Delirifacient, p.14
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       Delirifacient, p.14

           Trist Black
 
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And so no one would offer the mendicant pair the humblest shelter, and the villagers would either ignore them or dart an angry apology of not having enough room or food. And only when they walked to the outskirts of the settlement, to the smallest and unpretentiousmost of huts, did they find a bed to spend the night and some bread and cheese to sate their inexistent hunger. The hut belonged to an exceedingly old couple whose antediluvian faces stored equally antediluvian smiles, stomped onto their faces like a soldier’s boot; the old man and the old woman were animated by altruism and propped upright solely by the will to kindness. And so they offered the vagrants their best wine and toiled to catch their only chicken, a faithful cockerel almost as old as they, in order to serve the guests some fresh meat, and bent their not-so-ductile-anymore backs to wash the visitors’ feet and gave them the best beds in the hut, whereas the hosts would spend the night on the floor, wrapped in a disintegrating goat skin. And upon this display of inhuman hospitality the two peregrines revealed themselves toward the mourning and said unto the old couple

  And then he suddenly and violently choked on a blessed wafer and one of the other patrons of the trattoria called him a shallow puddle of invertebrate nullity for no reason whatever and tossed an earthen jug at the head of the browncoat’s companion and it missed but only by a few inches and that was only because the attempts to dislodge the wafer had contorted his the companion’s body into unusually plastic and morbidly variant dispositions which did not favour contact with the airborne jug. The browncoat himself wondered where his companion had gotten a sacramental wafer this time of hell, but suppressed the rising question in a gurgle of wine deep in his throat because he knew it wasn’t interesting enough to waste his ineptly inebriated and incurious breath on.

  And the companion told the browncoat that he knew the browncoat did not like to drink at all and that he particularly execrated wine so it was his honest companion’s conversational and moral duty to ask brownback why he was at present drinking good vigorous peasant wine so vigorously. Browncoat hesitated over whether he should confide in his companion but he couldn’t remember whether he had known his companion for a year or for an hour and this struck him as illuminatingly amusing since he wasn’t in effect at all drunk. In the end he tossed a mental coin and could visualise it spinning in the mental air perfectly but could not for the life of him the browncoat’s or companion’s it didn’t much matter get the coin to remain the same self-coherent coin and effect a continuous motion with a beginning and a clearly identifiable end and land properly on one single mental side or the other and reveal which side it had landed on so brownback could use the mental coin toss to settle the delicate matter of confiding in his either newfound or severely long-run companion.

  And the mental formulation of the decision had now been obscured as a process to such an extravagant extent that brownback decided to eschew the whole irritating matter and instead picked a leisurely fight with the companion over his companion’s use of the ambiguous term ‘conversational and moral duty’. Companion tried to whisk the fight away by explaining patiently that he was merely speechifying and being bombastic but brownback would have none of it and engaged the companion in endless dialectical arm wrestling, which immediately bored companion so cadaverous that he discourteously told browncoat to shut the fuck up and proceeded to tell another story so as to waft away the hungry rot of ethics. He was apparently directing the story at brownback but hadn’t positioned his disorganized length so as to meet the brownback face to face and a neutral observer of neutral sobriety would have been forgiven for thinking companion was telling the story for the benefit of all the patrons of the trattoria.

  The story was ideally suited for a group of materially oppressed, uneducated Russians of modest lucidity, since it cruelly and cleanly exposed the unscalable peaks of American stupidity (the browncoat thought his companion had rather diminished the effect by announcing immediately what his story was about and what conclusions its listeners should draw from it but nevermind it may have been a fancy trick he couldn’t fully comprehend at that time so say on). An obese impotent American, desperately self-conscious, decides to develop a drug habit (heroin) in order to lose weight and gain a pretext for not being able to get hard. The junk promptly kills the extra weight, and via a perversion of this individual’s chemical balance gives him a weakened non-threatening version of priapism. He’s never been happier or more self-realized. He then goes on to make a sizable fortune selling obese Americans an easy and novel approach to weight loss and giving heroin addicts a fresh new raison d’avoir été and a stupendous reason for feeling superior to the uniform locked-in-suffering soft plump masses of the sober populace jailed in uninterrupted consciousness that surround the addicts with their squishy arms and ever-discontented mutantwatermelon stomachs. Since he isn’t selling drugs directly to his customers he is able to invoke the right of free speech and further drivel to evade both prison and censorship and moreover, he is never high at predictable times, so counter-intuitively the authorities never manage to dart a charge of possession that would stick to him (and besides now he’s so thin practically invisible they’d never hit him anyway those myopic fucks walk genuinely through him and not realize it). He writes an hit autobiography whose nodal idea is that his existence is a living monument to the specifically and idiosyncratically American interpretation of freedom and self-creation. Since his ghost-writer is a pre-fame and inexplicably impoverished and therefore despondently desperate David Foster Wallace, it gets a Pulitzer and a National Book Award for originality of subversive thought – or subversiveness of original thought, the companion can’t be bothered to remember.

  And it wasn’t that companion-and-browncoat’s fellow drinkers weren’t David Foster Wallace fans – they absolutely adored David Foster Wallace –, but many of them had important business stakes in the distribution of aforementioned weight loss accelerator to the many fitness enthusiasts of Ligovskii Prospekt. Which is why they thought the companion’s moral fable cut a little too close to their well-fleshed bones; they therefore produced their modestly spiked kastets and facilitated companion’s exit from the premises at a velocity he would have rightfully thought unattainable through his feeble, alcohol-dissipated efforts alone. Brownback, although he had no conceivable reason for remaining in the tavern, attempted to reason with the diligent mob by pointing out that he wasn’t even certain how long he had known his companion, if at all, and had no discernible association with said companion; but his arguments, as always, were found logically dissonant by his febrile audience.

  And companion was disheartened by these events and accused browncoat of having caused the entire chain through his ill will or false consciousness or ressentiment, which consisted in the browncoat consuming large amounts of wine despite abominating wine to no small or tolerable certainty; and to render the situation even more unpalatable, browncoat wasn’t the least bit drunk. And since companion lacked a good nature to prevail on him in such delicately balanced moments, he displayed the full might of his ire against the brownback by relating yet another story, one that featured the companion himself as its protagonist.

  He, companion, had been attending a very chic soirée hosted by a very chic she-Amphitryon (the browncoat wondered why companion couldn’t have employed the simpler hostess, or better yet Alcmene, but realized at once that the former was too anodyne, and the latter too charged with inappropriate sexual possibility) on the highest floor under the open night of a very chic Peterburg hotel. As the drinks grew more plentiful and the night more experimental, a particularly surly young coxcomb boarded companion’s circle and asked companion why he, companion, had to monopolise the ultimately limited available attention, glamour and precious female favours with such an iron fist. Companion did not appreciate the coxcomb’s aggressive monotone and told him so, to which the coxcomb replied that the wielder of the irreverently panned monotone had within him the full potential of striking companion permanently atonal through the premature extraction of the
latter’s impudent vocal chords. Companion could not stand for such societally corrosive effrontery and proceeded to pummel coxcomb into whimpering submission, not before gallantly requesting of a pert young thing on his left to keep his drink cold while companion dealt with a soon-to-be-severely-endangered nuisance. As one sublimely effulgent punch left coxcomb entangled in the ornamental red velvet rope placed along the edges of the roof to keep sense-debilitated partygoers safe, companion used it to strangle his opponent, only intermittently allowing him a few seconds of breathing so as not to curtail his own methodical fun. He then tied a knot around coxcomb’s neck and threw him off the building, only catching the velvet rope in his recently denigrated iron fist at the last minute; this savvy manœuvre left coxcomb dangling by his neck, about a dozen metres below the rooftop and, by avaricious estimate, at least twenty five metres above the street. To further coxcomb’s humiliation, companion fastened his end of the rope to his own erect penis, and proceeded to perform a few hundred penile lifts which simulated the effect of a comically miscalculated bungee jump for the unfortunate coxcomb. It was a genuine miracle that neither the twelve meter fall, brutally interrupted by the coxcomb’s neck bones, nor the repeated penial-powered agitations managed to kill him outright; moreover, he eventually succeeded in extricating himself from the knot around his neck and commenced an arduous climb up the velvet rope. Given his extreme state of inner turbulence, it was probably forgivable that he could not very well contain a barrage of painstakingly unoriginal curses directed at companion’s entire genealogy, with a particularly scathing spotlight cast on the libidinal liberality of its female half. Companion, being an affable man of the world, had by that time obliterated his antipathy towards coxcomb and was fully willing to pardon him at the low cost of forcing the danglee to regain the rooftop without any assistance from companion; this also struck him as a gentlemanly manner of allowing coxcomb to preserve some rudimentary, if quantitatively negligible, form of dignity. It was not to be, however, since the increasingly audible imprecations with which the latter persistently deluged companion’s grandmother had the discomfiting effect of forcing companion to entertain images of numerous male anonymities simultaneously pleasuring his 93 year old grand-maman in ways heretofore implausible even to companion’s highly experienced and easily inflamed imagination. These lubricious anti-fantasies were of a nature to induce a rapid relapse into shrivelled timidity of companion’s normally fortitudinous member; and since the knot in the velvet rope by which it was secured depended wholly on its fulcrum’s generously engorged girth, the rope soon lost its anchor to the top of the building and the final effect of this bizarre sequence of events was coxcomb’s immediate encounter with a sidewalk not as easily taunted into flaccidity as companion’s most prized possession.

  And browncoat was baffled enough by this story to inquire as to its relevance to his and companion’s current situation, a situation which openly was neither good nor bad, since all that had happened was that they had been ejected quite recently from a mediocre tavern neither of them wanted to be in particularly. As companion boiled in silent exasperation, the browncoat went so far as to express his budding doubts regarding the anecdote’s veracity. The companion insisted he would not stand for such apostasy and immediately expended the few gales of breath not consumed by the autos-da-fé of his indignation in launching a vehement argument in support of storytelling for storytelling’s sake, the nuances of which glided past the brownback in his fascination with the lawless mobility of companion’s succession of kaleidoscopic facial expressions. Narrative was king, he learned, as well as field marshal and courtesan and court jester, and its multitude was apt to fulfill each and every obligation art silently assumes before man who inevitably finds himself before art in all and any of its guises. Before in the sense of ‘in front of’ and not ‘above’ or ‘preceding temporally’ or ‘ranking himself higher than’, companion emphasised for fear browncoat would select the wrong valence of ‘before’ as his meaning. In paintingmusicdancesculptureevenarchitectureofcourseliteratureandhellwhynotreality, narrative was the backbone and the lifeline, the clay skeleton and the bloodied mana, the pulsation of life and the sinking earth under the marble coffin. He wanted to illustrate his belief by gifting the browncoat with the purest and sweetest incarnation narrative had ever blossomed into, and he wanted to do it immediately so as not to run out of puff.

  And there had been a childless king, and despite his best efforts he could not prolong his line through intersection with any queen or princess or remedial herb and so on and so forth and the brave son ventured into the wild with his faithful brother and his ludicrously fidelious wife, and the invulnerable demon king receives word of the wife’s beauty, and through intricate traps and idiotic female frailty the hero’s wife is abducted, and the hero takes great pains to weave an ironclad alliance with a nation of party-loving monkeys, and the monkeys’ own hero scouts the demon’s kingdom and unleashes great destruction there at little to no cost to his own simian well-being, and the two armies plus the monkeys inevitable gear up for war, and upon the battlefield the hero meets the

  And the companion tripped over the outstretched leg of a sleeping beggar and he vociferates his disdain of the current state of alleys in the historical centre of a once great city and the beggar now fully awakened makes no reply but gets up and jumps onto companion’s back and issues a series of rapid and exceedingly well-executed stabs of his switchblade to companion’s chest. She gracefully jumps off him as his the companion’s slender, improbable construction topples to the ground, paints a final diagonal slash across his now quiescent lips and finally goes back to sleep in her original location.

  And browncoat did not quite know what to make of the situation and he thought it would be best to bury companion before the police or other ruffians located the body because that would cause an investigation and news reports and scandals and debates over the public’s safety and companion would surely have deplored all the fuss. So he tried to carry the body to the nearest refuse dump, but as he did not wish to soak his own clothes in the companion’s blood he couldn’t carry him on his back and so he tried to drag him by his disproportionately long legs but this too proved too cancerous an inconvenience since the companion was far too heavy and dragging him forced brownback to adopt an half-arched position that was far too cruel on his own delicate back. Thus did the browncoat leave the open-hearted companion lying in an alley with his monkeys and sleeping beggars and walk on, reticently wiping his palms clean against the rugged brick walls of the cheap buildings on either side of the companion’s final alleyway.

  Chapter vii.

 
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