The shape of the man was curious until it became apparent that he wasn’t. He walked past our position without so much as a nod or glance and came to rest at the opposite wall. There would be opportunities to determine the nature of his shape later, but despite our best efforts we were currently somewhat more concerned with our own. His looking at everyone but us drew attention to the fact that he had likely seen us entering unaware and had made some arbitrary spiteful decision to pay no mind. It was not that concerning other than his shape, which was expanding due to his repeated mechanical withdrawing of food from a plastic bag in his hand. There were rules about such things. He may have had a hat, but it was getting dark so it was hard to tell. Everyone else seemed fine.
Category Archives: writing
Laura and Sigmund are so in love and everything’s just great; long walks, hiking, dinners in the evening air. They often expressed the sentiment to one another that they were the luckiest people in the world. On a fairly standard evening they decided to try a new bar in their area. Upon arriving they found that it was far louder, darker, and crowded than they could have possibly imagined. Laura screams to Sigmund that she needs to use the restroom and gestures for him to stay put. She comes back from the restroom and embraces Sigmund, they make out while leaning on the bar; blissfully neglectful of the scowls they are receiving from those surrounding them. More drinking and revelry in the dark fade into a an impressionist haze of evening.
Sigmund wakes the next morning to find that the girl he came home with wasn’t Laura at all, and in fact bared very little resemblance to his purported soul mate. Laura stands in the doorway to their bedroom crying and asks why he has done this to them. The other girl wakes up and asks who Laura is and why is is she standing in she and Sigmund’s bedroom. Sigmund asks the same thing and tells the Laura he was sleeping beside to call the police. The crying Laura in the door asks what’s going on, but Laura of the bed simply gropes Sigmund and tells her she needs to leave. Laura screams that she has no place else to go, but Sigmund simply says, “How?” and then she notices three wolves pacing the living room that was once hers. Without any notice the wolves smash through the bedroom wall and consume Sigmund and Laura of the bed. Laura of tears runs out the front door only to find a monolithic traffic barrel in her front yard that reaches infinitely into the sky.
Sigmund’s car pulls up in the driveway and he gets out and frantically tells her that he’s been searching for her all night and he’s been so worried. The back of his car is pulsating with cats, making her doubt that he is who he says he is. He tells her that they’re in someone else’s yard and they need to go home.
He had looked at her lips for the duration of their encounter. She moved them towards him in a manner that suggested his mouth was establishing eye contact with hers, although the idea of mouths having eyes disturbed him to some degree. In hindsight he thought he should have said something like, “I’m sorry, but if I kiss your lips, I don’t know that I’ll be able to stop.” which would probably come off as excessively weird and forward unless he explained the whole mouth-eye piece, which would seem just as strange.
There are courses of events or something like them that determine little more than less. Of course these courses are not always clear to those determining them much less to those traversing. At the thought of being bound by some such externally determined predisposed path there is shaking as no apparent exit is apparent. Absence of motion in the stead of every fiber urging motion yields an occasional view from a gap far too small to use, but eat me, drink me, or something or the other might be in play here or there as panic falls to sleep across a bridge.
-Do you ever get the feeling people are looking at you?
-Well I think people look at me a lot.
-I mean, that’s possible I guess. Whenever that happens to me I just assume they’re having trouble determining my gender.
-I don’t think there’s any question you’re a guy. Do you think that’s why people look at me?
-No, you’re certainly not a guy. I didn’t mean it like that.
-How did you mean it then?
-That’s just my perspective.
-Oh. So you really think people think you’re a girl.
-Yeah, most of the time anyway. Maybe I’m projecting though and I want them to think I’m a girl.
-Why would you want that?
-I assume the alternative would be that they’re looking at me because I’m grotesque or have some deformity that is imperceivable to me. Why do you think people look at you?
-I guess I think they can read my thoughts.
-Does that concern you?
-What? That I think people can read my thoughts or that my thoughts are being read?
-Umm… either I guess.
-Well it obviously concerns me or I wouldn’t have brought it up. At least I know you can’t read my thoughts or you wouldn’t have asked that question, or maybe you can and you’re just humoring me.
-Is this like a phobia?
-I think it’s closer to paranoid schizophrenia actually, but my thoughts are usually pretty well-ordered, so I’m not so concerned that I’m going to have a panic attack or anything.
-How can thoughts be well-ordered?
-Just like you’d clean and organize a room, you can clean and organize your thoughts. Everything in their right place. Thoughts at the fore should be present and concise, thoughts behind calculated and clear,and so on down the line. Wow. I’m sorry, I sound like my mother.
-Does your mother think people can read her thoughts too?
-No, but she’s very religious and believes thinking something is as bad as doing it, so by keeping thoughts in order it’s easier to prevent undesirable ones.
-Very Orwellian, and no, I can’t read your thoughts. If I could what would I be seeing?
-A brightly lit tea room; white china, wicker chairs, green grass visible through a screened in porch.
-Is that where you grew up?
-No, I lived in a beat up rancher near a rural suburb. I’ve never been someplace like the tea room, but it’s easy to focus on. You do know of course that you’re a pretty big guy right? I mean I can’t imagine anyone thinking you’re female.
-So what’s in the rooms connected to the tea room?
-Just crucifixes and bibles stacked floor to ceiling. Are you avoiding your gender doubt?
-No. Are you avoiding telling me what’s going on a few thought layers down?
-No. Why don’t you just look yourself.
-I just see the normal stuff; you know medieval torture devices, then a strip of sand bordering a sea of lava with magma spouts funneling into low jet black clouds; a hooded figure dumping cauldrons full of dolphin pups into the lava. Are you the hooded figure?
-No, that’s an intern. I’m supervising from the lighthouse at the end of the beach.
-The one with the red light?
-Did you notice any others?
Are these star-crossed lovers organ thieves or grinders. Robbers of banks or people. Escaping some destiny laid before one of them who only finds shelter from his or her fate in the arms of the other. A road trip, an odyssey of Ulyssiad proportions. Lost in a forest, in a cabin, near a lake, on a mountain or burial mound as it may happen to be. A cave, an abyss or maybe just a cat, a date, a follower of sorts through rain-slicked nightscapes, down alleys and sewers alike to escape the unknown who may or may not be herding them to some destination of malcontent on the edge of a pier with no escape other than the cold dark sea. More to the one for the other to understand; the decision of course is which would be which and why. Scars in one cerebral in the other. Scars to the cerebral as the cerebral tends to madness and scars, generally anyway, seek quietude. A quest of sorts or not, perhaps some meandering, but that probably won’t be the case as some fantastic has already been introduced. So fantastic quest into a perilous nightscape with one to the other, eventually better, or not, maybe dead, eventually, but with illumination.
A few days had passed with no word from his parents. It was supposed to be a simple skiing trip. He assumed that they were simply out of cell phone range, because anything else would require some measure of action, the nature of which would not be unlike carrying the burden of Atlas. His sister shared his relative ambivalence regarding parent status; she stated what he would not, which was, “They don’t go out of their way to check on us, so why would we check on them?” He was quite relieved at his sibling’s validation, so much so that he didn’t give it another thought until the police called several weeks later.
His father was the adventurous type and had taken his mother rock climbing instead of skiing. They had become stranded on a ledge and based on journal entries had lost their minds and jumped into the gorge below. He was hoping for a more interesting story; something like, “Your father was found to have developed a bear/shark hybrid and it escaped its cage and consumed your parents. We need the keys to your father’s lab immediately to contain this biological threat.” His sister concurred with how unremarkably their parents had perished and jokingly offered to help him with any bear/shark experiments he might be working on.
He tends to roll his sleeves. A long time ago he realized that his arms were a bit longer than average. Even so, he generally lets one roll down and doesn’t bother correcting it until it becomes an impairment. As to what an unbuttoned sleeve could impair is debatable, however he generally allows this asymmetry to occur in times of pleasant dishevelry, and as tasks arise, the act of correcting his shirt mnemonically triggers his work persona.
Most days he was fairly confident of who he was, but about once a month he considered the idea that his head and neck had at one point been replaced with those of someone else. He was still him, but something less or more as well. There wasn’t any good explanation for his imagined transplantation so he simply counted it, along with some other nonsense, as a minor victory against insanity.