A picture to illustrate a short story... or is it the other way around?
It was one of those days. You know. The weather was heavy, and I mean heavy-weight heavy! The mercury rose up to the low 30s and the sky was as grey as grey sky gets. You just knew nothing would change things; the story was written, had been read and forgotten. It could rain or storm or cry without changing a damn thing.
I was damp. I was not sweating though. Sweat is good. No! Moist is what I was. My clothes stuck to my body like skin… sunburnt and peeling off skin. Come to think of it, it was paradoxal for when the skin gets cremated it tends to separate itself from the body; not my clothes though. They were pushing inward, like organic alien entities trying to force their way inside my being. There was no stopping them, which got me feeling helpless. That’s what made me give up on everything; right there and then; not my joblessness, not the couple fighting, not the absolute and irremediable lack or vital internet resources. If I want to be, and since it’s over I might as well be, totally honest with myself I have to admit that the events which occurred that day were a consequence of my clothes’ assault on my being.
I stank. Look. I don’t mean to say that my odor was repulsive but you have to understand, there were two of us; my clothes and I, each emanating our own extract in our mutual efforts, respectively to break in and break free. My armpits were sticky. All the way down to my elbows they were sticky! I’d never had such an elongated pair of armpits in my life.
On the back of my hand the black cross was eroding. Blurring. The ink was penetrating the defenseless dorsal pores and microscopically rivering on my opisthenar. It reminded me of middle school. Me and my friends would stand in circle not speaking a word – we’d done all the speaking in class. So to fill the silence we’d spit in the epicenter of ourselves. The spit would make its way between the gravel like it was trying to escape our company. Like the topic of our conversation repulsed spit and we, at our precocious age, could not grasp it. The funny thing is, I usually don’t even remember what the cross is supposed to remind me of; this time though it was different.
Early that morning I woke up. Well I guess this should really be a passive form for I did not wake up, I was victim of a well-orchestrated conspiracy to eliminate my sleeping self, and it worked. At 5:26 (I could expand here on how exactly I remember such a minute detail of the time to the minute, but this was done before me, like everything else, not to mention that it’s obvious and really… does it matter that much?) the three assailants had taken me by surprise.
Sun, incestuous bastard son of Theia and Hyperion, was shining in. You see, I chose my little room specifically for the tough terrain it presented for sunrays. The only window gives view on a building across the courtyard which is so close I could, if only I spoke his barbaric language, speak with my neighbor and tell him to smoke elsewhere for I could not smell my mint tea eating breakfast, so much he was pumping on the fags. The curtains were closed but the god-shutterless-damned architecture of the building was just not giving me enough weapons to protect myself against Ra’s rays. Somehow, through strange mirror effects between the two rows of windows, and not without losing many photons in the battle, Sun shone right there on my right eye redscaling my dream as if it was shot on Fuji Velvia 50. Now this is usual, had it been only for it, I’d not be sitting in the poorly air-conditioned jail cell of the Crackow Police station.
My second enemy was also attacking me that exact morning. The courtyard, just so you understand, is this little voidfull trapezoid. Above the future lung cancer patient lives an old lady who waters her plants pantless in the summer… but never without a pullover on. She’s, all fetishes aside, my favorite neighbor, mostly because of a characteristic I admire much, she speaks naught. Right next door to her lives a couple. Some days they have kids, I don’t know who’s; not that I care. I mention this solely because it is strange, temp kids. Can you adopt kids on a part time contract? Swing shift perhaps? On the kids’ days off they’re working on it, it meaning it, voyons, don’t make me get vulgar, even if I intended to, I could not write anything erotic about those two; it’d be a sacrilege to nature, to the spoken word… all I could produce in that regard would be material for a prevention campaign, or better yet a marketing campaign for asexual reproduction. So when it is in the motions I lay in my bed blinking, not purposefully (no, really. to what purpose would I be blinking?), at every one of her moans. Those are their two most productive activities, burning calories and child husbandry. That morning, like it happens every time mars, the moon and tram number 6, the one towards Salvadoor, are aligned, they switched to their cultural activity, RFM FM Radio. With my luck, the terrestrial and celestial objects decided I needed to be subjected to a pop music fest a few minutes past 5. He sang, she sang… oh they sang, in chorus, in canon but never in concord though, rather criminally off-key. The worst earworm inducing songs one could think of, that’s what they were singing. Do you see what I’m getting at, officer? Are you even listening to me? Of course it would help if I spoke the words out-loud instead of mumbling like this.
So I’m under attack. The Sun has my right eye in sight, both my ears are violated by vile voices, I am dreaming of red hell and as I am gaining consciousness I realize my mouth is dry. Now listen to me. The dryness of my mouth was not the kind you can quench with water. I tried, of course I tried. I drank and spilled and choked so hasty I was to feel the mucoidal texture of my tongue return. I panicked. It felt like the primary organ responsible for my phonetic articulation, and God knows I like to speak, was about to fall off. As if it was dead. As if I had muted… or in other words died. Who’s going to listen to you if you cannot speak; and if no one listens you might as well not be.
I wanted to return to my dreamed hell but I could not, I was stuck here. I mean there; in a trapezoidal labyrinth with my personal chimeras.
I stood up, went to the bathroom. I was craving darkness but of course the mouvement sensor in the hall turned the light on which blinded me for half a minute. I was standing by the lavabo when my sight returned and the remnant bokeh disappeared to put me face to face with my sleep deprived self.
My teeth were black. My lips blistered. Blood, from a nocturnal hemorrhaging in my mouth, had formed a deposit on my incisors. The tartar on my teeth caused my gums to bleed. To complete my curse and seal my fate, I was as much out of tooth paste as I had been out of internet for the past week – which, had I been superstitious, touch wood I am not, but had I been I might allow my mind to bring the correlation between those two to light. After long minutes of brushing and watering my buccal flora and caressing my fragile gums I regained full capacity. I spoke. My tongue was agile again, ready to spill my bile.
I decided, despite the fact that it was barely six and stores were closed, to get out and patiently walk my wait until I can buy toothpaste and three different kinds of mouth wash. That’s when I drew the cross on the back of my hand, so I would not forget my shopping list, and put on the organically alive long sleeved tee-shirt that will later cause my loss.
I took a deap breath… exhaled, ffffhhhhooouuuu, one last look in the mirror… crick, crick, crick I loaded, walked to the window and out of desperation took a shot!
The smoking bastard was Gone!