Friday, May 26, 2006

 

Ears

We've made fast friends with Brim. However, there is a down side to this. He doesn't like us very much at all.

And yet, he follows us around with a curious kind of attachment. "Where are you taking me?" for example. But we're just wandering, too, and maybe he knows this. "Any of you got a pen or anything?" asks he. And then, "Curtains? Curtains in a forest?"

They're all great questions and he has a very abrupt way, which is nice, we don't have to wait for him to turn on. Like that electrical hum coming from Nels which crackles but never pops. You know, the other day, Nels says, "Okay, bye now, off to work." And this is at 9 o'clock, breakfast time. We get busy hanging up some new echidna posters and classic squid cutaways. Noon rolls around. We watch Turkish football. Finally, Fleur and I take a break, for which we strike out to the park.

And there's Nels, sitting there in his van. His hands were on the wheel. Back of his head. Looking straight. Glasses. Ears. Great posture! He hadn't budged.

Brim's well ahead of us. And rising. We look and he's way up in a tree. "Hey, where you off to, little man?" Fleur said that. He looked like a little wind-up duck pinned in the sky. Now how are we going to get him down?

But you don't ever have to get Brim down. It's a principle. He stayed up there long after dark, so we slept under the moist canopy and listened to his far off voice talking all about how to rig the Olympics and what sorts of places there are to hide money. For some reason, I always think of potted plants. But it turns out that rolled up socks are the way.

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.