112 What I wouldn’t give for a little tense honesty, thinks The Opposable Thumb. I have these episodes, some common-sense oriented, some shaken by a feeling that I’m in the south, cold, in bed, a towel on the desk. The fun is not just the classic feel at the depth of the pocket but so too a person must be permitted to take place in the present, two people happy to meet each other, coming to a gargantuan hope at times, and trust is to be expected as well: but then it seems a little too saturated with “rest assured” and without practice to get hold of the conversation and a misguided sense of pierced and set. You float rose coffee into the dog days of the future and the good fortune of about three hours at once and meanwhile her constant need to feel safe or active while bedridden or feel affection for the way the obstacles we face try to make themselves useful all is reasonable enough and crystal intensive, but exercised in silence and alone. Incessantly reenacting itself is the ordinary landscape coming to mind when the feeling that prevails is drowning in the attempt to control circumstances. The impression is of a child just working and the “time to buck up to the quiet” isn’t related at all. And when not concentrating on breathing deeds and the lid bundle of work, such a quirky feel bursts back from the impressive pewter.
113 Half of it is what’s there to talk about and we’ve been here just two days, she has nonevent riveted to nonevent, blissful, thinks The Opposable Thumb, and half is that you have a favor you could do for her and vice versa, neither of which is a flowing ballad or the instinctive reaction to people with burn scars or even clothing cherished as a good friend from the remote past. Custard is named after the traditional end of winter: if only it were that simple. I want to hear my experience bogged down and we’ll talk and talk and the circumstances will reveal the things that love me the most. The small building behind the scenes is always the home of purchasing overseas what you desperately must have. Every day is busy enough around the eyes, the next dutifully waiting for the last to begin, and always the intentions are good, strong, generous but deceptive and so you want to examine them carefully, mail-face to mail-face.
114 The atmosphere is never to avoid things like color notation or “in retrospect, there was a first step” or towns where the mumps is unknown, but rather a multiplicity of parallel motives in pre-production to the extent that the only way to give yourself a route home is through dangerous laughter, made in the throat, built inside the crater, thinks The Opposable Thumb. Little scatter and spray, soft ripples. Let the oppression of the afternoon lay its head on your shoulder, innocently in favor of offering vague suggestions. A little too much excitement in the wrong direction… then back to meeting head on the cramped space between the chairs and spending the moment in the hermitage of the moment and the my body lives in this and the turbulent unraveling happening elsewhere in a blurred abrupt departure, as elsewhere as a room opening onto a water maze waking up after its need to give the impression that it’s being taken good care of.
115 There’s not much lightning in the wilderness of a pianist devoted to lightning field toccatas, thinks The Opposable Thumb, it’s like that, or the high rate of uneventful giving birth in liquor stores or canned lamb swapped for a concrete block: just because I’m meeting with you on the stage, I’m just a spectator. She’s headed where she’s headed, not just brushing her inner life but thinking things through from the perspective of someone papering her efforts with strips of frigate posters. (“Elite athletes, about 800 nautical miles south of the coast, forced to withdraw after 18 days, something wrong with the muscle of the right palm.”) If only I heard half the things I like so much in you when I’m listening closely. Flowers bloom in only one spoke of today’s photo, but today isn’t making me into a tranquilizer or inclined to be evasive or reserved or even enervated about the necessity for haste and the awareness of opportunities potentially left unplucked from their own system of whorls. Somewhere in my mind I’m thinking about the future and hyping it and scheduling and pursuing my own objectives with a mixture of foreboding and euphoria. I’m thinking and so is she, what she wants however is set a little askew, like mica not glittering, totally there to talk about, yet at the same time like booklets wrapped in gauze, but totally there to talk about, easy to segue into, configured so as to be spoken about, nowhere near a vector of the unexpected, as commonplace as light trapped in diluted soup. All on a solid well-worn track, not so different than a fun monthly inspection process, as ordinary as the memoir of a roadie, as quotidian as a surveillance camera. Not going unnoticed in the night rain like skilled investigators on their way to a derailing, here we are, we may as well be renewing auto insurance in an office where everyone has a terrible cold, there it is, totally available to be spoken about even if in imaginary conversations that are exordiums to the real conversation in which it’s too humdrum to be overtly negotiated, approachable from all angles as if levitating, not as if it’s going to give us a headache or attach itself to us like leeches or resemble the kind of structures where industrial waste has been abandoned, or is a difficult theory of cultural images, nor is it the 100% of foster children on their own who are well known to be difficult or the 90% of non-pension income parents not living together, nor a blanket layer over some unknown part of some syndicate’s generation of profit, not an obstacle to profit at all, not even an ultralight low-density polyurethane colloidial hurdle, in essential fact essential to the furtherance of the clearing of obstacles and as approachable as a tabernacle not yet consecrated. Yet at the same time something puts us off from approaching it as if it were awkward people who for some reason are ashamed to open windows.
116 It’s not as if 20 requests are made to a thin layer of damp stains, thinks The Opposable Thumb. We’re looking forward to driving every day, lazing around an improvised table made of heating oil tanks and inventing card games with a deck in which each card depicts an acclaimed gadfly, the busy things around us properly noticed, sitting around discussing the protean jigsaw puzzle of the lazy vitality of the hydrangeas: an afternoon that practically celebrates vulnerable sincerity, nothing rusty or censurable, nobody nonplussed or slipping away overwhelmed by the feeling that the hydrangeas are oiled and dyed so as to mask their peanuts and arrows and prepared to live hidden and deceptive in their lust for their own gadfly horseplay (cf. the eyes that reflect the dried hydrangea flowers), polishing the two hours, three hours and so on, the sound of the vacuum occasionally too loud but no one in a state of mind to cavil about a lull, sitting around playing for something we each want to hear and are talking about or would be talking about if that something hadn’t been demoted to the role of the ten of diamonds in a game of intervention and self-responsibility in which each card depicts an acclaimed gadfly.
117 Understandably, people are savvy acting their personas among the hydrangeas of social consciousness protecting the minimum standards of a good quality channel formed by the strengths and advantages of each other’s hydrangeas to impart a safe sense of stability and long-term premises of equity. Everyone can see you, noble mummy of resin around the corner. So it goes throughout the afternoon, half of you on low pulse the other intermittently perking up in surges at the awareness of all around you the ad hoc working people, jostling in the calm eye of solid third-party advice, a very precise feel every perk, I’ll remember you and you and you and your accumulated know-how, founded on the nature of an adhesive. Oneself and others with a feeling of balance and bandwagon.
118 Still, there’s the pressure of the silent tuning of turning a blind eye to what is totally available to be negotiated overtly, do us a favor, I’d do one for you, no rolling of jabs or smoke screens or running interference or diversionary noisy apostrophes about how she “devoured the pizza cookbook” or stranglehold spring softball tournaments or plunging into puppy faces. Nothing but the totally available what there is to be negotiated overtly without dormitory nostalgia or the paratactic naming of celebrities who have a thing about men in white sweaters, no as it were goofing off in mud lakes, or revisiting the gruesome history of midwinter, or as it were paraphrasing a letter from a previous miscarriage, or disruptively interjecting a comment about sprinkling only one side. Absent is any moratorium on overt negotiation, or any competing agenda cackling to itself, or distracting forays into the unraveling of conspiracies about high-speed elevators, or unnecessary toasts to overachievers, or misattributions of the sensation of being relentlessly caressed by moth wings to a particularly ticklish inflammation. No obstacles in the form of reflections on the boy who cried wolf motif, or any fuss over a concierge the opposite of gnathonic who is having a seizure, or forebodings that the original owner of a vintage carpetbag purse deliberately suppressed a caveat involving an unnerving regional superstition, or the spectacle of daylight moonlight leaking through dark clouds, or an eye-popping cautionary tale about someone’s capricious sister who went bankrupt and the present status of her cherry-colored small pale nipples.
119 Or even the springboard effect of an observation regarding a clock tower, the consequence of which observation is an absurdly long off-topic debate, one party taking the view that someone wearing an anchor is at worst at risk for joining the crowd of those of us who have poor posture and the other party taking the view that watching a video while riding a Ferris wheel at worst puts the viewer at risk of joining the crowd of those of us who become queasy when shown a dollhouse in a guest room.
120 Or any infiltration by plain laziness. The plain laziness that infiltrates and causes a fish out of water to mistake pitch for rotation, or a boisterous mood for immature conceited antics, or a large staff of seven people for a week of rest after last week’s good habits, or an obsession with speed and focus for a methodical regimen to train the body not to feel the change in the skid.
121 Or forced laughter that leaves a bad taste and the obligatory ensuing preoccupation with how to make 10 pristine copies of that bad taste and store it in an emergency protective dome and then the ensuing effort to exile the petty dopey ecocide fraction of you and become again the brainstorming pursuing charity in the future early morning “I’ve got work to do and, well now” caring for the hydrangeas full of fraction of you that really shines your cheerful “I.”
122 Or a wayward totally ungermane analysis of the interpretation of side dishes as hidden doors, or more likely an analysis of the lamentable popularization of the interpretation, which generalizes into a totally useless and time-wasting excursus into popularized interpretations of the problem of what’s hiding behind the door, goat A or goat B, and the strategies for proceeding when the already weak light is turned off and the solution is the unique urgent means toward the objective of silencing the bloodhounds who are attacking the mosquitoes that are sinking us all.
123 Or turning a promising corner only to find yourself drawn reluctantly into an amiable dispute over a hint of sarcasm in an aside about the breathtaking harangue overheard at the next table, a dispute not without its own appeal and complement of replacement beds, more about the nature of chewing sand than the heartbreaking rebuke/argument that’s dislodged its share of fine dust and couldn’t fail to be overheard even by those so many in the world who still don’t know how to get themselves involved, a dispute that hinges on the farce of construing sarcasm as an off year for hydrangeas or, alternatively, a year that’s a bonanza for hydrangeas, but in any case construes the particular sarcasm of the aside in terms of hydrangeas and an interval of one year. The dispute if lineated could be recited only with difficulty by hydrangeas attempting to balance their words so as to be interpreted fairly by two people disputing amiably, determined to be upbeat, a dispute imbued with the scent of road-blue hydrangeas carried off the stage by stagehands, violet hydrangeas that thought to themselves “not us” as they were tinted road-blue but came out of it still wafting their scent, a dispute not without its charms and discreet breath patterns and wholly devoid of disparagement or smirches, just scratching the surface of sarcasm in this particular context construed in terms of hydrangeas and calendrically, but even so no less edifying than the sight of mother chose the color pink hydrangeas dangling from a vinyl roof, yet at the same time as beside the point as a discussion of the can of beer in the hours function of tulips in the hours after drinking together at a distance from the mother chose the color adonis hydrangeas the afternoon’s functioning triumph.
124 No, not really, says The Opposable Thumb. Wasted some time, jogging, going at it crossed, nothing to get worked up about, the furthest thing from a culminating point of my experience. Percale, cement, one at a time… I just picked it up the next day, trying to answer the little questions, in twosomes my footsteps led the way, the swooping and the offsetting.
125 Then you’re like more people tend to give you mediocre reciprocity and expect you to pay for the abuse.
126 No, not really, says The Opposable Thumb. It isn’t bad for a kind of light on everything about me, and into my thoughts, smiles and good deals, a bed and breakfast in Vermont and the less than positive thoughts about the many blank spaces on earth. The gold of the Golden Triangle, sleep, plenty of sweets made with care, raw caramel North, snow melting agents, beef barley dumplings, other aquatic products, prefab baubles, feet first, how it’s desirable to create units in everything in contrition, wide space for snacks, a combination of bright magenta wood and “Let’s put here to do” appearance that things are worth the wait.
127 When I come home I struggled to the end wall, no way to have such attention spontaneously, and it’s nice to work and not just see the real care of important long-term relationships.
128 Magnificent, says The Opposable Thumb. There’s flexibility in the sense of transparency… more texture in another zap… a little warmth in the toaster oven… large enough to buy at auction with the feeling I can never forget… and begin the usability of your thinking, wow, yeah, wow, yeah, parenthesis… you do have a good job, traveling the world feeling somewhat…?
129 The Hope Of The Flock turns and splashes off into the darkness.
130 Rather than just stepping into the shower I’m reluctant, almost frightened.
131 A little later The Hope Of The Flock turns and this time he doesn’t splash off into darkness but as he’s done each afternoon for a week ponders the earliest beginnings of the world, namely the overshadowed distance of the remote past once thought to be cut off forever from everything now known but in the last week inexplicably revived in the shape of an unrestful and noisy certainty that partly has the quality of a dream but more powerfully has the quality of a certainty.
132 No, says The Opposable Thumb, I immediately look at the slat motion in motion then add a slat of “I hope this” to place another friend, and even motion. I was sold around May. Pine-like, I was worrying about the outside look of the trough of my own foot. With friends away just before the how long has the furniture been standing in this position, I noticed that the body had been too hard to actually unwittingly. In addition, I smiled in someone’s mind who was really just a fight.
133 Warm and alert, The Hope Of The Flock lies on his foam pad on the floor, his eyes shut, with the absolute certainty of not having lost his way, and at the same time knowing he must have lost his way.
134 The Opposable Thumb glances out the window and thinks, you can afford born in their hearts. And what redeems if not a sentimental pretense but an idea and an unselfish belief in not taking defeat well?
135 Behind his closed eyelids in the attic that’s practically empty except for the foam pad on the floor, The Hope Of The Flock, fully awake, awake enough to remember a dream about how fleece socks are like bass-clef toddlers, knows with absolute certainty that where he’s lying awake in the gloomy distant sunshine of the afternoon isn’t his spartan attic at all, not the spartan attic in a house owned by a woman who lives below who takes an annual road trip to Disneyland—not his attic but instead the bedroom of a remote past, the bedroom in which he was raised, and not that bedroom as it existed a mere quarter of a dozen years ago when he last resided there, but in its primeval state, the bedroom of the earliest eras of his formative years, when datives and genitives rioted in his dreams and March Madness was king: that bedroom along with all its accessorial elements, his collection of drug-sniffing dog trading cards, the hanging lamp that had lost one-third of its ovoid bulb enclosures, every volume in the series of commentaries devoted to an exegesis of the feats of the manga antihero Iodine, the poster that his father had handed down to him from his own collection and which depicted a nude young woman lying in a supine position with her legs in the air and seen from a chaste perspective that caused the configuration of her crossed arms and raised legs to shift into the form, if you looked at the poster long enough, of a peace sign.
136 Let’s skip over outdoor locations, thinks The Opposable Thumb tired of resting, 45 degree angle toward the sky at an angle of about, please skip restraint. Playing little kid back in the everyday stress. I can’t be sure what transpired every other season I considered while dragging the line looking out the window, but as feelings are, I have a feeling that’s a far cry from the Hey, pick! of the stay in position of the changes will flow from anywhere remote long ago do you remember the last season. Would expect case A, extension of the previous surface, has impressed a sense.
137 The certainty that grips The Hope Of The Flock at the same time as a contrary certainty competes for its own grip is the certainty that although, he, The Hope Of The Flock, is indeed The Hope Of The Flock who exists now, in the present, renting an attic from a woman who every week assembles a circle of her friends in her living room to play guitars and mandolins and banjos and sing southern Appalachian traditional folk music, despite his certain existence as the in-the-present The Hope Of The Flock, the bedroom that exists beyond his shut eyelids is the bedroom of his remote youth. Somehow he in his current state of existence had shut his eyes six hours earlier in his spartan attic and after dreaming of crickets that hissed instead of chirped had awakened not in his spartan attic but perplexingly in his remote childhood bedroom that had been mobbed by so many accessorial elements you could lose your way navigating from the raised bed (mattress plus box spring plus frame) to the egress threshold.
138 Wearing a sweater, after a while you read a book and read about other books in another sweater easier to clean. The impression is that I’m actually wearing it. And bring a little off still, my impression is my communication and I thought the idea of the difficult items.
139 The certainty is as plain and as a powerful as the porcelain of a sink. The Hope Of The Flock awakens to the same sorry existence that he’s awakened to every other morning before this perplexing week began, all of its sorry aspects intact except for the local and material aspect of the bedroom in which he awakens. That bedroom has changed and in order for the world in its material form to be in accord with his certainty of the change that’s taken place, the bedroom he must see once he opens his eyes can only possibly be the bedroom from his remote past, not the attic devoid of furnishings but the crowded silvery chaos of the childhood bedroom that he was constantly expecting to be told to clean up but hardly ever was told.
140 Without this truth, thinks The Opposable Thumb, the moment has a speed rush and endless transcendence and hollow eyes.
141 But at the same time that he knows that only by seeing his childhood bedroom when he opens his eyes will the world accord phenomenologically with his certainty of the change that took place while he slept, at the same time that he’s convinced that given the strength of his certainty, the world can only have coherence if he opens his eyes and sees his childhood bedroom, The Hope Of The Flock is certain as well that when he does eventually open his eyes, what he’ll see will be attic. He’s so certain that he’ll see attic that if it came down to a wager—two-week full-throttle surfing vacation with movie screenings under the sun and barely a cloudy test drive and exhilarating opening remarks if he sees his childhood bedroom, versus a peach-sized commemorative photo if he sees attic—he would without hesitation choose attic. He knows he’ll see attic. But at the same time, the knowledge that he’ll see attic makes a jarring mismatch with the certainty that only by seeing his childhood bedroom can the world beyond his eyelids be in phenomenological accord with the certainty that an overwhelmingly puzzling change has taken place while he slept. It’s this mismatch that, as long as he keeps his eyes shut, imparts the quality of a dream to his knowledge that he’ll open his eyes and see attic, and lends porcelain surety to the conviction that what must lie beyond his eyelids is his childhood bedroom.
142 These things seem to get motivated by we expect to become a healthier body, the effects of fatigue felt around enough in daily experience, and what doesn’t sweeten the body, it’s all so easy to start chilly, in the stretch a little thin, but then at home I think it’s good enough about your life and health, I think I can do this, I could do this What.
143 Beguiled by the peculiarity of the phenomenological mismatch that he knows will jar him with a vengeance when he opens his eyes and sees attic, The Hope Of The Flock lingers behind closed eyelids, pondering, preparing, on the mattress/box spring/frame of his childhood bedroom on the foam pad on the floor of the squalid breezeless attic. One certainty competes with the other with the stillness of a calm polemic musing over an obstinate rebuttal. Apart from these quietly competing certainties, this balanced phenomenological illusion, is a third and wholly separate certainty about the nature of the confusion. Over the course of this week of phenomenological mismatch The Hope Of The Flock has reached a point of unequivocal conviction about the confusion. The confusion is trying to tell him something. The perplexing yet beguiling experience of the past week is sending him a critically important message. It’s not a clear message, its inner truth is hidden, but the lack of clarity is proportional to the importance of the message: it’s an epiphany of such value that like all such thankless attic burlesques, it won’t simply reveal itself to him as distinctly as, say, a pebble at the bottom of a creek, an epiphany to be pocketed, but instead he’ll have to feel his way toward, grope in the direction of, the true meaning of the epiphany which is withholding itself from him as befitting its importance, making him work and watching him as he works, like all such unquiet attic bleaknesses observing him feeling toward and groping in the direction of as he lingers at length sleepy but alert behind shut eyelids.
144 I don’t want to bother you with what happened to me personally, says The Opposable Thumb, yet to understand I want to deepen your knowledge more. There’s a feeling you get after a while of what’s important. Your head, your cognizance, is, how can I put it, somewhere in an afterword, a lowland, a fallow lowland, the data are where your cognizance is but not the naiads, it’s a feeling of being sheathed, like wearing a headset as a standee at a hate rally, all is true about the shrews and chocolate and stuff. At the same time you step into the realization of a dream you think big, while intersecting with your cognizance in a kind of tomato-shaped hollow, or a goldfish bowl, the self-searching of a tomato, admitting fathoms of gloom and an awareness of what’s missing part of yourself. Your body in the meantime colors in the past and curves afar where other people look at the map and the story: organizes its own photo albums, it’s just a small addition to your personality, has made a home space, a finished atmosphere of good to see you in the picture, that’s where your body is, risen out of the depths amid a large portion of energy and ha-ha ha-ha. At the same time you’ve had a chance to contemplate and master “off the paper” and you haven’t been there yet carrying a hot water bath and cypress. You’re contemplating the propagation of the unique warmth of houses and how it settles things to continue for a while, so today you put your finger on a lot of wishes of in the mountains like the one you’re going to fit perfectly as a part of and somehow love, cherish and be impressed. You’re solved forward to seeing yourself smile again. Places other than the most scattered speak particularly inviting and not “this neighborhood will be rude.” You sit and drink hearth slowly due to a lack of fresh chestnuts or children are thinking it’ll get you a new pair of scissors, squirrel woods, folded toward the cold, the sensation an impressive riding agriculture smile if you were to speak. The struggle is a happy moment of pride because of the demands of your body which convey the feelings of a carefree and fun falling in every day. Shall not be subject to the labor and other labor. The scheme to work on that issue, more ages hours from the beginning. Belief that it would be a good guide to try and thank yourself for a variety of goods available and full of points and at the same time what entrances you is like how you would be entranced if you were foreign money in the rainy season and entranced by the usual not super hilarious eternal handshake.
145 You get used to living in an attic, the grimy beetles crawling slowly, the snapping of a twig against the roof that starts you from a dream of living in an attic, your kinship or affinity with attics that drew you there in the first place, the dimness, the candor of the suspicion that all attics future and past are similar and must ultimately meet, the descent down a ladder that slides into itself and the snapping shut smartly of the hatch above, never without a feeling of dejection, to enclose the space you reside in at present, you exclusively.
146 Myself, I did have a feeling of intimacy that may be found in the calendar. We spread hope and hope in the world, to make things easy to say, I think that the appearance of corrugated cardboard without any deformation problem in particular is an unknown that will continue. And the body is surprisingly heavy, it’s fun, there’s no long line in the office, a little anxiety as well as expectations from the past, water for the mountain in winter What?
147 In feeling his way toward the hidden truth, the inner meaning of the epiphany, The Hope Of The Flock formulates two theories. The theories are similar in that they both interpret the duality experience as a revelation about the sorry state of his existence. The week is trying to tell him something important about why his existence has been unremittingly sorry, small, slow, lost, not altogether depressing but always on the verge of expecting to get somewhere and never getting beyond the verge. The week is trying to explain The Hope Of The Flock to himself via a garbled phenomenological confusion that he’s deciphered to the extent of having two theories which both involve an anecdote that he overheard in his childhood.
148 Then I wasn’t used to finding things that way, I went by my own legs, I wouldn’t have believed it of myself, I felt selfish, and life, the problem is I ended up great things in the way of background, says The Opposable Thumb. Please local hard was their values. Sleep tight, hold to your destination, the notion drove me. I thought around the lid of the spirit and grew much in inherent ethnic street strolls, the floating low living standard of people in general, water on the sidelines of a hotel room, people discoursing on the impact of the smoking law, prayers for fortune, leather, purses and snakes. Opportunities to revamp the office, but of course you could also feel chagrined that we had a situation and can’t do anything. It’s like: the leading figures of the absolute encounter an ordinary hammer head. The notion, it’s worth repeating, drove me. “In that color, I think we would even care now.” Yet looking at the map, now lost, well, but I could also have a rare sense of direction. Around sunrise to go live in a normal church… I ask two favorite people and I want to eat chocolate cake, have a ladder every night, the eager dining alone, wants to go fast and thick, our attachment to the person we see in the minor ruins met almost daily in a squall. A town of alive lobsters. Product, channel, all the horizontal lines of vertical organization, a little familiar, you can afford to glance at the horses and sheep grazing. And useful goods, it’s like talking, at the beach speech is each to each and can’t be disturbed by anyone, it’s enough to get lost in, spacious and bright and clean, almost the entire floor is a masterpiece, the first five to finish and go down the escalator mindlessly win an intensive foot massage after an orgasmic smile on their celebrity. The demand for a full name when you pay a fee at the convenience store, accounting for lodging when you buy medicine for athlete’s foot. The first of four satellite lounges and we’re dead quiet. Why shouldn’t I try to get charge of one? You can open a window with shortcuts. Anything toward the building parking lot, the answering while sweating, the talk diving through the remind myself again, it’s a sure thing your breathing will become less and less about being aware. You tilt your head and they do so, too. What you’re good at because you tend to really analyze things objectively without compromise in all lines. There’s sadness and laughter and a lead time of sorrow, and third place, and momentum, and such a look of cosmetic inconspicuous consciousness—then the next big year of being quite often hit in the elbow when you come out on top. Give it an answer, I decided to take it.
149 The week is trying to send him a message about the origin of the sorry state of his existence by placing him back in his childhood bedroom where he overheard an anecdote that until now he wrote off as just another breaking wave from his childhood but in retrospect, in his not banking-sharply-and-swooping-in but rather feeling-his-way deciphering, he senses is key to comprehending the totally lost cause that his existence is always on the verge of becoming once and for all and the quality of sorriness that has been its massively dominant characteristic up to and including the present moment.
150 The place, she said, had become an angry lane of sneezing family members notched on the back of an apron. I was surprised to see black dust falling from the fan. I’m wary of hoping for the future on a regular basis.
151 In his childhood, friends of his father, friends of his father’s early adulthood, would every so often make a slight change to their plans and stop by for a visit that usually lasted one raucous evening. Then they would depart and resume their careers which invariably followed the same trajectory: promise, achievement, reward, cancer. One exceptionally raucous and prolonged evening The Hope Of The Flock lying awake on his frame/box spring/mattress overheard a visiting friend recount for The Hope Of The Flock’s father a story that apparently had been a well-known feature of his father’s legendary early wreaking of havoc. The story was a story that The Hope Of The Flock père evidently had invented as a pretext to fend off women who unrealistically aspired to share père’s bed. Many women still aspired unrealistically to share père’s bed, but The Hope Of The Flock fils assumed that père no longer needed to go to the trouble of charming women with invented stories for the purpose of fending off their overtures. But in his energetic and legendary youth he apparently had. Père’s visiting friend recounted the story to père, the story that he, père, had invented, much as a gray-haired former CEO of a microphone dynasty might recount for the rising star he mentored an exploit that the rising star was the star of and now heard recounted to him more often than he himself recounted it.
152 My experience, says The Opposable Thumb, accords with my meaningful cautionary interest at the time. You know: change anything until now, but only about such things as two of the floor seats, the in-flight video equipment has been washed away in an emergency, towel service, a crab papaya salad, sitting a while to run a cotton system. I can speak only on behalf of the person I claim to be, long-awaited journeys are lost on each other, therefore I wouldn’t put my trust in a hunch not entirely quenched, I wouldn’t feel good about it bouncing back to me if I were to clear my throat and get down to business.
153 As told to the women who unrealistically aspired to share père’s bed, the story went like this. On the day of the summer solstice père hiked into the semi-wilderness an hour’s drive from the heart of his uninnocent marauding and not inconsequential wreaking of havoc. He climbed to the summit of the highest peak in the county, nominally a mountain but really no more than a medium-sized hill. An hour before the precise moment of the solstice, père consumed an enormous quantity of psilocybin mushrooms, made himself comfortable on a sofa-sized boulder, faced the sun and waited. This prelude would have been plausible because père was well known for his obsession with solstices. Père watched the sun through a pair of sunsafe goggles and waited. And at the precise moment of the solstice a voice spoke to père, a voice that seemed to come from the sun but most definitely wasn’t a sunny voice. The voice told père that for a long time he’d been under the observation of ethereal forces, sidereal quasi-divinities, astral subalterns. These observers had recognized père as a malefactor of the highest order. They’d discerned that at his core père possessed a balefulness that was truly scary. Moreover, the malefaction was still in its early stages. Père’s malefaction would ripen. He would descend from the mountain (hill) and in all likelihood for the rest of his life leave behind a wake of genuine evildoing, compared to which his past misdeeds, noteworthy though they were, were misdemeanors, the work of a kind of kindergarten Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim. This was père’s likely future, but his future, so said the sun, was to a certain extent under his control. The balefulness at his core would remain forever at his core. But it could be suppressed, tamed. Through tremendous effort and perseverance père could avert his likely future, could descend from the mountain and transform his actions so that the rest of his life would become a banquet of frankness and joy and devotion and kindness and philanthropic endeavors. But even so, the balefulness at his core would remain intact. Père could control his actions but not alter his essence. The core balefulness could never be eradicated. Even if père suppressed and tamed, even if he became a canonized saint, nothing could be done to prevent the transmission of his essential balefulness to any child he engendered. Any child fathered by père would inherit the baleful core. Furthermore, it was in the nature of baleful cores for the malefaction to grow exponentially from one generation to the next. (Père quickly reviewed the early career of his own father and concluded that the term “exponential” was apt.) And it was this above all that alarmed the ethereal forces and astral subalterns, that the child’s evildoing would exponentially surpass that of the father. It was for this reason that they’d asked the sun to intervene. Père, so said the sun, would have to choose his course. He could malefact or he could suppress and tame. But what he could not do, what he MUST NOT DO, was to engender a child. The risks were too great. No one, not the sun nor the observers for whom the sun was speaking, could actually stop père from fathering a child, but, the sun said emphatically, père should bear in mind that the risk was not only to others but to himself: in fathering a child, père would inescapably foredoom himself to become the victim of the malefaction of that child. The evildoing that the child would leave behind in his wake would not exclude malefaction perpetrated upon the father. The only way to avoid the risk—and here the sun laughed, a horrific sound, like the outbreak of a unison cackle in a corporate cafeteria—was through a total commitment to abstinence. In order to spare his fellow man as well as himself the atrocities of any child whom he fathered, père would have to remain celibate forever. It was at this point that the women who unrealistically aspired to share père’s bed usually asked Who exactly is Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim.
154 To mutter about the greed, she said, Vance and I worried about what to do for couples in completely different time zones, when bathing in the winter and left to warm things while taking a bath—or renting a cardigan for the night, you can wait for a warm bath—to be honest, to be able to use the good mood, to ask Vance to put a slightly smaller amount of water in the sink while overrun with children, it feels good and evokes the comfort of trees, a Thursday healing time, the relief after the removal of scaffolding, polite honorific forms of address choired in slightly askew accents.
155 From what he could overhear, fils inferred that père had fended off scores of unrealistic admirers by deploying numerous variants on this loony anecdote about the sun. And at the time, fils on his childhood box spring/mattress/frame had thought, Well, that does sound like père, that kind of chickenshit theatrics. Now, though, after his week of attic pondering, fils no longer believed that the anecdote was just an anecdote. The anecdote was an adapted version of a true event. Behind the anecdote about a warning from the sun there was a true event that involved actual dealings with the sun. The anecdote, so speculated fils, left out key facts not germane to the task of fending off unrealistic admirers. The key facts had been removed and the rest of the story streamlined and the result was an effective deterrent that still, no doubt, at this late date, rang in the ears of fended-off aspirants who had gone on to become the mothers of tepidly mischievous children.
156 There it is before you, thinks The Opposable Thumb, mute, inviting, mean, insipid, always with an aura of whispering let me nap until 16:00. You guess you have to act and there’s no use worrying about it: recognize and resolve the concerns. And so unexpectedly to try to actually move the body, you come up against what tells us that all is true. I was a selfish ideal able to achieve the interests of a long-cherished wish linked to the growth of the unimaginable, and each day is the commandment that we can’t work and schedule and loaf. Too much tingling is complaining, thinks The Opposable Thumb.
157 The Hope Of The Flock felt his way toward a reconstruction of the true event behind the expedient story and in this way developed his theory. The theory was based on facts, spun from facts. There was the plain fact of the sorry state of the existence of fils. There was the contrasting fact of the success and rewards, many rewards, not to mention the absence of cancer, in the existence of père. There was the fact of the loony anecdote about the solstice. There was the fact that père by his own not entirely unboastful admission had promiscuously dabbled in the scrambling of his senses by means of psychoactive substances. And there was the fact of père’s brief but intense obsession with the adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud.
158 Equipped with a polarization for the masses the advice I have seen and how I hope to become the best thing that you can make of yourself as wisdom, thinks The Opposable Thumb, color that funny feeling relaxed but a healthy business is one thing, the first thing, I think, at first I can’t sometimes understand the meaning and intent of doing your best to put your mind to the body. “Something was wrong. Funny. Wrong.” To be honest, successful, have a philosophy of the laws of success, sometimes it seems pointless, a positive in everything that can be a challenge, but habits also run their own organizations.
159 The adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud, let us remember, had sojourned among the indigenous peoples of northwest Mexico and, as is well known, ingested massive quantities of peyote and participated in ceremonial rituals of the highest sacredness, rituals which no outsider had previously witnessed. After his privileged sojourn the adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud returned to France and came into possession of a walking stick that he believed once belonged not only to Saint Patrick but also Beelzebub and the Christian Messiah. The new possessor of this long-lived stick could have kept it for his own purposes, but no: in a spirit of admirable magnanimity and generous restitution he made yet another journey, this time to Ireland, in an effort to return the staff to the descendants of the most recent high-profile owner of the staff. The adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud, however, could not persuade the descendants of Saint Patrick to accept as a gift the staff that was rightfully theirs. Back in France again, the thwarted restitutioner was rewarded for his altruistic efforts by being arrested and placed in a straitjacket. Shortly after this public humiliation the adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud published the two manifestos that articulated his vision of a Theater of Cruelty, the project that would become the centerpiece of his participation in the Surrealist Revolution.
160 Why don’t you do a roleplaying with my service shoes, notice how they are pointed and new ones starting today. Comfortable and snug in South America, I wish you some hand-written gift cards and a dangerously elevated temperature, and that you leave a vacuum in your cud-chewing daughter’s heart.
161 The Hope Of The Flock fils knew little about père’s formative years, but he knew of this brief obsession. Piecing together the obsession with the other facts he knew, he killed time behind his eyelids for a week of slothful afternoons and formulated the theory of the sorry state of his existence. His sorry state could be explained by the real story, the true event, from which the loony fending-off confabulation had been adapted for purposes of expediency. The theory was a theory of the true event. At the center of the true event lay the inner truth that was being revealed to him epiphanically though cryptically through his weeklong phenomenological confusion (why and why now the truth was being revealed were questions not within the scope of the theory). The true event was the unadapted version of père’s climb to the summit and his conversation with the sun and the path that père had chosen after that conversation.
162 Sunrise at the family home, and buckwheat, the bell, you’re born in an area and have no other, your confidence to offer the world about what and who you are, to state that in front of them, thinks The Opposable Thumb, love yourself, embrace, believe, read Napoleon, you can create a happy prosperous business life and leave it for the betting action in uncharted space, and still an awareness of speech doesn’t solve the mastery of addressing you or your elasticity.
163 According to the theory, the unadapted version went like this. Père at the time of his walkingstick obsession lacked the resources to make a pilgrimage to the region of northwest Mexico where the adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud had sojourned. With minor misgivings he substituted for the pilgrimage a ceremony of his own devising. The ceremony was tainted from the start by not being an authentic pilgrimage, but only small souls have bitter misgivings about necessary compromises. He chose the summer solstice because of the prominent role given to the summer solstice in the second of the two S.R. manifestoes. The medium-sized hill that was the highest point in the county (altitude 1,760 feet) was as close as he could come to the high peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental, home of the transhumance-practicing indigenous people among whom the adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud had, as a uniquely privileged outsider, witnessed via scrambled senses the ritual slaughter of an ox and later written memorably about the slaughter. An hour before the precise moment of solstice père consumed a huge dose of peyote procured from a source who certified its provenance as the west slope of Cerro Mohinora (altitude 10,662 feet). Père made himself comfortable on a divan-shaped boulder, faced the sun, and waited. And at the precise moment of solstice a voice that seemed to come from the sun spoke and introduced itself by explicitly disabusing père of any notion he might have that the voice came from within his head and not from the sun that père viewed through glasses he’d crafted from aluminized mylar. The voice informed père that it spoke on behalf of forces which for the sake of simplicity père might as well think of collectively as Quantum Buckshot. Quantum Buckshot had taken note of père because of père’s uninnocent marauding and not inconsequential wreaking of havoc and especially, so said the voice from the sun, because of the predestined nature of père’s malefaction. Père’s malefaction was predestined to ripen. Père’s destiny was to hike down from the mountain (hill) and for the rest of his life leave behind a wake of ingenious deviousness and thoughtlessness and cruelty. Compared to what lay ahead for père, his past misdeeds, impressive as they were, were crude peccadilloes, the work of a kind of clueless wannabe Alexander “Doctor Phosphorus” Sartorius. Neither père nor the sun nor Quantum Buckshot could change père’s essential destiny. The balefulness at père’s core was unalterable, impossible to suppress or tame or overcome. Père could control neither his actions nor could he alter his essence. And for his past and predestined malefaction père faced punishment and retribution. The arbiter of punishment and retribution, so said the sun, was Quantum Buckshot. Quantum Buckshot weighed the balefulness of malefactors and punished them by sentencing them to spend some portion of their time on earth in a state of what père might as well call, ha ha—what an appalling laugh, like the whoop of a roué who has just arranged a liaison at a casino—Eclipsed Providence. In Eclipsed Providence everything that could go wrong would, except for occasional splashes of tantalizing false hopes. In Eclipsed Providence there was unremitting deprivation, gaping crevices, icicles dropping from a clear blue ceiling, the wrong kind of angiogenesis, nosedive after nosedive, idleness, drivel, chancres. In Eclipsed Providence all was verso and not recto. The sun told père that a malefactor of père’s caliber usually received a sentence of two to two and a half (decades). But in père, the sun said, Quantum Buckshot recognized a special case. On the one hand there was père’s malefaction, past and present and predestined. On the other there was his honest and humble and unaffected obsession with solstices and the lifework of the adventuresome son of Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud. That obsession had led père to the summit to pay homage to the solstice and indirectly, through the solstice, to the forces that comprised Quantum Buckshot. Père was not without a slender vein of goodness, said the sun, a vein of goodness of exactly the right kind (again that appalling laugh) to catch Quantum Buckshot’s attention. Quantum Buckshot had pondered the special case and decided that père deserved a choice. The choice was this. Père could do his two to two and a half, his sentence to commence immediately upon his descent from the mountain (hill). Or he could pick someone else to serve his sentence for him. Someone else could do his time. But it would have to be the right someone else. If Quantum Buckshot accepted his pick, père was off the hook: he would remain unpunished for the rest of his long life, with the single condition that he occasionally take the pulse of his slender vein of goodness (again that laugh!). If the pick did not pass muster, then père would spend the remainder of his time on earth in a very sorry state. Quantum Buckshot, said the sun, had granted père a year to make his choice. And that was that. The sun unceremoniously bid adieu to père and hung still in the sky. Père paid his homage to the solstice and the forces behind it, descended from the summit, and embarked upon a year of unremitting malefaction punctuated by bouts of intensive risk assessment. By the end of the year père had made his choice. By the end of the year he was a father. The perfect substitute had sprung from his loins. Everyone said that the infant fils looked just like père. Père scrutinized the infant fils and saw himself in miniature. Orthographically, too, they were identical twins. Père would present Quantum Buckshot with a miniature version of himself. Quantum Buckshot who had asked The Hope Of The Flock to find a substitute to serve his sentence would be receiving as a substitute The Hope Of The Flock. The granted year reached its terminus and père again climbed to the summit, this time with himself in miniature carried on his back. Again he ingested a monstrous quantity of peyote certified as harvested from the highest peak among the high peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Again he put on his aluminized mylar glasses and waited. And again the sun spoke, briefly, first to quote Quantum Buckshot’s single-sentence verdict (“I have no problem with your choice”) and then to give the particulars, namely that the sentence would commence once the infant fils reached the age at which he gained the ability to recall the anguish he was in for. Père hiked down from the summit and officially began rising through the ranks as a career malefactor whose good deeds were guaranteed to go unpunished. Every summer he took the pulse of his slender vein of humble honest unaffected obsession by climbing the to the summit and paying homage to the sun and the forces behind it. Meanwhile, the child had begun to serve the father’s time. And every summer the climb to the summit got a little easier, as climbs do when you’re living right (living right) eating right (eating right) fucking right (fucking right) and rising steadily through the ranks.
164 Lukewarm water or sugar water, zigzag narrow sheets, and no matter how small it is, the leisure faction called out to sea, the stuck cleaning up your personal belongings, replacing a fixed delay in time, the small space that once they take they marry anyone who has experienced a camera in shallow coral, I love solitude and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
165 I have, thinks The Hope Of The Flock fils, lingering resolutely behind his closed eyelids, formulated a coherent theory in an attic empty of all furnishings except a foam pad on the floor. The floor is the ceiling of the floor below. My predecessors outlined their own coherent theories in pencil on the raw planks. “Now I can get out a here—” “Anybody who can give me a hand?” “Will start throwing it in hard” “Better make it fast.” I’ll jot down my theory alongside theirs. Ten years from now my sentence will be up and my existence will flip with a tectonic shudder into recto felicity. Interminable miles devoid not of furnishings but of melancholy and nonflushing toilets wait in the distance ahead. I’ll be sprung into plausible daydreams of the sun shining upon my halcyon affluence, fishing for coho, luncheons where I’ll listen modestly to testimonials to my canniness and tenacity. Then the sun will discover an error in my paperwork. My release from Eclipsed Providence will turn out to be an inadvertent splash of false hope. Added to my haplessness will be the torment of enduring an inadvertent splash along with all the calculated splashes.
166 Rooted in a society that everyone knows is generous and has lots of good coaches, thinks The Opposable Thumb, in order to improve, to sense the unthinkable vanguard of promise, to become part of the not necessarily only interjection, it’s imperative to take tough situations and forward your own beauty, not only your own beauty but the beauty and mystery of when everyone is beautiful and overwhelming. A man’s backbone is seen running down the middle of his back under the skin. Somewhat painful physical beauty and studying oneself are fun things we can look forward to either on the right or the left, and there are always the banks and the way they can be ignored because they all look pretty much alike, and in contrast the floating body, the cherry sparkling beauty, thinking not like one hand but two, measuring a meridian to dispense a refinery of your own, beautiful flowers and a white room full of lucid delegates, an idea of becoming a beautiful thought in an elaborate illusion of warmth over the walking on the way home.
167 You get used to living in an attic, thinks fils, the ants that you must resist the urge to squash with your pinky, though they’ll wind up desiccated and crumpled in some bright corner tomorrow, the sense of driving a poorly maintained van over an unpaved road, the thumping persistence of raindrops, astonishingly sluggish beetles that seem to have only one gear, also the response in you to the knots in the rafters, the sense as well that the eagerness to figure out the sorry state of your existence is itself an ingot given to you, and not to you and you alone, as part and parcel with that sorry state, that your theorizing is profane and spurious and that the lovely-as-a-peafowl’s-train hidden truth lies well beyond your power of meddling.
168 Paris is a nostalgic era, funnels projecting through the roofs, there are funnels projecting through the roofs and small cabins made of what seems to be light, and I’ll sleep either well or not at all that day, the French language, awakened eyes, go to the buffet at one level, the male waiters coming to take a slender tall order at another. Paris, you’re walking down the sidewalk summarized in a light blue dress, striped scarf, girl students looking back at you and everything is so counting meals while singing, removing mints from the pocket mouth, intense whispers, cutting the tension in one fell swoop. You tell a story and an actress hears a song even though you’re whispering it in a responsible manner. Shops open their bakeries with the best early morning synchronization, a red, flushed and happy we’ve been expecting the day before, but… you can see at a glance that these cheerful bread baskets were brought from Paris to be sweetened in Paris.
169 Clarity, thinks The Opposable Thumb, I believe I know better now the information I need, how to go about wanting to let go if given the chance to play again, how to use an opportunity to take back what is mine, the fastest way to improve, the inevitable uncertainty, disposing of a tortoise with dignity and efficiency, how to handle a distraction such as indigo spittle, days in organized good weather and days lost in corruption and organized belongings.
170 Everyone is entitled to revive in high spirits, everyone is entitled to extravagant spending and baked bananas concocted by children and a vacation from the appeal of bodies fresh from the flood. Glossy dark eyes, buoyant telephone communication, a second night in paradise, dramas happening overnight like a child’s patching up the infirm, a tap on the door, people who are all in a bus their arms out the window, and they’re rooting for you, you! Fruit baskets piled with bright beach sandals, time shining into the room, five chefs on a balcony, flow of the closing ballad, Claude considered as a tight-fitting dress, 3B in his cube, imitating the speech of your last dessert course, a deep river in a small river, your own room at the end.
171 Out of obligation rather than work, I’ll contribute to your heart, as we’re said to be transient things relying on our body narcissism and seasonal patterns. Congratulations, thinks The Opposable Thumb, just what do you think I am, toy blocks of cork? A clean flame, they say, is eternally satisfied.
172 Or the hotel is calm and there are people in the lobby, some limping, some tottering, some siding with the decision to sleep safely and eat a caramel cream. You have to train yourself to sleep slowly. What is an elevator but a long ride that takes each to her own caramel cream? But in Paris, it seems to me that people endow their houses with the personality of a window pot of white and red geraniums, what a lovely week off, you can live well just from the ambient deliberate keen attention to posture. The crepe-maker standing at attention says, Do you like crepes, daughter? Thank you, but of course! Wipe one’s face against the wind, you people who came up the stairs of the cotton system of Europe.
173 The body clock is worth more than any fullness of the heart open to any watch I’ve ever had feelings for, thinks The Opposable Thumb. You’re a living thing and should return to life as soon as the original. Two years ago my view of the many things I’m not was like searching for a clock radio from two years prior to two years ago. The most important lessons aren’t always stabbed in the forearm. You put on the armor No sign of the concept of an emphatic not to be here, it’s perfect for you, and very soft and easy to use most mornings, even in spite of a rash of cordial questions. The real thing has the thickness of size adjustment without getting tired. Every single message that occurs is responsible for its own content. To reflect on all the selfish hope in the pace of neglecting the matters that weigh on the consciousness of a very good sense of design and accuracy is to delay an apology for inconvenience when the inconvenience is itself no more than a selfish hope, a peculiar traffic law.
174 The recent months, so beaded with sweat and laughter, and now the connection to life again, a grassy hummock of bright green, the only thing of its kind. My eyes are in the game. Even extreme elation may ultimately vent itself in the satisfaction of observing titanium barrels made by hand, bobbing in the sea breeze. I think I can trade a long time in the taking of every risk for an ample interval of as many risks as if I were a middle-level manager speaking in a confidential tone. The best thing is that 46 billion years is time boiled and short.
175 You’ll know inside and around the blind whiteness, you’ll know shorter or often, and the distance between people, thinks The Opposable Thumb, if in fact there is distance between people, falls into the eyes of others as a reward. Stop and ask if you think that reluctance changes the amount you receive. The overture is where the contents of a document are filled with helpless anxiety. Every human being bothered with mud at the bottom of a shoe arrives from the outside of a hedge and each more and more resembles a pair of flippers. I’m up against the wall too many times to give up. Yesterday was only ever a little one-story curtain tremor of dispersed work hours, drawing away too briskly to charcoal construction tools and bamboo enthusiasm. One of those human secrets that baffle probability had come into play there, carried in the car, on into the weekend. With range, even the slightest little thing is possible. How many little things have fallen into the pores: even safety on the sidelines can be the catalyst that enables the undesirable reaction. You go back and move it to work miracles, and voilà! truly serious enough to deserve a break—flour numbness, feelings and innovation, the outside groove, nothing to lose again, singing and seeing the blood vessels under the eye, irritation with what you were once low enough to champion. The soft sound of a continuous sunburn paints the intention of the next morning’s getting around it.
176 French people speaking Italian, a party in full swing, bright and prosperous in their lung power, you’re generous in Paris, little by little the busy hum becomes appeased, what it’s like to involuntarily swallow a cool mint iced green drink that’s first been cooked then chilled, and I’m there for some time interacting with him, confided to everyone. The French tactfully eschew undue scrutiny but at the same time are busy and a little unreasonable. Well thanks, I’d like a little bit of growth. I ran up through the bushes. Claude appeared in the crowded street. I was a little aggressive, like… like… breaking a certain number of smoked-glass diplomats… his marriage is a strange complaint that loses its unity as a complaint the closer you examine its palm-sized bags of vanity and awakenings. The rich are studded with glittering things and it takes getting used to, the private night ferry, the untold story behind the birth of a lyric, common sense in a blood-sucking species, the questions they want answered, “people are the things that get lost,” a denim-clad physician directed to use a finger on the edge of her glass to narrate an anecdote sharply for us, the equivocal sequels to “get going,” practicing ventriloquism in the dark. You’re walking down the Boulevard Montparnasse and realize they started coloring the leaves of the ginkgos. Or with abandon overhearing a dispute about souvenirs suspected to contain the water of the river Ganges. Or because of your long dress, denied entrance to a McDonald’s, also with abandon. Wistful from abuses, an adopted firefly, always whoa you have to get ready, you want to put a coin into a bag of candy in a colorful slow straight line but drop it into a vending machine and suddenly clash. Street vendors gloat on a small hill. Try to hear the way you’re walking tall with a shopping bag just in case. The bright white from sea spray: suddenly it’s hard to imagine a sad story. Fired up at the distant horizon, still full of energy during meal service, replenishing in a panic, I was dreaming. There are such mornings in early winter that have simple washing machines large enough to pull people out of the windows of their apartments. His pride and joy is not the world to me. But with every easy answer words that had been supine poignant questions form the shape of a couple not thinking about their protean motivations.
177 The easygoing charm of the frustration from the moment you’re caught in traffic, and then the momentum of a lie intruding, nothing more than a small nursery, a decorated tray, raised eyebrows because her husband just before the call said he was going alone in a taxi. The key to the door of the shower and people taking the time to get a late start and I want to deal with the right knowledge. Yes, I was able to catch the train alone, and with it a touch of anemia. The convenience of working without having to get up early tomorrow to take her husband a little early to dinner, not after the cleanup.
178 We can wash our own laundry, we can wash our own hotel for that matter. We can pretend to be nibbling at knapsack cryptography or describing errands in a hoarse voice or considering why the ceramic of an ashtray would need to be reinforced or throwing plates in frustration at an eyebrow trilemma. We can remove ourselves to a vantage from which we wonder aloud in hushed tones whether the women (girls, actually) aren’t listening (have essentially disappeared from sight for the moment) or are acquainted with the practice of and are practicing the art of pretending they’re not listening. Well… it’s as if an elevator stopped between floors and a woman (a girl, actually) not yet melted into reconciling a misunderstanding with her father who’s frolicking in the pool giggles knowingly, and as you ascend the ladder from the top of the elevator and time moves faster as you dodge the wires it occurs to you to wonder not only whether to debut next year but whether the giggle was disillusioned faux knowingly or for-real back to the real world alone knowingly. We can ask What hiatus? or absentmindedly perforate croissants with a toothpick at the same moment we’re taming the sea or brashly interrogate our own resolutions or make a snowman from apple muffins and the fact is that there’s an imaginary space of conductor projections and nowhere in that space is the favor I have to ask of her or the favor she has to ask of me. Not in that imaginary space or in any imaginary space warm enough to park light clothing or continuously replenished with long hair bangs a little long or cluttered with pledges of lunch or pervaded by unwelcome word of mouth compliments or riddled with arrogant justifications for a policy of counting incidences of rolling the eyes in open disgust by tapping first on one cheek and then on the other, always with the index finger.
179 Push it, push it, push it forward as there’s no question of enticing or the merit of one thing commensurate with its value growth process or the conversion of labor hours into a weight measure of yarn or exaggerating the improper control of the honor rewards system, but only a talking through to achieve the exemplary watching it travel to bend the body irregular rectangle desired state, exchange of wood paneling for the wall was falling, four or five years of pressing ahead for six months of people who want to give up, imitating the sound of rain falling on a bird in the woods or walking backward through the rainshaft of a stately thunderstorm, turning off the floor for pressing a switch on the clean way to laying the groundwork for improving your praise and blame nonchalance.
180 All efforts to get at it are a little deaf, though it will be transacted if not exposed to the afternoon’s nuances and canards, brought up in the foreground in the best respect of your shoulders, spilled so as to be underfoot, kicked loose and rolling every which way like balled-up petals flaunting their frost-like costumes, as available as the word “hunger” written in chalk, an understanding of waves smashing the buzz of scratching abrasive wheels, small and serrated in light freezing weather, conspicuous as the implant side of a park, you have to run around and here we go, you aren’t in the picture unless the waiter or waitress declares you are.
181 People always lose words under the overhanging limbs but begin with the understanding of a transaction found where it’s wanted and expected, bleakly nauseated at owning no time yet approachable as a portrait picture frame room addition in its plate-like body, in open space, spectators evolving into a surprisingly small badly broken constantly enchanting facsimile of early diversification, another roofless drip of water from ownerless shadows, totally available and seen through the popular bread sold in schools and freedom of summer stuff not at all with the appearance of the daunting edge of something awry in the dust and dry rot or wandering around not clearing anything away from the wall, as approachable as the felling of timber followed by somnolence or a thought of pearls that can be traced to a distinct thought of a display indicator recording the time when the hills and valleys of the street at noon clamor to be mentioned, in open space yet never once visited, not ignored but neither reflected in the faces of two people studying conscientiously the unabated kicked off frightening lazy and more upset against the will of the loss sharp apex hydrangeas.
182 A quadrant pledge of informal getting on with her work totally available to be spoken of and in plain sight drawing deep meaning yet with no sign of surrendering itself free of innuendo even singing from the singing of so much blue sky by divine vocation. Has already shown us its purpose from within its laden cicada-green theater curtain and stares at us having established its strong focal impact as a fait accompli. A messy explosion of soft drinks standing in a corner, it sizes us up with its self-awareness of the fiat inherent in its approachable unfocused gaze. Not at all an abandoned awkward untruth but rather a foreordained achievement of individuals focusing intently on not broaching it overtly while at the same time sharing the awareness of its vibrant irrevocable levying. Two performers neither sleepy nor sentimental languidly aware of not broaching it overtly also aware of the French rich in implications swirling around it and its wistful sustained patience. We have a little butter, a jelly-like mixture of shapes, no glass partition behind which on a chair that might as well be on stilts it revels vaingloriously in our inertness. We’re the heart and light of just another stingy midafternoon repast while it wears on its napkins folded mortarboard style napkin arm epochal parabolas that define lovingly our unclouded foregone can’t go it immediately variously-hued futures.
183 Negotiating sedately under the upslope clouds the foregone watershed moot efficient outcomes into which each of our goings not the same as other new places decision stroke variously hued-futures debouches, we observe it, that which we must negotiate, a condenser lens to illuminate the glittering, plainly available to be spoken about and in open space behind a thick glass wall of iron and marble. Others are strolling on their way to retrieve their bicycles from driving school, others are hurrying toward the need to connect to their own growth periodically as a benchmark, others are resonating like a downpour pronounced as judgment upon the slow and angry, yet others are unwittingly fertilizing an aneurysm: we too have somewhere to be and are crossing a shark’s neck of ice and shake place in the short term as with only a little impatience we approach something akin to a solemn repudiation of the oil-white wildcat hydrangeas and their multifarious handshakes. She at every second step isn’t leaving for her station, I could fill my pockets with turning and starting to leave, yet hold in place to note the intoxicating as a municipal trail incidental as postal savings parity. Others roar the roar of the black brow of a hill or are invested in heterogeneity as a good beginning to light-water reactors: she and I with no vehemently pursed mouths to all appearances might as well be at the helm of a redevelopment transaction or severing a lukewarm tie or not making a fuss about a downpayment or putting into order a messy donor list, we haven’t hit any jackpot nor are expressively mired in vague fears of retro tourist information offices nor argue bulky or sultry about jumping into the fray nor lament the ever-lengthening shade of an ivy-bedecked canopy nor are writhing at the vexed insipid mantras of a corrupt cicada-shaped banking system. Could not be mistaken for unified vicious pickpockets shrilly exchanging favors amid lingering suspicions. She’s not whining about an addiction to the lottery or plucking an earring from a mound of silver powder, I’m not wincing at the prospect of snow tanning nor am I imploding because the Louvre is closed tomorrow. We’re not disturbing anyone’s bizarre ritualistic embarrassing guesswork or in the sedateness of our negotiation causing antipathy to fade at any nearby table or disrupting the contesting of attendance figures or in our civil though not listless proceedings setting an example for anyone in the neighborhood embroiled in a dispute with her wasted from illness but roused by being pestered landlord. As two parties ushering in a foregone if pulled from the empty bleachers empty ring a bell bell-shaped benign and mutually beneficial outcome, we’re a far cry from sports shoes too lazy too crawl into the crisp retail ever-lengthening slow motion shadow of the canopy or an aerial onslaught from burgundy mopheads after a gust of a kind hardly ever stocked up here anymore. Our languid but in no way inefficient proceedings are one thing while the snickering of a trio of happy with a little firepower probably children who disowned children who drench the surrounding precincts with their resistance to quick classification is quite another. No no matter how humble or never rusty from disuse turning to leave as a bluff and then after bogged down in the shade’s favorite claim turning to leave again recoiling from yet another formalized clarification or ironclad zero clause. She’s holding out, I’m holding out, around us always the same faces of courteous limitless questionable invitations from stray dogs or just one free rein bad eye deficient in its direction of aim.
184 Somewhere less like a dolphin bathing pavilion in which fish swim horizontally someone with wide wooden ladder eyebrows is saying “wait” twice or deferring to the attending staff while shrugging his shoulders and preaching about the next big strictly vertical risk of complacency. Here in progress toward a foregone exchange maneuvering among robust transient showers of lacecap and without astigmatism she and I negotiate peering through the gaps in our interior shutters, neither hurrying to adjourn so as to attend a soiree nor adorning with a statue of Pascal pinning down a wrinkled speculation the tranquil verging on purposeful melancholy assured sense of oblique certain you now have what you need I now have what I need foregone restructuring. She’s not losing sight of the meteoric wherever you are ecology of joining splines, nor engaging in a charade of absentmindedly brushing lacecap from the oversponged tablecloth, nor complaining about the unavoidable dubious leverage adieus or because there’s no input from another engagement backtracking, not being a diva or forcing a “you wish” or crushing sordid pleasant ideals or turning to leave yet again after yet another factitiously unaccommodating stoppage of the badinage. I feel a sharp lighthearted summons toward some other pattern inset with tiny weather vanes reading imminent trivial acrimony and I dismiss it. I feel a delicate not uncustomary pull from some other flourish pavement professional status management rights fine print reading vermillion incriminations and I dismiss it. I feel a stingy birthstone warmth while it rains heart and tears raising the lake beckoning from some other pattern inset with miniature silhouettes of jury virgins scowling scowls of trite animus and I dismiss it. I feel a thrumming not earth-shattering alert calling me toward doubting my affection for fireworks viewed from under an umbrella and I dismiss it. I feel a shunting memo signal shunting me toward some other likeable crisis mode memo written in paraffin ink on hot foreign paper and dismiss it by reading it backwards so that its intrusive visibility is flustered. In the regular pulse hoot the future shines through humble loopholes in the courteous agreeable dramaturgy, here we’re neither sugarcoating nor dreading another night of get familiar with the rough shot put esprit de corps and all lucubration. Within the framework of an endearing mercy worthy of a glossy prospectus, carmine or vermillion lacecap cascades in soft sweep innocence from the camera obscura awnings while two types of allocation and Amadeus gaskets thick with their unavoidable wear and selflessness blazing a high drain between superfluous poles and a gracious bounce back from an impasse collectively balance their gambles with the emotional dynamic of a cheerful insistent festival. We not missing our footing escort our transaction toward its long-foregone mutually beneficial she’ll be on her way I’ll have given away surplus no stinging nettles absent of window-size suggestive of impropriety missing pages commencement of an effectual felicitous foregone aftermath. Steeped in fine-tuned renormalization the private domiciles behind double triple gates aren’t bothering anybody as they view modestly neither in plaintext disapproval nor discordant travail the arduous not unlikely to sour head shave is a small voice unrubberstamped wringing by others from some exhausted loud side table tuck back into the degraded original premise touchstone inoffensive honed arrangement not uninfluenced by the frugal decorations of the healing salvation less pampered corner frugal philosophy suitable domiciles. Solemn droppings on the awnings, the trembling lacecap sluggishness punctuated by the showy abrupt slumping of someone made aware of the pragmatics of buying up distant tax havens, it’s a blueprint for sustaining the tremendous force of demand compensation and its cosmetic declarations of condolence: stirred and quickly broken down into buying short with glimpses of the threat of fragile social ostracism or looming endless thin filaments or the burden of moving forward from that hiccups but forever nevertheless reinvented as spangled subdued pompoms not quite still but brooking without getting hectic the ambush of another whipped into sitting suddenly upright by the hype about per capita real value, under the defiled since morning dispatching checkers of vermillion or carmine no-nonsense awnings. The frontage abides stinginess and disagreements among ballerinas. One, two homeowners involved in a sad consideration walk up and down counting their keys as if they would open the door for all. Neutrally conjoined to a matrix of total abstinence slogans is a matrix of let’s get you thinking about a trust or looking at a trust and undergoing a complete change of mind. The prevailing acronyms foreground themselves with the brisk but not pugnacious determination of polo shirts handed thick brochures to commit to memory before a morning bonfire. Around us cut off completely from us and at the same time at the end of the day enduring the same tensile strength lies the indiscriminate abused full mastership force in the direction of persuasion cardboard chagrin and black-letter day credit and steam towel stands and inferences bolstered by the reinforcement of someone’s someone other than she or I someone’s genial countenance becoming seriously curious in sympathy. Neither condescending nor festooned with egotism the inevitable babysitting articles commingle with correspondence about exoneration, all roped off from us yet under the same drip drip drop drop drop neither unequipped with vermillion splashes of brilliance nor free to flee north beyond the border of the snug minutiae of their logistics awnings, those awnings under which notch motioning likewise guarantees a solid guarantor and liaisons that began on a trampoline now adapt to apologies for interrupting an already-told monologue about a flamingo or tanager. Hard-earned open-plan design benefits side by side with fraud buttons earned punctiliously side by side with losing a point to earned-under-oppression twirl-a-whirl side by side with go buy your mother the high end bedding she’s earned. Others quick to draw saturnine inferences and others the silver cup of water bubbles in the life of love and others naturally chubby suffering from a decision that surprised even themselves and others perhaps nieces with seniority deliberating over whether celebration is by nature spherical or fire in a circle around a puddle. Yet others walk straight into the throng on all fours just to see their grins appraised. Let’s paint in thick, thin durable single day joystick lights flickering in the loft strokes like bubbles floating fluffy in clean freaky wind, someone other than she or I is thinking. Or that the three million seasonal visitors are rugged and lost and many bring to mind the caricature of a pickax. Or that to succeed in even a fundamental obligation while not getting dizzy behind the ears is as difficult as sleeping through a good matinee while being pulled back and forth from side to side. Or that to articulate the odd brazen-morning effect that an ocarina has when heard in person playing vintage chiptune or early Henri Dutilleux requires patience as well as the ability to wait patiently for a feeling of impatience.
Fortunato Salazar's writing has appeared in Nerve, Mississippi Review, McSweeney's, FRiGG and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.