Walking towards nighttime

Here’s the little story I’ve been writing. It’s difficult, because the avant-garde demands something new, and most other people want something easily comprehensible. Probably I’ve done neither, so no one will be happy. Which is fine, but what drives me crazy is when people criticize a piece not because they don’t understand or like it, but because they can’t categorize it. You either like something or you don’t, you find it interesting or not, and all the rest is bullshit. Anyway, enjoy:

“I’ve never really seen the point in just replicating reality. Someone lacking purpose doesn’t gain one by reproducing themselves.”

“Ok, I was just asking if you wanted your picture taken. Jeez.”

“Instruction manuals are the kind of book I most admire. Making the world follow the pattern you lay out instead of the other way around.”

Sometimes voices come with noses and hair, but not always.

“Everyone thinks I’m a wet rag just because I lament sad happenings before they happen. Emotional people place a high value on never seeing things coming.”

Who’s to say what lizard may have slithered onto the scene right at that moment, full of grasping desires that it never gets criticized for and little in the way of explanations for itself.

“Yeah, fine, I’m not blaming you for lack of emotional investment. I just don’t see how you can go along with the code of decency against fucking in print when we spend our entire lives there.”

The man in the bowler hat thought that he and the girl might agree more if the microbes in their guts were more synchronized. It seemed strange that they wouldn’t be, since he was pretty sure that he had become familiar with all of her friends in advance through the colds they had given him through her. He stuck his head in a bird cage that they were passing. It could be considered a dwelling only by the standards of exhibitionists.

“This is not what I became a doctor for. I’ve had patients continue seeing me for years entirely predicated on the off-chance that I might say something lucid. Are you one of them?”

For those that possess a higher degree of magnetization than the usual sort, staying clear of the world’s entanglements is a tricky business. As a nurse that waved teddy bears in front of sick children all day long, the woman sometimes wondered if she was falsely luring them back to a world where on the whole there were few of those.

“No, if you don’t understand what we’re about by now, I don’t think exchanging business cards at this point would do much good. That’s why most languages use short guttural words with lots of consonants to describe this sort of thing. Makes it easier to remember.”

Does anybody really love anybody else’s imperfections? Well, a trophy wife may cherish her elderly husband’s heart condition. But people with different levels of attractiveness don’t move at the same speed through time. Anyway, she was done trusting her eyes. Words could be sent forth to scout around and be abandoned without remorse in the event of an ambush. She wondered if cranial blood would taste different than blood in other parts of the body. It certainly washes by strange shores.

Walking together and keeping an eye on each other was not enough to keep them in the same state of health, though they did try. She wished he would behave a little more ethically so she could outsource her conscience to him. People that don’t want to be lonely shouldn’t get married; that has been said before.

They were entering a building with a circular corridor and no top floor. He was thinking that the ability to hold obscure, unconventional grudges was a mark of genius. She was thinking that in their disagreements, as usual with people that don’t care about the same things, the counter-argument on both sides was always the same: “I guess, but who cares?”

One of those white corridors that, upon entering, make you feel like you’ve gone slightly beyond the borders of rationality. A guard came forward.

“Have you names or not?”

“Not so far.”

She thought, never try to have a argument outside of your own walls. This was like a rubber ducky floating into the middle of the showdown between Ahab and the whale.

The guard, bound by rules in everything he did, had to speak at all times in trochaic verse meter. He saw this as a continuation of the baton-beating of intruders by other means. He was currently not allowing anyone past him because he had a messy stain on his backside.

They reluctantly allowed themselves to be turned away by someone dressed less imaginatively than they. He was thinking that words are an ever-narrowing spiral. You couldn’t use up all the good ones within five years of meeting someone, so he had set himself a daily word limit for talking to her. He was drawing close to it now; he hoped she didn’t have ESP.

The hallway went uphill and a revolving door was hanging from the ceiling like a rolodex. In the locked door to their right they thought they might have finally found what they were looking for. Words don’t work as well when things get serious, so the door was unmarked. Since there was a locked room in front of them they felt that it must be that they finally had a little privacy.

Then a host of nurses came by, fanning their own feet. Their uniforms weren’t quite adjusted properly. They were sicklings who had smuggled themselves into the hospital to work, so they could treat themselves without being diagnosed. Many of the sick have to join the business of healing.

“It’s only the benevolent harlots and indentured servants of the medical profession that get to walk these halls. That and the victims that get arrested by their microbial deputies and brought in with disease. The whole world bloomed out when I left the hospital after being born and it’s not going to be stuffed back in now.”

“Hush now, you don’t leave the world by the same rope you walked through it on. Now let’s try to find the medicine.”

Since they couldn’t find any uniforms of hospital personnel on the outside, and the patients all worked there, they had hoped to disguise themselves as part of the building or the furniture instead. In fact they were only saved by the total inadequacy of the ruse, since the staff only had authority to remove hospital property.

When the hallway was empty the man jumped at the locked door and burst it open. Inside there were only a few spare children and an abandoned sense of guilt lying on the floor. They left and retreated back down the hallway in the direction they had come from. They were now on the downward slope. Finally they saw a door to their right that read “Medical Supplies.” They pushed open the door, rushed in, and fell from the second-story doorway to the ground outside. The door creaked shut.

Not strengthened by contact with the earth, at least not after being heaved onto it from a considerable height, the man and woman nonetheless were finally able to stand up under the lopsidedly darkening sky. They saw no promise of a host of angels ripping through it, rending apart day from night to save them. Then they looked at the hospital that no longer had a sign of door or window. They had passed through the hospital, not ending their days there or having to retreat back out the same door they had entered through. On the symbolic level, success!

Maybe the staff at the hospital are not sick people that have managed to smuggle themselves past the bosses to treat themselves. Perhaps the bosses know they are sick, and thus complete the perfect circle. All staff are patients, and all patients are staff. As for the other sick of the world, the hospital was merely a prison turned inside-out.

One Response to “Walking towards nighttime”

  1. Luke Taylor Says:

    This is bleak, very funny, and brilliant. There’s enough of a narrative (approach to, passage through, escape from hospital) to hold together the splintering observations, but a nice rhythmic sense does the same job. Send more.

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