Sunday, May 21, 2006

 

Collar Poisonings

We lugged up Brim and hung him up high where we could let the water drip down. On a hat rack in the motel. We let him air out a few days. Poor waterlogged joints. His knees especially, but mostly his face.

Yeah, let's see: you've got the lake and the motel and the trading shack and the sausage stand and the book mausoleum. That's it.

Saturday morning, Fleur and I came down and sat on the circular green rug just near Brim's feet. Both of us were wearing sky blue.

"So?" he said.

We nodded. We were sitting back to back. Arms folded, with sunglasses.

"So really? This is it?"
Fleur said, "What?"
"The inside of my washing machine?"
"Could be."
"It definitely is."
"You're sure?"
"Yes."
"That you're sure."
"Am I dry yet?"
"In a bit. You are sure then?"
"No."
"But."
"Exactly, but I can remember the sensation of the soles of my feet scraping against the linoleum of the kitchen."
"You must think you're pretty important."
"Well, somebody's trying to kill me."
"How's that?"
"With a car."
"No, how is that?"
"I'll show ya when my elbow moves again."

Fleur stopped a moment, a most expert pause, and I breathed in and then gave my explanation of the crisis he has contrived, how it places him at the center of existence while everything else folds outward.

"Am I gonna get a cramp up here?" And he also complained of itching and swelling in the collar. "What's that disease that travels on the hook?"

I told him cholera is intestinal, that he would feel a tremendous force in his stomach. This calmed him. I hit him hard with a common relaxation technique: I explained a few of the hundreds of words which Eskimos have for snow. This was certainly a grave embellishment, but we did take the hangman down after that.

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