Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A large medical factory where I once stayed and am in fact staying again

On a bed in a large medical factory I lie awake. A man approaches me and suggests I not touch the sheets. I ask him why. Well, they’re covered in things, he says. I ask him what sorts of things, and he tells me. I throw the sheets off.

I have been here for some time. I of course do not know how long. Another man approaches me. He is surrounded by people, but so long as he is there they will not say anything to me. As soon as he leaves I know they will begin to taunt me. It is one of the things you become accustomed to here. Their taunts. The man tells me that there is a problem. He cannot seem to find my file. My file? I ask, not realizing that, of course, I have a file. Yes, he says. Your file. He does not tell me what a man without a file is to do, so I leave.

Once outside I feel strangely excited. A man without a file ought to be able to do all sorts of things. I, however, can think of nothing to do, so return to the large medical factory. I note that the sheets on my bed have been replaced, and am careful to remove them before I lie down again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Her nose curled upwards. It was an enticement. When she was a child she would set her cat on her face. She thought this might make her nose curl upwards one day. It had worked. Her nose now curled upwards and people were, generally, enticed by it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In a far corner of a house

In a far corner of a house, wedged in between a bathroom and a closet, sits a small room without windows. In this small room sits a small, lumpish man. He is seated in the room’s one and only seat, and he is talking to himself. The subject of his talk is unfixed, shifting arbitrarily from one thing to another. He nods frequently, exclaims often, and is constantly interrupting himself with prolonged sighs. He is a confused man, and upset.

People, he says at one point, cannot seem to stand a bit of sense. This is interrupted by a sharp screech, followed by another declarative statement: I cannot fathom that man with the teeth over there. And, perhaps, he couldn’t fathom the man with the teeth, and perhaps people cannot stand a bit of sense, but none of this is of any importance, that is, none of the things he said or exclaimed or sighed are ever of any importance. The only thing of any importance is that there is a room for this man – tucked away, naturally, but nonetheless there; a room in which this confused man, this upset man, can find some sanctuary from everyone else – all those people who seem so certain about things, those people who do not seem to be upset at all. That is, it is important for a confused, mildly upset man to have a corner somewhere, even if that corner does not have windows, and even if it only has a single chair.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The French Pear

He had left a French pear on the table for her. When she saw it she was surprised. A pear? she thought to herself. And he, squatting beneath the table, could tell by her face what she had thought. It’s not a pear! He screamed from the floor. It’s not a pear!

She hated how he could always tell just exactly what she was thinking. I know that, she said. Of course it’s not a pear.

She hurried from the room, and he remained squatting under the table.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yipin the Cat

Outside of the bedroom sits a small, sounding creature. It bothers him. He looks down at the packets and thinks of words. The only words he can think of he reads. He has to read for thoughts now. And the animal won’t stop sounding. It sounds interminably. It is going to leap, he fears, leap up or out and onto some unwilling frightened part of himself. That is what creatures that sound do. It is muttering and sounding interminably. It sounds like a man now, sad and sharp and deep. It is hurt. He cannot think of anything but packages, each one nearly full, or full mostly, and each one with words. He cannot remember certain things. Names or names for things. He cannot remember her at all, or at least not through the creature’s constant soundings. Not much can be thought of or recalled in the presence of a creature sounding. It bleats interminably, always, just outside of the bedroom. It bleats on and on.

Then from off of the table a small sheet emerges. On it are faces drawn in black ink and bodies that strain and curl off the page. People cannot sound on pages. We cannot have people sounding for nothing. Or rather we cannot have anything sounding for nothing. And by this I of course mean that a thing on a page curling and straining cannot be allowed to sound, simply and for no reason at all, but that is of course what simply means: no reason at all.

I cannot hear the soundings at all now. I can still see the packages. They still have words. White words against an inky surface. The letters more dry than the surface. The creature has at last stopped sounding. For now. As is the case with all things interminable. When it resumes I will not have this to write on any longer, for I have already written on it now. I have filled up this small and crumpled thing. I will have to endure the small sounding creature with nothing at all now. But for these packages, I suppose. And the words that they have printed on them. And their inky insides.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

James H. W. James Academy for Children

An important trait to look for in a child: having at least two middle initials. This is the motto of James H. W. James Academy for Children.

Pupils: 6
Avg. Weight: 74 lbs.
Favorite Color: Varies
Knowledge Attained: Some
Tuition: Varies
Courses Offered: Varies
Mascot: Mallard

James is the only teacher at James H. W. James Academy for Children. He is, however, constantly in search of new faculty to relieve him from what he calls “the great burden of pedagogy.” James is willing to admit that it is a noble enough profession, but after doing it for as long as he has been doing it (nobody is certain how long a time this really is – James H. W. James Academy for Children opened its doors 8 months ago), one simply needs a rest.

The above list is a reproduction of an ad James put in the local paper in order to solicit help. Nobody responded, and thus in my nearly boundless generosity, I felt that I would try to help out this dear, dear man. I write this, then, in the hopes of finding some member of my no doubt immense audience who would be willing to assist James in his pedagogical pursuit. If interested, please send your resume and a cover letter to James H.W. James Academy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

There is a series of small mounds. As he walks across and over them, he cannot help but frown. He hears something that sounds like a bug in the distance. He hates bugs, and thus hears them everywhere. For lunch he will have a leg of chicken. He does not yet know how he is going to attain such a thing. My my my, he thinks to himself. Then he pats the top of his head. He does this in order to check for hair. He is certain one day he will pat the top of his head and nothing will be there. For supper he will have another leg of chicken. He has not forgotten anything that the old woman said to him. But there are times when he does not keep what she said to him in mind. This, to some, amounts to the same thing as forgetting. Mindful always of others, the man wears shoes publicly. He also speaks in high, cheerful tones. Before bed he dips his face into a small bowl of olive oil. This, he says, is for good measure. And then he goes to sleep.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tun's Bothered

Horrible things are always happening to Tun. He tries not to let them bother him, but anyone can tell that they do. Some people are just like that, I guess.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Betty Kerchif

Elizabeth Kerchif is not allowed to yawn or blush. She is allowed to do certain other things. They would not be of any interest to the common reader, though, so I will not bother to list any of them for you.

Miss Kerchif lives in a smallish room in a largish house. She knows the others she lives with, but not, as she often remarks, intimately. Instead, her relationship with the others in the house is a subservient one. They tell her what to do, and she does it. This arrangement is suitable to both Elizabeth and the others.

One evening Elizabeth Kerchif will hiccup in front of several of the others. At first they will not know how to react, for none of them have ever heard Elizabeth Kerchif hiccup before. After some time passes, however, someone will inform Miss Kerchif that she is no longer allowed to hiccup. She will nod her head in understanding, and never hiccup again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sharing a Drink

Having split two thirds of my drink with the man sitting next to me, I notice no change in his expression. He is not unpleasant to look at, this man with whom I shared my drink, but he smells dreadful. That is fine. I do not condemn him for this.

I have of late begun reading books again. None of them are very good, naturally, but all of them are full of other people. I have begun to reacquaint myself with my fellow man, I suppose, through these books. I am actually somewhat overwhelmed by them all, but that is ok. You see, I have a horrific memory, so I am able to forget most of them almost immediately.

I do not want to forget the man sitting next to me, though. He is not unpleasant to look at, as I have mentioned, and he has shared a drink with me. Not many people are willing to share a drink with me anymore. There was a time, surely, when I could share a drink with nearly anyone, but that time, I’m afraid, has passed. In any case, I have written this down, like all those others who have written all those books down, to try to preserve some faint memory of the man who is at present by my side, but who will not likely remain there much longer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The man’s body wilts over a crutch. He looks stuck. People walk by and snigger. People are always sniggering at something.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gypsum Weed

Gypsum weed is a nasty little devil. People’s toes have been lost to the stuff. Certain creatures’ toes too. People seem to forget this, though, and are always bringing gypsum weed around. Whenever I see anyone with a stalk of the stuff, I declare aloud I won’t have it. People typically clear the area of gypsum weed when they hear this declaration, but some simply carry on as if I hadn’t said anything at all. I always find this quite upsetting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lop or Sided

He had a patch of hair towards the center of his head, and that was all in terms of top hair. It was of a thin, flaxen variety, and people tended to shudder when they saw it. His name was Lop.

When Lop was in grade school, the cleverest boy in his class began calling him Sided. The other children did not know why this particular name was so funny, but they all took a great deal of pleasure in calling Lop Sided.

Upon reaching a suitable age, Lop moved very far from home. He felt a great sense of relief at no longer being known as Sided, and instead simply as Lop. Then one day a terrible thing happened. A boy from his hometown showed up in his new town and, in a very public manner, addressed Lop as Sided. Everyone around found this devastatingly funny, and soon Lop was once again known to all as Sided.

It is not clear why Lop found the name Sided so objectionable, but a person’s reasons for finding anything any way are rarely very clear. Suffice it to say that Lop did find the name Sided objectionable, and that the return of this name made his life in his newly adopted home just as unpleasant as the one he had tried so very hard to flee.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Sort of Person I Would Like to Meet

A woman sets up a small lamp near her bed. This, she thinks, is adorable. Other adorable things in this woman’s bedroom: her rug, her chair, her bookshelf, and her small stack of postcards. Whenever she has anyone over to her house she says Oh you absolutely must come see what I’ve done with my bedroom. People typically oblige her, following her back to her room and feigning interest for a moment or two. It would be interesting, though, to meet a person who refused to oblige her. That would be the sort of person that I would like to meet, anyway.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hair and Sand

Her curled hair pulled mightily towards the floor. Sand pieces, little cubes and shoots of sand, hummed coyly up to it. They snickered and spat and were, as the hair would later remark, horrible. We, however, will simply call it indecorous sand.

I being the type of person who knows many other types of people once knew the type of person who, when asked, would say that the whole world boiled down to two simple sorts of things: sand and hair. When she would tell me this I would nod, but I cannot say that I ever fully believed her.

Then one day I was in my bathroom and I noticed something on the floor. Kneeling down I looked at this something but couldn’t determine what it was. I took the thing to a scientist friend of mine – a short man with square teeth and too many wise things to say – and asked him what on earth I had found on my bathroom floor. He placed it under some sort of device and peered at it for a good deal of time. When he finally turned away from the device he looked at me and winked. I slapped him, not being the sort of man that lets other men wink at him. He took this rebuke well, and then told me what he had discovered: It is sand and hair, just as plain as day…sand and hair. I was certain at first that he was joking, then remembered that this was not the sort of man to make a joke. I nodded at him and left, contemplating as I did so the strange implications of what this man had told me. As with most things I contemplate, my contemplation of this was brief and cursory, and I really have not thought about it again until now. I just thought I would mention it to you here so that you, perhaps, could contemplate it at greater length and in more depth. Or not. It is not, after all, a very interesting thing to think over for very long.