Sunday, November 30, 2008


She had had big strands of hair. They covered her whole head. You could grab one in your hand and wiggle it. When you did this she would laugh. She is old now, though, and nobody grabs at her big strands of hair any longer. They have gotten thinner over the years anyway, so it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. In fact, she only has normal strands of hair now, which really aren’t worth wiggling at all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If it has to be cotton, he said, I don’t think I’ll bother.

The woman looked a bit stunned. Who said anything about cotton?

The man, considering her words, blinked. I never suggested anyone had.

Then what are you talking about?

Nothing. He paused. I never talk about anything.

The woman bit her lip, then blinked. Never? she asked.

Rarely, he replied.

The two then joined hands. They walked a great distance together. Then, just as suddenly as they had clasped hands, they released one another. Turning in opposite directions, each began marching away from the other in loud, deliberate steps. I’ll be seeing you, said the woman from over her shoulder.

I’ll eat swarms of the stuff, swarms of it, the man said, also from over his shoulder.

Several weeks pass. Neither the man nor the woman thinks a single thought about the other. Then, suddenly, they run into each other on the street.

What are you doing here? she asks him.

Two-thirds, or maybe a pigeon more.

Irritated, the woman throws up her arms. The boy, tired, lies down at her feet. She shakes her head, steps over his supine frame, and continues down the street.

Were this tale to go on these two would meet several more times, until finally they decide no longer to meet but to instead simply be together at all times. It will not go on, however, so we leave them where they are. A woman, continuing down the street, and a man, once lying at a woman’s feet, but now merely lying on the ground.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Cup's Contents

Inside of a rather ornate goblet sits a smallish yellow pickle. Sir Clumb Hoof had left it there. This little morsel was later discovered by one Lady Chit Heel. Upon her discovery she let out a small gasp, then fell to the floor. This rather large morsel was discovered by Pal Loot (untitled, sadly). It was met with indifference. Later, Lady Chit Heel’s fallen frame was found by Father Pall. Father Pall was a popular man. He owned a dozen game hens and called each by the same name – Neh. Women adored Father Pall, and the Father adored his female faithful. Lady Chit Heel, not being among this sacred sect, was again met with indifference. What interested Father Pall, though, was the goblet on the table. He went over to it and peeked inside. Noticing the smallish yellow pickle sitting inside, he stuck in two of his ringed fingers and plucked it out. He held it up close to his face and examined it. Being hungry, he then ate it. He left the room with as little ceremony as he had entered it, and Lady Chit Heel was once again left alone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rooms and an Attic

Tucked away behind a large crate and a big brass trophy sat little Lara Smit. She had been crying, as usual, and her face was still faintly gleaming. A humming noise could be heard coming up through the floorboards, but Lara strained not to hear it.

Lara had been coming up to the attic for as long as she could remember. It was a private place, and Lara felt she needed privacy. Like all people that feel this way, Lara was prone to excessive crying. It is said that the best thing one can do for a person with such a disposition is to ignore them, and thus we will presently turn our attention away from the attic.

Below the attic there are several rooms. Some of these rooms have beds, others sinks, and still others chairs. In one of the rooms with chairs a man is sitting by himself. Though he does not particularly care for privacy or solitude, he, like Lara, is alone. He doesn’t have a hair on his head, and this detail makes his solitude all the more comic.

A lady stands in one of the rooms with a sink. She is tall and thin and ugly. There is also another man in this room, and he is staring at the ugly woman. He cannot understand why it was that he had built so many rooms with sinks. You see, this man was an architect-builder. He had been responsible for the construction of the majority of the rooms beneath the attic. Now though, years after having built so many of these rooms, he couldn’t fathom why it was he had thought it necessary to build so many rooms with sinks. He thought about this as he stared at the tall, ugly woman.

None of the rooms with beds are occupied at the moment, but in a few hours the majority of them will be. Lara, for instance, will be in one, and so will the bald man. The architect-builder will not be in a bed, for he does not sleep, but the tall, thin, ugly woman will be occupying one. Other people will be in certain of the other rooms, and the attic will be empty.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not wanting to say a thing about something.

Each of his paintings was hung. That is how paintings are meant to be. They are meant to be hung. And his were no different. The only difference with his being this: he painted them in blackness. He used colors though. Or so he thought. He didn’t know, of course. Until he hung them. Then he could tell. He hung his paintings in the light. In lightness. People can see them in the light and in lightness. People can come if they want and see them for themselves. People can do this and do. That is something that people do. They see things that other people have made. When they see these things, these paintings, they say things to them and about them. They say to them oh my. They say about them oh my and then something more. They add things when they are saying something about them. Not when they say things to them, though. When you say something to a painting you don’t say much. Usually just oh my. Or if it is a painting that isn’t the type of painting you like then you don’t say anything at all to it. You glance at it and maybe note something or maybe not and then you glide along. People are always gliding when they look at paintings. They look at paintings and they somehow just manage to glide along. Then something else will come along. Usually a someone else. And they will be forced to talk about paintings. Or something else. Usually something else at first and then about paintings. In the course of talking about a painting one of the people will usually think of some reason to no longer have to talk about anything. They will part. Then they won’t be saying anything to anyone but will instead be gliding again. They prefer this. Though people are always saying things, really they prefer not to. They prefer instead to glide or be in darkness or in lightness. They prefer instead of saying things about things to instead simply say things to things. They prefer simply to say oh my. They prefer simply saying oh my to a painting and then gliding along. People do not want to say about things anything, but they do. Despite themselves they do. They say things about things without wanting to. And that is why he paints in blackness. Because then for a moment there is nothing to say about anything.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dull's Release

I haven’t the stomach for any right now, thank you.

Should I save some for later?

I don’t care.

One of the men walks from the room, while the other remains seated, staring stolidly before him. He is hungry, but he knows he can't eat. In place of food, he tries to nourish himself with thought. The problem with this is that he really doesn't have much to think about. He tries for a while to recall something he’d read a few days before, but fails to remember so much as the title. He gropes blindly about in his mind for something, but never grasps a thing. Finally, the other man returns.

Have you heard?

Heard what?

Dull has been released again.

A short pause.

I’d forgotten that he’d been captured.

What a way of putting it!

Well it’s true.

I suppose. In any case, he’s been released again.

Will he be coming over then?

I expect so.

A long pause. Both men look uncomfortably down at their hands.


I don’t have any idea.

Both men are now seated. Neither looks at the other. They both seem focused on something else, but really they are just trying to think of something to say. Finally:

Did you remember to shave?

Of course not.

Yes. I suspected as much.

One of the men stands up. He glances furtively at the other, then turns for the door.

Is there any soup?

The other man laughs at this.

A long pause.

Well. Another short pause. I hope it isn’t soon.

I expect it’ll be sooner than later.

Another long pause.

Me too. He says this with a sort of sigh. Then, abruptly, he walks out of the room.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making Promises to Yourself

She balanced a small berry in the palm of her hand. It wavered faintly, but never once rolled completely over. For this she was proud of herself. As a reward she ate the berry. Then she felt full. Berries always made her feel full. She would have to walk about for a while until she felt less full. She hated having to walk about, and she only did so grudgingly. She promises herself never to eat another berry.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coming Home

The bottom of his coat was wet. This angered him immensely. When he got home he tore it off and threw it to the ground. The person he lived with saw this and laughed. He sneered at her, then walked quickly to their room. He shut the door and began to cry. A faint chuckling could be heard coming from outside the door.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unlike a Painting, Waiting

A woman sits in the window of the gallery. She has been waiting for some time. Someone is supposed to come and meet her there. She took a shower today, and her teeth look scrubbed.

If a painting is on a wall, it is not waiting. The woman is surrounded by paintings, and she is as still as any of them. Yet this woman is waiting. Anyone can tell that.

She remembers for a moment a steeple she had once tried to construct out of soap. Someone mistook it for a candle and so lit it on fire. Nothing much happened, but it had still affected her. She only rarely washed herself with soap anymore. Today she had.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Lover's Wince

His stubble hurt her lip. She winced every time he put his face against hers. Other things he did made her wince too. In fact, very few things he did did not make her wince. They were lovers, naturally. And as we all know, wincing constitutes a very big part of love.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Uncanny Likeness

She walked on stage and to the microphone. She tapped it exactly 3 times. She then looked down and began to sing. There was no musical accompaniment.

His lips were blue like mine,
Oh so fine, blue like mine,
His lips were blue like mine,
Oh so fine, oh so fine.

His teeth were square like mine,
Oh so fine, square like mine,
His teeth were square like mine,
Oh so fine, oh so fine.

She then continued to sing about various parts of him that were just like hers. Their hair, for instance, was black, and their toes were thin. They had similarly flat noses, and the insides of both their ears were soft. It was remarkable, really, how much he and she had in common.

When she had completed her song, she turned and walked off the stage. Nobody clapped, but that wasn’t because nobody liked her performance. People were too busy contemplating the uncanny parallels between these two to even realize that they were supposed to clap.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fingers and Memory

He had, with fingers calloused and hard, examined certain things. He had looked into them with these stubby thick things and found that, on the inside, they were warm. Not everything was warm, of course, for not everything is warm, but many of the things he had examined had been warm. Some of them though had been cold. These thrilled him the most, the cold ones. He had felt inside the cold for some time, thinking and touching and feeling all the while. He had always had fingers, he thought, though he did not know for certain. There are always things one cannot remember, thus there are things that one cannot know for certain. Not that memory is certain, or that that is at all what he thought. Memory for him was a pleasure, like feeling, and it could strike upon all sorts of wonderful, unknown things. It too can feel warmth and coldness, dryness and hardness. Memory too is calloused and thick and hard. It cannot always find things to feel, though, and thus it too gropes blindly about, striking sometimes upon something, sometimes not.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Johnathan Mulch

There is a stuffed bullhorn in the foyer. Please recycle it with the tuna cans you made such a mess of this morning. And make sure to eat some paper. Your lips look dry as can be.

Each morning his mother would mutter this same admonition as he left the apartment. He never knew exactly how to respond to her. Sometimes he would nod, other times he might give a slight bow, but usually he would just shake his head and walk silently out of the apartment.

He had never met his father. Someone once told him – an uncle of his – that his father had been a tramp. He hadn’t known what a tramp was, and so he had asked his grandmother. Her response: “Your father.” In the end, he had had to look up the meaning on his own.

Johnathan Mulch was a small man. He ate whatever was given to him, but he preferred celery to any other sort of food. On his birthday he would swear loudly that he’d never age again, but each year a new birthday seemed to come. J. Mulch found this endlessly distressing, as he did so many things. For instance, Mulch worried endlessly about being a character in a story. And thus, for his sake, this brief story will presently conclude.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meeting, Agreeing (Twice), and Parting

He met her on a hill. This frightened him. He suggested they move to a flatter place, and so they did. She talked and talked and talked. She could always talk. He tried to listen, but he found he couldn’t always do that. Finally they agreed that for now they had had enough of one another. They further agreed that this was a temporary thing, and that they should one day meet again. Having twice agreed, this pair went their separate ways.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A desire not necessarily fulfilled, not necessarily desired.

A row of thin canvases hung sloppily on the wall. He nodded at the people as they came and then quickly left. When they had all gone (which hadn’t, he noted, taken too terribly long a time), he plucked each of the thin canvases from the wall and draped them over an arm. He had not meant for all the people to come, but since a friend of his had suggested that he use this space to sloppily hang his work, he had agreed. Now that it was over, though, he felt quite silly. I’d always said they were too thin to be shown, he muttered to himself as he continued plucking them from the wall. He would go home that evening and try to make them thicker, but he was not sure he knew how.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dialogue between a man and a woman.

M: In the corner?

W: Yes. Right over there. (She points over there.)

M: No, no. I don’t think so.

W: Right there. (Her finger reiterates the point with a faint wobble.)

M: (The man shuts his eyes and shakes his head. There is a long pause.) I haven’t coughed yet.

W: You haven’t?! You haven’t!

M: No. I haven’t.

W: (She is no longer pointing.) Well.

M: Well.

W: (Raising her hand to her mouth.) Just air. (She breathes out.) Just air.

M: (Nodding at something in the distance.) But for that.

W: (Laughs.) Look how silly.

M: Can’t even smell.

W: Oh heavens no.

M: (Another long pause.) Then later?

W: Yes. Naturally. (She walks towards the man and grabs his hand. He smiles. They part.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Knowing a Person

He had a way of not quite smiling. He smiled, but not quite. And then there were his teeth. It was probably best, in the end, that he never quite smiled. Women talked to him, but he never seemed to know what to say to them. In any case, rarely did either party profit from these exchanges. For a while he affected a sort of deliberate remove from the others, but most nearly everyone could see it for what it really was: him fleeing from them in fright. Stranger people have existed, surely, and more interesting people, and I only bother to mention this person because I knew him once, and I realized just a moment ago that I no longer know him at all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Turning Away II

It is little more than a series of short hissing sounds. Then there is nothing. Just the silence of the convex black screen. Blockish green figures mar its blackness. He puts his ear to it, but still there is nothing. He turns away from the screen.

Across the room a small canary sits humming to itself. It is a green bird. He cannot figure out why this is so. The man, not the bird. The bird does not concern itself with things like green. Only the man does. Or at least the man is the only thing in this room that does.

He turns back to the screen. It remains unchanged. He waits a moment and then taps it once with his thumb. A dull thud. Then he looks away.

For some time now a pattern has been developing on the carpet. At first it was nothing, he thinks, but now it is something. It was always assuming new forms. Inscrutable patterns very nearly emerging but ineluctably sinking back down. He thinks that if only he stares at it for long enough he might be able to stop some of these patterns from sinking, but he never can. There is simply not that much time.

He turns back to the screen. He has not been thinking of it. Its green blockish letters are like a rebuke. He smiles in shame. He promises it he won’t turn away again. He stares at the screen. Faintly, perhaps, a hissing sound emerges. He presses his head to the screen. Yes, yes, he thinks, there is definitely some sort of hissing sound.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turning Away

A small tube sticks out from just under the shelf. B. leans towards it and wraps his mouth around it. A man at the other end of the tube looks through the tube and thus into the mouth of B. Unimpressed, he turns away. B., hurt, removes his mouth. He places his hand on the shelf and shakes it. The small tube is withdrawn from the room. Nothing replaces it, so B. turns away.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The tall woman and I take a drive

At first I simply follow the women. Then I am running after them. A man in a red suit stops me. His arm is larger than my whole body. I see one of the women down the hall. She turns to me and nods. I understand her to mean that I am to meet her outside, later.

I run to a car. I hadn’t known that I had a car. I drive it. Sitting next to me is a tall woman. She does not like the way that I drive. I decide to park the car. There are no places to park. I get out and begin folding the car. Resentful as always, the car begins to howl at me. Then the tall woman comes out of the car and begins howling at me too. I set the car down and just leave it there.

Walking down a very busy street the tall woman tells me all sorts of things. She tells me about how different I used to be and about how that other woman would not be waiting for me outside. I forget what happens after this, but I remember thinking that you’d be interested. So I’ve told you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Coincidence, in the style of...

As I walk into the room I notice a professor of mine seated without anybody near him. He looks up and notices me. We both sort of wince. I walk over to him. He asks me how my girlfriend is. When he does this he smiles. Then he looks back down at the cover of the book he is holding.

Have you read this? he asks.

I tell him that I have.



I walk out of the room. I haven’t seen my girlfriend in three days. She is sick. I don’t think I’ll go to class this afternoon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

He met a man yesterday, and although he had not admired him, he had pretended to. Today he felt a pang of remorse for having done so. He was always doing things he didn’t admire.