Saturday, July 28, 2007

Twenty-four







It's night.

Merna, my step-grand-mother, and Noah sleep.

My bedroom's still and gray and I sit grayly on the floor.

'Wake and funeral tomorrow,' I think. 'Morning body preparation with charcoal suit and make-up maybe or hair-dye. Who knows?' I imagine the body and in my brain the body remains silent and immovable in bed and alone with no suit and no make-up and no expression on its gray face. 'Body,' I think. 'It.' I close my eyes and the body's in my brain and I think about my body and my body unmoving and undressed and silent and in my mind I put my body next to my grandfather's body so there are two unmoving bodies.

In the corner of my bedroom stands the tall thin man, his hands flat on perpendicular walls. "This," the man says. He shows me his hand and his hand's narrow with long thin fingers and an unlined palm.

"Now," I say.

"This?" he says.

"Shut up," I say. I'm bored with the man so I put him away. When I put the man away, he reappears. "You're not here," I say. "You're not a you," I say. "I'm bored, okay." I blink for a while. "I'm sorry. I was rude."

I stand and walk quietly into my grandfather's bedroom and in the darkness stand next to my grandfather's body. I close my eyes and carefully place my hand on my grandfather's body's stomach.

In the corner of the bedroom stands the tall thin man, his hands flat on perpendicular walls. "This?" he says.

"Yes," I say. I don't know why I say that. "I'm sorry."

"Keys?"

"Yes," I say. I remove the keys from the dresser's top-drawer and place them in my pants-pocket. I roll my grandfather's body and squat and move the body onto my shoulder. I stand and lift and think, 'This body's lighter than I thought the body would be.' I carry the body through the still-open door, down the stairs slowly and quietly, along the long curving hallway, and into the garage. I concentrate on each step and watch the floor in front of me which is carpeted and then hardwood and then concrete. I keep my body low, my back straight, my knees bent. 'Lift with proper lifting-techniques,' I think.

'I wrote the lifting-technique-manual,' I imagine my grandfather saying. 'I drew diagrams, on a trek through the Pyrenees. Patented the instructions in Madrid. Sold the patents in Marseilles. Became a millionaire and lost the millions at a craps table in Borneo.'

'Did you journey with llamas?'

'Yes, with llamas. Spanish llamas. Hairy and with big swollen teets. Then gambled with the Portuguese.'

I lay my grandfather's body on the hood of his Cadillac and open the Cadillac and move the body in the backseat of the Cadillac. I turn off my cell-phone and start the Cadillac. I carefully lower the power-windows. I'm humming. I put the Cadillac in reverse.

"Okay," I say aloud. "Okay."

"Yes," I say. "Drive the car," I say.

I drive the car.

It's dark and there's snow and the air's cold on my face but I drive the Cadillac and the Cadillac's driving and being driven and moving quickly from streetlight to streetlight and the Cadillac's large and hardly controlled and I know I can't control the Cadillac but I can guide it so I guide the Cadillac and only when the Cadillac slides do I close my eyes.

"This," I say.

I'm smiling.

"Pyrenees," I say. "Lisbon."

I think about turning on my cell-phone and calling Merna. 'No,' I think. 'I can't and won't call any person.' I imagine Merna's babies.

The lights are spaced further apart until there are only the Cadillac's headlights and the interior-lights and I watch the interior-lights and the interior-lights are bright and solid and I'm between the interior-lights and cold and awake and with my finger I trace the interior-lights and touch the interior-lights and make the interior-lights disappear and reappear. "This," I say. I don't know what I mean because I don't know anything which is perfect and planned.

I think about something for a while but I forget what it is and think about other things.

At the rest stop I place a blanket over my grandfather's body and tuck the blanket beneath the body. The sky's distant and clouded and dark.

Later, at a motel, the clerk says, "My name's Vern. Let me know if there's anything you need."

"Vern," I say. "I don't need things." I take the elevator and think about the ocean. In my room I take a long shower and sit by the window. There's a digital-clock on the dresser and I watch the clock for a while. Then I don't.

5 comments:

MadisonGlass said...

Okay. So I was a little fucked last night and had no idea where we were in this last chapter. So I’ve just reread the last three and now I know and it’s good. Good-good. You rip me off quite a bit in this novel. I’m a little bitter, but not too bitter. Because you do those things that I do better than me. You know I’m against dénouements in general, but this one’s good. It needs more editing than the last chapters, but it will be brilliant. It is all very brilliant. It is a brilliant novel and I love you. I will write a story about you soon and then maybe give up writing because I can’t compete. Send me the two documents so I can help you edit. Not edit-edit, just line-edit a bit. But maybe you’re not there yet. I’ll talk to you tonight if you’re around. Be around.

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