Progressions of a Woolgatherer - Something
Notice: This is my first experimental-surrealist short-story. It took me 7 entire months to write. I sincerely hope you enjoy.
Waltzing into the bright, fluorescent room, i tripped, tumbled, fell, and ran himself into the grey, soft-carpeted floor of the math room. A squealing laughter bounced off the walls as i’s teacher, haunched over to face him, scowled at i’s existence: an insult to everything they had built their career on. i did not respond as he slowly got up and walked over to his desk, nor did he respond after the teacher asked why he was 20 seconds late to their class. Suddenly i whirled out of his seat and faced his classmates. Staring them in their beady, lifeless eyes, he remembered the myth of Medusa, and began to stand upright when. Suddenly he was nowhere, in between the sound waves suspended in air. then he was on the roof of a hotel in France and vibrant colors whirled around him it was night he couldn’t balance and fell. light and sound and sky and wind sped past him as he fell; back towards the earth below. His mind stumbled into the Aleph Null, he was in the in-between. The snap of a cold “Wake UP” broke his fragile mentality back to the world of the mundane. Jackson was shaking him violently, excited about the double-date i and him were walking towards. “Come on, man, this is going to be great! A heroic moment in our young lives!” Life looked like an infinite series of moments each getting more insignificant as time went on. At the dinner table for four he looked into Sandra’s eyes and briefly caught a glimpse of the Sahara desert at night, only for the thought to evaporate as she pulled out her phone to text her boyfriend. i cursed Jackson’s savvy rhetorical aptitude as i paid the check in entirety. While bumbling and turning and dancing backwards, Jackson grinned as wide and pearly and sharp as a goofy shark. Sandra’s phone changed color from blue to red to a dull green, and he saw her eyes flutter down a stream of texts like a subway-car moving faster and faster picking up pace and beginning to screech and whirl past, almost gliding atop the metal tracks towards some darkness nowhere in particular. His neck relaxed, but his eyes stayed in a lodged, bristled position. A nervous quill-tipped prick seized his feet and writhing in discomfort on the ground he noticed grass growing below his boots now melting, slipping off of his feet—tickled now by the lush green perfectly designed grass blades jabbing themselves through him a marble masterpiece shaded in grief. A blink later, he was lying down in a warm, sun coated field—the grass morphing into different colors and sand occupying the space where normally dirt would sleep. The glowing orange sun swept color over the sandy, grass hill and a tingling warm bath of sunlight graced the land upon which he now rested. The usually unnoticed aches in the soles of his feet, the twists in his back muscles, the strains in his neck, the sockets of his eyes, all liquidated into pitch black oil, seeping out of his skin like poison from the pores of a poison-dart frog. The slippery hairs on his back sizzled briefly, then relaxed back in perfectly straight strands across the warm, dreamlike sand. Vibrations of smooth-grained noise blanketed his mind: white, blue, red, brown, black. Cinders burned hot against his skin and the smoke choked his throat and eyes—hot sand now ash, ash now coal, coal now diamonds, diamonds shatter into glass and his eyes snap into halves. His body steaming he woke to see Sandra and Jackson half cuddled in the dark on the Sherwood dark brown couch, himself under a thin white quilt alone facing the entropic night sky from the broken gothic window. Cars quietly drove past below, and the hollow black sky yawned—wind blowing the shutters on the window into an inconsistent French applause. The blanketing warm feeling evaporated off into the soft, beckoning chill of the dusk and he saw a flash of green luminescence refract off the eyes of a cat wandering atop the elegant roofs of the buildings in icy silence: BOOM!!! Fire washed through upwards past the window and the cat leaped off, scampering away. Pale fire burned uneffectual in seething protest and joy and when and as and while it burned him he felt more alive than any other trip Dylar or absinthe or fleeting cough syrup honeysuckle-flavored elixir of melancholy and antagonizing sentiment. But how too could one break rules of literature and abide with pastiche recognition of excellence when the sense of warmth both suckles the soul of the writer and bleeds and milks the writer of any long-term feeling of enraptured living from moment to moment to feeling to transcendence. For so he did; “I want the air and birds and whispers of the sky, and time is naught but our friend, and the grass to turn to dust between my toes so I may sink downwards” he whispered, “with unhurried fingers delicately weaving aches from my neck and pains of my heart!” There, standing surrounded in roaring, flickering flames his muscles once again relaxed and he slid back down into the sand the way a feather slides delicately through the air. Relaxed against the beds of sand his body dried up and cracked and burst like a shell into fragments and shreds and chips and scraps; each piece delicate and brittle as pottery would be under a searing furnace or inferno. His eyes turned glassy, crystal-like, and suddenly opaque—brilliant transparent—then like a bursting drop of oil his own eyes popped right out and rolled down the sandy hill, flipping over and over like pool balls, polishing, gloomily, slipping away from his own self watching intently on! “One root of P(x) is 2i, but don’t forget that we still have to do the other roots as well—now, given the different variables can we assume that the shape of the graph will be S-shape or U-shaped?” And the next day: “7 Earth-Size Planets Orbit Dwarf Star, NASA and European Astronomers Say”–New York Times—and “what if this is the most important, historic day in human history, life on other planets” and “why don’t we take a short break then we’ll talk about the rules of graphing it’s pretty straightforward” and “Can I run to the nurse and see if there’s Nydol?” and “ooh, solar eclipse: that’s . . .” and “that sun, you don’t, we don’t know all kinds of things . . . and the sad thing is that we won’t be here to find out”: All of the critters across the room went about their daily lives like people in old pornographic photographs, unaware that one day they would grow old and die, and that they would never be alive to see the growth and death of the world like a burnt star floating like a dead fly lying on the soft, carpeted GRAY floor like the buzzing of sound waves in a woven vibrating sea of grainy soft sand like clear glass where perspective goes to die staring past beyond color into the soft-carpeted flooring grey. Bored, bared, sared, sated: the mind of him found habits and pleasures and patterns and rhythms dulled and indulged and splurged with glassy eyes rolled onwards. My eyes slide like hands down the page reading this test, this text, his or my writing but I do not question “is this real?” because it is as real as grass is real. “‘And really do rooms by the sea matter’?” and he jumped off that place and downwards plunging into the fast cold beating drumming water under the water to plummet through the skies beneath and still—not yet desperately—into Caelum—and the smoke-whirlpool matchstick oceanless sky was blue—and into the Valley of Humiliation—through the Mid-Centuria crackling and booming GIRLS! GLORIUS GIRLS! and philosophical sketches disparage sputter crackle sizzle fizz hiss snap BOOM explode horse-clop bubble whisper sharp spear grains of sand clip clip clip can you see and Hemingway's acceptance of death and grass and stars and sounds exploding underneath should he plummet or break should he silently awake as a silent man an electrick thunderclap a postmodern sound-addiction modern arch-ing classical mess of Carthaginian toppling pillars falling down into sand and he finally woke up into the sand into the gray, blue, red sands he met a traveller and knew the sand was bright yellow the sky was bright orange the sun had not set but soon and the traveller spoke and he listened intently for the traveller was one of few words and fewer sins and once the story was done the dunes had collapsed and buried underneath and darkness and silence and rain. He cried. From one tear, many: each resonating more with the next, falling with majestic grace, like a feather, like a felled tree, like the curvy S-shape of a river downstream; pips from his eye sockets swerving into perfect sevens below his bed next to the half empty pills of dylar out of his peripheral but just in his mind enough to lull his absent worries into some narcosis state of dream reality confusion making him question not “is this real” but “do dreams define reality.” And as this fear brought him back to destiny: “ISTA stands for something-Interference? Sound Therapy Association” “Sounds help different muscle tissues and 5 Harmonies” “Western Medicine” “Acupuncture and right here in Atlanta and jazz.” In the theatre, chairs facing him feet on a big, black block he felt like it was a prison. The Jack of spades the purple shirt the jest the wallace and walls and waltz and commonplace in common place and shiny green coffee thermos and on empty room. Temporary Tattoos. Poor Plutocrats on page 301, “I will hang myself” next to Wallace next to Wally next to Frank. That all the the music in his intimate life is variations of white noise that he self-medicates and prescribes for other people. That ink in a red pen is capable of not just writing great words, but all words! That diffracted white light is the ink of all colors. That sand is just glass. You will realize why they ask you “what do you see in the blotches of ink” as though there were any difference. That cultures evolve as people die. 2 people a second, 16,661 hectares of desertification today. But that sun feels good, and sand and grass—that hemingway knew pain and death yet was like or was the grass like acupuncture, and that maybe only truly original come from isolation in Walden. Then if fiction to be fucking human then non-fiction is lexicography written with an icicle. He wrote words as an act but thought himself an act without words. The room shook, vibrations continuing to resonate. Building and shaking the room vibrating around him, his hands blurring as he stared at them from the vibrations. The light above him broke, glass shattering into oblivion. In this, darkness suspended him once again and the room fell. In this new dark room, he felt the cushion of a sofa couch a few inches above a nonexistent floor press against against his buttocks and he clutched the sides of the sofa hovering above the darkness as though, or rather, because if he fell then he would fall into the darkness a long and high flight and would die. He wiggled his legs above the nonexistent floor and his lungs whelped. He sunk into the couch and sat there in disbelief as an old-fashioned TV with two antennas and static zapped itself on in front of him. In front of him, the television: The Barber, holding a long pair of metal scissors, snipping the dark brown hairs of a boy customer aged 16, inside of a Great Clips—well-lit and protective from and of the beating of the rain outside in the dark very much like the one he was currently sitting in. The Barber thought: “Fuck this damn boy’s long hair” Snip. “Fuck.”. And reaching for the Fuck-Up Brush, The Barber thought: “—better get the Fuck-Up Brush.”. //The Fuck-Up Brush, to all non-barbershop plebeians, was the name of the equipment that in itself was “The Fuck-Up Brush”—a pair of electric buzz-clippers that scrape the sides of the head and make a nice “buzzing” noise (buzz buzz ♫ ⚡⚡) Whenever a barber—any barber in the universe—“fucks up” the hair of a customer, they use the Fuck-Up Brush to cut the hairs—or rather, buzz the hairs—in a way that seems at first glance to be nice, but proves too shallow a hairstyle to look nice in the rain.// The Barber—a pleasant black man with muscular arms and a white long shirt with buttons near the fleece collar almost to look preppy—was content with his work, holding up the mirror, taking the $15, putting it in the cash register, and waving to the boy with the haircut as the boy left. The boy had left his keys, and The Barber quickly noticed and chased after the boy as he left into the rain to give back to the boy the keys that had been on the counter of the desk. The Barber pauses, runs one big hand through his hair and puts his other on his waist as he sends the boy off into the darkness and the rain to the boy’s car, which pokes two beady eyes of light into the darkness and drives off into the beam of light. The Barber closes the shop, turns off the fluorescent OPEN sign, packs his family pictures into the drawer, closes the Great Clips down, and lastly closes the lights on the building, their fluorescents stopping after bouncing off the clean floor. The Barber then gets into his 2006 square car, dark purple, and drives blissfully out into the rainy dark road straight into an oncoming truck. As his neck snapped, The Barber died. The boy sat there, in the sofa, and wished to himself that he had a cortado.
I also wrote a wikiHow, because I'd love to see others take on this project since my story meant a lot to me. Feel free to email me if you decide to take it on! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org