mounds, dried in parts, but wet, mostly wet. All over the carpet! He with his mouth and throat and chest gasped. A finger of his scratched a leg of his and a small fleshy wound began again to seep.

When the man came he was naturally overcome. He with his shirt covered the two tiny nostrils on his face. My god. My god! He glanced around him and at the rows and racks and looked somehow above the heaping mounds all over the bottoms and all over the carpet and he looked and with his eyes became for a moment more overcome. He gasped too with the parts that one gasps with and he, removing his shirt from the two tiny holes for a moment, declared I must have them.

They are now on display in a home the stranger owns just outside of Philadelphia.

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