Stories

Separ-in-in-in – Lenny Boyle

Always, gentlemen, of him, always, a repeated incipit, of him, I—repeat—had dreamed. Do not take us toward the centre of reality we cannot agree as such. Formative years unwound little children toward the same vision.
        First it was naive childish admiration; as for one who did not fear. For one older in the ways of the world. But of course he was my strict contemporary; coevals; it couldn’t be this.
        He was a real person, at least, if we were not friends—there was a period of my life in which I knew him. You are assured of this.
        Our distance, I accredited, my childish mind, to divergence of class and social stature. But this diminished.
        Every night. I haven’t seen him these decades except…
        From the darkness, a conscious shadow, watching; until the features so align and here.
        Jim Bracktle.
        It started before we met.
        The friend of my youth, like the ghost of a poet, guides me through my dreams.
        As I am with you in the dark, now, I could sit with him; contemplate the hours into nothing upon him. Upon this issue and its first cousins. Gentlemen.
        Modern theorems—they cannot explain all the mysteries of the human mind. Its relationship to reality. Even the squalid notion that it makes them. Some of you gentlemen are proponents of this.
        One could explicate the frivolous conceit, say—who was he to me?—what did he symbolise? Lost youth? But every night.
        Jim Bracktle.
        Who I wanted to be. Why this morbid obsession—he was not my friend. The friend of my youth.
        “Bastard!”
        Screaming.

#

It is with unbridled shame that I recall—manifest your impatience elsewhere, gentlemen, it does not become you. But if you must; out of sequence, therefore, let me share, the first; the harbinger of that ill-fated audience with the father of Jim Bracktle.
        “The brain I have—it’s been replaced with eyes: all of them open. Not near death—near life. The vindictive rumours to the contrary are—that my dreams are fears and fantasies, floors of mental unreason and architectures, situated better outside the mind, than in it. These calumnies should not indicate—the resonant wickedness, I say, resident wickedness, in dream. For they have baptised it—baptised it, they say, the mystery space, the final realm; the dream. They go to it—hope they go to it. Those of you with functional sensory organs, still, a minority, an all too sad, minority, I cannot help, remarkable—is that not it, son, insinuating; is that not right, boy, will have gathered, this, as the faces of our finest have been shat into that night that dances in its own garlands.”
        He was—rather more gifted than the common sport—my father, or Jim Bracktle’s. The crazy old male one yelling in the alleys. Later events indicated clearly enough this was not the case; or Jim Bracktle’s. That I thought it my father, or Jim Bracktle’s, was just another withering pose, that I, with schizoid rigidity, deformed myself with. This one: whenever I saw the crazy old male ones perform their inner agonies outside. Or so I imagined. Outside, and indeed, outside of themselves. They did this in the street where others could see them—was the obscenity’s startling outline. The ordinances forbidding the display of public agony—as a vent for the wilder passions—had long been abrogated. But—these quickened spirits. They have denuded mercy of all virtue.
        “It drags those that yet have faces into that beauteous and insane village within. For why would it have need of the rest. Madmen with sane sensory apparatus… is this something? I’d have liked my eyes to be rational and my mind insane, ladies and ladies and gentlemen and gentlemen, my dear, dear friends, my son, my little one, my gentlemen, my gentle passions, my sweet, my sweet; my sweet, sweet boy. But as you can see it is a contrary totality under whose auspices I am damned to caper. I am insane, quite. And yes, but my brain, now a sphere of eyes—a shrieking heap of peepers—has not ceased its voracious reportage; because it’s only ever that place, their own worlds; only ever the, as they call it, dream. It is not for myself, my fears; this one not yet so warped as many of you before, standing before, before me, before this… you there, behind, behind, across the street, get nearer… harangue, as seen from outside your own disgusting torments, I grant you. But what sort of madness calls you in? Is it. You, son, calls you in, boys. Drunk on it. Drunk on dream and those hot-inside-your-ear whispers. Types of a kind of way of living at it and vision. Let it sink you through it into him. Into him. Into him. But, son, what do you think. I went mad?”

#

“Bastard!”
        Even if his consistency—I have always admired his consistency; and yes, boisterous concurrence!—opposed to obsession, ruinous obsession, was evidence of something other than his greatness; evidence, as maudlin as this, he could never allow that I develop my own vision.
        I was sitting in the place I had the refluxed gall to claim as my library, squirming between tweezers, as one of my uncatalogued maggots, examining the thing; no longer seething; not for the nonce nonplussed—now I stand, before you, gentlemen: before this a japing perambulation—quite simply, more than anything else, inside the vault of that question and all that pertained to it.
        Being inside the luxury acceptable only in death, I brought up the pith once more; I hacked and spat the mollusc in my mouth—savouring the retched-up sacrament; the briny texture; the salty pith: the question why; tasting its transcendence.
        He was there. Every night. In that place among the pregnant shadows; beneath the same horrifying angle of the ceiling. Years. A ghost—biological. In me. Communing in me; whispering to me through the twisted and torrid passages of dream. One can live in a reverberating lack. Years. With the most mysterious passion.
        I had prepared my evening wine—the faucet had dripped sufficiently into the foul vessel from which I drank it—and I was adequately confined within my coverings. Beneath that oppressive angle, I filled the invisible corners, and the spaces, of my library, with the shelves and the piles of books it did not possess.
        Why this saturation, an innocuous personage, with decades-long obsession—so much morbid symbology? Love? Within the circle of these thoughts. A crush. Not an earthly one. A simple boyish—but this would have caused no great agitation. Such banal heat would have been so much simpler to comprehend, circumscribe. Than that other. I could not deny I loved Jim Bracktle, but it was the otherworldly love that one bears a god.
        From certain inspired philistines, I had, spitting my feverish imprecations, rescued a volume of The Sheltered Mystics, and now I craved nothing more than to shuffle my leaking corpus once more through its yellowed halls:
        Jim Bracktle… Jim Bracktle… 
        Jim Bracktle…
        And with a glorious broiling glare, it entered me: all/all/all as if—it was a memory seeded in me by those pregnant shadows; as if, in fact, wrapping all of it, everything that pertained to Jim Bracktle—Jim Bracktle, I’m saying, could not be exhumed beneath and between walls. The horrid story could only be—must be—blasted in me at the behest of a train of divine thought.
        Ploughing my cerebellum like a fecund valley; convulsing under the power of it; almost, I recalled, almost; it was there—visions scattered spastic limbs at the angles, as it hacked its terroir. I received it from without me.
        This new memory of Jim Bracktle.
        The dreadful incident; that unhinged moment of extreme lucidity; there had been—he’d disappeared—that for some reason I could not recall; that I could not keep within me. The terrible crises had dug me up. Jim Bracktle. Of Jim Bracktle; his going… I could not keep it. There was, its appearance—this too—in the primitive booklets they distribute outside of this place; that other. The greasy palimpsests to which the words barely adhere; explanations of—what cannot be for dimwits—events in the local environs.
        But after, Jim Bracktle disappeared never to be seen any more. Actual events pertaining to a real person—zero import to me. Years in symbols; years dreaming him from the inside out—years only the personage imagined, another part of me submerged. I had the friend of my youth. I had Jim Bracktle. I had him inside me; inside as a literary phantom. But he is not this.
        I see hallways—for decades, now repeated, and repeating; the demands the sickest part of me now lived for posing, entered, with the dream: the dream flashed inside from an angel’s cockeyed vision; with the dream, the dream—where is Jim Bracktle; what happened, Jim Bracktle; where is Jim Bracktle?—the dream, burning; rupturing; scalding the passages of a consciousness from out of pregnant shadows.
        “Bastard!”
        I heard screaming.

#

“Bastard!”
        I heard it.
        “Bastard!”
        They were saying it.

#

“Bastard!”
        They were saying it.
        “Bastard!”
        Again.
        “Bastard!”
        They said it.
        “Bastard!”
        And screaming.

#

I moved through stilled images.
        It moved through stilled images.
        One angle upon the room and another, and myself and the space. The ceiling—the house of my youth—through a malevolent angle, upon my own face. My face. I went through my own face. Out of my face. I went through my face. There was a place that moved me through it. Gentlemen, there was a place that moved me through. Into it. Gentlemen. In. In. In. In. In. In. In.
        I saw—movement follow vision through shadowed images of my nose and cheeks; through them out of a higgledy-piggledy accumulation of facial features. Despising quadrants of a visage that hated outwards, and hated out of me warped what had been infected; a—consciousness had been infected and was; seeded by it; seeded by it; what it was and where I was going; seeded by it.
        The passage in the lowest part, as an amalgam of dead images, I passed—a circuit, locked; permeable pictures—through facial features; only the crowd, of thought/of thought through which I gathered images/faces; projected inside, through, upon that burning direction, me, through me, inside of me, out of me.
        A still; a weird angle, brought me through that circle corridor towards transfiguration, irremediable, in that night—that night that was it.
        Snaps. Snaps. Snaps. Catalepsy; demented paralysis, flowed through my limbs omnipotent snaps—the absence of control; completely open paralysis, brought me nearer, ever nearer, one inevitable snap after another at a face, at a face, at a face, at a face, made from it.
        The bliss of the vision of the face of god.
        In me!
        In me—wanted in me. In me; and it was—for that thing was the thing squeezing my mind in inexpiable pressures, crushing my consciousness between the fact it existed.
        The shadows slid with a new—it was worse—anxiety.
        Despite the less than salutary chill of the place, I threw my coverings from off me; from off that chair melded to the awkward bones of my body. I threw it, gentlemen, hmmm, with an energy I had not evinced in decades.
        Delirious, gloved lobes punched spectres against the trembling walls of my inner forehead. Stillborn realities transfused through me. It had been no, finally… dream.
        Pacing, shaking to discard the night sweats that had brought me back wringing, I fought in my loathsome chamber this—I have stood up, gentlemen—fatal rationalisation for why I should continue to exist against debilitating affinity with an infant reality… that would never now depart from me.
        It lay on top. This suffocating and mysterious new object.

#

There were of course, the, like the rest, increasingly ubiquitous medical monsters, congregating beneath no longer functioning lampposts, but these ghouls are an accustomed vision. I brought my waving stick for waving at them. The threat of violence is all. They are in such a pitiable state that this is often sufficient. The freaks themselves, riven by their diseases, are as anatomically mangled as one can imagine; but still the threat of physical violence is a necessary social performance, and at once a quaint custom: the traditional display to pass unmolested. The threat of violence is all that keeps one safe any longer, to bypass, that is, anyway, it is the only means, those without the inexplicable physical strength of the insane. My state, tinged with a malign yet scintillating hint of mystery, was too fraught to again endure molestation at the foamy talons of a medical monster. But more because I feared feeding my already obese visions.
        It is one’s dreams that are never fed in the manner one expects.
        The father, James Bracktle, still lived, I believed, in—the local environs—a ward celebrated for restraining the more extravagant derangements. Those that fretfully replicate in every other part of it.
        He lived upstairs, in the top flat, in that phrase I feared then, but feel strong enough to masticate for you now, gentlemen: on the top in a mould infested prison, crumbling apart in sodden, but all too perfidiously identifiable, fragments.
        Often these fragments were cast in the shapes of talismans, or courtship amulets (the source of far too many reprehensible couplings); orbs of a distinctly religious connotation that many of the medical monsters and sports, of various types, wore appended beneath their chins to ward off—the dreaded thing.
        That which they feared.
        Despite the enormous distance between those who must be eradicated, and myself, I too was motivated by fear; the character of which fear, with your disgusting hands, you seek to grasp. At this part of the ringed sequence of images I was outside the shattered wooden door of the entrance to that flat, the top flat, in which I recalled the father living. I had, increasingly—and now completely, only the memories that are fitting.
        In that place I genuflected to pocket another of the talismans. I did it, you still brave and beautiful men, gentlemen; despite your sodden fingers, despite the—bags and bags of them—spiteful acts committed by them. Bags of them. I did it. Bags of them. Removing the one already appended there—bags—which had rotted to the extent it was no longer identifiable, bags, I replaced the crumbling accessory with what appeared to be some kind of exaggerated mammal. Canine or primate—indisputably, marvellously priapic—I cannot say, gentlemen, as bizarrely worked as the thing is/was/is; judge yourselves. The roles have been assigned. For, as you can see—those who can—I wear it still in my nakedness.
        Curbing my mutinous bowels—loud starts begged the quitting of their fardels—I entered after a knock and a responding grunt; swallowing, without digesting, the heavy air, along with the list of questions concerning what had happened to Jim Bracktle. He was communicating with me by ghastly methods, Jim Bracktle, and what he was communicating were distortions of reality—complicated lies; but my ideas were warped as the place, warped as the events; warped, as my mind; plasticised as my visions. As we are passed through life’s ecstatic sphincter.
        The only refuge I had remaining was inside daydreamed elaborations of a much anticipated suicide, and in the occasional onanistic literary satisfactions. And the not at all literary. Overexcited in a fashion that my constitution was not fit to contain, I dragged this parody of consciousness toward the old father staring partially out from the diagonally situated shadows, placed for later engraving, placed for effect, upon his horrifying visage.

#

A worthless charlatan, I lied to the patriarch concerning the true extent of the friendship I bore his son: the thing he had made, from his organs. Perhaps alone he had made him, I felt; alone he had been emptied and Jim had been found. There were mysteries regarding his internal organs. Jim Bracktle. The father and Jim Bracktle. I lied about the extent of our closeness—that in some other sense of course was only the abhorrent reality.
        I asked it all at once in a manic/repetitive—where they’d last seen him—if politic, prattle, so that the father of Jim Bracktle, regrettably, peering between shapes placed upon his face specifically that I should feel this… could say what he wanted. It had been done to make what he looked like worse. This obfuscation of the inessential. This of the shadows on his visage. This—there were holes on his face.
        I was failing to retain any semblance of stability regarding the face and its resemblance to its kin, its kindred, glimpsed so often through and between, I knew it even then, shadows.
        “Do you love him?” he said in the breathy whinge—that I shall not seek to render—of a justly stamped-upon weasel. From the mouth of that vast eminence, out of its collapsed tomb, echoed the contemptible patter of a weasel. A weasel. The pelts of which genus—a weasel, gasping its last agonal breaths—I interpreted piled rotting, with the others, in the angles. But those stinking biological lumps could quite as easily have been something else. One of you, gentlemen. What was less ambiguous was that his leg and arm sleeves, the lampshade, the clothes of his totems, were sewn from—those same—untreated skins.
        “No, I do not love him.”
        “A holiday from elaborations on your own demise. Do it! Leave me and do it! I shall do it. You’ll make me, make you, make me, make you, swallow the waters. A sick obsession you have with the thing my guts made. Can’t you leave him? In peace. Put it. Put you in peace.” His spasms unwound what I had prayed would cover him. “I could put you in peace.” He said it, but his bags were filled and he was far too medically rotten to move.
        “You want him to say he loves you? He understands you? Hmmm. Hmmm. Is it? Is that it? Want him to hold you despite your diseases? Despite your crimes? Love? What foul fantasy are you inhabiting, son, boy, lad, sick lad, fantasies; you’ve brought it; what sick dream do you want that my son—bathe you?”
        “Bathe?”
        “Dream! Dream! A dream. You’ve been dreaming about my boy in your filthy home; fantasising, and embroidering your vile elaborations; the insane structures of fantasies that can support no material witness. The weight of a material witness lying on top of you so that you can’t move in his bedroom. What do you want with him? You are physically incapable of giving him the love he wills from the absolute into existence. Look at you, look at him, look at the mess that you’ve made of yourself!”
        That sedentary behemoth thundered tempests and hurricanes of hysterical, yes, but elemental derision. When he’d brought himself back around: here he had modulated the outward showings; he knew everything. He knew everything. He was part of it. It was a dream—gentlemen, you comprehend the particular meaning, here, that with the roles, we have assigned for this. But yes, in one of these circles, I was still in my flat, receiving lies, receiving transmissions directly, of blessed significance. From Jim. From my Jim. From my Jim Bracktle. From Jim Bracktle. From my friend. The friend—the friend of my youth. Held. Let him take me. Held, within friendship for the one lost.
        “Yes, I remember you. Skulking. Trying to get in so you could be close enough to join.” Savouring every dirty word: “You wanted to join in the children’s games! I remember your sick fantasies even then, and what you wanted—and yet you come in here with it? Again? For this? I would drown you in the bath if you were my very own. If you were mine. If you were my boy. I would drown you in the bath and ignite my own reign on the fulfilment of the sacred work and its compensatory pleasures. Drowning. To drown is to crown. To drink is to sink. To meld, is to be held; and to passion, is the little one’s compassion, hmmm? Pleasure, hmmm? Drowning, hmmmm. Jimmy? And you want me. You not me. Your rot inside me. Never me! I’ll drown you!” He screamed the word you more times than I could withstand.
        My mind returned only when the word had discarded all sense, and its meaning. Here: “I’ll drown you now if you agree not to resist it.” He jangled the appendage not petrified, a vague arm to remember the location, “Lift me into the bier, through that other chamber and I’ll happily drown you in it.
        “Let me say to you truthfully that—is it a tongue? Put it back—I long to close your mouth and drown you in the liturgy, in the place of liturgies. Not too old to drown, one such as you. Hmmm. Have you forgotten how many I’ve drowned…? Amnesiac… is it? Hmmm! Hmmm! Hmmm! Forgotten the words of my drownings? Have you forgotten the last time you resisted my passion. And what Jim Bracktle had to do for it? The little one. How he took the water in? Hmmmm? A little piece of drivel.” Me or someone else; Jim Bracktle—me. Jim Bracktle.
        I love Jim Bracktle.
        “You’re mad, old man; truly a—one of these—outside perverts, outside perverts, of whom…” During my entire soliloquy, it is my sombre duty to impart—branding the memory again upon the old scar—I watched the patriarch gush his liquids. You are. “Truly a—one of these—outside perverts, of whom we have been regaled; and of whom we have read the lurid descriptions; outside perverts, of whom, shaking it is true, we have imbibed, on a rough lap, the sordid tales. We have chugged traumatically the thin yet abundant gruel issuing—along with her pointed analysis—from a tattooed wet-nurse. Gorged silly, we are, on her cruel street patois dissections, her full cast imitations, of the testimonies, of the terrifying miracles performed by them.” Surgical bags expanded precipitously with his curdled liquids—but it was my oath that forced the trembling whisper: “Among the dead-eyed, beatific witnesses of which stunning prodigies, with quiet dignity, I number myself. He was my friend,” I would not weep, “but you are correct, not of my breast. I kept him close enough, but not of my breast.”
        His stillness was the desolation from whose putrescent lips all that lives was parted.
        “What sick dirty things you say to old men.” Puzzlement, profound, perturbed—but also voluptuous—prolapsed the net of his seeping visage. “What sick dirty things you say to old men. What sick dirty things you say to old men. What sick dirty things you say to old men.” From one who had founded gyms of the most debased hermeneutics, nothing in life was more awful than his kindness. “You have gone the wrong avenue in this village, my terminally ill countryman, spewing your theorems.”
        “Tell me where he is, I have a matter to discuss with him, and that is all there is to it. I can see you are desperately unwell, and if you like I can inform the medical institutions that you are very much in need of them.” But this would be the end he deserved for the things he had said to me. I thought I would do it without his consent; these things could be doctored. I’d inform them of his subhumanity, and the doctors would come to strangle him, “But beyond that, just tell me where Jim Bracktle is.”
        But he rallied, “So you can look in on him? So you can lick the window, with that sponge in your mouth? My deformed cherub. My precious little one? Hmmmm? Look in on him, is it, through the greasy window of desire?”
        For some reason I could not extract the ignominious sense of having done something vile, “Yes, so that I can look in on him… through the greasy window of desire.”
        Diabolical cunning was again identifiable in the old man’s passion, in his performance; finally, he had found the fool he could drown by means of a gorgeous new contraption.
        “My hernia belts have rotted,” his opening defined the reason he had been loosened. “Try the dump. They traipse in when they intuit my weakness: the sickmen.” Rip the tapestries. “The intermission of their rite. Said they’d seen him at the dump. Their bishop. I’d say check the dump. There’s a house in it. That’s what he said. Though he had his hands inside, hidden. Quite properly,” gratified by what he contained; what he had loosed; what he was sloshing, “they haven’t performed a hernia operation these ten years, and I’m suffering from having to hold my guts in myself. Those that haven’t slipped under the covers. Those that haven’t rolled out already and become ambulatory like your dear Jim. It is perhaps something as piquant as this: this thing that we are discussing, of my oily, my juicy—should lunatic humility deny—anointed innards… caked in their charismatic lipids. But neither shall I deny that his hand was in some inner pocket. Of flesh or the swirling passages between: the diminutions through and into it. But you see the world through a flesh coloured window.” He alternated quickly talking to me and someone else, weighted down by what had been deliberately positioned. “It is men like you that have always had the sick passion for Jimmy. Go the dump, you disgusting incident, they say there’s a house in it.”

#

The house in the dump, as I approached, in a strangled realisation, became the house of my youth. Another dream symbol that was not merely this. There had been a dump, but I could not believe the house of my youth had been the centre of it. Combined in it. What had been elsewhere, that was: the dump, was now combined with the house, however it had been achieved, of my youth. I say to you, some entity had bred a repellent hybrid.
        Dear, sweet, kind, judicious, and it is true, reeking gentlemen—you stink in your clothes that are foul with your waste. A hybrid. Forgive me, you are reluctant, I see, to dispose of your garments, gentlemen, but I must insist. A hybrid or—but it is true the dump and the house of my youth were a lusty consanguination. In the corner, gentlemen. And during this, but then, I asked myself, then, in that circular concept, the mounds of refuse, had they always come up so high? I asked myself this question and others about the things I was looking at, you beautiful and potent gentlemen, I say, acknowledging my own sweet ache, and your dreadful stink.
        However much and to what extent, and whenever it had become this; it had become the house of my youth. Another: was it the world itself or only Jim Bracktle that was seeking to instil in me some kind of dreamlike symmetry, some kind of mystical pressure behind reality, pushing/pushing/pushing, down, into and only a dream or a lie or a new way to live—to put it inside my body. To put the things outside my body in it. Entranced in mystical being.
        If the ravings of his demented father could be believed, the friend of my youth lived in the house of my youth. My home. Lived, now. Inhabited.
        It was a refuse tip, which did not exactly delineate it adequately from the rest of the local environs. But perhaps this tip—was it the only sanctioned? For what human remains and detritus could no longer be consumed, worn, or fashioned into insane and ugly religious articles, was this tip the only sanctioned? Sanctioned, of course, if one believed, I thought, the printed and distributed scriptures—manufactured by hirsute, dilettante evangelists—that an authority still existed invested with the power to sanction anything.
        Yes, gentlemen, make merry, and at the danger of increasing your merriment, I say I could not recall living at the centre of a dump. There was the ineffable sense—in the corner, please, gentlemen—that the events within had attracted the accumulating detritus that surrounded the place, and them. Only after was macabre folk tradition vouchsafed official status. And what of the events of my youth, those in which I had abandoned this place? Why could I neither recall these? And another incipit of another fantasy: Jim Bracktle—had I lived with him?
        A malevolent gloom enveloped, and had enraptured, the space. Moving forward; I moved forward, gentlemen, swallowing and being swallowed, in the tendrils of it; seeking to keep down the mounting panic that rose within my breast in every hesitant step towards that place that was my summation, that place that contained—the answer to a despicable mystery about—who I am or Jim Bracktle.
        At the gate a dozen medical monsters dragged their refuse sacks, sewn from the scaled skin of their abortive brethren.
        A group of their women, at an angle, were selling the tea bags they make from their hairs; their pubic roots. Those bewitching tubers.
        They hang the long tresses, whose origin is the female pubis, upon the branches in the forest, in that place where the local environs finally becomes, and finally, what it is trying to become all along. They dry and cure them, after they have been dipped in what it is said is the brown well. They are cut, stripped, bagged and sold in bags, after which—the only local industry that always, that rapturous widow, outlives the caprices of the current, any other, economic catastrophe.
        They make me giddy these teas procured from these methods; the source of which giddiness one must assume is the brown well, via what can, mercifully, only be cultivated upon the feminine pubis. A singing part of me runs frantic toward destroying myself in it; in it or the brown well. But regardless of any other vitiated reality I had to enter the infested chambers of the house, along with the reality, another, no less depraved, if this was the thing it was trying to tell me, of my friend, of who I am or Jim Bracktle.

#

Gathered menacingly at the gate, standing and observing who I was out of the melted remains of their visages, the medical monsters, the women selling their pubic tea bags, the others, watched me with distaste; observed me in fact as if the freak were I, gentlemen, and not just morally; but I shall pause here, for I see your merriment has quite overwhelmed you—No?
        Simultaneously, as I reached the gate, those of the medical monsters, the menfolk—they have their rubbish bags—with one coterminous heave, threw their refuse sacks over the wrought iron gate, exactly as I joined it; into the pile of plastics, or friable skin tags, and shattered glass, or old ladies’ faces, on the other side.
        “Calumny!” One of them yelled demoniacally.
        “But—but what/what? What is it?!”
        A punctured cheek worked open its bandages, “Lies you have said of the miracles, inside the home.” That upright carcass had no right, but also another bag. It was partly concealed behind his back, but I realised—no: it was no new revelation; merely an incomprehensible sense that he had pulled the refuse sack out of some kind of concealed organ, behind him. Perhaps they were grown, and not sewn, as I had imagined, and as in fact the amateur evangelists attested. The thing was in his hands. The thing was in his hands. The thing was in his hands now, to be simultaneously flung with the others. In some sense seeing through. Seeing through it. Or the events. A transposition through. Through it.
        Conterminous over the side; with the movements of the bag I was inside.
        Turning back, I felt my head angle towards a passage inward, a corridor of sorts appeared—or it was only finally now that I had the apparatus to see it.
        You laugh at, and indeed to, my face, gentlemen, but I had to enter the house that had been my house or Jim Bracktle’s, through a maze of waste. The house of my youth now pertained to that beguiling companion of it.
        And examining it now, I say I cannot hold what escaped through one sublime moment of terrible fulfilment; transitioned from that maze into—Jim Bracktle…
        Jim Bracktle…
        Jim Bracktle…
        To be—my glands jolted against belligerent drunken shouting, evil screaming, the hellish yelling of the drunk. Through which—and strange layers of darkness I gathered instances of light at fleeing faces—I was unable to move beside paroxysms of violent sobbing.
        Abandoned to visualisation of the ceiling; I wanted nothing in it.
        But it was morbidly pregnant.
        Drunken shouting; drink addled derangement—the murderous and oblique cries of the inebriated—shoved me bodily in it.

#

Discussing how they’d got in—can it be dignified—each of them, the worse for drink, had contradictory stories concerning where they’d last seen him. The most untenable elicited the least dissent from that rabble. I cannot—one miniscule error, a word out of place, unsnapped terminal beatings, within that, incomprehensible if, fleetingly apprehended schema: kicked to death. By the rest. One lie. Kickings, in which… oh how I longed my position in those shadows did not preclude my participating.
        The form was diligently observed, but necessarily what I read on their faces was repulsive.
        None of them—how could one imagine women? Ask yourselves, gentlemen, with all frankness, how could one imagine women? I say, how could one imagine women? I say, help me to imagine women; I say, gentlemen, please help me to imagine women.
        All was through still perspectives. Their barking, their swaying, their jigging, their braying. Those rendered feral by what they had consumed; blind with drink. Were they relatives.
        I see your bodies.
        They danced spirals—but I had not the mouth for what would expel me from the human race; to be kicked to death before that darkness that wanted.
        An angle. It was a door.
        A word.
        It was a door.
        They adopted—I see your bodies—the positions from which they’d kick: one against another one… below the ceiling.
        Say it the same.
        Looooooove.
        It was a door.
        It creaked; no visible movement.
        Images, in succession.
        It creaked; I’d lied: a black back backwards.
        It creaked—I was through it.
        A wheeled platform took us toward the centre of the home. I could not see the ceilings at all. I heard the movements of the machine. Jim Bracktle, a vision, stepped directly behind my back; looking through my face, he began,
        Always, gentlemen, of him, always, a repeated incipit, of him, I—repeat—had dreamed. Do not take us toward the centre of reality we cannot agree as such. Formative years unwound little children toward the same vision.