Fiction

To Urge

Photo by Denise Krebs.
Photo by Denise Krebs.

 

We are done with games, these games specifically. You are done with these games; I am done with these games; we are done with these games. We don’t have time. We have important work to do, and other stuff besides, like the infernal doorknob. I don’t know what to do about the doorknob, but I don’t like how it wiggles. I have found Palo and though he acts without logic and wears an evacuated bird on his head and an eviscerated raccoon over his loins, he has not yet lost his senses. And though he walks, indeed never stops, unless it is to gut the odd fowl or small mammal, he has not found his paces. For I am here in my bathroom to put a man through his paces, I said that once and I am a man of my word, to plumb his walls, to square his joints, to rewire his old fire-hazard-not-up-to-code ungrounded wiring, no, not to fix him, to make him tread his borders, his boundaries, the outer limits of what he can be and the inner limits of what he cannot be and thereby define him, if with too many words so be it, define him nonetheless, and with urgency, there is an urgency because, because well, it’s my urge, I know nothing else to do, no one else to be, no other reason to do, to be, than this urge, this urgency, to hunt a man, and the doorknob is telling me in not so many words, godbless it, You have no time, there is no time, now now now.

The doorknob talks. I don’t hear it. It rattles and wiggles and gyrates or something, but I don’t know it. It is far away. The bathroom lengthens and narrows. A change, to hold the course and stay the path. A change, to not change in my everchangingness. Its volume remains the same but its shape changes. It lengthens and narrows; the wall presses into my knees and the toilet is pushed into the wall behind it until my back is pressed to one wall and my knees to the other. The door is barely visible and there is no way to get to it because the path by the sink has been squeezed shut by the walls and the sink and counter and cabinets have been squeezed up by the walls so they grow higher and higher maintaining their volume as their depth decreases, their length and height increasing until they are in and of themselves insurmountable obstacles and due to their presence between myself and the door I cannot see the door at all and cannot be sure if the doorknob talking that I don’t hear is actually the doorknob talking or just in my head. The door is so distant I can barely imagine it. The tub and shower has become just a shower. The kind you stand in, so I could cleanse myself if I so chose but I haven’t and I don’t and I won’t. I am not sure if the ceiling has been pushed up or not. It is white up there, but it is hard to differentiate the white of ceiling from the white of distance from the white of nothingness, like it is difficult to differentiate between milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl and the bottom of the cereal bowl. If your cereal bowl is white. Or at least the same white as milk. Cow milk. Pasteurized. 2%. Force-fed corn. Perhaps milled animal. And your proportions aren’t perfect so you have extra milk in your bowl, or at least the possibility is possible. And you actually look instead of raising it to your lips in faith, that is what notlooking is, faith, or you are three years old. I do note that the toilet tank has not as I said been pushed into the wall but has been converted to an old-fashioned tank-on-the-wall mount hanging high above me with a very long chain so it is not impossible to flush the toilet, but I won’t. I haven’t used it, I don’t think, but I will, if I live. Eliminating is a condition of living. I look down between my hairy thighs to check. A ring grows in the toilet bowl.

 

* * *

 

He walks. May. Woods. Flowers. Leaves. Sun. Evacuated grouse hat, eviscerated raccoon breechclout, eight-inch leather boots, hatful of stones, woods full of stones, cheek puffed around a stone, a stone perhaps used for grit while he ate the raccoon, as if he does not have teeth, which he does, as if he has a gizzard, which he does not, as if he were a chicken, which is a more domesticated animal than he has had relations with lately, or perhaps a bird of prey, say a condor, which is not a bird of prey but a vulture, since a condor is more likely to eat raccoon than a chicken, at least a dead raccoon, not to mention more likely to eat chicken than a chicken, though chickens are more likely to be eaten by a raccoon than a condor, especially a raccoon that has been a bear, notwithstanding the fact that neither birds of prey nor raptors require grit or gastroliths for digestion, not that Palo is utilizing his mouthstone as a gastrolith, or at all. And being a condor is an order of magnitude more holy than being a chicken, condors only eat carrion, and being holy is what he is after.

He walks to be holy. He walks to go home. He walks to lose himself or part of himself while still going home but this is what is called not being able to lose yourself or even a part of yourself. There are axes and asses and wives and knives, but these are not the means of losing the part of himself that he means. There is elimination, but there is ingestion, and besides this is not what he means. There is the forgiveness of sins, which is fine, but God help him irrelevant and not what he means. He means nothing because he does not think. If he were to think he would perhaps mean that you cannot undo what you have done, what you have done is who you are, what you do is who you are, no matter what you think, and when you are someone, who you are is inescapable. To which he would perhaps reply, Though I am walking to lose myself or part of myself, I am not trying to escape but engage or encounter or involve, all of which are bullshit words, or find my way home. What he might say and might mean is, I am trying to survive. What he is more likely to say and guaranteed to mean, though it is unabashedly untrue is, It is hard to lose yourself when you keep the ocean to one side.

Palo is getting somewhere. Or at least he is getting off somewhere, somewhere having been Antoinette’s hill-cum-mountain, here being elsewhere, descended to sea level, which it is hard to descend beyond, though not impossible, near the sea. The woods have given way though the stones persist. A long curve of stone beach. The clack of stones shifting underfeet, the roar of the ocean neverending and soon sublimated into background noise. On the stones he leaves no steps. Here is where he gathers stones on the everyother days he gathers stones. But he does not know what kind of day this is and he does not have his stone carrying device, his pants, and he has to go somewhere, anywhere, one place in particular, an insane place to go considering what and who he has done.

And there, here, he comes upon the outhouse he uses everyother day since he never gets access to his home toilet, the outhouse built so people would not defecate in the sea, though the ocean is so big it is beyond soil, except in thought, no one wants to think of feces floating or sinking in their ocean, and except in actuality, no one wants actual human feces in the actual ocean, and except in quantity, people produce such an inhumane quantity of crap, there are so many of us defecating and it all goes to the ocean one way or another, though this particular outhouse seems to have been personally built for him as he is the only person he has ever seen use it or this beach. The outhouse is built of weathered driftwood lashed together with seaweed. He is not sure if someone, a caretaker, comes and relaces the structure with fresh seaweed every dawn, or if the tide rises and submerges the outhouse every night before receding, but it occurs to him that if the seaweed dried it would become brittle and break and the structure would collapse and so the seaweed is always dripping. Both explanations are unlikely. Who is so loving as to caretake a solitary outhouse daily, or at least everyother day? And tides are not regular. They are, but not in a consistent time-of-day regularity. And the tide as scourer would defeat the notsoiling the sea business. There are glass floats adorning the driftwood seaweed outhouse. As ever, there is no door. There is an odor. The vacant doorway faces the sea. He thinks, no, he does notthink, as he often thinks of how full the hole is and how hard it must be to dig an outhouse hole amidst all these stones. Seeing it now, the outhouse fills him with the same urge it fills him with everyother day. When he sits in it, his knees poke out the doorway. He does not sit in it now, but when he does his knees protrude, hairy in the open air facing the sea. He sits and rests and relieves himself and thinks of nothing but braces against the wind whipping through the gaps between the driftwood and stares at the sea, taking in the ocean, occasionally seeing a sea lion before wiping with an exceptionally smooth stone he drops into the hole, but not today. It is a matter of debate whether his elimination experience is aesthetic or spiritual, and if there is a difference between the two, though the debate is not his.

But today, if it is a different day, now, for the moment, he has no desire to follow through on his urges, except the urge to not act on his urges, except the urge to go home. He walks past the stone beach outhouse of inspired driftwood and seaweed construction and gives no indication of thinking of stopping though how he walks clarifies the fact that he should. He leaves the crunch of stones and a certain odor.