Delirifacient, p.12
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       Delirifacient, p.12

           Trist Black
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Immediately upon hitting the street, the young man’s precipitation evaporated, leaving him wafted along by the undulating gauze of a languid drift. He walked the street indifferent, thinking his nothing thoughts, paying no attention to the self-busied rodomontade of the proud, dusty city around him. Suddenly he noticed his own polluted reflection in a muddy puddle he was in the midst of stepping in. His fascinated mid-motion stop for an unhurriedly analytic glare disrupted the puddle’s dirt-dusky mirroring of him. He was inexplicably disgusted with the puddle’s ungenerous interpretation of him and could not blame it completely on its being situated at a cruel, acute angle below him (after all, the Riefenstahl pov, if anything, flattered the nazis), so he took off his brown leather jacket, threw it away and continued his walk unencumbered by its brown horridness. A few moments later he remembered that his wallet and worker’s permit were inside the brown jacket; he shrugged off the realisation and walked on. Then he remembered that his favourite ivory comb was also in the brown jacket: he rushed back, picked up the brown jacket, extracted the comb from an inner pocket, inspected the yellow-tinted artefact for damage, put it in his shirt pocket, dropped the brown jacket and carried on down the street. His street. He felt the street was his now, seeing as though he had marked it and sacrificed to it. Street of the Browncoat. Former Browncoat – he’d no more coat, brown or otherwise chromed. Wallet and permit were both left inside the discarded brown jacket.

  The day was malodorously past its use by date at this point, and yet the human effluvia sweeping down the street would not abate. Garrulous neighbours and discontented tradesmen crawled onto the sidewalk to trade outraged anecdotes and declining sales numbers, seasonally tweaked to give the speaker the right to appear that extra bit more indignant and vicissitudally mistreated than his interlocutor. Hundreds of bacterial concerns vied for attention behind every window pane, and it furnished the former browncoat with indelible satisfaction to stroll through this onslaying sea of worries and tribulations that could neither touch nor infect him, obligated to part before his careless step and make way for his hydrophobic laziness. Sometimes though he was curious what it would be like to drown in such quotidian preoccupations, to have life itself perform the thankless labour of supplying him with pressing topics for thought and conversation instead of his normal modus operandi, which consisted in his probing the profundities of futile quirk and aberrant ipsissimosity for matters to occupy the ingrate mind. All those extraneous people had life itself to fret about and, for the most part, could afford to cede the faculty of creativity-against-boredom to the idle rich and the self-palsifying members of the intelligentsia; they had but to disjoin their eyelids in the morning and without any conscious effort on their part they would be presented, nay, flooded by life itself with myriad trivial tasks to perform and minuscule goals to achieve and prosaic dreams to prostitute. As for the browncoat, he had long since excised a solid majority of his lifeitself-attuned organs.

  He reached the end of the street, which subtly narrowed into the main alley of an articulate if unremarkable little park. He had no wish to enter it, he did not want to turn either left or right and he was rather certain it would not agree with his desires to go back. In fact he grew slightly suspicious, because he had no recollection of his initial reasons for exiting his flat and adopting this particular direction down this particular street. He then tried to coax himself into entering the park and admiring the charming little birds, but he failed, promptly and unspectacularly. Resigned to the infelicities of his consciential divagations, he aligned his back against the right half of the main gate, now open and unsecured, and climbed onto it by sliding his arms and legs in between the ornate railings. The metallic leaves and avian structures in frozen overflight scratched him if he attempted too ambitious a movement, but otherwise his position was stable. The two halves of the gate opened away from the green, presently forming a straight angle with the rest of the fence that enclosed the park. The maximum arc of each described a 180 degree angle from closed to open and aligned against the fence. So the browncoat leaned outwards, swung his unremarkable bulk to the best of his ability and tried to imbue his half of the gate with a leftward movement, thereby pushing the gate against the fence and leaving half of the entrance archway completely open. He negotiated his attempts as adroitly as his unformed instincts would allow, but could not impress any motion more impressive than an half-dozen centimetres upon the gate, and even these advances were saccadic and mutually sabotaging: whenever he tried to push on and prolong his meagre progress mid-movement, the gate and he along with it were somehow sent screechingly backwards. Stranded and impuissant, he finally cheated by planting his left foot on the ground some ten or fifteen centimetres ahead of the rest of his person and using it to propel the entirety of his under-oiled alliance with the skeletal machine forward. Three such grappling motions were sufficient to gain the momentum required of the gate to make its way to the awaiting fence. Mere milliseconds before contact, the browncoat extended his left leg fully so that his sole came up against the fence a good half meter before the now impetuous gate, bent his leg slightly so as to minimise resistance, and when his sole was firmly and fully supported by the fence, pushed himself backward as hard as he could. This sent the gate flying back toward the entrance archway at an alarming if nonlethal velocity; as it reached its closed position it negotiated – poorly – a violent stop that left it clanging and vibrating, the savage attack on the rusty hinges resonating wildly in all directions. The intrepid rider failed to safeguard his head properly, so the force of the impact not only produced a not wholly painless encounter with the gate bars he was holding onto, but also wedged his head securely between two such inhospitable bars. All efforts to dislodge this his least prized possession were resolutely insolvent, and rather unpleasant on his temples to boot; pushing the metal rods laterally outwards was of course beyond his mortal powers. Thankfully he still had the proper use of his limbs, so he once again applied his left foot to achieve forward motion. The gate was long enough that he had sufficient manœuvring space to give it a more than adequate speed; this time he did not cushion and ultimately subvert the gate’s tackling of the fence with his left foot but let nature take its sadistic course. His torso and mildly protruding stomach, sandwiched between the gate and the inexpugnable fence, suffered the full brunt of the collision, which deprived him of breath for a good five seconds, but also freed his head from between the bars.

  As soon as he could ascertain the continuing performance by his bodily functions of their many rightful duties, he mounted the gate once again and, careful to position the centre of the back of his skull against a single bar so that it would absorb fully the shock of the abrupt stop without depriving him of immediate mobility, proceeded to repeat the exercise. This he ultimately did again and again and again, for five hours on end. Every once in a while his left foot failed to find the fence railings as it sought to reverse the gate’s movement from closed to lined against the fence; it would slip between the rods and the browncoat would have to deaden the metal’s crunch using his own modestly fleshsewn appurtenances. One may have expected him to laugh maniacally upon completion of a cycle but he was utterly silent, issuing only the occasional automaton grunt if a landing was clumsily addressed and inconvenienced his head or chest more than could be reasonably expected of an onrushing multiple-tonne mass of steel that employed him as its willing cushion. It did not even occur to the browncoat in his reverie how strange it was that there were no visitors to a popular centrally located park in the breezy vespertine hours of a pleasant latesummer day, or that none had been attracted by the expansively impatient clangour he produced without fail every two minutes. but both the browncoat and i knew that all gates are holy

  It was almost eleven o’clock when he finally realized that he was now free to enter the park. He vacillated awhile but ponderousness never quite suited him so he walked in and headed for its geometrical centre, the focal point whence all alleys and treelines sprung. He found there a l
arge statue of boris godunov. Its æsthetic merits were naturally risible, but it had at least to recommend it the good sense of not being an equestrian depiction. The sovereign was instead immortalised in the midst of a lively conversation with a chamber pot; he was holding it to eye level and unleashing what appeared to be a fuming, vitriolic argument against some unsatisfactory aspect or another of the chamber pot’s performance. It was unclear whether the latter was making any attempt to defend itself; however, as a general principle one does not argue with an enraged tsar. It was equally unclear whether the chamber pot had been voided of its contents or indeed whether it had at any recent point been made to operate qua chamber pot; unless one intended to mount the shoulders of the ten-foot statue and find out, even a regular passer-by with above mediocre alpinist abilities could only speculate as to the history of the chamber pot and the nature of its conflict with the despot. The browncoat surrounded the statue thrice, at a leisurely pace and without overly focusing on the details of the craftwork. He then paused behind it and gave the centre of the pedestal a stalwart push. This opened up a narrow and musky tunnel the browncoat did not hesitate to conquer. The unlit passageway spiralled downwards for a few minutes and led him to a series of linearly arranged underground chambers. The second of these was illuminated by multiple candles; in it he saw a man and a woman. Both were respectably and expensively dressed, though a couple of seasons behind the latest fashion. The woman lay supine, her hands and feet completely tied up: there seemed to be more rope than limb coiling around her. She was intermittently shaken by a succession of decidedly inæsthetic convulsions; they became progressively shier in both intensity and recurrence. The browncoat could only conclude that she had been recently sedated and these were the last remnants of her rather endearing resistance to the paralysis. The man seemed in no hurry as he waited for the convulsions to die out completely. As soon as the convulsions finally complied, he flipped the woman over so her deadened gaze would point upwards and produced a single ak-47 bullet from his coat pocket and rested it, sharp end downwards, on the centre of the woman’s forehead. He persisted in pushing and slapping and beating the bullet in with his palm until it had made a minor, wholly negligible indentation but by this time his palm was bleeding all over the bullet and the woman’s forehead, immixing itself with the more modest crimson rivulets spawned by the battered forehead and generally making it harder to ascertain the extent of the wound he was apparently trying to inflict on her. As the hole in the forehead was still not big enough for the bullet to be lodged safely in and remain balanced, the man then placed his foot on the bullet and applied the full force of his metal-heeled boot. Violently. Repeatedly. When an approximate three fifths of the bullet’s length had entered the woman’s skull, the man produced an hammer and struck at the bullet’s flat base as hard as he seemingly could (although he had been sweating heavily for some time now, so perhaps the browncoat’s impressions were mendacious); the fleshmuted impact did not fail to produce a minor deflagration. The browncoat left the tunnels at this point and reëmerged in the middle of the park. He decided he had no interest in returning home so off he went, foraging for a new home to abandon unfailingly the very next day. Also he would have liked to purchase a loaf of bread but was afraid few of his customary bakeries would serve him at this highly original time of night.

  Chapter vii

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