Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another Bout for the Memories

In this corner, we see the amiable male, sitting languidly back, in his lazy boy chair. He has just attempted to finish a large plate of overcooked shoestring pasta and cheap ungarnished sauce. Before settling back and watching vapidly the uninventive 5:00 news, we hear the bell ring, a sound he has not yet gotten used to. At the door the famished female strutting a tightly fitting sports jersey and pearlish earrings. She hands him a business envelope thick with what he believes to be, business. He pinches the envelope twixt finger and thumb, and not wanting to let her in, he does. She curls in the unoccupied adjacent lazy boy chair feline-like. He knows the business at hand. Something hidden in her is aware that he knows the business at hand. Mostly this becomes apparent when he says, in a brusquely gruff condescension, ‘so this would be the official, “let’s be friends” letter’. ‘No no no’ she sputters, feigning interest in the news that now features, a fatal car accident. Here he thinks, reclining now, envelope in hand, watching her watch TV, of the times when he would link such symbolic coincidences and ironies to the many scattered moments they seemed to call attention to. This night his mind might decide to do the same, though he doesn’t necessarily see the business at hand as a terrible car accident, nor does he think it symbolizes one in the least. One might, if one knew the business at hand, wonder why he would not, as soon, she begins to cry, still staring at the news and wiping, with both index fingers simultaneously, from bridge of nose to cheekbone, the blackened tears from her mascara lined eyes. As soon, she begins to weep openly, sobbing as though in a great deal of pain and confusion. He has already been at a loss for them, for many months now, his interest was spread thin weeks ago, as it usually does, in a short amount of time. Our fool, as we will now call him for reasons slowly revealing themselves, does not buy this emotive display. He does not find the tears sincere, but tinged with a strange deceit. A charity show, so as not to make him feel bad about the business at hand. He does not believe her and he does not appreciate the display. And so he stares, more in fascination than in disgust, though both are welling up in his eyes. He stares head cocked arms crossed, feeling nearly smug about this uncanny ability he seems to have for reading the desperate actions of others with such exactitude, such poetry. Our fool thinks passively, suddenly, that he should hold her, that he should reach out and touch her, if only on the knee, offer some form of physical comfort. He thinks of how awkward this action would be to perform, to move, slowly from the recliner, to perhaps lift her from hers, sit and let her land on top, or stand from where he sits, and ease himself onto her trembling lap. The latter makes him laugh, though he is swift to repress. Instead he says, quickly and quietly so as not to distract from the unpleasantness at hand, as we will now call it for reasons slowly revealing themselves, ‘you want to sit over here?’ As soon as he says it he realizes how insensitive it sounds, however he also realizes that in the time considering how to offer comfort, he was thinking of something else, that an offering was part of the show, that it was his role now to offer a shoulder if only to further the emotive display, to add support to the unpleasantness at hand. She does not move, but shifts slightly, causing more tears to flow. Here he opens his mouth. Here he stretches the muscles around jaw and lips, and he speaks. He knows as soon as the words are out that he has made a mistake of diabolical proportions. As quickly as his tongue leaves the edge of his teeth and his breath escapes him, he feels the chill of the frost in the look that she shoots him. He feels the shivers in the wind as she passes, and the ice in the air from the slamming of the door behind her.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Monsieur Duchamp and the proceedings

Marcel, wrapped in terrycloth, arms malformed, well, one arm anyway. Marcel, trying desperately to pluck a hair from his nostril with two fat fingertips. Finding a cluster, he realizes the power in numbers. A single hair on its own, dark and oddly thick, is easy prey, but these had clumped and congealed into a mass. At first he winces in a most horrible face looking toward the sky, jaws wide open, as though this would make it any easier. Marcel, draped in his blanket, white, hairy feet protruding. Marcel in his chair, no sound but for the distant whine of a train. Marcel has given up. It’s plain to see who he is, who he really is, for others. Feeling hopeless, burdened to no end, those nostrils stuffed with hair, his eyes wander. Marcel whose eyes are not what they used to be, whose eyes, though still black, still functioning the way eyes do, wander down the wall, across the floor, no, nothing there, and then, feet. He has cast away the thought of an irritatingly hairy nose for the thought of irritatingly hairy feet, though less irritating, less irritating. At first he thinks of the medicine cabinet, just around the corner in the washroom. He thinks of its small aluminum door, with the latch that no longer works. He thinks of the way it squeaks when he opens it, of how he means, has meant, to fix that damned squeak. Next he looses himself, for a second, lost on that damned squeak. As he is lost he flares both hairy nostrils, twice. Both nostrils flare, in sync, and then again. Twice, and now he remembers his feet, and the scissors in the medicine cabinet. He shifts, ever so slightly, in his chair, but he does not move. Marcel has given up.
Outside, just around the corner, Yvonne and Madeleine torn up in tatters. Mistreated by a saguaro apparently, on there way to see him, Marcel, with soup and such. Soup and such for his cold that he has, apparently. ‘Yes, yes. I think that’s it. I received some things in letters…but I don’t know him personally. Is he a friend of Arman?’ ‘Yes, he’s from Nice, like Raysse and Arman. They’re part of what’s called the School of Nice. It’s odd that he never tried to get in touch with you.’ ‘If he’s staying in Nice I should go see him.’ ‘Considering your importance to him, he could come see you…’ ‘Not necessarily. It depends on the state of his finances!’ ‘He sells phonograph records. Apparently his behavior causes huge scandals in Nice.’ ‘I’ll try to see him. The importance that the School of Nice has taken on is funny.’ ‘What’s the difference between the artistic climates in Paris and New York?’ ‘It’s a madhouse in New York…’
Marcel, wrapped in his afghan, hears now, over the distant whine of the train, two women speaking, one after the other, in complete sentences, about someone he doesn’t know, about something he doesn’t know of, and then, a knock. ‘Yess, it’s Open.’ These words escaped him, in a way he knew he hadn’t meant, trembling and soft. Yvonne, in a blue dress and white hat, and Madeleine in the same, wisped into his room as though on roller-skates, immediately leaning him back in his chair, wiping his nose heating the soup sipping him tea covering his feet touching his brow drawing his bath, all the while chattering to one another about those things he knew nothing about.