L'Enfer, c'est les autres

I could never disagree with Sartre on that one

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Oral, by Richard Christian Matheson

veilsvee:

"What do you want me to do?"

"Seashells. Have you ever touched one?"

"Yes."

"In a detailed way?"

"What do you mean?"

"Describe it to me."

"The shell I touched was on a beach in Florida. It was a nautilus with a pearly spiral. Rough and sharp on the… skin of it."

"Analogy of touch. Good. Go on."

"It was heavy."

"How heavy?"

"A pound. Maybe a pound and a quarter."

"Tell me about the inside."

"There were… slender twists. Corkscrews. Glassy surfaces like…"

"…yes?"

"…the interior of an ancient bottle."

"Did you put your hands into it?"

"…three fingers. I reached them in, and they moved as if sliding on curved glass… they felt like they were gliding into a glove, they fit so perfectly. The walls were cool, and there were grains of sand that scraped my fingertips."

"Did your fingers get wet?"

"The interior was a little moist. I forgot that."

"Try to remember everything."

"I will. It felt… petrified. Is that the word?"

"Yes. Like rock. Hard and cold. Dead."

"But still alive. Able to sustain temperature and color. The contours were like a body. The textures seemed to be… feeling me."

A pleased stare.

"I made you feel something when I described the shell?"

"Yes."

"Like it was real?"

"Yes."

"Were you excited?"

"Yes."

"You could buy a shell."

"I don’t come near what others have touched."

"People have touched everything. It’s life."

"No. The opposite. Fingerprints signal oncoming death. Germs cling to surfaces. Waiting to cause illness, suffering. Disinfection is impossible."

Silence.

"But you miss touching things. You must."

Silence.

"Is that why I’m here?"

"Let’s go on." Points. "The pencil."

"It’s wooden. Painted to feel smooth. No heavier than a sugar cube. The name of the hotel is etched into the side like… inverted braille."

"What about the curves? How does the rubber feel on the eraser? Sticky? Firm? Angular? And the tip?"

"Well…"

"Frayed? Shredded? Or softly worn? Rounded? There’s a difference." Impatient. "How about the sharpness of the point? Somewhat blunted and oval-ended, or almost pinpoint? And the lead. Soft? Chalky? Hard like bone? Cracked on one side? Does it bend between fingertips?" Almost angry. "You didn’t describe the metal collar that anchors the eraser. Is it serrated? Grooved? Does it have a curved rise? Several rings? A sharp edge at the seam where it anchors the eraser. Could it draw blood if you ran skin over it? Is the pencil tubular, or seven-sided as is common design? Are the painted letters and numbers, on the side, more smooth than the painted section?"

"It’s very…"

"Generalities. You have no feel for it."

"I’m sorry."

"I felt nothing."

Eyes downward. “Do you want me to go? You don’t have to pay me anything.”

A moment. A sigh.

Gesturing.

"The drinking glass."

She delicately picks it up.

[You can read the whole story in the anthology Dystopia]

1 note

Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk

veilsvee:

[Chapter 7]

I called Marla at the Regent Hotel to see if she was going to Melanoma.

Marla answered in slow motion. This wasn’t a for-real suicide, Marla said, this was probably just one of those cry-for-help things, but she had taken too many Xanax.

Picture going over to the Regent Hotel to watch Marla throw herself around her crummy room saying: I’m dying. Dying. I’m dying. Dying. Die-ing. Dying.

This would go on for hours.

So she was staying home tonight, right?

She was doing the big death thing, Marla told me. I should get a move on if I wanted to watch.

Thanks anyway, I said, but I had other plans.

That’s okay, Marla said, she could die just as well watching television. Marla just hoped there was something worth watching.

And I ran off to Melanoma. I came home early. I slept.

And now, at breakfast the next morning, Tyler’s sitting here covered in hickies and says Marla is some twisted bitch, but he likes that a lot.

After Melanoma last night, I came home and went to bed and slept. And dreamed I was humping, humping, humping Marla Singer.

And this morning, listening to Tyler, I pretend to read the Reader’s Digest. A twisted bitch, I could’ve told you that. Reader’s Digest. Humor in Uniform.

I am Joe’s Raging Bile Duct.

The things Marla said to him last night, Tyler sayd. No girl’s ever talked to him that way.

I am Joe’s Grinding Teeth.

I am Joe’s Inflamed Flaring Nostrils.

After Tyler and Marla had sex about ten times, Tyler says, Marla said she wanted to get pregnant. Marla said she wanted to have Tyler’s abortion.

I am Joe’s White Knuckles.

How could Tyler not fall for that. The night before last, Tyler sat up alone, splicing sex organs into Snow White.

How could I compete for Tyler’s attention.

I am Joe’s Enrages, Inflames Sense of Rejection.

What’s worse is this is all my fault. After I went to sleep last night, Tyler tells me he came home from his shift as a banquet waiter, and Marla called again from the Regent Hotel. This was it, Marla said. The tunnel, the light leading her down the tunnel. The death experience was so cool, Marla wanted me to hear her describe it as she lifted out of her body and floated up.

Marla didn’t know if her spirit could use the telephone, but she wanted someone to at least hear her last breath.

No, but no, Tyler answers the phone and misunderstands the whole situation.

They’ve never met so Tyler thinks it’s a bad thing that Marla is about to die.

It’s nothing of the kind.

This is none of Tyler’s business, but Tyler calls the police and Tyler races over to the Regent Hotel.

Now, according to the ancient Chinese custom we all learned from television, Tyler is responsible for Marla, forever, because Tyler saved Marla’s life.

If I had only wasted a couple of minutes and gone over to watch Marla die, then none of this would have happened.

Tyler tells me how Marla lives in room 8G, on the top floor of the Regent Hotel, up eight flights of stairs and down a noisy hallway with canned television laughter coming through the doors. Every couple seconds an actress screams or actors die screaming in a rattle of bullets. Tyler gets to the end of the hallway and even before he knocks a thin, thin, buttermilk sallow arm slingshots out the door of room 8G, grabs his wrist, and yanks Tyler inside.

I bury myself in a Reader’s Digest.

Even as Marla yanks Tyler into her room, Tyler can hear brake squeals and sirens collecting out in front of the Regent Hotel. On the dresser, there’s a dildo made of the same soft pink plastic as a million Barbie dolls, and for a moment, Tyler can picture millions of baby dolls and Barbie dolls and dildos injection-molded and coming off the same assembly line in Taiwan.

Marla looks at Tyler looking at her dildo, and she rolls her eyes and says, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not a threat to you.”

Marla shoves Tyler back out into the hallway, and she says she’s sorry, but he shouldn’t have called the police and that’s probably the police downstairds right now.

In the hallway, Marla locks the door to 8G and shoves Tyler toward the stairs. On the staird, Tyler and Marla flatten against the wall as police and paramedics charge by with oxygen, asking which door will be 8G.

Marla tells them the door at the end of the hall.

Marla shouts to the police that the girl who lives in 8G used to be a lovely charming girl, but the girl is a monster bitch monster. The girl is infectuous human waste, and she’s confused and afraid to commit to the wrong thing so she won’t commit to anything.

"The girl in 8G has no faith in herself," Marla shouts, "and she’s worried that as she grows older, she’ll have fewer and fewer options."

Marla shouts, “Good luck.”

The police pile up at the locked door to 8G, and Marla and Tyler hurry down to the lobby. Behind them, a policeman is yelling at the door:

"Let us help you! Miss Singer, you have every reason to live! Just let us in, Marla, and we can help you with your problems!"

Marla and Tyler rushed out into the street. Tyler got Marla into a cab, and high up on the eighth floor of the hotel, Tyler could see shadows moving back and forth across the windows of Marla’s room.

Out on the freeway with all the lights and the other cars, six lanes of traffic racing toward the vanishing point, Marla tells Tyler he has to keep her up all night. If Marla ever falls asleep, she’ll die.

A lot of people wanted Marla dead, she told Tyler. These people were already dead and on the other side, and at night they called on the telephone. Marla would go to bars and hear the bartender calling her name, and when she took the call, the line was dead.

Tyler and Marla, they were up almost all night in the room next to mine. When Tyler woke up, Marla had disappeared back to the Regent Hotel.

I tell Tyler, Marla Singer doesn’t need a lover, she needs a case worker.

Tyler says, “Don’t call this love.”

Long story short, now Marla’s out to ruin another part of my life. Ever since college, I make friends. They get married. I lose friends.

Fine.

Neat, I say.

Tyler asks, is this a problem for me?

I am Joe’s Clenching Bowels.

No, I say, it’s fine.

Put a gun to my head and paint the wall with my brains.

Just great, I say. Really.

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Today, I did volunteer work for my local museum, and the person in charge of the activity was an author from my town. I read his children book. I was so happily surprised. He got shy when I told him I read his book haha. This was the good experience of the day. That and the fact that I might do some volunteer work as an animator at the museum. Yay.

Filed under moi rambling of the day

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that’s so scary, i’m sorry :( i don’ tthink anyone would know what to do. i guess you could report it but i’m not sure what that would actually do.

I thought about it, but the guy didn’t tell me his name, and I’m sure he left by now. Plus I’m not very good at describing people. So I don’t know.

That kind of reminds me why I usually avoid my local McDonald’s. Then again, the first time something like that happened to me, I was propositioned in a park by some lonely old babbling drunk man.

Filed under knightlypatroclus once in a while I attract strange men moi