Fiction

Believe in Palo

Photo Credit: steve mohundro.  CC-licensed: CC-By.
Photo Credit: smohundro. CC-licensed: CC-By.

What I, Cole, I think, I’ve narrowed it down to Cole or Kol at least, am trying to do is breathe, in the dark, which I can do, though it is a foul dark I breathe because I disseminate disperse spread stretch sublimate sublime myself into the dark, which I am not trying to do, meaning I am trying not to do, meaning I am trying to not breathe myself, gasified, only gasified in that the solid and liquid particles of myself are small enough that I can breathe them dissolved in the dark, perhaps the word then is vaporized, or dissolved. I am wrong. I am not trying to not breathe. What I am trying to do I think is slough off no flush no eliminate everything that is unimportant of my life, everything important of my life, everything of my life, my life, from the story in service to the story, in service to what it is about, sex, is sex still amusing?, don’t believe I believe this story is about sex, sex is the absolute last act this story is about, this story is not about sex or getting busy or screwing silly or god knows fucking or making love. I just want to be clear on that point, if nothing else, no matter how much love is made and unmade. How many beds left made and unmade. No, what I do, my elimination, is in service to the story, to what the story is about, which is Palo, good, I do it for Palo, in service to Palo, to destroy Palo, to discover who Palo is, and thereby praise him if he is deserving of praise, no, no judgment, praise him for being, praise him for who he is, which I and you with me will discover only after I am eliminated from this story, for I am a distraction from our purpose, did I say that? purpose? me? yes, don’t doubt I said or wrote or transcribed it even if I cannot believe I did. Purpose me. The problem or truth or fact or lamentation is that I cannot do it, please always write can and not together as one compound word, cannot, instead of two, can not, cannot is flat out more aesthetically pleasing and concise, and that means something, and if you can’t bring yourself to do it, if you feel it’s a little flamboyant, no not flamboyant, self-important, I understand, I understand you, but please all I ask of you is to contract cannot to can’t, concision and contraction becomes you, please do continue to use the word, cannot, and in lieu of cannot can’t, and in lieu of can’t silence, it is a beautifully melancholy word, cannot, I cannot do it, I can only talk, and not well because I cannot breathe, and if it’s hard to talk one’s way out of a story one’s writing, it is even harder to gasp one’s way out. But you can do it, you can do it for me, eliminate me for me, for you, for Palo, for Reb, for their children, for mine, even for Antoinette, whom I’ve disserviced, like everyone, who cannot be forgotten, like noone. Eliminate me please along with my pretension, my pretense, or I will sex you again with my words while you sleepwalk through my lines, sleepsex between the sheets, while you read, while your partner sleeps or uses the bathroom or is absent off doing god knows what without you while you gasp in pleasurable shock or elegiac ecstasy or a burning moment of self-awareness except it will already be done, finished, you’re done because I am fast and do not last long, no one does, nothing does, to foul fidelity, to penetrate faithfulness, to shred love does not take long, not long enough to recognize what is happening if anything is happening and you wonder what happened if anything you imagine nothing but you feel a vague ache. Done. Eliminate me then wipe with me then flush me or I will use you like I’ve already used you like I use everybody, even Palo, for the good of Palo, to be, for him to be, except Palo is beyond my use, as a hot-blooded man, while I am an anemone a water flower a water filterer, a solitary polyp, a secreting toilet barnacle making love to paper making toilet paper while asphyxiating on my plasticity. That I write this begs the question are these words mine, is this world mine? Stick to the first question like a stone adhered to the breech of a boat, like a barnacle humping a keel, because it actually has an answer, as opposed to the other, though I do not know what the answer is and it is relative and irrelevant because the question is who cares whose words the words are? Serve the story I tell you. The only thing anyone cares about, if anything, beyond themselves, is the story, the story they listen to, the story they create, the story they tell, the story they live by. The story is what is important, not me, not mine, not you, not yours. The story is Palo, and his affair. Believe in the story. He’s been unfaithful, but believe in Palo.

* * *

The conductor checks your ticket but not Palo’s, which makes you wonder if Palo is here. But his smell gives him away. You are blind. The train bounces, clickety-clack clickety-clack. The train creates its own crush of wind by the window. This man whom you identify as Palo by his smell breathes heavily across the aisle. He breaks wind, which you hear. Now you smell the broken wind, which is what you smelled before but multiplied. The train’s bounce jostles and soothes. You fart silently without smell and hear the slight thumping of wings against his ears, his tail static sparking against the seat, the skin of his haunches sticking there, and what might be a rodent’s teeth clacking at his crotch. You cross your legs and feel the vinyl seats cling to the skin on the back of your upper thigh where it mates with your buttocks and you feel fluttery about the head wondering how many people besides yourself sit on this bench in this commuter train to Palo’s home without pants and what do you have in common with them, what do you share with them, what do they share with you, besides a sense of violating un-uniqueness and puckered sphincters now relieving internal pressure, now gasping. Every time you shift, your skin sticking to the seat, your skin and the seat acting in unison then, makes a farting noise and you blush because you cannot be sure it wasn’t real, wasn’t just noise, and it is possible this fart will not not stink and Palo will or perhaps is smelling you although it feels like he is somewhere else, not entirely present, home already perhaps in his head, in his imagination, though still some part of him, namely his nose and the olfactory nerve, must smell you even if he chooses to be unaware. You never thought you’d think this but suddenly you wouldn’t mind Palo’s eviscerated raccoon breechclout, are even perhaps covetous, though your desire for his headgear is tamer. Your bottom making the noise of breaking wind, you shift to ask, no, first to reach across and touch Palo on the shoulder, to speak first without touching him seems somehow wrong, to speak to him without confirming his existence could in the end prove embarrassing, to touch then, and then ask him if you might borrow his eviscerated raccoon, not borrow, if he would give it to you, you don’t intend to return it, not once you’ve worn it, and you won’t buy it, you’ve already spent enough on his story and why does everything have to cost something, money doesn’t grow on trees, because he just might say yes, after all he has nothing left to lose, he is going home to confess to his wife that he violated her faith with a much younger Frenchlike woman who has not birthed dozens of children and did acts to him she used to do and a raccoon over one’s loins is probably neither a positive or negative in such a situation, whereas your modesty and self-protection stands to benefit greatly, and he may be more amenable because he likes how you look, though you don’t know how you look, except to the touch, you’re blind, and you are reaching out to touch him to see what he looks like to ask him what you look like to untie the raccoon hands from the wings of his hips and retie them around yours with his hands strong and rough from collecting and gathering when you touch nothing but absence across the aisle and hear the thud of boots walking away and the click of a door opening and the slam of it closing and heavy breathing and fumbling in a tight space and an elbow smacking a wall and an inappropriately loud gasp and a shamefully loud breaking of wind and the thud thud thud then splatter thudding and splattering below you below the train receding as this man you don’t know except by what he’s done and how he smells expels himself through the hole in the train floor that they call a toilet onto miles and miles of track, more miles in minutes than all the miles in the months of walking downhill since his act, and when it is finally quiet you wait for his sigh of relief at having relieved himself of his waste but you only hear his knees hit the floor and his tears now dripping through the hole before you and breaking against the tracks below you amid his splashing vomit and the train’s mighty wind.