Staring at his door, stricken, paralyzed, by the thought that it all ends. I could scamper to the bathroom, take a razor blade and shove it deep into my own jugular, watch the blood pool around the drain, running far away from the body that betrayed it by setting it free. Tomorrow, tomorrow I could read all the books, what does that sticker on his door mean? The one that says Semper Fi. I wouldn’t be a marine, but neither would he. I hate this door, with all its stickers spread chaotically between the frame.
I haven’t moved in five minutes and he’s started to nudge my thigh with his foot. Suppose I should move, live, breathe, be. Is it all just about being? He asks if I’m sitting on the foot of his bed for a reason, and I suppose I’m not. He wouldn’t understand that it’s keeping me alive right now, pretending like my only other option is an intergalactic journey down a bathtub drain. But when he says it’d be okay for me to lay by his side, to “hang out” he says, I move away into my own empty bed. Confessing my thoughts is less of an option than sleep, it never does any good.
Three days go by and he still doesn’t understand what I say when I flicker the bottom of my tongue and tell him this is youth.
The cheapest beer we could find, crushed into origami figurines displayed haphazardly around the field grounds the way your grandmother’s collection of flea market elephant miniatures was as a child. Passing around glassware blown more intricate than the spindling lanky fingers of Meema’s small hands.The millimeter by millimeter squares adorning every rapunzel haired, breast bared woodnymph’s tongue. Whiskey breath and shy smiles too close for talking. Men crowded around fires like gazelle at the watering hole. There are always too many damn gators in the bayou, we’re all so hungry for a taste of blood in the water.
He still hasn’t called on the fourth day.
Trance rhythms and techno beats pump through the trees. Another few hits pass from finger to finger, and we barely brush thumbprints but already I could confess guilty at the stand. Punishable by proof of intent, you and I haven’t got good intentions. Just the mood of the moon vying with the bonfire for shine. The way your eyes smolder like the coals but still flicker with the flames. I see my reflection spinning around their glare like a pow wow dancer. Fry bread indulgences allowed only on these special occasions. That is to say, when he is out of sight and I am out of my own mind. For a moment I can fly and my first thought is always “away”. Swishing hips side to side with the possibility of you. The newness of you and the dewy grass against my back, so far away from home and his worn in sneakers by the side door. Toto, we’re not in kansas anymore.
Does he know yet that I’ll never let him build a white picket fence? He stays over five nights a week these days. I miss waking up in an empty strangers bed more than I ever wished for a full one of my own.
Last time around, it was back seats of yellow taxi cabs and clammy hands just like my father’s. Call it a pattern but the concept of making a home out of the other sex never did seem weather proof. The storm clouds set in and God plays the thunder so loud I go running back to mama every time. Even after all these years. You’ve got those deep belly laughs and pouting eyes I could never resist or live without. Consider it a supplement. Vitamin XY, root of danger, and adventure elixir. I was never very faithful to a well balanced diet.
Q: mal de coucou
I’d like to know something about ‘mal de coucou’. I think it means something like ‘pain of the cuckoo’ (?), but I don’t see the connection between these words and the definition you gave them. Could you explain this to me?
Here’s the definition of mal de coucou:
n. a phenomenon in which you have an active social life but very few close friends—people who you can trust, who you can be yourself with, who can help flush out the weird psychological toxins that tend to accumulate over time—which is a form of acute social malnutrition in which even if you devour an entire buffet of chitchat, you’ll still feel pangs of hunger.
Imagine your brain is a bird’s nest. Normally, you feed your attention to real substantive relationships that can then grow and sustain themselves. In mal de coucou, that precious attention is instead swallowed up by acquaintances you don’t really relate to, like cuckoo birds. These might look like real friendships but will either fly out of the nest or leave you feeling socially malnourished. Even if you’re constantly hanging out with people.
It’s a riff on the French term mal de caribou, which is a kind of starvation that occurs even when you’re eating plentiful quantities of lean meat, notably rabbit and caribou. You need to do more than just chew the fat, so to speak.
If you’re curious, you can usually find my comments about etymology, overextended metaphors, and the finer points of emotion on the Dictionary’s facebook page.
She stands with a slight cheat. Her left shoulder is raised slightly higher and pressed more forward than the right. This seems to be a conscious decision because when I get closer to her during the dance her shoulders relax and my hand on her back can feel the natural shift in her spine. I realize her scoliosis and a part of me starts to love her for this really human thing that she’s hiding for herself. I let my hand feel the imbalance as we sleepily shift side to side under the big blanket we are wrapped under. We go cheek to cheek and she tells me that our breakfast is getting cold. We stop dancing and get back to the kitchen. We quietly eat and occasionally smile and laugh about nothing at all.
I never want to go to work.
We Won't Remember the Night Before
Raise a glass to our degeneration, as we create more problems than we solve, fighting amongst each other when resisting the oppression seems to lead us nowhere. We drown ourselves in the poison until we’re convinced that this is exactly what we wanted - our bodies staggering back and forth, place to place, as our minds - clumsily bumping and falling over every word and belief we’ve ever held onto, spitting on what we love, as to prove - more to ourselves than to anyone else - that we truly don’t care. In that sense, it’s almost futile to even be in denial, but the reasons fuel the decision nonetheless, trying so hard to break reality. But the truth gets in the way, leaving us more broken than when we started; the moonlight watching to remember, our hopes like vampires that will never die, only to burn up with the rising sun.
When you thought of her, you thought of that Beatles song, the one you preferred sung by Jim Sturgess—a preference she judged you for.
She’s the kind of girl you want so much it makes you sorry..
And in the background her legs are kicking out, “Sing it baby”s in a way that short circuits the unleash of tender notes and increases the primal urges within you.
You’re pickpocketing her flesh and depositing nothing but your own tongue to sweep away the remnants of wounds you’ve stolen from her.
On the cusp of your teeth, she drips into your saliva’s embrace.
In a way she would always have the solidity of rain drops or tears or the contents in glasses that free fall when a happenstance occurs. The thing in which she inhabited vehemently, I mean, really wore, would never be enough to contain all the bits of her that found themselves decorating your vision.
It was her who loved her casket enough to convince you that plywood could be beautiful.
Yes, it’s possible for you to think of her this way now as you have breached the radius that kept the two of you at eye-level.
You tell yourself that she isn’t ready, and blink haphazardly as she entwines that other man in her vertigo.
You woke up today and you played the version by The Beatles.
And no, you still hate the original.
I know you’re listening to me and I know you’re mad but please, let me explain to you everything. Just this once. I’m really sorry about what happened John, I really am.
You know how much I love your Mother. When she came into my life, everything became perfect. The space that was left empty with my first wife’s passing was filled with your Mother’s love and care. Your Mother was my savior, my angel, my queen and my life. I love everything about her. I love the way she speaks, I love the way her nose twitches when she’s mad, I love how she would hug me from the back when she’s scared and I love how she bites her lips when she’s nervous — I love everything about her.
Of course, I love you too. Your Mother brought you to our home three years after we got married. If I remember correctly, you were eight years old at that time, right? And you had this.. uhm.. this big dimple on your right cheek. Heh. I found that cute. You were so little, so small and so adorable. You have your.. uhm.. Mother’s eyes and lips. The rest, I figured, was from your father.
We lived happily together, the three of us. Every weekend, we would go fishing by the lake. You and I would spend three to five hours in the boat waiting to catch something in our fishing poles while your Mother would be arranging the tents and making campfire near the lake side. Sometimes, we caught a lot of fish and sometimes, we caught nothing. But we didn’t care, right? As long as we’re together — you, me and your Mother — we were happy.. so happy.
But everything changed in one single moment. I remember that regretful night.
Your Mom was on a business trip in the Mainland while the two of us were left in the house. I was home by 6 pm and caught you watching cartoons in our living room. I cooked dinner for the two of us and everything went smoothly until..
“Dad, some girl stopped by here this afternoon, looking for you.”
“Who was she?”“
She said she was your girlfriend.”
I looked at you and your little eyes were questioning me. I met your gaze and it was as if a lot of invisible daggers were shot at me, piercing my face and body. Your expression was mad, and angry and sad and.. you were mad at that time, right?
“I have no idea who she is, John. Just forget about her, Ok?”
“But she said she was your girlfriend! What’s going on Dad? Is she lying? Or are you the one lying to me and Mom? Does Mom know —”
Suddenly, my fist landed on your little cheek. You were knocked over in your chair by the strength of my arms and blood was dripping out of your nose. You cried and shouted for help and I-I don’t know what happened to me at that night John. Your wailing made me nervous and I felt my arms involuntarily punching your face from all the anxiousness that overwhelmed my rational thinking. I feared that if you would tell your Mother about her, she’ll leave me and be out of my life. I feared that. I’m scared to see her leave. I love your Mother so much that I don’t want to lose her, ever. I really don’t.
Then you suddenly stood up and ran to the door, crying and screaming for help. I caught you and pulled your little shirt and punched you again in your face. I looked at you and purple bruises made their way into your cheeks. Blood was dripping from your nose and tears were falling from your little eyes.
I kicked your stomach. Blood spewed out of your mouth.
“Dad.. Dad! Please stop..”
I punched you more and you fumbled in the carpet in the living room. I kicked you again and your head hit the TV stand. Blood flowed from your forehead.
I kicked you and punched you more. Your face was almost unrecognizable from all the blood, bruises and tears. You were wailing and crying and I kept punching and kicking until…
Everything became silent.
You weren’t screaming anymore, and gushes of blood bubbled from your forehead and mouth. You weren’t moving, maybe you were dead. You weren’t speaking, now you can’t tell your Mother all about that girl. She wouldn’t leave me and she’d stay with me forever.I came closer, rested my ears in your bloody chest and listened to your heartbeat…….. but I heard nothing.
You weren’t breathing — I was relieved.
I have seen the world’s violence in a mirror. I have seen babies cry as the bombs of Syria blow and affect their hearing. I have seen nomads travel several times because of drought and famine. I have seen the vultures of Africa cease because of the lack of moisture and food. I have seen the children beg in the streets because their parents told them so. I have seen the aged die while thinking of what to eat. I have seen mothers moan as they weep for their child’s death. I have seen the children do that too.
I have seen the world’s violence in the mirror. I have seen the president’s persistence to overcome hunger and death. I have seen the lawmakers’ power to make the world a better place to live. I have seen media men pressing assaults upon them when there is nothing to do. I have seen people react to the maligned government. I have seen them make weapons: creating bombs, creating guns, creating cannons— a great recipe for a civil war.
I have seen the world’s violence in the mirror. I have seen it in my very own eyes. As I was looking at it, I did not only see the world as one place, but a place of many; and there are a lot of things happening as the world gyrates— morning comes, night ceases. I have seen my struggle towards living life, striving to move forward though a whole lot more of obstructions are blocking my way. I have seen myself reacting with rage with all the stuff that is happening onto me. I have seen myself tired, relentless, but still violent.
I have seen my violence as I look at the mirror. Violence starts with me.
Calis battles the demon that sent her to hell.
Attend the horror of the scarab demon! Believe that some future happiness will recompense the annhilation of sanity! It cannot be seen in toto in a glance. It is taller than some hundred horses in a line from nose to swishing tail. To see it is to feel rationality take an undeserving break, like the last dissenter in a mob, when’s perplexity is overwhelmed and shifted into fury. Fear is but a sliver! Panic but a scrap! The sight of this depraved beast erases what is human from the mind, leaving only the blank animality of the buried alive, lying atop loved ones dead below you!
The demon aims its tarsal claw into crime’s sinful bosom, spearing Disry through the back, clamping on his spine. It lifts him to the gateway of its throat, and ends the awful torment of unnumbered severed nerves in its angry mandibles. Tacan cowers, Pelus flees.
“Be after him!” Calis says to Tacan. “I would have his book!”
Calis swiftly runs around its strike, and another, and the next. Neither does the rubble flown into the air touch her. The demon then gives pause. Brave Calis underneath the beast drops to her arms and knees in bowed pleading. She discerns in it a drunken grunt. Scarcely does she lift her eyes to spy the beast in idle victory. It ought to have awaited her final gurgled breath before choosing to ease off her. Instead it falls back in a sit to crush her.
She hesitates, to guide its aim, and then hurtles in a roll from the stronghold of its waste. Just as its abdomen disturbs the earth, Calis leaps onto its side and ascends its spiracles. Her feet inside its breathing holes irritates the beast. Its thorax gives a crack and slides apart. It goes to fold down on her, but her grip is insolent, and she ducks into the unearthed cavity. From within the howling carapace two wings emerge to beat the good from the world. The scarab takes flight.
It zooms about the tunnel in the cliff, spinning this, twisting that, trying to dislodge her. Rather than cling to its solidity Calis crawls onto the wing. It furiously flaps. Her hand slips. The other digs into a vein. The creature squeals. She tries to grasp ahold again. The creature flips. It flies along the wall. It inches her closer. It wants to scrape her off. Now her hand is flailing. It catches a stalactite point. Momentum snaps it off. She makes a fist around it and drives it in its wing. The wing’s joint breaks. The creature cannot fly. It goes into a spin. She slides beneath the thorax. The demon falls to earth.
Tacan watches Calis die. He holds the book, with Pelus at his feet. Just before the strike he turns his back. Had he had more valor he’d have seen the creature smash its face and slide on its belly into the wall. He’d have seen the debris thrown into the air, the piece that’s coming at him, that strikes him on the head. Tacan falls unconscious. Pelus approaches him, unsure. He jabs him with his foot. Tacan does not move. Alas for Pelus, Tacan’s fallen on the book. Pelus crouches, grabs a corner, and tries to pull it out from under, but it doesn’t move.
Something snaps within the demon’s gory back. All that’s ever sanctuary has become estranged. Doomed nuns grasp their chaplets murmuring. They cajole the people, “Turn away.” Pelus is the first to obey. He is delighted at himself and so dismisses witness. The only people wand’ring close are those oblivious. Then rises one whose craft fires the altars of the land. She raises justice, is exultant.
“Preserve trecherous hate,” Calis says pointing at the demon. “You will find it no more here.”
But the demon moves. It shudders, straining to rear up.
“People I call upon you! Fall upon the creature!” Calis says. “It is diminished here before you. Do not hesitate. Avenge yourselves. Together rush upon it!”
The people do. They attack the beast like railmen driving spikes. Calis kneels by Tacan, seeing if he lives. Pelus backs away.
“How blessed he is to be unconscious here,” Pelus says.
“All are blessed today,” Calis says. “For look what we have done.”
The demon’s wreathed in people who beset it. Then the ground stirs. There is the rumble of a quake. There is an explosion from below like a dormant geyser. Then a second, and a third. The triumvirate of demons comes to end the battlements.
[Read what went before here.]
50 Words - Joke's on you, Tim!
“Hannah, that’s blood!”
Hannah looked at Tim over her dinosaur sippy cup. “Really?”
Tim grimaced. “Yeah. I changed it when you weren’t looking.”
Hannah spat into her palm and inspected the bloody spit.
Tim laughed. “Kidding, it’s Hi-C.”
Tim was wrong, and would soon be dead. Hannah was a vampire.
I See Your Anne Frank's House And Raise You A Glass Of Beer.
I finally make my way out onto Albert Cuypstraat somewhere between breakfast and lunch. I rub hot rocks from red light eyes as I burst onto this colourful thoroughfare, home to a world famous street market and a little known writer called Sasha Gallo. It was the first Wednesday, the virgin Wednesday and the raw air was still rich with the foretaste of caraway and adventure. There were so many curious smells, spit roasting chickens, flame-grilled veal lawash, crispy vlaamse frites and waffles with a sprinkling of kaneel. I make my way passed the candy-striped awnings and blood-stained tarpaulin, realising that this morning I am hungry for something much more than breakfast.
I hang a right on a street where a placard on a tall brick building across the tram tracks informs me goes by the name of Ferdinandbolstraat. Such strange and exciting names these streets have, the letters I know well but they are not in any recognisable order and so they give no clues as to where they might lead. I can almost hear the handful of coffee beans rattling around inside me like dice inside a half clenched fist. I exhale finally and let the warm breath which escapes me mingle with the cold March air. Although my stomach is empty I am bloated fit to burst with the ghosts of so many wasted winter days spent wrestling with my duvet. Now that I am here I can finally exorcise those ghosts, release them to the streets where they too might finally find their answers. Silently I follow those exhalations left up Vijzelstraat, scribbling as I go, up and over so many bridges, past the coffee shops and cafés where shaky hands spill their koffie verkeerd. Soon I am flanked on both sides by banks and bulbs, down where greenfingerless hands prod and poke in the dirt, searching for magic mushrooms. By the time I get to Spui the backs of my hands and my forearms are covered in the etchings of a madman, a thousand 1000 words, my magnum opus in nine volumes, from left to right on my left arm and from right to left on my right, up and down and all around my elbows, tattooed sentiments and sentences suddenly cut short by chewed fingernails…
“Oh to have a pianist hands” I cried at the bowing rooftops.
I weave through the terraces disturbing wijn and side salads, garnishing strange looks over the tops of so many spectacles until I reach the start of Spuitstraat. In the midst of some bustling book stalls I join in with drooling over the antiquarian trash and second-hand treasures, hardback Hemmingway and yellow Hamsun lined up like a lot of old teeth. I quickly roll down my sleeves and bury my arms up to the loose change fearing I’d be mistaken for one of those beautiful tattered old books with their dog ears and their cellophane dresses, their broken spines and saucer stains. It would be just my luck if someone came along and scooped me up just as I’m finding my rhythm - claiming I’ll look better on their shelf at home somewhere between the pristine Aristotle and first edition Zamyatin.
At a stall which deals in English translations I pick up a thin, fragile copy of Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, which looks almost as starved as the title suggests. I open the book up at a random page, Pg. 99 by sheer chance;
I got up at last and dragged myself, slowly and shakily, along the streets. I began to feel a burning sensation above my eyebrows; a fever was coming on and I hurried along as best I could. Once more I passed the bakery with the loaf of bread in the window.
Already I have begun counting cents, rattling my pockets and torturing myself both by passing by so many mouth-watering windows and engaging in too much mental arithmetic to justify not going in through the doors. I imagined that I was happy in London when there was plenty of everything, where there always someone around to feed me and as I result I never got hungry. Suddenly a line I once wrote while sat chatting to my old friend Max Purr one afternoon sprung to mind, just a single simple line in the middle of a paragraph which burst like a phoenix from the page:
A man with too much food in his belly is good for nothing but talk.
I pull my hands out of my pockets along with some loose change which composes a sweet little duet with the pavement. I am thrilled to notice that there is no longer anything inside me, no hunger, no ghosts, no butterflies, no ulcers, no cancer and no alka seltzer. Weightless lemonade courses through my veins, I am a wisp of candyfloss, so positively carefree that I have to tie my soul to the nearest lamppost to stop it from floating away with the fragrant winds. I feel like howling at the sun and so I do just that, I howl until all the howling is out of me too. And then I start run and bark, I bark and bark some more when someone gets close enough so that I notice his crabways glance. When I see a smile I stop barking and begin to coo and I’m soon I’m swept up by a flock of pigeons. We tear about over the rooftops scouting out hunks of bread or cold vlaamese frites but all I want is to take a shit on Anne Franks’ house from a great height. When I can’t stand the vertigo no more I start to purr, which scares off the pigeons but not before I make them a packed lunch of my share of the scraps. When I am finished with purring my throat is so very dry that I withdraw a €20 note and dive into the next bar I see, a one Café Otten on the Rembrandtplein strip.
Writing is like trying to squeeze a peeled grapefruit through the head of a needle.
The story is so huge and luscious and beautiful, but your hands are so small in comparison, and they can only write so fast and meanwhile the juice is dribbling on you and its sticky and you’re trying to keep the pulp from coming through but sometimes it does and then you have to pick it out by hand and everything is messy.
That’s how I feel this morning after staring at the wall for two hours. It isn’t that the story isn’t there. The problem is that it is there—I know it all by heart already, I can see it perfectly—but if I start to type, that’s when it gets messy.
My two problems in life: writer’s block and writer’s grapefruit.
The Five Best Things My Dad Taught Me
Express your love in whatever way to the people you really love. You cannot hold all of them forever, and more or less, all of you will go to your own path and be separated with each other. You might never see them anymore, or if ever, it will be rare. So, while they are still there, let them feel that you love them. So that you won’t have any regrets when they are already gone because you have made them feel loved. And yes, don’t throw lovely words and phrases on people, they won’t need it anymore. They might have loved it when you said it while they were still alive. That is what my dad always tell me.
My dad wants us to be humble. I agree with him. He thought us humility. He said that all of the things that we achieve, that we do, there will always be someone greater than us. There will be no point in bragging what you’ve got or anything that makes you feel great because in just a blink of an eye, it can all be gone. And besides, it won’t do you any better so just keep quiet. It is always lovelier to hear people discover your potentials and achievements and all rather than to brag them all out.
My dad told me that God is the only one who will always be there for us, wherever and whenever we are. It is true, for us, everything is possible with the will of God. Even though he instill faith, my dad wants us to turn our back on blind faith - hypocrites preaching and glorified statues. No pun intended.
“Hindi tayo broken family.” I could still remember how my grandmother and my father said that. They wanted us to realize that if ever we will fuck our family up, we will be the first one to do that, and that is not honorable. It is not us who will suffer, but our children. My dad wanted us to know that they did not let us feel like living in a broken family, so we better not let our children feel that.
My dad would always tell me that nothing is worth an applause if it was of ill means. That he would rather smile and see us fail with honor, than feel bad and see us become successful without dignity. He told us that without honor, we would be no different from the corrupted people in the society that we were always criticizing at school or at the dinner table. That we would be no less than hypocrites.
It all started that one rainy night. I took shelter outside of a convenience store for it was raining so heavy while I was taking a stroll in the park. I was soaking wet that I didn’t even notice I was crying. Crying from what? I have no idea. All I can remember was that, I was just letting my feet to dragged me wherever it intend to go, I just badly needed to get out of there. To get out of that place where I felt suffocated and strangled for most times of my life, I needed to get out and at least breathe fresh air that I never thought it existed.
I looked at myself from the glass wall of the store. Yes, I was soaking wet. Water was dripping down from my hair, I couldn’t figure out if it was still the water rushing down my face until I saw my eyes. They were red. Yes, I was crying, it could be tears and I was wearing that straight face with blank stare. And so I decided to look straight in my red-stained swollen eyes and I was pissed off, so pissed off for I could see nothing. Nothing at all. I wanted to look deeper, giving a chance if I could finally see something but I was distracted because there was a hand holding a white handkerchief being offered to me.
Instantly, I looked to whoever it was, I met his gaze. And those were the most cold piercing gray eyes I had ever seen. They were like talking to me but unfortunately, I couldn’t comprehend what were they saying. Then he spoke, “You definitely not need this for we were both soaked in this rain but still I wanted you to have this.” He was talking about the handkerchief his holding, he flashed a smile and continued “You may need it when the rain stops.” he smiled again then my eyes were brought to his eyes and all of a sudden I felt the urge to burst out.
Without thinking, I reached out for the handkerchief and the next thing I knew I dropped myself on the ground and let all the overwhelming emotions engulfed me. The tears that I didn’t noticed earlier were now pouring down from my eyes and felt like they won’t stop. And I couldn’t hear anything, not even the noise of the heavy rain or the cars passing, all I could hear was my deafening sobs.
There I was, bawling my eyes out in the ground with a guy I have no idea who, and was patting my back. A guy who was a stranger, was there with me, joined me at my weakest, witnessing my greatest downfall, stayed by my side the moment I needed someone the most.
What Frank Said
He was dead—at least, that’s what Frank said. The TV was speaking to him again. It stood like a reprimanded sentry facing the wall now, but still Frank heard The Voice creeping through the folds of his consciousness. He said it was dark and furry, kind of androgynous, a caterpillar inching across his mind—all kinds of things like that—but he never told me what it said, except this time. Frank had sat in his easy chair, clutching the hem of his bathrobe as if it might float away, staring at the window change from dark to light as I drank a cup of coffee and read the paper before school.
“Arthur,” he said, a withered quality to his voice, “your father is dead.”
“Yeah?” I said, folding the paper over with a grunt, “what’d he die of?”
“He was murdered,” Frank said, his neck collapsing into the collar of his bathrobe. “It was horrible—by a man with no eyes.”
too strange, too true
Harold Momsen, accountant, mostly bald, forty-seven, father of three girls, ages seven, four and three, married to Flora, redhead, forty-five, baker, redhead, wakes up in his charming carved out oak four-poster to the entry of the peals of squawking mockingbirds and the speedy knock-knock rapping, however gentle, of the sun through yon bedroom window, cosseted in gauzy curtains cream, and, lips weighed at outer points, a frown of not-enough-shut-eye, Harold consults the vacant red typography of the wood-paneled box alarm clock, of course, five-forty-six, bloody quart’r’of, it is a weekend and Harold never permits himself to awaken prior to six o’clock anyhow, and with a “motherfucker,” mumble, Harold feels a little better, shifts from his left side to his right, his wife slumber-snoring soft unceasing, and when he is almost asleep some half hour later,
one arm hanging down from the plushy-plush pillow-top, he notices a slight tugging on the dangling wrist; it is not the girls because door is locked and the hinge needs a greasing anyhow, a project for this weekend perhaps, should he get around to it, and the tugging pressure presses harder, Harold pulls his eyes open, to discover —- it is no being —— but what to his wondering eyes should appear to be instead - acrylic brushstrokes? imperfect ovals of two inches length and one inch width, leading from the bright window pane, a little over ten feet, encircling encoiled about his wrist, ROYGBIV, colors deepening as the light grows the more distant, connected yet never contiguous, stretching when pulled and sagging when not, no additional length when Harold arises from the bed and walks to the window from whence his bondage-rope comes, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, he hurriedly shakes Flora by her pajamaed shoulders to roust her, and as her linty eyes prise open bleary, he shouts at her, terse, “Flora!” and she responds, “Harold,” as he enters her focus, in a question-mark whisper, and when asked, no, she sees not his rainbow pride paint-daub chains, and she whispers again, “Harold, it is a Saturday, so early, go back to sleep,” and Harold knows he is deranged, knows he cannot, he’s too awake to, this is too strange, too true.