And so it went...

The simple things, like a smile from a tired train attendant

‘Excuse me?’

Bump.

‘Excuse me, sir? Sir, can you wake up please?’

Bump.

‘Sir? Excuse me?’

Bump. Clap. Okay I’m up.

‘Ahh hello sir, nice of you to join us. May I see your ticket please?’

‘Erm, yes, yes here it is.’

‘Thank you sir.’

‘How’s your evening been then? Waking, checking, waking, checking? That kind of thing?’

‘Somewhat like that, sir.’

Wow this has guy has a commitment to the role. All I was looking for was some neat, quick-fire conversation, a story perhaps? Nope- nada.

The buildings we pass by seem more modern now, we must be nearing the city.  There’s a bright glow up ahead of in the direction we’re going; we’re near.

‘All in order chief?’

‘Yes sir, all good. Have a nice evening.’

‘You too pal, take care of yourself.’

I like’d him, he did stay true to character as I said but he did it with a humble nature which is rare these days and I at least, even if I’m on my own with this, respect that- so I did mean it when I told him to take care you see. He carried on his route down the carriage and I see we’re not far from central so I get up and go to the opposite end of said carriage to collect my pack which I left on the luggage rack.

Out the window I see it looks kind of cloudy so I take out my nice woollen jacket with the fur hood- it’s not real fur but it definitely makes me feel as though I’m protected by the warmth of some kind of wild, ever so wild, wolf which has been hardened by all the years of keeping after itself in the bitterness of the wilderness in the arctic tundra or somewhere- or I imagine it’s the fur of some bold and almighty brown bear which wanders kingly and strong through the magnificent thick expanse of Canadian woodland. Anyway, it’s a good jacket and I’ve become rather fond of it, so I and the jacket bind and become one entity in the perceptive eyes of those whom we see and encounter and already I feel like it’s going to be a good night.

The straps on my pack look kind of worn and old as if they’ve served time in some kind of jungle of sorts, but really they’re warn because I think I’ve had this pack about twelve years now? and it hasn’t failed me yet, nor have I managed to lose it so I hold onto the thing as it’s now somewhat sentimental.

I swing it round and onto my back, slot my arms through both shoulder straps, wriggle about a tad so it sits nicely against my back, tighten the straps so they now don’t really wriggle but instead clutch onto my chest. I button up my jacket and slide open the window to the carriage door so the wind blows in and I can exhale my cigarette smoke out of it, but first I need to pull out the packet of cigarettes to really do this properly anyway, so I do, and select one arbitrarily so not to be unfair. I place that chosen one between my lips and hold it there while its brothers and sisters, still in their packet of course, are put back into my jacket pocket to be kept safe for later. I light the thing, and ultimately I’m soon breathing in smoke which is good as I have an addiction and I’d rather it be at least cigarette smoke than nothing at all anyway.

Breathe, exhale.

Ahh, the train bounces nicely along the bumps of the track, quite rhythmically now as if the guys who laid the tacks down intended the trains to ride over them in such a manner. The guy who’s employed to announce where we’re going, when we’ll get there, and if we are indeed there yet, begins announcing that we are indeed there. ‘There’ turns out to be Central, as my better instinct told me and it’s only eight forty one apparently as well which apparently is also a good thing, as we’re four minutes early, apparently.

We swing into the station, but obviously it’s a big station as it’s Central and central stations always tend to be big because they’re so central to everything, including train tracks, so they have a lot of stuff going through them. This means that although we haven’t quite stopped yet, we have begun the ‘getting really near to’ stopping process and this is indicated, as I noted, by swinging into the station- and now I can see across all of the platforms because there aren’t many trains in for some reason, which is weird because it’s Central but I suppose all of the empty platforms is still some kind of evidence that there could be lots of trains, but it’s just that we’re too early for them or something and maybe in four minutes they’ll catch up to us?

But my eyes flick across and over all of these empty platforms who have to wait for four minutes or something before their trains come in and my eye is caught really quite suddenly by one particular part of one particular platform- there’s an engineer’s office, work office, where they would go to not work but make coffee and eat biscuits, but what they did was beside the point really as I only wanted to note that there was the office there and that’s why I remember the point as it’s by that office where I bode farewell to this pretty, most beautiful, girl I’ve ever had the privilege to converse with. Although that was a while ago now and I know a couple girls who really are much prettier than her but I’d never say that in public of course because I actually still know them and that would be weird, probably. Anyway this girl was radiance with the brightest smile, it would kill me. God I loved her, and God, I’m sure she probably dug the hell outta me at one point probably, and I tell you God although I don’t know why I tell you as apparently you know everything so I’m more telling myself but I’ll tell you anyway because sometimes a girl is pretty enough to talk to you about, even if you don’t exist I suppose? But we held one another so closely so we could feel the others’ heartbeat which was really just one beat because we were in love I think and clichés like that matter don’t they? And we were so close that as we paused from those final kisses you give someone when they stand before you and you don’t know when you’ll see them again, we would simply indulge in the others’ smell, which, as we’d spent the last few days in such close contact anyway was kind of the same smell, which wasn’t a cliché but more the truth and bit odd if you think of it a bit, but we had showered so- I suppose not that odd.

We would kiss passionately, really quite passionately, to the point where the engineers would probably have coffee biscuits and a show if they were there, but they weren’t- probably out committing time to laying the rhythmically positioned tracks- thankfully, although it would have been a funny addition to the memory. But we kissed passionately like out of some movie where the guy and girl say goodbye in a train station where the trains still used steam and there’s so much more noise and it’s black and white, but sadly there was still segregation between black and white during those films so I suppose they kind of represent a bad era, probably.

She got on that train and immediately began writing me a love letter about how much she dug me and hoped to see me again soon.

Bump.

Sometimes letters get lost, and sometimes letters shouldn’t be sent at all. But she sent that one, the one she wrote on the train, and I sent one back and a couple more and so it went and then the letters stopped altogether and I don’t think they got lost as I got one I really wish I hadn’t which said I was different and everything was different and I didn’t love her anymore which is weird because my heart hurt so much with joy when I was opening that letter and then hurt so much with pain after I read it, and I think I can’t claim what love is, but I can claim that I was either close to it or at least she was able to make me think so- and that still hurts.

Bump.

But the trains stopped! We’re here, well, I’m here and she’s there and there’s a pretty little filly from this city who I love dearly and I know I love her because I haven’t ever fallen in love with her but she is amazing and by far the most beautiful person I’ve had the joy of knowing- and now there’s telephones everywhere these days so I don’t need to worry about her sending a bad letter or thinking that I’ve changed, and anyway she’s really quite pretty and I think she’s fun at least. So with that in mind I move towards the doors before they’ve even opened but keep moving and time it ever so sweetly as I’m still moving but they’ve finally begun to open and I just glide out as easy as pie, and the risk pays off as I’m currently the only person on the platform and everyone gets off and wonders how I’m so far ahead?

So there’s a nice cold breeze as I move briskly from person to person as although I was first off I wasn’t on the first carriage so people have taken a lead, but I’m in a good flow and fly past. But we all share it and make it so- the lights and energy and this is the city and it’s smoking, she’s smoking, I’m still smoking now I come to think about it, with the cigarette still actually in my mouth as I walk over the clouds with everyone here and I try not to annoy anyone by getting in their way and tripping them up, which would be an accident and quite funny but I’d still feel bad as it would cause those clouds above us which we walk in to burst and that would put us back down on the ground and put a downer on our day I think and it’s only just night so I think that would be unfair. But the guard stands at the edge of the train looking to everyone as they go by and he’ll never see them again probably so I wish him farewell and hope he does indeed take care, in case he’s forgotten, and to seal the deal I wave and nearly bump into someone who was looking around the station for someone, and as I correct my path and stumble a bit at the cost of it he smiles at me the first ever smile he’s ever given by mistake but was still happy to do so.

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Scarlet Rouge

The Story Of A Character Who Tells Him/Herself Stories While Waiting

I’m a character. An unambiguous S/He. And I have a riddle. Who am I?

To wait is my job.

No!!! I’m not a waiter. That’s the proof: analytical philosophers are always wrong.

Well, you won’t hit on it. (Except you are one of my kind. – Then especially not.) In fact, I’m a writer. (Who believes in facts?) Writers wait even when they are writing. Or rather, to write is to wait – that means, to be on the watch. If writing is not always also a waiting (within), it can’t proceed. This is the reason why I like brackets. (If you want to understand that conclusion, ask a writer.) You see how it works? If you write, there is always either too much or too less to put in one sentence. We had to wait in order to make proper sense, that means we had to cut our muses’ throat. However, we may agree – even if you count yourself still to those post-evil pre-hippies of the Beat Generation: murder is not perfect. Let’s leave it by that. What’s important is, brackets may serve the purpose of clearing the peripheries of imagination. So, everything that is too much to concentrate on is squeezed into these two smiles of ink. There it is finally safe, and the narrative may continue. By the bye (– hopefully, nobody’s already leaving us –), this is the reason why the junk in brackets is quite often the very best of one’s writings. For it later is read over even by the author himself. Thus he doesn’t try to connect it with the rest of his story, neither with his by far too flat characters nor with the continuous oversimplification of his narrative – whose coherence makes him proud as having no child. In other words, what the two smiles embrace is a pure piece of creativity. (In the best case. There are always bad writers, like me.) To be hypotactically romantic: brackets are palms that hold a sentence amidst them as if it could fall through the lines beneath if they didn’t. Hence, in the end of my long unpleasant life I want to publish my Collected Works – one fat book called “With Open Hands”, or something alike. It will be filled only with the content of the brackets I have used till then. I think, you got an idea now of why brackets are the crown of a writer (if you tie them together), and why a writer is a waiter (so to speak – so to write – so to wait).

But I wasted enough of my time explaining my job. I should finally wait now.

So, let’s start it. Let’s write something with quality that is cheesy. (Yes, I address myself with “us” – is that too king-like for your status of mind? Hopefully.) Here we go – although we should be carried (in a palanquin) – yet, here we go. With something only a bit confused, beginning quite grave, and, I mentioned it already, cheesy. It is presumably the worst part of what we’re going to invent, thus: enjoy it! – Well!

I am a cook. I’m a cook, but since years I feel inverted, I feel like a lobster in the kitchen, and the kitchen looks as if it were mine. Why? Since years I wash my hands, shake my head, and reread – (is a single “re-” appropriate for an obsession?) – and reread the letter I wrote her.

I don’t know why I felt like that. I was thinking about it all the time. All the time when I saw this blue counter-sunset we made our own (two backs dipped in evening’s gold). I was thinking about it, every time you asked me, with words or without (why didn’t I answer, why did I never respond?). So trust me, I still don’t come to conclusions – if I had to guess, I said, it’s something with too less space, and me being out, and for too long, I mean out of myself. If! If. However, some day, some day I may tell you about it – it would be hope to be writing in quicksand, or to carve in prison cells, in coffins or gravestones, it would be hope, but I don’t know what to write, I still don’t know, it would be hope, hope is wood, too dry to be life, too damp to give warmth. I mean, being seemed meaningless to the ground (which ground?), and it still does, but I bear it better now, for at least, at least I know, at least I know I would like to cook for you. And you – then – could decide whether you want to eat it, whether you are hungry, etc. But it didn’t matter, the point is not whether I cook – let’s cook me, I don’t care –, the point is, I’d like to be with you just to see you and, well, to be, to be the proof that you are important (if I still understand what that means). In short (I’m lying in shorts on my sofa, now, it snows outside, it really snows, can you believe that?), in short, I just want to try to be help since I can’t help myself no longer (it snows and the nights become longer, I can stumble and fall, without ever having to land: to arrive doesn’t hurt). So, just give me a call, you know my number, I don’t, I’m helpless, where am I?, I know where you are, I know nothing, now combine what I say, I mean, do you remember Sartre’s nothingness? – do you remember these years in which we still thought philosophy could deliver an answer? – just give me a call. Give me a call! ALL my love …

No wonder she never responded that rubbish! “Two backs dipped in evening’s gold” – I could vomit! – in their necks. “It would be hope to be writing in quicksand” – hope is no language! (wood can’t speak), even if one has the words – it’s hard to share them with those who turned out to be dead. (And nevertheless. Nevertheless, everyday, cooking, I speak to flavoured filets before they burn in their hell of a pan: I speak to them. I speak to every salwed salmon, I spitter lemon and wine over it, but nothing flukes in my mouth, or my eyes, but nothing comes back. And nevertheless: I speak. I speak to the dead.) What did I know then? What?! As much as now – that’s the problem. As much as less of nothing as now.

(To write is to conceal.)

The letter is a copy. I have many of them, and all are welded. I have a copy of them in my head, for I know it by heart (which heart?: “ALL my love” – is gone). I’m always only in shorts, and it’s snowing always a bit, and I can’t stumble no more since I fall. (I fell in silence; there is no way to recover; there is no way for the falling ones. Lucifer is mute. But he’s not fallen – one sinks from heaven.

However, let’s change our approach. One sinks from heaven like, let’s write – the Titanic: God must be an iceberg, phallogocentric. That fits. Religions are symbolism. And God’s tip is the last layer of died centuries, thus: he is time. Or isn’t the iceberg rather a tooth – and isn’t the tooth hidden underneath a too huge moustache – and isn’t the moustache Nietzsche’s? I should pursue that silence, it is quite comprehensive.)

All the same, when brackets dominate one should end one’s story. It could become too good, and, to insert something totally out of context, that must not happen under all circumstances, for when computer programs in a not too far future developed enough to create worlds that look as ours, we would love it there too much. This is, from then on, no revolt could ever emerge. (You see, there is always space for the cunning of morals – or, if we prefer another word, for reasonable censorship. Let this be no lesson to you.) However, you must not come (furthermore) to the idea we could already live in one of these created worlds! (I like “blue elephants”.)

Since the import thing is, blue elephants resemble especially nothing. Hence, no morality lurks on this wide and free virgin soil. It is – as is well-known – a desideratum for research. So, let us gratify the lust of science. In those moments one can only proclaim: where not to start? (The preceding was a general statement, recognizable by the anonymity-term one. This could stand even for you, reader. Thus we can forget about it – – and don’t think my we speaks for you, too. Let us forget about the whole tropic topic around blue elephants. Why? I’ve the best motive (and only one): I hate science, I hate virgins, I think they are pretty boring, I’m a moralist, I’m a waiter, I’m a cook. Instead, let’s begin again. I mean, the first time properly. I promise nothing, but I promise, we will follow it to the end. So, be on the qui vive, now – listen: to another unlikely story.)

Who am I?

I’m a character who tells him/ herself stories while waiting. (And I’m bored of my story s/telling. The two usually coincide in my case. I already suggested why.) Due to that, let’s – just for the sake of it, just because we all know it’s too funny – let’s assume I’m a student abroad in the midst of February, and – even funnier – I’m depressed (just to make the picture complete. Didn’t we already speak of flat characters?) So, here I am, a man as much as a hen and a dog and a squirrel. – No, that’s not a bit fishy – don’t confuse the clades – didn’t you read Aristotle? What I am trying to say is, even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn, and, in addition to that, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Ha! We now may conclude: foremost I am blind. Yet I am searching. This indeed is the irony called “life”, or “inhumane” – it depends on the person that calls. (Nobody calls me: that was the story of the cook, just if you missed the punchline. We see, we deliver reading guides with our works, bearing in mind the contemporary reader, and other disasters.) Anyway, as we heard, I look for corn – best as schnapps (Korn) –, and moreover: for nuts. But to make that clear, I of course don’t want nuts for their content – not at all (I’m allergic to almonds, pecans, peanuts, and now don’t ask why, they are probably not related to another, all I know is they all taste like soil, at least in my eyes – in my mouth) – but rather, I want nuts to put things in a nutshell, small or big, up to a drawer, with which the Aristotelian can be comfortable. Now you even have a reason why content, in these timbered walls, in the end, and at the beginning, and particularly in between, doesn’t matter. (And why Jesus’ father was a carpenter

is again a completely different story that has nothing to do with the anteceding. Anyways!) I wrote I’m a hen and a dog and a squirrel: when I did that, it was a prolepsis. (I was shortly gone, drinking some posh orange juice: this now in fact is a metalepsis – you learned well. And in its entirety, those who want to argue may argue, it is self-reflective fiction. Which closes the circle. (We are imprisoned now.) However, I never got where there is any meta, I mean anywhere, in general. But forget about that. Forget about generalities. We had that already. If not in this text, then generally. Yes, that’s true, I have to pay attention not getting too comical. People could feel well, laughing. This, too, has to be prevented.) We Aristotelians! Meanwhile, after a first shock, we finally understand why I’m a hen and why a squirrel. But the dog is somehow still missing. (Naughty cur.) Well! Every dog has its day. What would Kafka say to that? (“Not every”, answered K., and accused himself. Something in that direction – where diverse impasses wait – I guess. And trust me, I don’t have a clue of what I’m speaking: how should I not!) So, in short, I don’t know (nothing). In such a case, my mother used to say: “mind your mind! You possess nothing else of which I could be proud.” This is the reason why I became a waiter. In (dis-)order to write.

Since to write is like to cook, and paper and pencil are enough to build a kitchen. Moreover, therein I, I the chef can be us, that is hen or dog or squirrel or salmon or God or Devil (I don’t believe in hens. That just by the way, which is a dead end. The author, however (I mean that metaphysically), is the egg. He hatches himself till he cracks him into the mess called his book.) – I, the chef, can be us; I can be the comb for a mustache or a letter’s filet, or the un-blue elephant, or a muse, or a bracket – or Beckett. Only no meta, no morals, no nutshell, no drawer. For I do have character: I even am one!

On the other hand, my mother (I invent her with pleasure) used to say “God ridicules himself enough”, and she added, “don’t resemble him too much, especially that beard style is out of fashion”. As you see, she did respect the vogue. (Every season of it. That is always a mistake.) I must know it, I’m a baby boomer. Probably this is why I’m against today’s style: because I’m against today. (If that makes no sense. Otherwise, sorry for that. However, please don’t impute me to produce anything intelligible on purpose. I’m not a Kant.) Nevertheless, sometimes I ask myself what I had done had I lived and written in times of avant-garde – like in the 20ies. What do you do as a hater of opportunism when those movements against are as strong as the well-known cog-in-the-machine-routine? Well, what one can’t do, then, at least is to wait. And since I’m speaking of the 2020ies, I blame myself for in fact doing exactly what “one can’t do” (see what we wrote on Kafka, and earlier. Moreover, I actually said already I’m a moralist). That, finally, has no tradition, hence I feel o.k. in my guilt (instead of k.o.). But what about you? As we all know, creativity is the outcome of a special kind of masturbation – and I don’t refer here to your Christian remorse – how could I be interested in such a common good? No, I’m speaking of serious guilt. You don’t understand what I mean? That is what I expected. If you did understand you got why I mention it. Then, you finally got that it is utterly insignificant. But some will never understand. And we have seen, only those who – let’s brave it – masturbate specially will get it. (That has to do with the cock in the machine. But here we are talking again about the iceberg. We can’t escape it, everything reruns (in circles). This is the way of the world. When there is too much in brackets, one invents another story: I just do it like everybody else. Don’t be insulting.)

Who am I now? It’s irrelevant. I prefer to talk about writing. And about my mother. For that sake she will return from the mad. (Well, maybe I’m Oedipus. You never know whether not.) To begin with, my mother is a fine animal. When I wrote “blue elephants resemble especially nothing” I lied, so-and-so, and a bit different, but just because I love to lie. In fact, my mother looks exceedingly like a blue elephant. (Maybe even like two. But this is a conspiracy theory. I give such intelligibility to the politically insane.) After all, it should be emphasised: to have a mother who is an elephant has its advantages, whether you believe it or not. To just report on the major one: I simply don’t have to drown in literature! (This is: I don’t have to suffer that prevalent death whose extent is best measured in recalling, for example – or rather par excellence – Don Quixote.) Against such fates, my mother – and I’m in the privileged position to profit from that – uses her formidable elephant-proboscis like a snorkel. Just in case it doesn’t matter: when I was a child I employed it as my slide back into letters and sentences and chapters and books. However, she makes use of it the other way around. And in that manner, she escapes the written word – particularly the falderal found in newspapers, package inserts, or the bible. For my mother’s proboscis is actually a pen; her blue colour is no coincidence. In other words, or “to put it in a nutshell”, to write is to draw breath. Thus yet still smothered in some confusing areas of literary La Mancha, you can suspire (what some do “hence” quite a lot in their work). A pen is the snorkel that may help not to die of anoxia. It helps us to survive (in) the deep. It draws breath – through drawing our inside on the canvas of blank papers.

(I hope, that last bit now was too declamatory. Just so that nobody takes it seriously. Since it was too less wrong to be utilized. Furthermore I have to add: this all is not biographical! – just for the psychoanalysts. I mean, you can always find something appropriate in arbitrariness – and vice versa. And of course, this is exactly what we call science, why should I deny that? I said already, I hate science, and this is one of the reasons for it. – You may have expected a “but” on the beginning of this sentence: due to the structures of logic. But I already shoot my wad.)

So, here we are, if at all, after all. Meanwhile you got to know, I’m a bored character telling stories, a S/He, an us, diverse animals and restaurant owners and metaphysical illusions. I masturbate specially and, the most important: I’m still breathing. Hen(ce) in the end, only one question is left.

Who am I? If you’re sitting in a café reading this, why not ask a waiter.

THE END

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