Thursday, August 31, 2006


the settlement is pending
they should have stopped me
from running in traffic
without my straightjacket on




I once ate a mock chicken sandwich so thick and blubbery that I couldn’t fit it in my mouth. I skillet-fried it, the edges curling up like cockscombs, on a cowman’s fire in the woods at the top of my street, when I was a boyish boy, a seedling, a lardy cheeked lad, a wee fucking toadie of a lad. I pressed the thick blubbery mockery between two heels of day-old bread---the crusts lovingly removed by my mother---and sluiced it back with a swig of Dr. Pepper. I won a free Kodak instant camera, a Swedish icon of a camera embossed on the bottle cap liner, which was worth less than the film it required to take snaps and photos with. I sold it to a deaf mute kid with crossly eyes and a clove lip for six dollars, and bought a wax pan flute full of juice and a packet of Indian chewing tobacco, which was really coloured coconut, and thrift the rest on hockey cards and smokes, Export A non-filter tips. I smoke Gauloises Blue now, and thrift money on other useless things, my computer and eyeglasses, for example, and Bok Choy and litchi nuts, grinding the shells into a fine and mottled sift, to be applied as a salve to my aching eyes. I still like mock chicken, but prefer it boiled with onions and carrots, skins and outsides left on, a swig of faucet water and a Gauloises Blue, filter tipped, not seedy and blubbery like Export A’s non-filter tips


I am obsessed with obsessions and COM pulsed with compulsions. Obsess, fixate, compel, tally up etc anon et al. I awaken each morning with a deficiency of energy, it, energy, having been thieved the day before by all that hammering and pealing, a tabula rasa far exceeding common rules of grammar, syntax, spoil and juror. Thoughts thought backwards, sideways, to and fro, a collocation of musings, notions, idée fixes and broodings. Today is no different, spoil, syntax, grammar and juror, repeat ad nausea, an unbroken causal chain of hammering and pealing, a Fort/Da without bobbin or string, an efficient deficiency.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006



I found myself running around in a Ferenczi today. I rode a bus conducted by conductor Hines (such as his nameplate said) said Hines swerving and careening with an urgency far surpassing common clemency and pardon. As the lorry-bus veered and listed unattended by said Hines, who was otherwise preoccupied with more pressing things, much to my dismay I dropped my bobbin and string, thereby putting an end to my daily Fort/Da Fort/Dadaism. I threw my transfer into the nearest dustbin, behind a slow-food restaurant, as it was, and walked home in an amble.


Danielle Birnbaum@



I saw a flying squirrel flying. From my bedroom window I saw flying squirrel flying. From my bedroom, bedroom window I saw a flying squirrel flying, flying. I saw a flying window flying. From my squirrel I saw a flying window flying. From my squirrel, squirrel I saw madness


skin molt with corm and bone rill choused in the plow of her forehead where I once pressed my lips bloodied with mill-weed and choke and the nettles and briar tungsten and the yellow corn blight of eyes gone sallow with fretting and misjudgments and never once a cackle or a sharp invective (the chaff never separated from the absence of skin)


The other day, not yesterday, but the other day, I ate an entire bar of chocolate while riding the bus. It was crackled with burnt almonds, very chocolaty indeed, dark, so the wrapper announced, and tasted splendid. It was, dare I say, a tremendous bar of chocolate, a fine example of confectionary panache. I enjoy, no lavish in a good bar of chocolate, and see no reason to deny myself the pleasure, even when pleasuring is such a complicated commerce. Tomorrow, not today, but another day, should I see fit, I might selfsame the selfsame act, and eat entire bar of chocolate entirely, and with great commerce of pleasure. Pleasuring, after all, is a most pleasing obsession.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

lIKE tHIS hERE #@#**

Insert here, right here, that’s it, over here. Insert your finger here, here in this slot here. Now move it around like this #@#*, that’s it, just like that, yes exactly. Now you’ve got it, good for you, bravo. Now repeat ad nausea, here, right here, over here, stick your finger in here, this slot here, now move it around, yes, like this #@#*, that’s it, yes, perfect, good for you, bravo. Feel silly? Here, take this, yes, please, be my guest, it’s all yours; take it, it’s all yours, just for you. Now insert here, that’s it, over there, yes. Insert your finger there, in that slot, here…yes that’s it, good for you, bravo. #@#*



Two four three a laree, add repeat ad infinitum and so forth. Check recheck add on so on and so forth a laree. Turn on turn off repeat check recheck add, add on so forth a laree. Drink water don’t drink water, eat jammy jam don’t eat jammy jam, a laree. So forth et al repeat etc two four three jammy jam jams a laree. Textual saladry: a light vinaigrette and a pinch of allspice for good measure and clarity.



Ibsen, broadcloth, cowlick, upholstery, carpet, roughage, bomb, shelter, no, roof, of, my, mouth, scones with jammy jams, butter-tarts, ghosts, lackadaisical, aphasia, bordering-on, madness, simple-logarithms, vectors, retractor, statement, compass, and peskier, for, without, alchemy, on-toast, s, and, jammy jam, s, Ibsen, ghosts, madness, Strindberg, ‘s, hat.

Monday, August 28, 2006




I sit
in the murder
of your thoughts
making kites
and parallelograms
without tails
or string


From : Richard Rorty
Sent : November 29, 2003 5:00:10 PM
To : "Stephen Rowntree"
Subject : Re: Philosophy as a social tool, Stephen Rowntree

Dear Mr. Rowntree,

Thanks very much indeed for your kind words about my book. I'm delighted that you found PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL HOPE of interest and of use. I hope that your return to philosophy pays off, and that you will find yourself on a track that will give you intellectual satisfaction and a rewarding life. The discipline can indeed be pretty dreary, but people like Dewey and Habermas are good examples of the use that can be made of it.

With good wishes,

Richard Rorty


I started reading St. Thomas Aquinas just a few moments ago; lying prostrate on my bed, pillows {two} stacked behind my skullcap, my posterior a posterior at ease, humility unbecoming a post-modern agnostic. The Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles, then onto On The Power of God, three volumes in one, and time permitting {which it seldom does, please make reference to the footnote on Being and Time} a psalm or two, a letter, perhaps, from the Bible. Then I will fall {legs crabbing my bedclothes} to bed, and pray for forgiveness, salving dreams and sleep.



A pullet blue sky: commode chain given a fair to middling jerk, a colostomy of neither this nor that, that nor this. I am the commode pot, the a posterior, posterior. Adman Bloom, mollycoddler of Sears and Roebuck, skillet-fried with Paddy’s and Parnell, a most delectable treat, not for the faint of stomach or kidney, a colossus of import and Liffey. Gad morning, I have awoken.


I have forgotten how to sleep, or have lost the will to, the difference, I fear, seems negligible. I close my eyes and a barrage of images, some sparkling, others flashing, invade the darkness, and no matter what I do, they seep in through the portal of my thoughts. Cold fusion, a quantum mishap, too much on my mind, perhaps, or too little, the difference, I fear, seems negligible. I will try reading, perhaps, to help ease the transition to unconsciousness, perhaps Julio Cortazar or a poem or two. Or I will turn on the radio or whack my forehead against the wall. I suppose consciousness isn’t such a bad thing, as far as self-consciousness goes. It’s getting colder now in the evenings, a talisman of extra blankets, pyjamas and flannel sheets.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


It is raining rain, a Scotch mist of rain raining rain. A cloud burst of rain. I am a monad, a Spinozian one-substance, a windowless portico, a Keynesian blind, a Marxist production, a signifier without a signified, an oppressive repression, a dream without a dreamscape, a colic whooping without a catch. I am a philosophical misnomer, aphasia, a Cartesian wellspring of doubt and uncertainty. It is raining.



I just had an unconscious thought, or did I. Did I have an unconscious thought, thought unconsciously? What is unconscious thought, but a thought, thought consciously unconscious? How would I know that I thought a thought at all, a conscious thought, thought unconsciously? How would I know whether all thoughts aren’t unconscious to start with, consciously unconscious? Where is the translation from unconscious to conscious, from conscious to unconscious? Isn’t all thought, whether conscious or unconscious, a translation of a thought, thought consciously unconscious? I blame this all on dialectics, rather, on the enlightenment of enlightenment, the dialectics of enlighten enlightenment. It is 12.48 in the morning and I am thoughtlessly thoughtless, thinking thoughts that are neither one nor the other, neither conscious nor unconscious, but rather a confluence of the two, an unconscious-consciousness. Perhaps I am the confluence and not the thoughts, neither one nor the other, neither conscious nor unconscious. It is now 12.53 in the morning and I have yet to have a satisfying thought, conscious or unconscious, or consciously unconscious, or a confluence of the two. Perhaps I am the dialectic, the enlightened enlightenment, the dialectic that is neither enlightened nor enlightening, or a confluence of the two. I just had a thought, or did I.

Saturday, August 26, 2006



Malcolm Lowry Late of the Bowery
His prose was flowery
And often glowery
He lived, nightly, and drank, daily,
And died playing the ukelele.
(from 'Epitaph')


Caspar David Friedrich: Landschaft mit Regenbogen 1810


A bawling comes across the blue. A tincture of Luvox and Lobe to quell the jimmying in the scourge of my thoughts, reconnect, disconnect repeat ad nausea. Do you remember that morning 25 years ago when you awoke in a dither and chugalugged a pint of sour milk, a wail of blue sky, connected, disconnect, repeat? Remember to forget; forget to remember, it’s all the same, a Moyle’s shears, Darwin’s prepuce, an excise tax to quell that jimmying in the fob of your trousers. Morning has spoken: I have yet to awaken, knees pulled tight into the heave of my chest. Now everybody—dance!





Its 3.21 in the morning: scrod, cod, haddock, white fish, two fish, blue fish, albacore, silly bore, gimme more, for shore, over there, beware of the hare, over there, not here, there, don’t stare, not there, over there, not there, there. Its 3.27 in the morning: I don't care, so there, over there, not there, there...


Bloom in commode eating kidney soiled, fetter of surd. Denham dead rotting in bog peat, no such luck with trackman’s stub or adman’s commission, or coitus in porkpie hat, a wee Stephen begging foreskins for alms and mother, dog’sbody, jellyfish, undertow, and the Liffey runs round and back, over hillock, copse and morgue.

Friday, August 25, 2006



Joyce’s Ulysses, a Freudian and Schopenhauerian Reading

Stephen Rowntree, B. A. (York)

A thesis submitted to

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and research

in partial fulfillment of

the requirements for the degree of

Master of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

Carleton University

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

May, 2006

© Stephen Rowntree, 2006


I got a weft of autumn through my bedroom window this morning, 10:48 to be precise. Although the sun is shining and the sky is ferried blue, I can feel the encroachment of fall falling. An autumnal forewarning of cold-snaps and wind-chills, snow-banks higher than Babel, shovels hove with gravel and sand, a catatonia of ice and sleet. When I was a boy growing up in Montreal the snow snowed snowing, groves and runnels of snow snowed higher than a young boy could heave over bank and hedge. It snowed until there was no more snow and the windows froze shut, my face pressed against icy-cold panes, a shiver scuttling down the runnel of my back. Fall is falling, an autumnal forewarning, a wefting.


for Levinas the face
that I face is the face
that faces the other
a reflection of the face
I face while facing
the face facing the Other
face but face to face
facing the Other that is
the face that faces the I
that is the Other face other
than I which is I the face
that faces the Other
face to face that is I
and Other than I that is I
as Other face to face
with I the Other



I have no beginning or ending, nor a present or future. I am somewhere in the middle, a life lived and yet to be lived. I have neither a conscious nor a mid-conscious, nor have I a post-conscious or a conscious conscious. I have what I refer to as a contra-consciousness; a battleground where my life living, lived and yet to be lived acts out its mercenary impersonation of life. Puppetry without the stooge, the unmoved mover moving and manipulating the strings that represent the socialization of an individual life lived, living and yet to be either or. In this manner I can never be sure if what I believe to be living is in fact lived, or what is lived is in the process of living, or vice versa. All I know for certain, if anything at all, is that I have no living, no moment of life living or lived. As you can well imagine, this creates its own inherent problems, a battleground of infinite possibilities, a conflict between disparate lives lived, living and yet to be lived, or a life lived at all. Should this be the case, I have neither a life, a living, a life lived, or a living life, or a living or yet to be lived life.

Again, the permutations, computations, and possibilities are seemingly infinite and subject to change, infinite and incalculable as they are, or as they appear to be. Poetry is much simpler, and infinitely less ontologically cumbersome. As I have no idea whether I sleep well when I sleep, as I would either be asleep, which I would be unaware of, or dreaming that I am, as it were, asleep, the query as to whether I slept or have or will sleep well seems moot at best. Throwing caution to the wind, I will sleep regardless of the inherent difficulties in determining whether I am, will be, or have slept at all. As I said at the beginning of this teleological quandary, it really matters little what I think, think I think, or whether I think at all. It’s all moot conjecture, middle with no beginning, no ending, no consciousness or post-consciousness, just puppetry and cunning stoogery.


START: mother, father, gun control, idiot savant, bubonic plague, overweight, sclerosis, scolioisis (sic) analysis, bubonic flagellant, skinny legs and all, Joyce’s mother, Beckett’s mother, father, son, girlfriend, apologia, skunky, monkswool, terrycloth, cowl, cowlick, genocide, lariat, bolo, coke a cola, drudgery, mud oven, rumple stiltskin, ouch, lecher, Fletcher, cow catcher, mulligan stew, Martello, Tower, bower, scour, shower, April Tower, Billy Bob Morton, salt, fault, kilt, milt, soil, alcan, John Defienbaker, package of gum, slum, chum, rum, come, dumb, bum, slummy bum stiltskin, onion rind, other kind, mind your mind, apologia, lieutenant punishment, crappy shit et al, over night low, minus two, or more, or snow, or minus one on Sunday, no high of nineteen point five, or six, CBC satellites, seeds of mirth, jackrabbit, scar tissue, tundra, jackpine, Saul, Gomorrah, salud wound, hiccup, rupture, fissure, don’t think, things, Binge, Crossly, club date, worsened by sun, dial, smile, guile, out of stile, sperm, wail, snail, kale, operates without batteries, cats ass, moat, tower, millseed, calliope, Munster Hamlet, fucking Dane cunt, CS, DS, RS, SS, CC, enthusiastic CS, or, DS, sometimes I eat celery, never, Ariel Sharon Bottomsly, caught stealing, or was it kneeling, feeling mirth and rumpled with stiltskin, ny bastard, Mother, Father, Gun Control, Oedipus’ mother, Jacosta, that dead fuck, what’s his name, O’s dad, cookies, I Ikea ;em with chocolate chips, gimme some milk, you fink, ass Fuqua, muck, ranker, faker, steak tartar, martin Amis’ new teeth, gum control, phyorreah, dietary substitute, cool, like Kools, smoke inhalation, removes stains, nasty little fucker, Sam Drunker, brand new bicycle with a basket and a bell and a horn and a jawbreaker bigger than a dog’s ass, or tits, or CBC’s dishes, never, flagellate a cow’s udder, retaliation, mastication, new car, old bar, too far, bowling scar, mar, mare, fare, care, tear, wear, stare, share, Nora Barnacle, Ulysses on the fucking Liffey, stupid fuck, route, mooch, worse than measles or a hockey stick with black tape, END.



I am a nickelodeon, a collocation of this and that, a Turing machine without a plus minus register, an abacus without baubles or cable. I think in euphemisms, doublespeak and nice-nellyisms. I am Schopenhauer’s will-less will, an intention without distention; I make Dennett sick with unconscious rage, a leguminous word salad. Dennett refuses to acknowledge the existence of the unconscious, the libidinal granary of supraliminal thought. If he were to concede the existence of an unconscious mental process, his supposal about the intention of intention, the intentional conscious stance, would be rendered leguminous, word salad without the mincemeat filling. Perhaps hidden somewhere in the runnel of his great white beard lies the answer to his dubiety: his oedipal attachment to mommy-daddy, or just plain bullheadedness, intentional or not. Immanent applesauce. We go through life, this life, with the gun pointed to our head, waiting for that propitious moment, waiting, hiding in the recoil of our thoughts. It’s not a conscious thought that pulls the trigger, but a phantasy, an unconscious wish never to be fulfilled, an oversight in interpretation, a piglet without a signifier. I can explain consciousness in one word: unconscious; not a trickle of hypothalamic fluid or a tawdry of synaptic oxidation, no Newtonian cruse-crossing or Jungian collective, not a supraliminal intention in the lot.

Thursday, August 24, 2006



one day in the future
he will forget the past

the sun trawling the spar of his neck
dirt felled into a wheelbarrow

gears sluice with groundwater and machinist’s oil
the truss eaten away like felon bone

a faulty transmission
primer squalled beneath yellow touchup

the game winning touchdown
my mother’s tears gated with rain

a child’s wan cry
knees skinned for the first time

Hard Pears

I’ve never forgotten
the look on my dad’s face
and the feel of hard pears
whipped at the traffic
behind the summer hedge


I slept 48 seconds last night, maybe 9. I awoke in a hurry, maybe faster. My hair is a mess, whorls and kennelmates of peat, maybe fen. I have a wooden rooster on my transistor radio, maybe it works, maybe it confuses static with music. I am reading Julio Cortazar’s Blow-Up And Other Stories, maybe Finnegan’s Wake. I have made my bed, maybe I haven’t, not yet. I have a hanging plant, maybe two. I have already started to count, to count, to recount and count. I am counting, maybe not, maybe I think I’m counting when I am not, not yet at least. I am a Turing Machine, maybe.



cocks wither in the summer heat
necks wrung like washing rags
languid socks of skin and thew

your hair twisted into cornrows
a quarrel of pale yellow sun
tracing the crib of your lips

cats prowl the silage for mice
tails scab with viscera and douse
the summer heat spun into shadow

my uncle’s gore callused hands
chucking necks like slough rags
into the silage trap

I lift the barrows of your skirt
revealing a warrant cat
a severed cockscomb in its mouth


of hell
is broken
shell casings
and rain
a child’s bed driven deeper

Idiot bombs sets fire to the whoreizon, mortarjackets tailored to severe head from collar, hand from wrist, anklet from juicebone. These addle-minded men playing jacks and balls with children’s lives, sitting in pikespit and oval, scheming ways to kill the same person twice. And the children sit in the drake of night, wondering when a yellowjacket will find purchase in the hole of they’re roof.

{a pictogram}
a shimmer
of light

Wednesday, August 23, 2006



This morning I stewed a pot of black coffee so bitter that the first cup lye the insides of my mouth, a foretelling of worse things to come. I prefer my morning coffee with sugar and demirep, heavy creams and aspartame, or simply less caustic and demeaning. Perhaps a Melilla first mate, harpoon at the ready, scabbard drawn and quartered, a whiteness that defies description.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



I awoke scribbling in the stockyard of my thoughts, a binary of tropisms and gabble. I await the final metempsychosis, the transcendent lollygag that will send me careening into the next millennium, perhaps further: Quantum mechanics, or a good sturdy slide-rule, or a loose wheel on a child’s bicycle, or tinkering with a splashguard, or chewing Black Cat gum until your jaw hurts.



Markus Kasemaa
Was born on the 28-th of August, 1972 in Estonia, Tallinn. Have been living in Tartu since 1974




She had a tendence ta put needulls in her rms. Eye once found her upside doown in the bathrum with a trickle of bloud on the curveed junchture of her lbo right on the crook of her rm. Then thair waz the thym that eye found her with the needull still in her rm, and a creese on her face like a crumbpld blanket. In the branches of the trees she saw angles flutterin in the leaves like dansers in her mind. She once fell inta the peano sew hard that she cut a rent in her hede that turned crabapple red; a fissure of tern skin hung like a peece uv blooded meet frum her fourhed ovarabuv her eyes.

Weenie bairns wit curlyq air and russett n cherre cheeks. And a look on thair faces that wuz so com forten an maid me feelso happe and so glad th at I had the opertunety to play wit ‘em wen they wus little bairns wit curlyq air and redrussett cheeks. There wuz no thing greater in the werld thain be in a eenielittle bab e wit yer hole life afront uv you. No thing greater at ouwl.In as much as I no, Ino vere little. I no watt day it is in this place of dreems, this vail of teers; this werld of dispear. No more needulls with the oringe caps; no more fall en down wit your hede bet ween yer nees. Ewe’ve got a chanse. Ewe eenielittle babe with yer hole life afront uv ewe. Thinc uv the bairns; think of the son and the cloods; think of the beautefil musicq that fills tha roound black hole uv nite.

Wee liv inna werld uv wun der. A werld ripe four the picken; a werld fula hope and luv; a werld rife wit oppor tunitees. An now you smel it. Its parta yer vere bein. It’s the filosofic remin der that we liv in a werld of colure and lite. It’s the ontolog icl wairwithall that keeps you up at nite; the fear and shivren that makes yoar sleep fitful and uneezy. Nothen else matters: yer in it fer the longhaul, thers no escapen it; not now, not ever: yer caught inaside the belle uv the beast we call rea son: yoar ded on yer feet; yer a memore of a past that’s long gone. What is this filosofe, this ration of life?

An the fealds of weat an the crows that r a caw-cawen, an that miserable pour bastard Van Gough shooten imself in the liver. An the beutifel colers; the yelos and the browns; an the crows a caw-cawen in the sheeths of weat and the son so brileant that you canever catch yer breath fer loosen the damn hole fuckaloor of itall. Yer Beckett wen on wit it; fot the good fite ta the end. Died with a rinkled phace and iron gray hair that seemed to sprout from the top of his hede. So long to Godot; to Murfy and Malone; an a good riddens to the lotaya. Shot in the liver; poor sonuvabitch. No even a prostitute to see ‘em off; not even a one to say godbye well miss ya sum day. Never a one at all. Pour bastard; paynt all o ver the place, like hede been fistfyten wit tha devil ‘imself. Itsa wunder itself that we keep go en on: keep oot of tha rein; stae clear a tha grayderk cloods and the hoarythundar clash-clash en aboot. Maybea sure that yoar feet er on tha grund and yoar whistle in the hi; neverno’ever look bak dun the rood, leeve it foar good, step ‘roond the feotalmess in the crook of the tree, oar it l bit ewe rite in the ass, it will. Bite ewe rite in the arse.

An thair waz the scrimshaw on her rms: on tha junk teur whair the skin foulds ‘roond the bend of tha lbow. Whair the bloo and yelo trakscars cursed her vairy bein. An as I remembr, thair waz sum cakedri blood on her shertsleev and the yelo tuben that hung ded frum her fingers. Thair waz the bottol caps and the oringe caps and the bendt spoon wit tha sootblack tarn ish frum the heet as it waz. An tha veins in her rms were ded up and bureed; like a peece a string on the cleft uv a hook. An thair was a jondass yelo moon and stars that hung like dedmen in the ski. An I remembr that colddark nite and tha shivren and the ache, and tha pain and tha suffren that cutdeep inta mi throat so I could nt speek a werd. An foar the love of God, let this bea the last tyme; let this bea a leson to us all.

An tha hoarfrost inna trees; the coldwet four est floor an the air asthik as curdldcreem. An the thot that sumwair thair waz sumkinda answer foar itall, sum raisinde etre, asit were. An I remembr the soft touch uv her skin and tha warmth uv her breath agenst my face; an I remembr tha wey she smiyeld wen eye kissd her on tha hed; an tha wey she lookd at me with those blooer thain bloo eyes; an tha smel uv her hair and tha thaut that eye waz lost ina dreem; sumwair in an othr werld wair evrething is brite an starre an werm. Tha midsumr nite air waz thik wit flies; oar sew I remembr.

Colepitchdark an tha tarre smel uv tha trees that r bleeded like thayd bean cutwide opin by sum invisibl force, wair the faires an the angels dancd; an tha feel en that sumthing strange waz aboot to ‘appen, sumthing that wood change meye life foarever. Eye felt sic to meye stomak, like eye waz feel en tha tyme I drank althat malt whisky with that fello down from tha wey. Eye felt cold an misrabl; meye fingrs wair stiff as twigs; an thair waz this feel en that eye jest couldni quite put a fingr on. Thees r tha things that only happen wen yer feel en vulnerable and week frum too much uv everything. An cerabus, is throt cutraw, baen like thairl be no morrow; never atall. An ewe figur thair kant be muck tyme left befour hell freezes ovr an yoar teeth start to clatter. No tyme atal. Theez r tha dreems that spell tha horrer uv nite.

If an thain we can cumoutuv this mess, if God allmite can resqu us, thain eye’m sure that we can get along well on hour own. Its that qeeze feel en that cumsovar ewe in circum stances like this, that reele make ewe oneder what else can go rong in yer life ane more likele thain before the fuck en mess came a long. An in tha dark mud of nite, eye can see tha litening fill en up tha ski wit that fiers of hell. Dante wasn’t far off whain he found man in tha shadow uvn a woods; a poet, noless, whos journe waz to fine out what this horrable life in hell, this burn en fissure of roc and stone, relly waz allaboot. An in tha end, whain tha spirits uv that undarwerld hav swollod ewe like so much blod and dust, thair wont be an other chanc to get things rite this tyme. In tha four est, whair tha tree of life bleeds its soul, tha spirit uv the king dom wil fall frum man’s reech four evr.

Steakly plump Buck Mulli gain stood at that windo peeren inta his save en mirror.”Who is this…this face; nonever mine.” He sayd. “The eyes, the nose, the cheeks and the brow and the perennium between the nose and the upper lip. Who is this man, this steady, steady man?” he sayd, with a toutch of bewilderment. The son mov ed out frum behine the gray cloods and fell onta the cheere, cheere brige of Mulli gain’s grait nose. A mootled seegul floo inta tha stagnent brown air; like a paper kite or a blok uv wood stain ed threw with tobbacco juce. “This certainly can’t be happening to me,” he barralld, “I must be having a dream or a hallucination, or something else out of the ordinary.” Mulli gain ran his soupe hand acrost his face and playcd the razor on tha windo ledge. He lookd out tha windo and ran his fingers threw tha briar and brambl of his gray hair. “There something strange and out of the ordinary at work here….maybe it’s the devil himself, come to collect me for all the sins I have done in the name of God. Like Faust, perhaps, but without….without what?” At this, Mulli gain paced quicly to the water phacet and pored a glas uv water inta a resine, brown cup wit craks and tha handl all but miss en. “Piece of shit.” He rumbld. “What, for the love of God, do I pretend to know about masterpieces and Goethe and the like? Nothing, I assure you. Not a goddam thing ever at all.”

“The dog’s got worms.” Murphy said frum beneeth the bet linin; his teenytiny hed stiken out uv tha covars. “Seems that dog’s always got worms.” Replied Mulli gain. “We should put it out of it’s misery,” “You mean kill it?” sayd Murphy. “Cut it up and feed it to the fishes.” Mulli gain sayd, a smile cuming acrost his phace like a quartr moon. Murphy rustld unda tha covars, “We surely can’t kill,” he sayd. “Why the fuck not?” sayd Mulli gain. “Damn things always getting in the way; and the fucking stench, you’d think it never took a shit, but to save it all up and let in rot.” “Well theres a difference,” Murphy sayd, pullen the bet linin off frum aroond him and letin it fall like a coild snake to tha floor. “No there isn’t,” Mulli gain replied. “Yea, whatever,” Murphy sayd, his teenytiny hede held gentle in that cup uv his hands. Tha dog ran it’s ass acrost tha floor, leev en a broown stain whair it had bean. “Look at the fucking thing,” Mulli gain roared, “Its leaving shit all over the place. Ugly fucking mutt.” Murphy satup on tha ege uv that bed an reech ed for his cigarets, whitch wair on that smal nitetabl next to his teeth.

An whatov tha dog? It’s a creetur uv God, is it knot? It’s a livin thing and has tha breath of life init. You can a go kill en one uv God’s creeturs witout upturnen tha balanc uv things. All uv us, animels an humans, we all hav ta stik agether and ride out tha storm. All aboot us thairs tha screem en uv tha torment ed and the weep en uv tha clowns; thairs tha factere whair tha sik r hidd en away like so much garbage an waste; thairs tha songs uv tha childrain; thairs tha honee yelo moon in a skie red as blod; thair wuz nevr a begin en an thair’ll never be an end. That’s all thair is: noth en butt tha fires uv hell, an tha cry en uv tha burnd and deformd. God hav merce on us all.

Mulli gain reechd inta his pokit an retreevd tha endnub uv a blak cigare. He struk a wood en match on tha belly uv tha stove, and ignit ed tha nubend uv tha cigare wit tha crookd flame. He then tossd tha match, stil afire, onta tha floor an rubd it inna tha wood like a bug. “That fucking dog has got to go,” he sayd, exhalling a moutful a bloo smoke. “I can’t stand to look at the fucking thing.” Murphy snubd out tha end uv his cigaret again st tha nitetabl, an turnd ta face Mulli gain. “You just can’t kill it,” he sayd, his teeth flat in tha pam uv his han. “It wouldn’t be right.” “Right my ass,” Mulli gain rumbld. “We’d be better off without the bloody thing, then maybe I could get some work done around here.” Murphy slid his teeth up be tween his lips, an with his tongue, pressd them against tha roov uv his mout whair thae stuk like wet porrige.

Inna tween a ard plase an a roc. Leev tha ennie dug to hiself; it don’t meen ane harm. Sure its gota case uv tha wurms, butt that isnt necessarily it’s faut; it mayhav gut them frum tha terribl food ewe been feed en him; e mite a gut them frum that oile watar ya put innits bool; or per haps, frum tha way ewe been smok en like hell those them littl cigarellos ewe lik somuch. Now just leeve tha poor bastard a lone. Mulli gain put his hans ovarabuv is hede an let ot a long yawn. “I’m telling you, Murphy, the fucking dogs going to make us all sick; its going to infect the whole fucking attic and we’re going to get sick as hell.” Mulli gian lit anuthar nubend uv a blak cigare. “Tell you what,” he intond, “if that sonofabitch things still rubbing its ass along the floor in the morning, its out the fucking door with it. No questions asked.” Murphy pushd tha tops uv is denturs up against tha roov uv his mout again, an let his rite arm fall flat at his side lik a stauk a soft rhubarb.

An wee,v all bean threw this afore; when tha earth was warmen up aftor tha last eyece age. Thair wus liddle einee dugs run en roond the wurld looken four a place ta take a crap; thair wus werms and other parasites that inhabitated the earth long afore man came inta tha picktur. Thiss wuz that time wen tha dinosars were dyen out an thair wuz a bundance of watr an vegitabls fur evryone ta eat. It waz a time uv prosparity and everywiar ewe looked thair wuz a pac or moor a liddle dugs shit en all ovr tha place. Sum uv em cooldnt evn make it to a save plac to hav a crap and ended up lett en tha shit and piss run doown tha inside uv thair legs. It wuz a aweful mess, it wuz. “What ever you do,” Murphy said, “ don’t go doing anything rash and unusual until I get a chance to take the dog to the vet.” “The vet,” Mulli gain grumbld, “the fucking things past seeing a vet; look at the poor son of a bitch, he can hardly stand on his four fucking legs without hunching over and falling ass over tea kettle snout first into the floor. No, a vet bills the last thing we fucking need.” Mulli gain snubd oot tha endbutt uv his last cigare and exhald a plume uv bloo smoke ovarabuv his hede. Murphy pulld on a pear uv bloo trowsrs an buttondup tha flie.

Giv tha dug a vagabone. Don’t jus stair at it; giv it a vagabone. Ethair wey, ewe hav ta do sumthing: tha poor eenie dug’s gott a flamen arsewhole. If tha werms don’t get em, tha fuckn air certenly will. Awl that cigare smoke an ash an tha like’ll shur as hell giv tha poor liddle fucker a smashn hedache. Thain watt do ewe hav? A poor eenie liddle redarsewhold dug wit a bed coff.

Apaleena nevr coms her hair. She doesn’t even own a brush. She sits allbyherloneself on a bench by tha broown dirte watr. Even tho she nevronce seemd to fix up her hair or even wash her face, she stil remaind beutifal to me. I remembr tha softtalc uv her skin an tha bloostones uv her eyes. I remembr tha warm smel uv her breath an tha whey her nos turnd up at thaend when evr she smild. Apaleena nevr once usd a kneedol in her arm: she didn’t hav to: she wuz alweys happy an singen and lauffen at tha birds in tha trees as they built thair nests of string an straw an Apaleena wood sing so lowd that my ears wood bleed. Wot hav we hear? A eenie liddle dug with a soor throut an a beutifal angle wit hair as yello as corn silk. Murphy slipt his foot inta his shoo and rapped tha laces ‘round his ankl. He followd that wit tha othr foot an smild contentedle. “There better not be any dirt on those shoes,” Mulli gain said. “I just can’t abide with dirty shoes and a dog with a skin problem.” “He doesn’t even have a skin problem,” Murphy replied. “It’s a consumption problem.” Its it’s fucking arsehole,” Mulli gain answered. “Definitely not a skin problem.” “No, never,” said Murphy. “Do dog’s even have fucking skin?” Mulli gain asked. “Of course they do,” replied Murphy. “Every living thing has some skin.” “I guess you might call it biological,” Mulli gain added. “Certainly not a skin problem or consumption.” Said Murphy. “Certainly not.” Mulli gain intond.

Fat wail stumak full uv spurm. Wee curlequ hedes wit strans uv goldn hair. Apaleena’s chearful smile an tha wey her fingrs nit themselvs together like a tapastree; a garland uv hope an joy. Fat wail stumak curdling spurm wayside unnder tha salte moon. Apaleena catwalkin acrisscross tha opend feeld. Belleeful uv it; like ripe cheeze fermeantin in tha pokett uv yer gutts. Acoarse dugs hav skin: what wair ewe think in? All aneemils hav gott skin; it’s a part uv beein an aneemil, haven skin an moles an werts.An sutch. Warm milkee wombfruit; tha soft crown uv her niple. Tha milk cums strait upfrum tha grund when tha cows dye fallin arseovr tail. Thay deposit it unnderneath tha furrows an hayleeves an neer tha openfields wair tha seeds uv mirth aspleen tha air. “What’ll Apaleena have to say about it?” Mulli gain said. “Its not hers to speak about,” Murphy anserd. “But she always has something to say about everything.” Mulli gain added. “Its because of her hair,” Murphy ejaculatd. “Not just her hair,” interjectd Mulli gain. “She’s got quite the handsome face on her, I’d say.” “I’d say so also,” Murphy said. “Certainly as beautiful a face as I’ve ever had the like to see.” “Like a movie picture actress,” Mulli gain, intond. “Not that many good looking women around here; at least not any you be wanting to have more than anything to do with, at least.” Murphy pushd his thum against tha roof uv his mouth an clackt his tongue against his cheek. “I guess will just have to wait and see,” Mulli gain said. “We’ll see,” Murphy added, tha clikclak uv his teeth hard against his tongue.
Apaleena collektdid apples at tha side uv tha road. She mulld them up in the barrow of her skirt, hundreds at a thyme, tha sweet smell uv apple butter thik in tha mornin air, catchen tha river mist ovrabuv tha thorne wheal, and sold them four a dime a peece. In allother weather, she whor a beeded vestjakett wit a woolen collur ternd up to her ears. Her medusa’shair stuk up at angles to her fourhed, like a whorl uv spun bleeched heather caught in a storm.

The howse Murphy an Mulli gan lived in wuz maid uv moretar and feeld stone; tha craks an holes were skirtd with clumps uv wet sod; tha roof wuz constructd from two foot wide Douglas Fir redwood trees witch set tha howse at an angle to tha sirounding cottagry. They rentd tha grund flore to Apaleena, an themselves lived in the secund floor attic ovrabuv that workman’s shed at tha bak uv tha howse besode tha vegitabl gardin that nevr producd a single vegitabl or flowr. Murphy an Mulli gan shard one big rhomboid-shapd reum an set eech othrs beds at oposit ends facing tha huge burrwood door that opend to tha starecase. In tha wintr it wuz too coled, an in tha summr it wuz too hot; thair wuz no othr wey to regulate tha heeting an cooling system that invaginatd tha entire howse than buy opening an closing that low windew that ovrlookd tha front uv tha properte; an, wen it got too cool, theyd wrap themselves in blankets and sit by tha pigbellied blak stove that sat up on sevral bricks beeside tha shavn mirrer next to tha toylet.

When Apaleena wuz a yung girl, she ewesd ta swim in tha rivr that ran alongside tha copse whair Mulli gain an Murphy, on Sondays, wood watch tha cuws looing an eat raremeet sandwitches with fiery horseradish an onion. They alwayswood shair a bottl uv malt wiskey that made tha insydes uv thair mouths burn like lyesoap an thair eyes turn upagainst thair lids at tha glair uv tha fatyello son. Apallena wood dri herselv off with a small white towel an rub tha bottums uv her feet with sand to keep them frum getting too soft. Then she wood lay flat on tha grasse embankmint, her hair fannd out like a halo aroond her hede, an stare childlike at tha bloo ski full uv milke white cloods.

In tha dreem Apaleena is crowchd underneath a Lindin tree insert ing bruised plums inta tha mouth uv her vagina; the fruit is hard an unyeelding, streching tha soft membrane uv her vulva. She closes her bloostone eyes an humz a lilt ing childish song that her granfathr had taut her whain she wuz a litle girl uv five or six. Murphy and Mulli gain, thair glasstoone hedes fulluv riot an enve, wair no whair to bea seen in her dreeme werld. Apaeleena had bean living on tha grund floore uv Murphy an Mulli gains howse four tha past fiveorso yeers. She wuz a most welcumd guest. Whain she felt upta it, shed clime up to tha attic and sing them a merre litle sung that maid them happe oar sad, depend ing on whitchevr song she decided to sing. Murphy and Mulli gain wood sit upstrait in thair respectife chairs an pretend ta sing aloong with Appaloosa, who, knowing bettr, wood let them enjoy thair litle game uv fun.

A turkwoise ski at dawn; cloods puffe an gray like blooted sheep Tha last reminants uv a jaundace yello moon hung like sum tired travellr in tha crouwded skiscape; a eyecing uv whorefrost on tha tenshuned branches uv tha trees. Apaleena ‘s legs scabberd an raw; a treakle uv sticke plumjuice running duwn tha insides uv her thighs an on to tha sculpt uv her foot. “What about it?” Murphy askd. “What about what? Mulli gain anserd. “What about the dog?” “What about the fucking dog?” Mulli gain said, his nosetrills flaring. “I couldn’t give a good shit about the mangy thing. As far as I’m concerned, you can keep it on your side of the room, under your fucking bed, for all I care.” Murphy touchd tha tips uv his fingrs togethr, and cleard his throat. “We’re keeping the dog,”he said, with a tone uv athoarity. “Its not my dog,” Mulli gain rumbld. “Its not our fucking dog, now is it?” Mulli gain drew his thum across his lips and smild broadle. “Its your fucking dog, so keep it on your side of the fucking room.” The dug, sensing that he wuz bein talkd aboot, waggd his bonee tale an went ovar to sit beside Murphy. Murphy patted him on tha hede and whisperd, “Its okay; he won’t bother you any more. I promise.” The dug, doown on his haunches, drew its ass aloong tha carpet leeven a streek uv brown in it’s wake. “Son of a bitch,” yelled Mulli gain. “Son of a fucking bitch!”

An anagram alie that confuses tha hell outa evryone an all that have reeson to disagree. Apaleena Bloom dale an heather. I remane in tha closhur uv tha fourest. Apallena remanes in tha closhur uv tha heather an dale. In tha metropolis thair is no closhure; no nevr wuz. No closhur. Tha stoones whair alabasterd an lyme. Tha sculpture wuz uv a tinee man with an enormious hede; sumone’s fader, perhaps, oar an effedgy to sumone loong gone an bureed. In sumtyme ago, what whair thout ta bea dinasores whair actuale gargantuin dugs with ropecoil tales an coalmirth eyes. Tha sculpture representd man’s viktory ovar tha dugs; it wuz man’s whey uv overcumen tha beest within evere man; tha uberman. . Tha eturnal reocurance . Tha transmografacation uv tha numen that evere man an evere woman knows ta be tha truth an nothin but alie. Its allwheys bean Apaleena; four as loong as eye can remembr. She haz allwheys bean in meye dreems an pert uv meye life. Apaleena in repose. Apaleena tha wait uv meye hart. Apaleena four whoom tha werld is a place uv wondr an misstere. Apaleena Bloom.

Apaleena werked her whey up tha stares to Mulli gain an Murphy’s attic. Tha stares were creeke an loose, tha nails cutrough an sharp; she carefule stepped aroond tha bannister, witch lay ubstructing tha final step, and nocked quickle on tha greatwood door.Mulli gain opend tha door an welcumed Apaleena with a broodeared smile. “Come in,” he said. “Please come in.” Mulli gain’s lip curled like a prepuce; tha corner uv his mouth meeting with tha cut uv his teeth making a perfect creese uv skin against bone.Murphy stood up an smiled, a crenolated whorl uv hair fighting four space on his tinee roound hede. “Its always a pleasure to see you,” Murphy chimed. He motioned with his hand four her to take a chair by tha pigbellied stove. Apaleena skipped across tha carpet an sat on tha woodiron chair that Mulli gain had won one nite play ing cards with sum Swedes frum tha lowlands. “Hows the apple trade?” Murphy asked. Apaleena opened her mouth an laid her tonge against tha ridge uv her teeth. “Wonderful,” she answered. “Just wonderful.” “And you,” she said. “What about your….what ever it is you do; are you doing well?” Apaleena crossed her arms on her chest an smiled polightly. Murphy rejoined with a smile uv his own an said, “What is it we do?” Mulli gain picked up tha frade thread uv tha conversashun an said, “Some thing to do with wood. We do things with great long pieces of wood.” “Wood; yes, now I remember, we do things with wood,” Murphy added.

Mulli gain stroad casuele across tha room an satduwn on tha othr chair next to tha pigbellied stove; he extinguished tha cigarend he was cheewing on, and tossed it into tha mouth uv tha stove, whair it curld up intwo a fetal posishun and turnd into grayash. “Would you like something to drink?” Murphy askd. “Perhaps a scotch whisky or a saucer and cup of tea, or whatever it is you generally drink this time of the day?” Apaleena opined an closed her eye’s quikle, thain stared duwn at tha dug curld up like a sleep ing child at Murphy’s feat. “Why not?” Apaleena said. “I’ll certainly have a scotch whisky if you don’t mind.” She ran her loong thin fingrs threw a patch uv unruelle hair, and smiled. An airant coil uv hair twistd into tha nuckles uv her hand as she tryd ta free her fingrs frum thair strumming. Murphy crossed ovar to tha bruwnwood cabnet that sat across frum tha kitchin windo, an retreeved a greenbottle uv whisky. He uncorkd tha bottle an pored two fingers uv whisky into a bruwnresin mug staind with tea. He again crossed ovar tha rume, handed tha cup ta Apaleena, who sat uprite, her legs crisscrossed and twisted around each othr, her one foot flat against her stockendcaff, tha other loose at tha ankle, an smiled a toothsum smile. “Ice?” Mulli gain askd. Apaleena lookd duwn at tha bruwnstaind mug cupt in her hand and aswerd, “No ice; I’m just right, thank you.” Tha ittie bruwn dug lifted it’s raggad ears an stuk it’s nose hi intwo tha air; it sat thair weiting four sumone or sumthing ta move; weiting four a bone or ablackbread biscut. Apaleena smiled an uncrisscrossdt than recrisscrossdt her legs; this tyme plac en tha left one ovar her rite ankle, an tha rite one curld upundar her left caff.

In an aroound this tyme thair appeered on tha stark whorizen a moon tha coler uv claughted blood. Wenever tha moon changd coler frum oringe to a plumberrie red, oar wen it seemd to be too highup in tha evening skie, it usuelly meant that sumthing extraordinery was aboot to happen. To Mulli gain and Murphy, this was a sure sine that Humbert wuz on his wey into town. Humbert wuz a threefoottawl dwarf with scaley skin and a face that preceeded him into this werld; a face tern an twisted, a face warren raw frum yeers of abuse an xposeure to inclimate weather. Humbert wuz a tightrope walker by traide, and a jugglr by avocation. Tha evening air wuz thik as crème; a bottlefli buzzd roound Humbert’s hede as he made his whey up tha black rood an in through tha backfield fense stile that separatd Murphy and Mulli gain’s properte frum tha one next to it. He carreed with him a canvass napsac an a woodburl stik that he keept knocking at tha grund ahede uv him as his eyes were milke with cataracs. Tha stars cutdimonds in tha blaksheet uv nite; a cornfli swifted around tha bakdoor lite and alit on a bundle uv splitwood whair Murphy kept his muckingboots.

Humbert huntchd his shooulders an let tha canvass napsac fall free to tha groound. It fell with a tumble an jigged round his boots; it strummed against his ankles an crouchd inbeatween his bowed nees; it trundled into the mukanmire uv tha mudde blak rooad that stretchd beyond an behind Murphy an Mulli gain’s modest cottage. He stabbed his woodburl stik into a moound uv wet hay an pushed it roound like a butterchurn. A circle uv milkflies darted aroound Humbert’s xposed hede an fell silentle into tha rush uv nite air. Tha last tyme Humbert jurneed inta town wuz tha summer that Murphy and Mulli gain slawterd a heffer an cooked it ovar an unsanetary woodcook fire that smoked four days after. In tha warmsummer twhylite exploshuns of broownsmoke curld an dissapated inta tha thikvale uv nite. That nite Humbert had eaten tha entyre leftflank uv tha cow an a ringortoo uv its hardwhite tale. Later that nite he fell asleep in tha corncrib an dreamt he wuz tha tzar uv Rusha.

“I’d like to visit over there in Iberia,” xclaimd Apaleena. “In Iberia?” Mulli gian sayd. “What in the hell is there for you to see in fucking Iberia?” “Lots of different things I suppose,” sayd Apaleena. “In Iberia?” Mulli gain barkd. “No one in their right mind goes to visit in fucking Iberia.” “I suppose some do,” sayd Murphy. “after all, it is a place where one can go visit there if one wanted.” “I suppose that’s the case,” Apaleena added. “If you really want to go over some place and visit it, you’re more than welcome to do so.” “But certainly not in Iberia,” chimd Mulli gain. “Does anyone even know where in the hell Iberia is?” he askd. “I would suppose its somewhere over there,” Apaleena sayd, pointing to tha north wall. “Some place in Europe, I would suppose,” Murphy xclaimd. “What the hell do you know about Europe and geography?” Mulli gain chimd. “Well, I do know that Europe is over there,” he pointed, gesturing at the north wall. “And where is that?” Mulli gain askd. Apaleena strung her hair ovar her left sholder an wrinkld her tinee nose. “I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be there,” she sayd, again pointing at that wall. “Over theres a fucking wall,” Mulli gain barkd. “Not a fucking country.” “It could be a country,” Apaleena aswerd. “Where?” Mulli gain sayd, throwing his hands ovar his hede. “Where in the name of God is over there?” Murphy clackt his teeth against tha roof uv his mouth, and lite up a cigarette. “Why can’t it be over there?” sayd Murphy. “Its plain to me that beyond that wall there may in fact be a place called Iberia where, if one chooses, one can go for a little visit of some sorts.” “Why not?” sayd Apallena. “Europe’s a big place, I suppose.” Murphy added. “Biggest country in the whole wide world,” Apaleena sayd. Mulli gain, trying ta gain his composhur, sat doown in his chare by tha warmth uv that pigbellied stove. “Europe isn’t a fucking country, you idiots. It’s a fucking continent.” “Where is it?” Apaleena askd. “Its over there,” Mulli gain sayd, pointing at tha north wall. “Somewhere the hell over there.”

Thair came a pownding at tha bootroom door that seemd ta shake tha house frum its foundashun. Mulli gain, in fullstride, bolted to tha windo an pushd up tha copperpennie latch that releesed tha windo frum its mooring. “Who the fucks there?” screetchd Mulli gain, his hands clutching tha windoframe. When thair wuz no answer, he stuck his hede outuv tha windosill an lookd back and fore scanning tha backyard four intruders. Once again he hollard, “Who the fucks there?” and pulld his rms in against his sides. Murphy, bisee attending to his teeth, which wair flat in tha palm uv his hand and not looking too cleen, whistld at Mulli gain to draw his attention. “What?” Mulli gain roard. “Might be someone we know.” Murphy sayd. “Maybe someone from Europe,” Apaleena offerd. Humbert apeerd frum behind a sumac tree with his woodburl stik held hi ovarabuv his hede. Mulli gain smyled an threw his rms inta tha air; he wuz happe to see it wuz ownly Humbert making nooise in tha muckeyard behind tha hoouse an not sum unwellcum interlopr. Humbert had been throowing clumps uv eerth at tha bootroom door frum behind tha sumac; he wanted to sirprise Mulli gain an Murphy, as it wuz his nature to do. “All or nothing?” hollerd Mulli gain. “Nothing, of course,” answerd Humbert. “All I need in this life is a good strong back and a philosophy that takes into account the drudgery and misery of existence.” “Who’s on top?” askd Mulli gain. “Why the God of plenty,” Humbert sayd. “Always has been and always will be, ad infinitum.” Humbert walked twowards tha bootroom door an pushd his woodburl stik inta tha softmudde groound. “ Platetectonics, my good man…nothing simpler, nothing more confusing.” “Whats that?” Hollerd Mulli gain. “The metaphysics of it all,” sayd Humbert. “Its nothing more, nor nothing less, than the ontological caterwail that lays in wait for you to make that one fatal mistake.” Mulli gain moshuned with a nod of his hede for Humbert to enter threw tha bootroom door. Humbert’s voyce traild off as he neerd tha cottage. “With the Jesuits its either all or nothing. There is no middle ground for them; no half way or inbetween.”

Humbert climbd tha delapadated stares up ta tha heevewooden door at tha top uv tha narro hall. He cot his breth, an pushd hard on tha doorplane. The door swung opined an he wuz meet by Murphy smyling with onle haf his teeth in; the bottum set of dentures whair balancd nimble atop his hede while he welcomed Humbert inta tha attic with a wave uv his hand. “Come on right in,” he sayd, his teeth hanging precariously frum tha dullcurve uv his forehede. Humbert stept ovar tha transum, which had fallenloose uv tha doorhede, an dropt his napsac onto tha floor. “Is the Catholic church your brother?” askd Humbert. All three, Mulli gain, Murphy and Apaleena, stood silentle “For if he is not, you are in for one hell of a lot of pain and misery.” Mulli gian, pondering what Humbert had sayd, cleerd his throat, and sayd, “Scotch: neet or with ice?” Apaleena stood straitup an padded doown her skurt with tha sculls uv her hands. “Humbert gave her tha oneovar, and smyled; tha creese in his forhede cutting at a riteangle to tha prow uv his hede. “Shall we transubstantiate?” askd Humbert, his eyes lingering on Apaleena. “We can transfornicate for all I care,” sayd Mruphy. “What is it we should be doing?” inqwired Mulli gain. “Your head seems a little too big for your head,” sayd Apaleena, looking directle at Humbert’s grait mottled nose. Flusterd, Apaleena added, “Your body; I meant your head appears to be too big for your body, not your head too big for your head.” “That would be absurd,” sayd Murphy. “Who ever heard of such a thing: a head being too big for a head.” “They cancel each other out,” sayd Mulli gain. “Like geometry,” added Murphy. Humbert ran his muckcaked hand across his face an stampd once on tha floor with his grateboot. “That’ll be enough,” he sayd, his voiyce straining an octav or two.

As a mattr uv fact, I do see threw tha wermmilke vale uv Humgert’s diseese. A man, perhaps a monstr, he cums an goes with the risin moon and falls silent at tha cusp uv dawn. A creeture uv tha nitetyme who’s ownlee companune is tha cold breeth uv nite; a monstr, I say; a creetur that lives off tha missfortune uv others. I suspeck that Humbert will secum to a horribal deeth: perhaps threw no mind uv his own, he will fallquickle into that scrum uv life; he will fallpray to tha rivin sum ov allmen: he will burnalive in tha flames uv hell, whair noman is evereman. An tha crows cawcawcawen; an tha yello moon hung in sum tern effigee to a past longago; an tha murder uv nite, defrayd for yet anoother timeanplace. Tha payne begins in tha throot an werks its wey doown inta tha maw uv tha gullet; it ravashes an turnicates; it strangles an garretts; it pulls ewe deeperstill inta tha coldscreem of nite. Thair is terror; be sirtan uv that: it cums in mane disgeyeses. As is oftin tha case with life, one does not know what one is upagainst until it is toolate. Tha dwarf Humbert is not what he apeers to be; he is sumthing far moor dangerus an eville than ane oneman can ever imagin. Tha passing summer whain he had feested an drank himself into a blackdreem in tha feelds behind Mulli gain an Murphy’s modest cottage, Humbert had just arrived frum tha north whair he had weighlayd a traviller an his wife an children an murderd them just for tha sport uv it: he had cut up tha husband so bad that his neck fellopen to his chest; as for tha wife an children, he flayd them an burnt thair pink skin in tha redcoals uv his cooksfire. Thair wuz talk uv mutilashun an cannabulizm in tha streets uv tha tine village whair tha famile were frum. Thair wuz feer an discumfort amung tha peeple who lived along tha narro road that separatd them frum tha addjoining town. Thair wuz sumthing eville about; sumthing that lookd upon humanlife as if it were a diseese to be riddin uv.

An a manslife can be meesurd by tha degree to which he makes good in this werld. It is upta evryman ta pull tha weeloflife toanfro; for evryman to feel tha heet an tha pressure of this werld. An a mensmeesure is in watt he does for othrs; how he aides tha sik and dfowled, how he feels throo tha mucknmire uve this werld with his hends, an pulls free tha less fortunate, tha dformd, tha wastd an week frum tha braggert womb that cloys tha nite. Humbert is nay such a men. Humbert’s sikness has rearrengd tha wey he perceeves tha werld of men; it has takn awaey his eyes, an in thair place, put roounds uv stoone an sewn tha goreholes shut tight for eternete.

Apaleena finishd tha last uv her whisky an placd tha mug upnext to tha mantle by tha pigbellied stove. Mulli gan, his cheeks bersting with pressure, let go with a chortld laff an slappd his gratefeet agenst tha macintosh an plankfloor. Murphy swallowd a ball uv scotch whisky an ran his tongue across tha plumstoone gout uv his lips. “If theres one thing I know for certain,” sayd Murphy “its that fire and water don’t mix. “What in the hell is that supposed to mean?” interuptd Mulli gain. “Like things aren’t confusing enough in this world without you adding to the fucking mess.” “Well I don’t know, “ sayd Apaleena, “some things just don’t make much sense in this world of ours.” “The world,” yelld Mulli gain, “what the fuck do you know about the world and its problems?” Murphy shiftd his wait an rubbd tha crest uv his hede with tha bakuv his hand. “She probably knows more about the world than you do,” Murphy sayd. “This is the person, might I remind you, that thought that Europe was over there,” sayd Mulli gain, poynting at the north wall of the attic. Humbert lowerd his hede, an with sum effert, cleerd his throoat. “Please, ladies and gentlemen, enough. The three of you are all wrong; there is no confusion, if you really take a good long look at things; and furthermore, there is no way on God’s earth that you three could possibly have the wherewithal and intelligence to get at the answer even if you had two brains a piece.” Tha timbr beems ovarabuv Humberts’s hede began ta grown an creek; tha mortar an burlap shims in between tha timbrs cricketted, an tha wood sounded like it wuz aboout ta rend in half an collapse inta tha floor.

“It would take no time at all for this whole fucking edifice to fall crumbling to the ground” Sayd Humbert. “I really don’t understand how you can live in such a hovel; it’s a wonder you all haven’t died of tetanus or fallen ill from the malodorous stench of this, what do you call it? quaint cottage.” Humbert moshund with his hand at tha timbrs ovarabuv thair hedes an mayd note of tha creeking an growning sounds that wair eminating frum tha cedars. Mulli gain squinted his eyes an than opind them full. He took in tha siroounding space that filled tha attic, an smild like a child. “I rather like it here,” Sayd Mulli gain. “So do I,” added Murphy. “Its homey, if anything else. It’s a homestead; a bedstead; a transubstantiationstead.” Laffed Murphy. “Its whair we happen to live and feel comfortable,” Mulli gain sayd, his hands stalked awkwerdle abuv his hede. “I rather like here too,” Apaleena sayd, tha roounds uv her cheeks pushing up agenst tha whitesculpt uv her face. Humbert took his woodburl stik an slamd it inta that floorbooards next ta Mulli gain’s foot. “You three are irascible, “he sayd. “You’re like a trio of savants with the exception that you have no talent for anything at all except making things seem dull and improbable.” Apaleena edged her way behind Humbert an sat doown in tha chair besyde tha pigbellied stove. She fingrd a curd uv thik hair an spun her othr hand aroound a thread that had cum loose frum tha rm uv tha chair. Mulli gain askd Apaleena if she needed a freshningup an offerd ta poour two more fingrs uv scotch inta her cup. She moshund with a nod uv her hede that Mulli gain could put tha cup on tha floor besyde her foot. Murphy pressd his tongue agenst tha bak uv his frunt teeth, an mumbld sumthing incoherant to himself. Humbert had takn refhuge on tha chair next ta tha shaven mirrer an wuz bisee running calculashuns throo his hede; calculashuns that wair meent to eese tha thrashing in his mind an redeuce tha buzzing in his ears. Tha eenie dug wuz curld up on tha macintoshanplank floor dreeming whatevr it is eenie dugs dreem. Thair wuz a momint uv absolut siolence, aftrwich Mulli gain slappd a flie that had landed on tha bridge uv his grate nose an bloo out a rush uv peatmaltd air.

Whorecorpses littar tha soulange street. Thay collapse an foldin on themselves; capteurd in a satyre uv themselves, thay fallhede first inta tha cold blakcur uv nite. Humbert, cold an peecefuless, sits like a gargoil in tha swanneck bend uv tha chair, his long unkempt fingers druming tha sideboord. Rake an tine teeth cleeted in a purchase uv tissu an fat; a warm scree uv blood cottdribbling down tha angle uv her face. Anuther whorecorpse left fettid an rotting in anuther solikethaother street. Murphy stoodup, rearrangd tha creese in his trowsers, and shunted across tha ruem. He reeched for a cup in tha well uv tha cownterboord, an filled it with water; a thik scum uv oil floating on top like menstrul blood.

Humbert spoke: “When and if ever you three decide its time to do something with your live’s, don’t bother coming to me for advice. I have none.” Apaleena knelt on tha hardwood floor an scrapd an ant off tha ball uv her knee. “I’d like to fly a kite,” she sayd. “What I really would like to do, if it were at all possible,” she pawsd an sat doown in her chair again, “I’d like to fly a big colourful kite and feel tha string unwrap frum the handle and just let it fly higher and higher, until you could’t see it behind the clouds.” “That’s just wonderful,” sayd Murphy. “I could actually see that happening, “ he sayd. “I could see you flying a big kite in a fierce windstorm with the ball of string reeling off the handle and you singing with delight; perhaps you’d hit an airplane or perhaps a cloud in the blue sky. I could see that happening…to you. I could” Mulli gain relite tha nubend uv his cigare an drank greedile frum his cup uv malt whiske. Tha air wuz thik with smoke an you couldn’t see out that windo whair tha ski had changd frum bloo to a crimsun oringe. “One day when this world of ours finally gets the cipher right, we’ll all, every last one of us, learn what it is we’re doing in this God forsaken place.” With that Humbert raized his cup an saluted at tha wall ovarby tha shavin mirrer. Apaleena brushd a poke uv hair frum her eyes an smiled like a cat. “Whens that?” she askd. “Whenever the cipher gets answered,” replyd Humbert. “Ya, but whens that going to be?” Murphy sayd. “Whenever!” Mulli gain hollard. “Whenever.” “You could even fly a kite in Europe,” offerd Murphy. “If you wanted to.” “You could go fly the fucking kite through the fucking wall, over there, if you wanted to,” sayd Mulli gain. “Enough!” yelld Humbert. “Enough of your caterwauling. Your making my head throb with all this nonsense.” Mulli gain sat bak doown in his chair and chewd on tha tipend uv his cigar, a threed uv spittle webbing its whey across tha nob uv his chin. Tha eenie little dug had fownd a rashun uv baconrind underneeth tha kitchin table an scrapt at it with tha abrasure uv its tongue befor swallowing it doown with one petulant gulp.

Humbert whisprd sumthing ta himself an eesed bak inta tha spine uv tha chair. Tha chair creekd an then settled in agenst Humbert’s bowd back; a skein uv evening sun cutting across his lowerd hede whiar it picked up motes uv dust that swirld aroound in tha still air like mischeevious children. Apaleena swung her left leg ovar tha rm uv tha chair an placed her right leg crisscrossed ovar tha left one; thair wuz a houndstooth pattern uv linin underneeth her skert that seemd to blend in with tha plumberre stain uv her thighs. Tha sun wuz almost set an thair wuz a coolevening breeze cutting inthroo tha windo whair Murphy sat contimplating the upperhalf uv his dentures. “That’s just fine: I can accept that,” mumbld Murphy. “What was that?” askd Mulli gain. “Nothing at all that you’d be interested in,” answerd Murphy. “Nothing at all, at all.”

In tha ninth canticle uv Dante’s hell, Dis, oar tha Devil, stands ovarabuv souls stukfast in tha ice, thair eyes frozen shut frum thair unrepentant teers. Virgil an Dante clime thair whey up tha Devil’s bode an cum out at tha base uv mownt purgatore. Beatrice aweights Dante’s arrivel on tha top of mownt paradisio, whair tha two will unite an live in peece an harmone for tha rest uv thair mortil lives. An tha crows cawcawcawing; an tha blind man with tha whitestik an tha grey beerd slashing his whey throo tha traffic an up onta tha curb whair he werks his whey doown tha sidewak spitting obsenitees at no one in partikular. Mi sweet Dulcinea throo whoos eyes I see tha beute uv tha cuntreside an tha splendor uv tha oshunsdeep.

“For the love of Christ Almighty,” sayd Humbert, “things just don’t appear to be getting any clearer for the three of you. Its usually at this point, this juncture in the conversation, that I try to infuse the dialogue with a bit of levity. Well, that doesn’t seem to be working; in fact, I’d say its having the opposite effect: its pushed you all into a state of mute idiocy, its coloured the rouge in your cheeks with a pasty, yellow jaundice that seems to be in some violation of the Geneva Convention.” Humbert cleerd his throoat and continued. “And, might I be so bold as to add: there seems to be a pox or a malnutrition of the brain at work here. Dull. That’s the word I’m looking for: dull and offensive. Dull and repetitious. Dull and boring.” Mulli gain reeched for tha little dug, wove his fingrs aroound it’s nek, an tried to strangle tha poour littl creetur. Befour he coould shake tha living hell out of it, Murphy jumpt frum his seet, and, pushing heevile agenst Mulli gain’s bak, managed ta loosen his grip frum aroound tha dug’s throot. “For the love of God,” cryed Murphy. “The man is definitly insane.” He pulld tha dug by it’s hindlegs an dragged it acrost tha floor. Tha dug, it’s eyes red with feer, pushed it’s arsebottum agenst tha throorug in tha middle uv tha reum, an expelled a snoutful uv baconrindair.

An tha goreholes an tha stoones shuttight his eyes frum seeing past his own nose beyawnd this an that an hav cawse for concern wen tha moarning lite flushes tha ski an azyour bloo. An she had a tendence to put needulls in her rms. In the crook uv her lbo just below tha bicept whair tha skin an tissu is tessellated an chikenscratchd with trakmarks; whair tha bloodeed scimshaw an brewsing damages tha integrete uv tha rm itself. What mure can one say? An tha tat-tat-tat; tha crowcalls an tha medo in fullbloom on a laze Saturday afternewn. An Apaleena wild an feral laynaboout on tha sende shyourline with a barrowfull uv apples and cuntful uv plums. Scritch-scratch; tha eenie little sqwerl berying nuts in tha softmudde grund. Murphy an Mulli gain upan aboout on a sunbleecht morning on a winde wetherd day. Young Werther: gunshout woound ta tha hede. Picasso: paynting brush up tha bifirkashun. What mure can one say? Eye am tha living proof uv it all; eye’m tha rejoinder an tha grammeruv itall. Noonevr anuther like tha lest one. That one came too damnd close ta finishing us alloff: had me by tha nek, a garritting and a twisting an tha thums pressed like knots ita meye throoat.

Her mowth lookd like it had been torn inta her face; a rent, a pulpe redmass uv tissu and teeth correcting tha ovarbite uv her jaw. Lips brewzed an scard; no reum for a passhunate kiss; a tongu set cruked in tha dorm uv her mouth, tha rezult uv a violent union uv bone an teeth that had left her disfigyourd an hungre. A crewd manner uv things this fractyourd youth decries. A poor an lonele lifestile that nevr quite manages ta be a life atall. An tha oringe fitcaps an tha rubberhose that mends togethar tha last oppertoonite ta get evrthing rite as rain. Thair is no compromize: its all or nothing. Thair is no sommer rain: its all or evrething. Adinfinitum. For tha luv uv God, no nevr agen; nevr.

Humbert’s wife an chilldren wair killd in a fier that levelld tha hoouse and burnt until tha ski ternd blak. His wife tryd ta gather up tha chilldren an wrap them in a blankit, but tha smooke an flames wair too powerful an tha three uv them wair burnt beyoond rekognishun. Humbert blamed himself for thair deaths, an nevar quite rekoverd frum it; he wuz a skellitell reminder that God oftin looses trak uv those he luvs. Five yeers had passd, an Humbert wuz stil consumed with greef. He took to tha bottle like a drownding man; he drank until tha pain wuz managable; he drank to forget an to remembr that he had no control ovar that past, and nothing to look forwerd ta in tha future. Humbert left tha villedge he wuz born in, an set out for tha mountins that scuplpted tha forest abuv tha skiline. In tha wintr, humbert livd in tha moouth uv a cave whair he had fashund a tarplolin with lengths uv greenwood an securd tha leeside with cedarbows. He trapt what little food he reqwired, an ate berreers an variade mushreums that gruw in abundence on tha darkwet forest floor. Wen he had okashun to, he would kill a wild pig an slawter it with a makeshift knife that he had constructed outuv slate an bone.

He mayor maynot be awere that this is tha lest chence he’ll evr have for cumming to sum cunclushun aboout whatevr it is he happins ta be involvd in at tha momint: this time an in this order uv things so randum an fleeting. An a rashun uv hope in a hopeless werld. An Humbert at peece with himself; beeing awere that tha next time could be tha vere last. Tha next remembr that may spell tha last memoree uv itall. Pigsnout an hedecheeze an tha werm treckle duwn yer throoat tha seems ta cleer awey tha rasping an strep. An ewe move in tha shadoos uv tha nite, hunting for apray tha eludes it’s predature. An ewe give it one lest chance befour tha air thikens an yer lungs swell up like a corpse blooated with sowerdeath. An for tha Lord Allmitee, this has ta be tha lest of it; thairs nomure time left ta get tha cipher rite; nomure reum fer anuthar misstake. Thair is no othar chance; no othar weyout.

Humbert constructd a dam across tha mouth uv tha river with straw an fallen trees an raspberrethorns an sutured it alltogethar with mud an clay. He drew his watr frum tha resevoir that built up naturalle behind tha dam. Tha watr wuz cool an cleer an Humbert weighed his steps carefulle wen crossing tha shorestep aroound tha dam. He had once fallen beeside tha resevoir an lay faceduwn in tha mud that curried tha groound whair a bruwnrabbit took to drink. On okashun Humbert wood take a bath in tha resevoir, rubbing his bode raw with sand an lindinbows; scraping cleen his face with his knife an stiking twigs inta tha conch uv his ears ta cleen outthe wax. Tha grait stand uv cedars and pine, uv basswood an birch; tha larch and tha hardwoods like maple an oak that canopeed tha forest an keptin tha cool morning air trapt beneeth it’s foliage. Nowair is thair anewair wair ewe can simple fall outuv tha werld an land sumwair othr tha wair ewe r.

Tha werld is a radum series uv reoccuring events. Tha werld is all percepshun an imagining. Tha werld, as we know it, is a simple proposishun that belays tha fundamentells uv hier mathamatics. Thair is no logical truth: evrthing is conjecture; nothing is real. Our percepshun uv tha werld is what we extend inta infinit space. Thair r no questyouns, onle halftruths. Humbert lives in a werld bereft uv simbolick realite. He is a simple extenshun uv a possibilite that may or may not be undarstood in spaceshall or temporal terms. Wittgenstein wood be proud. Russell wood be his ewesual petulant self. Alfred North Whitehead wood, no doubt, see Wittgenstein’s proposishuns as rot and Russells analytik posturing as mathamatically unsound. Ryle wood dispell tha noshun uv tha ‘ghost in tha machine’, and Strawson wood, without reservashuns, talk aboout tha possibilite uv a purele auditore metafisical universe.

Incrypted in tha toom uv tha bode; life’s lest rale agenst death. Tha sik an befould; tha destitoot an tha irrashunal Wenevr thair rizes a threat in tha moorning ski, thair will appeer a portend that will cleense awey tha mukansewer uv this werld. A talisman, uvsorts; a new beginning. Tha olid stench uv rotting carryon; tha stark remindr that life, itself, is limited ta one anuthar breath: nothing as curius as a startld look or a johndace smile on a sorroridden face. Joyce: wombfruit. Molly Bloom. Talmud an Bible: tha blind leeding tha blind. Religun fer tha masses; inta this sic soul a breath uv life; inta this twisted mind a prattle uv thout. Ad infinitum. (Bak flattened agenst metal tabull; stem uv tha needull sharp in tha rm; a cathitor that burns an pisses; noman’s land.) Pleese Father, mi soul ta take; deliver us frum eville, for Thine is tha Kingdum, forevr an evr. Amen.

Apaleena nevr had ane parents. She wuz an orfin frum tha start; a bundle uv waxcloth an tenshun; her tinee bode curld up inta a clove; her smal blooeyes brite an seerching. Those who had been her parints, the muther that conceeved her and tha fathur that conceeved with her muther, had left her on tha footstep uv a cottege in tha sprucewoods that ran across frum tha rill an up along tha sande rivur bank that separated tha pastyourland frum tha trees. She remembrs a small dog with a chayn aroound it’s nek pulling at tha corner uv her blanket, its yello teeth white with slaver, it’s eyes blak as nite an crossed inta tha mass uv it’s hede. She remembrs two bodes, a man and a womuns; tha man picking her up an cradling her in the basket uv his strong rms. She can think bak ta tha smell uv tha man an womun, tha oder uv glands an sweat glistening undar thair rmpits; tha camafore an cinamun, tha sweetness uv flowrs an tha hardstench uv bodes aftir werk. Apaleena, tho an orfin, had a man and a womun that took her in as thair own; thay fed her frum a goats teat an rubbed smooth oils and powdrs inta her skin. Thay stayed by her wen she cryd at nite an comfurted her wen tha thundar an wind pounded up agenst tha sides uv tha cottige like angre ghosts cum to reclaim what wuz ritefulle thairs. She had lived with this cupal until she wuz fifteen, than moved on in seerch uv her birth parints, an tha reesuns why they had left her on that footstep that dey fifteen yeers ago. She wuz drivin by an obsession that forced her ta continu her seerch long aftar tha scent had faded. In an along this and then, Apaleena felt tha urge ta travel, an in doing so, to see whatever she could uv tha werld. She went in seerch uv answers, not sure uv what she’d find; not certain that she wanted what she’d find, and unsure if thair actuale wuz anething out thair; a part uv her, a peece uv tha puzzle that had becum her life. It wuz eight yeers later, after crossing tha bredth an depth uv a werld she had onle red about in books, that she settled in ta tha cottige in tha forest with Mulli gain and Murphy an a blak an brouwn dog with a ropecoil tail an an appetite for bacunrind an sausage fat.

Apaleena had takn a vow uv uncleensliness an stopped warshing her hair when she wuz 23 years old. It curld an raked aroound tha crown uv her hede; it whorled an crenolated, like crumpld paper; it stuk outat angles to her forehede an tangled beneeth her collarbone; her hair wuz a thing initself; a separate entite, uv sorts. Apaleena’s furst menstrashun wuz hard an unyeelding; clots uv blood formed on tha fine hairs of her thighs, her vagina lips felt bitten an stung; and thair wuz a bitter, acrid taste in her mouth, like metal. ( I saw Lolita on tha bus agen todey. Her rms wair cleen uv tracmarks an tha brewsing that generalle appeerd on tha crook uv her elbo an rm had faded ta a soft bloo. She nevr once looked in mi direcshun; her eyes wair fixd on tha bak uv tha hede uv tha purson in front uv her, who had on a crepepaper hat, resting agenst what looked like an ear shorn frum its pulpit. I haven’t thout much aboout her in tha last little while, mi mind has been on othr things: on Humbert and Apaleena; Mulli gain and Murphy; on tha lack uv perspakuite that seems ta foster tha images in mi thouts.) Apaleena felt tha chill uv womanhood when she wuz 12 years-old. The woman and tha man that had taken her in as thair own, ministerd to her needs an supplied her with what little support they wair able to marshal between themselves. The woman, upon discuvering that Apaleena had started her period, warshed her skirt an underclothes in vinager an hung them in tha bakshed whair she an the man kept thair chikens an a three-legged dog with pitchblak eyes an a trunkated blak tail that seemed ta be in constant activite.

Mulli gain movd towerds tha windo and opind tha latch; a swell uv werm afternoon air cut across tha reum an up agenst tha wall by tha shavinmirrer an out tha othur windo behind tha sink an toylet. Evereone but Milli gain, who wuz busee looking out tha windo, wair looking ovar abuv thair hedes at a line uv ants that had werked thair wey up along tha wall an onto tha ceeling. One uv tha ants cut ta tha left uv tha line an wuz werking it’s wey doown tha wall by tha sink. “They must certainly be army ants,” sayd Murphy. “Why army ants?” askd Apaleena. “Because their walking in a straight line, one after the other.” Mulli gain, having rotated his bode aroound ta face tha othars, sayd, “How tha hell do you know that their army ants?” Murphy rubbed tha callus uv his hand across his face, and smyled. “I just know. That’s all.” Apaleena, feeling tha need ta make sense uv it all, added, “They’re fighting ants, you can tell from the way they all line up in a row and march along one behind the other.” Humbert let out a snort uv air an smyled. He ran his thum along tha ridge uv his lower lip, whair a string uv spittle had attachd itself to tha whiskers on his chin, an rose slowle frum his chair. “Those, ladies and gentlemen, are worker ants, not army ants.” “What’s tha difference,” inquird Murphy. Humbert gestikulated with his right hand, tha clew uv his fingers twisted with reumatizm, an sayd, “Worker ants follow each other in a straight line, the variance of which never reconfigures, unless there is a atmospheric change which requires of the ants that they swing to one side-be that the left or the right, from front to back-and, in doing so, reacclimatize themselves to the change in atmospheric pressure.” Humbert pawsed ta collect his breath, an continud. “I suggest that you all, and you too mister,” he sayd, poynting directle at Mulli gain, “get your collective acts together and fix something for dinner.” “But what about the army ants?” askd Murphy. “The army ant,” Humbert sayd, “parades in a four-deep line, the last ant making sure that they don’t get attack from the flank, and the two ants at the front, checking the terrain for spider’s webs and snake holes, and, by this manner, they march from one local to another relatively free of physical conflict and environmental disturbances.” “Oh, I see now,” sayd Apaleena. “They’re different in that they are the same except that you know the difference and we don’t.” “Correct,” roard Humbert. “Now get to work and cook us some dinner.” “

“Maybe the dogs got ants,” sayd Mulli gain smugle. “I wonder,” Murphy sayd, “if ants have skin…” “Or fur.” interuptd Apaleena. “No not never fur,” replyd Murphy. “We’re talking about insects here.” “Whats the difference between an army ant and a worker ant?” inquird Apaleena. “They’re both ants-from the ants family, I suppose.” Sayd Murphy. “How in heaven would a dog get ants?” askd Apaleena. “Maybe they crawl up their tails and into their arse.” Offerd Murphy. “I guess that could, in deed, happen.” Sayd Apaleena. “Very often I wonder whether or not if I had a dog, much like your dog, if it would have worms, too.” “Maybe all dogs have worms at sometime or the other in their lives.” Sayd Murphy. Mulli gain took two long strides frum tha windo an stopped in frunt uv Murphy. “That’s it-all fucking dog-talk has got to stop.” Here Mulli gain slapt his grate boot agenst tha floorbooard. “Absolutely none. Understand?” At this Murphy cowerd an moved ovar to tha chair beside his bed, wair he fiddled with a pakage uv matches an finalle, aftar several attempts, managed ta lite a cigarette.

I had tha dreem agen lest nite. She’s pulling at me trying ta get me inta tha reum with her; I fight bak an manage ta run inta tha kitchen wair I fall ta tha hard linoleum floor an my hede begins ta spin an I feel like vomiting because I have drank too much an am experiancing nawsea but tha fact remains that she’s also drunk an wants me ta make luv ta here regardless uv how I feel aboout her or tha idea uv having sex with my mothar. I then find miself in a crowded bar with an old highskool friend who is lounging on tha sofa that surroounds a short-legged table, than in cums a luver frum my past who drew orgasims outa me that made mi stomak muscles spasm an my legs cramp an burn with pleasure. Orelsex kept me frum moving too far awey frum tha nest; it consumd me and became a necisary part uv mi sexeual needs: I fell victum ta its muse.

Helluv atime we had wen we tried ta put it ta him; he cursed an hollerd like a wild animel; he bled frum tha belle an thair wuz a look in his eyes that seemd ta see right past us inta tha field beyond an behind us whair thair wuz a womin milking a cow with her teeth an her child, in swaddling cloth, laying aside her an she spat tha milk frum her mouth inta tha child’s mouth that made a suckling noise an it’s tinee nose seemd ta curlup with pleesure. She askd me ta frunt her fifty dollars sew that she could purchase an eightball an put a stop ta tha aching in her belle. An thain an thair I knew, for certain, that thair wuz no possible wey I could say no ta her; she wuz mi muse and eye needed her mure than eye wuz willing ta admit. I oftin thout uv her aftar we parted; I rememberd tha starch uv her hair aftar a shower an tha wey she carryed herself wen she wanted ta look important an serius. I rememberd tha coldbloo stones uv her eyes and the wey she cooed wenevr I stroked her hair. I remember a lot uv things that seem importint now but didn’t wen they wair part uv mi life. An they sewd shut tha goreholes uv his eyes an peeld tha skin offuv his nose an hammerd nails inta his feet. Humbert wurryed aboout what wood happen if he wuz recognized bi sumone an they wentoff an called on tha constabulare. He knew that as long as he stayed with Mulli gain an Murphy, hidden far awey frum tha curius eyes uv tha villagars, he wood be in no danger uv beeing found out. He had plans for Apaleena; patterns that wood soon emerge wen tha nites got colder an tha days shorter. He had a plan for all three uv them, including tha dog.

Tha closure uv nite; tha sweet opiate uv desire drawn inta tha milk uv human kindness whair it is spild on tha floor uv this eerth like so much watr frum tha troff. Yer barking up tha wreng tree; tha fuckers gut werms uv serts that’ll be tha deeth uv it wen it’s tyme cums; whitch it will, by God-jest mark mi werds, it well. An that fucker Mulli gain an that idiut Murphy, between tha two uv ‘em thairs but onebrain, an it nevr seems ta be werking up ta task. Apaleena: now thairs a prize if eye’ve evr seen tha like uv one. A wemun with a geed dose uv tranquillite an a barralful uv pride. Fuck tha lot uv ‘em! Fucking ungraitful basterds. An me putting down fer postairite tha stery uv thair live’s without once batting an eye ovar it. Sunsuvabitches woodn’t rekognize a fucking genius even if he wair rite thafuck up thair arseholes an senging a lollebuy. No not nevr.

“Well that goes to figure,” sayd Murphy. “You always seem to think you have the right answer. With you its not this or that, but that and this. Its beginning to bother me some; I’ve got opinions, too.” “No you don’t,” chimnd Mulli gain. “You’ve never had a goddam opinion in your entire fucking life.” Mulli gain pawsed, collectd his thouts an contiud. “And furthermore, who in the name of Christ almighty are you to tell me that I have a problem? How can an idiot tell the difference between a problem and a hypothesis? Answer me that, if you can.” Apaleena shook her hede an began to whistle; a nasal cacaphone that seemd ta reech frum sumwhair deep in her throoat. “Stop that fucking whistling,” growld Mulli gain. “Why does she have to stop?” askd Murphy. “Because I said so,” answerd Mulli gain. “You’re not the boss here, you know. There is no boss, no one in charge of this whole damn mess.” “What mess?” askd Mulli gain. “I don’t see any mess here.” Murphy swollowd deliburatele an clenchd his fists until tha knukles turnd white and chalke. “It was you that said we had to get rid of the dog.” “That’s correct,” relyd Mulli gain. “It certainly was me.” “Well the dog then…” “You mean your dog,” Mulli gain interuptd. “My dog, then,” sayd Murphy. “Its leaving shit stains all over the house. Wouldn’t you call that a mess?” Mulli gain smyled an tiltd his hede ta one side, “Its only a mess if its my mess, which it isn’t.” Humbert, who had been sitting behind Mulli gain an Murphy watching tha whole oredeel, cleerd his throoat an sterted ta bark like a hound. He yelpd an a line uv spit spun a web frum his moouth an attachd itself ta tha coller uv his shert that garrited tha loose flesh aroound his nek an left him looking like he could loose conshusness at ane minite.

She had an imposseble long nek with a string uv tendone an nukle uv mussel that knotted tight inta tha hinge uv her jaw underneeth tha conch uv her ears. Wenevr she ate sumthing tha mussells and sinews closed an opind like a fist; tha fingrs twisted an worn inta an opake hardness that soften tha cut uv her face like spring water on a smooth stoone. As a metter uv fact it wuz tha wey she chewed an mastacated wattevr she ate that made her jawbones an mussell reele cum ta life; tha foodstuffs an tha like, like whips uv lickorish an combs uv hone an roounds uv sawsage that wair dripping with fat an anamell meet an flesh an cornonthacob with butter an sweets uv alkinds. If it wernt fur tha tic-tacs on her rms, shed be qwhite a catch; yes in deed, qwhite a catch. An that’s without saying that she wuz a fine an gentle woman when she had tha heert ta be. It wuz tha dregs an tha nedulls that scard tha jeezus out uv me; it waird me out trying ta convince her that she didn’t need them, that she cood do it on her ownself. That wuz thain: things have chenged since those deys; lots uv things, too mane ta remember at tha momint uv things.

An Mulli gain, he’s not xactle one uv yer happe fuckers. Didn’t have much uv a cheldhood, he didn’t; alweys finding himself in treble fer things he had nonevr hand in; alweys being held responsible fer the things his elder bruther did on tha lam an inbetween serving his tyme in tha justiss sisstum. One unheppe sunuvabitch. Poor basterd-Mulli gain; alweys finding himself cott in tha inbetween; alweys finding his aresbottum sorepaddled an raw. His parints wair nevrmuch at home: they spent most uv thair tyme in places like Urup or tha Derk Contenent; an sumuv tha tyme thaid traville ta places with no names, wair tha jungle wuz buzzing with insecs an tha trees higher than a men could see ta tha tup uv. Grait canopeas uv leeves an twisted brunches that seemd ta tear holes in tha blooazure ski. Wair sters an planits could be seen by tha naked eye, an oftin ewe could pikture tha moon itself hanging low an fat in tha derk nite ski like a spernd luver. An tha sorre basterd Mulli gain without a toy ta play with or a barcycle ta tinker aboout with. Left ta his lonesum ta figyour out wair he fitted inta tha sum uv things in this werld. Without anuther ta shew him tha wey or teech him a thing ortwo ta prepare him fer his jurne throo life. Its nowunder tha man cant seem ta keep a civil tongue in his mouth. Unlike Apaleena, who wuz an reelactual orfin, Mulli gain wuz whats to be calld a much neglekted cheld without a muthar or tha fathar aroound ta teech him a thing or two or rock him softle in his small little credle. Its nowunder he fell victum ta tha trubles uv tha werld.

Sad basterd, he wuz: Mulli gain stew; Mulli gain tyre; Mulli gain all on his lonesum. It wuz onle aftr he came inta aquaintance with Murphy that he reele knew he had a friend, that he wuznt alune in tha werld and that he had things he needed ta do. Murphy helpd Mulli gain ta grow; and wen he felt he had grewn enuff, he decided that it wuz aboout tyme he tuk his life inta his own hends an becum sumthing uv a man himself. It wuz his angr that kept him frum acheeving tha things he wented ta acheeve; he had ta leern how ta curb it an do things in a mannerle wey. Murphy, it can safle be sayd, shewed Mulli gain tha wey aroound an beyund his angr an feers. Mulli gain wuz rede: he had nuthing ta lose, an evrething ta gain.

Tha dug had cum frum tha littar uv a blak labridoor an an Irish settlar, with a muthar like a fucking cur an a fawthar that had been a hunting dug up untill it fell off tha scent an ran hedefirst inta a cedar, smashing its brains ita tha bak uv its skull like somuch grey porrige. Tha little basterd didn’t have a chence uv becuming anething uthar than an assrubbing lap dug with fir tha coler uv taffe an a hede like a treestump. No wundar it ran its aresbottum acriss tha floor leeving a trail uv blood an shit that Murphy allwez seemd ta be cleening up with a pale an a broom with a handle like a sawsage that he held like a wand infrunt uv himself wenevr Mulli gain ejackulated an got angre aboout tha mess. Poor sonuvabitch; not a thing he could do ta chenge tha cercumstances he found himself in; not nevr a chence ta be a showdug or just a plain old ferm dog with a yunglad for a mastar an a dughowse with a blankit an a litebulb ta keep him werm in tha winter. Thairs sumthing aboout it all that smells like its been cooking for sumtyme now; like maybe it wuz reele Mulli gain that luvd tha little dug an just couldn’t cum ta an unerstanding with himself that he could like tha little fucker without having ta let everebode know that he wuz in cherge an thair wuz ta be no fucking aroound with him; no nevr: on tha okashun that tha little fucker came an sat by his feet, he’d rub tha top uv his hede an whisper nonsense inta its flappeears like he wuz happe ta have tha friendship uv a little dug with a treestump snout curld up like a bairn with a pink tunge lapping at its leeshure.

How thain an agen can we atall xpect ta unerstand these caractars wen thay all seem ta be so disfuncshunal an fucked up? Tha anser is: we cannet. Thay take on a life uv thair own that runs its coourse without us beeing a pert uv it. All we ken do is sit bak an wetch them traduce thair wey throo life’s miserees and disassters. We cannot, howevr, guide them in ane wey wattso evr: its up ta eech one uv tham ta find thair wey throo tha werld alone with fate as thair Virgil.

Caramellyello curn with applejelle scowns an a mouthful uv melk streight frum tha teet uv she that ate tha gress down ta tha mud an dust. Twofowlds uv pastre with sugarbutter an blooberriees that seem ta stain tha grund beneeth yer feet with purpull bood. Uv tha fruit. Tha wombfruit. (God bless Mr. Joyce). A derk sillendar uv rich tabacco that stings tha bak uv yer throoat an makes yer singing voyce all fer tha bettr. She wood have been a good lovar if it warn’t fer tha needulls an smash. Eye ken remember whain she wuz a prinsuss an how her corntassle hair used ta catch tha merning lite an fell tha ruem with wermth and cumfert. Tha tic-tac and scritch-scratch; tha punktyours an leng blak an bloo tracks that scatterd her rms an left smudges on tha bones uv her cheeks that made her look sad an wern out. Tha needulls an tha oringe tipcaps that lay thrown on tha fleer unerneeth tha sofa an tha luvseet an tha fucking coughfee table.

With an indefferance ta payn she culerd her werld with blak cuttonwale an yellomarang. Thair wuz alsew tha hempshire bruwns an tha willowbeach wheals an tha culer uv ivore an platinum an russetred scales which wair smooth ta tha tutch an soft on tha palate. A cuntfell uv plums an a mowthfell uv ransore. A bitter remindr that one in the rm is werth a hunnerd in tha hede; that a hunnerd or mure in tha hede’ll put ewe in hell without a pattle ta navigate yer wey throo tha poundstile uv tha rivermerld whair tha wicked are prayzed an tha riteshuss rebuked. Allmighte God in whos absents we prey for fergiveness an louve. In this an that inbetween a feersum feer uv wat mey cum an wat mey not: cataracs that milkd his eyes; a long frey uv hare that catches tha roll uv his nose an cuts deep inta tha arcetecture uv his face; a perpull scold colluding with tha creese an funcshun uv his boneecheeks. God Almighty, we ask for yer forgiveness and ley duwn in charactar an in peece an in turmoil. Blessd r those who carre tha werd, for thay will cleense tha werld uv all its curcumstence an warsh it duwn inta inta tha sewer whair tha cheldrin pley with thair own shit an pissawey tha aftarnoon dey.

Goran ran a bookshop in tha tinee villege tha ley nomure than hafamile frum Murphy and Mulli gain’s cottege. He collectd litrature an histories, an books on art an he had an entyre secshun devoted ta Iresh shertstories an Scottash hymns an derges an oftin ewe could find old Inglash poetre or tha yello tern pages uv a book on astrolage with piktures dating bak ta tha tern uv tha centure. Goran was born in tha nerth cuntre whair his fathare wuz employd as a desill mechanic for a logging cumpane. Goran’s muthar wuz mentalle unsteble an prone ta attacks uv jelluse; wenever she felt that her husbend wuz not showing her enuff attenshun, she wood cause an awefell fuss an sterm aboout tha house like a furie. Thair wair no uthar cheldrin but thay did have a dug with taffeecolerd fur an blak rings arund it’s eyes an and a rope coild tail that seemd ta get in evreone’s wey an they had to take note uv him being in tha coreadore between tha bedreums whair he sumtymes ley in tha derk with tha stench uv dedmeet in tha slavar uv his mowth.

Tha dug died one Novembar dey wen it wuz hit by a car going at hellnek speed duwn tha counte road an thay dug a grave in tha bakyard beneeth tha cedars an bureed him whair Goran used ta fish for chub an fishstew wen he wuz a boy uv ten noless.

Mulli gain an Murphy knew Goran frum wen thay wair both yunglads with leng shagge haircuts an tern trowsers with patches an greengress stains that seemd ta run deep inta tha flesh uv thair legs an hobble them like cattle at markit. An thair wair tymes wen tha ski wuz azurebloo an tha three uv them wood ley in tha tallgress in tha feelds neer tha rivar an stare like cheldrin inta tha shallows uv tha clouds. A tight creese ta her pants; a clowvature uv tha nee just beloo tha patella an alongside tha sharp cut uv her shinbone that seemd ta run parallell ta her ankle an tha scull uv her foot. Mi Lolita. Cettle hooves an tha stench uv rowting carrion uv those that wair tha last ta be slawterd. Enmass: tha blood arterial an stike; tha gress undarneeth yer feet scabbed and oile with it. I think uv such things wen I remember mi Lolita; I must, in tern, dismiss frum mi thots tha deepfeer that creeps up mi bakspine wen I rememberatall tha hungar uv that obseshun.

Tha appellyard an tha miste sweetness uv tha frewt. Tha nectar an treecal that enfolds in tha ripe orbs that hang like dedmen in tha scalderon uv tha merning sun. Tha unknowan rememberance that this culd, at best, be a fracshun uv tha frewt that each tree will bringforth an bare as a condishun uv thair vere beeing. Mi Lolita; mi berning luv. Mi thots r curreed with tha spice uv yer breath an tha dawnfreshness uv yer skin so simple an smooth. It wuz tha uthar one; tha one with tha smash an tha nedulls an tha freesystem an tha artform she like ta call a pert uv a higherplane uv conshussness. I need ta think uv ewe, mi Lolita, wen this mind uv mine fells prey ta tha refuse that takes me bak ta tha helluv it all agen. No nevr agen; no nevr. I remembar appell an ruebard crumble an werm creem an a dusting uv brewnsugar an tha wey tha creem puddled in tha bottum uv tha bowl an tha wey tha brewsugar crusted tha spoon so hande an round. I remembar tha look on mi mothar’s face wen I stoodup an announced that I was nevrnotevr cuming bak here fer anuthar yeer an thairabouts. That wuz anuthar tyme, anuthar place an anuthar werld awey.

I need ta purge miself filosophically. Thairs anuthar bloodstain on tha stairs leeding up ta Murphy and Mulli gain’s apartment; it is a smeer, uv serts, kindhave like a blush or tha trail left behind bi a sik animel. Tha little dug, as fer as I know, seems ta be oka; he’s still atit with tha bits and shreds uv food thay feed him with a panfull uv wetar an tha odd assertment uv biscuts an bacun rashuns, an tha like. He may, as a fect, not be quite as healthe as he cud perheps be, but at tha bottumleest he is alive and kicking and up ta wattevr it is that he duz on his lonesum wen Murphy and Mulli gain r out an aboout collecting sizes uv wood an cheking ta see if thair is ane mune ta be made frum cardboord an applepeels as an admixture tagethar or on thair own. Thank heevans fer God—as He shews us tha wey throo tha muk an mire uv this one werld an inta tha werm credal an tha cumforting blankits tha a muthar shrowds her luvones in wen its celd an bittar an tha ski is alittar uv greycluds an ye cannet see beyund tha fixdend uv yer nose. Not a foot or mure. Deerest God, in heevan abuv: blestd be thine neme. Admen. God blessd; ta tha hithar an thone an beck agin. Nevr beck too leng not ta ferget what it is we need ta fermint tha blessd frewt uv tha vine; nevrnomettar that sweet suger is God’s geft ta us all. Mudeed an wet; frum tha credle ta tha greve; frum tha womb inta tha bleck frost uv nite; febrail an week; between Duntsmure an Evansville; tha tinee hamlat whair Murphy an Mulli gain’s quaint cottagre traces tha woodsmoke frum a chimine or a cooksfire an those uthars sloughtared an fed inta tha blak maw uv tha furnass nevrmure ta be seen in this life nor tha next.

“I wonder where Goran is?” askd Murphy. “He was suppose to be here over an hour ago.” “Might have got beaten and robbed,” sayd Mulli gain. “We live in very precarious times.” “I’ve brought some apples for him,” sayd Apaleena. “There down in the bootroom in the back porch.” Humbert rayzed his hede from his chest and grumbled, “Wheres fucking dinner?” Mulli gain ran a splittoothd com throo his hair and shook tha contents onta tha wermwooded floor below his feet. Murphy smyled an sayd, “I suggest we wait until we hear from Goran before we settle down to dinner.” “We can’t wait all fucking night,” Mulli gain sayd. “He could be lost.” “He’s certainly not lost,” sayd Murphy. “He knows the country around here like the back of his hand.” “I’ll show you the back of my hand if you don’t shut up,” Mulli gain challengd, a knot tha size uv a goiter appeering on his nek just below his ademsapple. “I’ll go get the apples,” sayd Apaleena. “I won’t be but a minute.” “Fuck the apples,” rumbld Humbert. “We need real food; like ducks or chicken or a roast of pork.” “Apples go good with pork,” sayd Apaleena. “I’ll make a sauce,” she sayd, “a nice thick applesauce.” “I like it soupy,” Murphy sayd. “What?” sayd Mulli gain. “The applesauce—I prefer it a little on the soupy side.” “Fuck off,” intond Mulli gain, “or you won’t get any dinner at all.” “Supper, isn’t it?” askd Apaleena. “Dinner is in the evening, and supper is in the afternoon.” Humbert clenchd his teeth an breethd out throo his nose; a werm uv spittle an snought collecting in the perenium between his nostrells an upparlip contributing to an alreede feral an unkempt appeerance that lent Humbert an air uv hostilite an uneeseness that crimsond his face like a caffstongue on a saltlik.

No bifurkashun or menora, jest a straitline ta tha hart uv tha metter. Nonevaragen will we allow that ta heppan; notachence in hell uv that cuming up in a conversashun. Nevaragen. If Mulli gain and Murphy deside ta finish wat thay’ve sterted, than let ‘em at it: thairs no stopping them now. If Humbert sterts ta fish fer copparpennes in tha well upbehind tha low gate, than all tha best ta him. Bravo. Mores tha powar ta ya. In tha end thair will be notheng left but werds. Werds uv contradikshun. (contrishun).

Humbert pawsed an collektd his thouts, a roound brews stretching tha skin aroound his left eye and tuking inta tha cornar uv his nose like a curd uv bloocheese.”I think its time to get on with it,” he sayd. “On with what?” askd Murphy. “On with what it is we’re all here for; why I’ve come hundreds of miles to sit in the rich stench of this house.” Mulli gain cleerd his throat an set in tha briarleggd chair next ta tha pigbellied stove. Apaleena brushd an ant frum tha ball uv her knee and twistd her fingars inta a Persianknot. “I don’t want to loose the opportunity we have before us,” sayd Humbert. “We may never find ourselves in this position ever again. We may, as a matter of fact, never see another winter if we don’t act now—if we don’t get to that heart of the matter before our window of opportunity ceases to exist.” Mulli gain smyled an tapped a fingarnail agenst tha yellocorn that wair his teeth. “What window is that your talking about?” He askd. Humbert, vizable upset an on tha brink uv exhawstshun, poynted a gnarl an crooket fingar at Mulli gain and snapped, “The fucking window of opportunity.” “Ya, but what the hell is that?” askd Murphy. “Its not a real fucking window,” snarld Humbert; “it’s a simple metaphor for a chance that may never come again in a lifetime.” “In our lifetime?” askd Mulli gain. “Of course in our fucking lifetime.” “Then why not in another lifetime?” askd Murphy. “Because we are in this lifetime, not some other one.” “I see,” sayd Apaleena, brushing a dred uv hair awey frum her face. “In this lifetime—this one right now—we can expect a window to open up, right?” Sayd Mulli gain. “That is correct,” answerd Humbert. “In our lifetime.” “Was there an open window before in someone else’s lifetime?” askd Murphy. “Well of course there must have been,” answerd Humbert. “Of course,” sayd Apaleena. “Oh I see,”sayd Mulli gain. “ Theres got to be a number of windows…” “A whole fucking world-full of windows,” interuptd Murphy.” “so many windows that it would be impossible to count them or even conceive of them.” continewed Mulli gain. “I suppose,” sayd Apaleena. Humbert closd his eyes an took in a deep breeth. “There is only one window of opportunity,” he sayd. “And if we don’t get things started, there will never be another one in our lifetime.” “What does this window do?” askd Murphy. “It shows us the way,” answerd Humbert. “It simply shows us the way out of the fly bottle.” “You mean theres a window in a fly bottle?” sayd Murphy. “No, you idiot—theres no window in the fly bottle; that’s just another metaphor, nothing more.” “By the way,” Mulli gian, askd, “what brings you to our quaint little cottage?” “Don’t you remember?” askd Humbert. “I’m afraid I don’t,” sayd Mulli gain. “I’m here because you requested my expertise in helping you with a little problem,” Mulli gain ran his fengars throo a crest uv irongrey hair, and smyld. “Can’t say as I remember,” he sayd. “You most certainly will,” sayd Humbert, “after I explain my solution to your little problem, you most certainly will.” “Do you remember calling Humbert and asking him to come down here?” Mulli gain askd Murphy. “I’m not completely sure,” sayd Murphy. “Maybe it has something to do with long pieces of wood,” offerd Apaleena. “No not at all to do with wood—that wouldn’t be it,” Murphy sayd. “What about the dog?” asks Mulli gain. “Now there’s a real fucking problem.” Murphy raized his hede a stard herd at Mulli gain. “Now you leave the poor dog out of this,” he sayd. “He hasn’t done a thing—not a goddamn thing.” “Who’s dog is it anyhow?” askd Apaleena. “Its his,” sayd Mulli gain. “I don’t want a fucking thing to do with it—never did, from the start.” “Well its here and here’s where it’ll stay,” sayd Murphy defiantle. “On your side of the room,” sayd Mulli gain. “Keep the fucking thing on your side of the room, that’s all I ask.” Murphy clenchd his graitjaw an ran his tunge across tha beck uv his dentyours. “It’s settled,” sayd Murphy. “For now,” sayd Mulli gain.

Humbert opind an closed his eyes, rubbing tha grit an dert frum behind his eyelashes, which causd him ta sqwint. “Today will be the day,” he sayd gruffle. “Today is the day that we prepare for the worst. We will prepare ourselves for whatever may come—be that war or some transaction between indifferent but equally superior foes.” “You mean we’re in some kind of trouble?” askd Mulli gain. “Sure, we must be if he’s here,” sayd Murphy poynting at Humbert. “Why are you here?” Murphy askd, a look uv concentrashun crenolating his brow. “To stop them from taking over the entire valley and turning it into an amusement park,” sayd Humbert. “Now I remember,” Mulli gain sayd cawshusle. “An amusement park?” sayd Murphy. “That’s right,” Humbert added. “A fucking amusement park.”

Tha sum uv all things iszero. Tha sumuv all things is notzero. Watt is mey nevr be agen. Watt meynevr be agen is tha sum uv all things. Watt meynevr be agen is not tha sum uv all things. Adinfinitum. Arastawtal is mortel. All mortels r Arastawtal. Arastawtal is all mortels. In enaround a lake, mowtains cum outtatha ski. Thundar splitsopin an rends asundar tha merning ski. Clowds crash inta tha horizon an fell like angels frum onhigh. Orion cuts tha maw uv nite like a hornet’s stang ona febral brow. Mulli gain dences on fliteuvfoot whyal Murphy pleys tha comic fool. Nothing mettars anemoor. Rayvanblak an distence far, on amoonlite nite that paraids acress tha mourning ski like somuch angar on a bloodeed fist. Blessed be thi name. Thi Kingdum cum. Allwill be dune. On eerth as it is in heevan. Pleese don’t ferget me whain tha tyme will cum. I will be waiting as allgood men mey stand in tha brilleyeance uv yor blessedness. Its notcerainle wat ewe think it is, its sumthing far more intaresting; semthing that’l meke yer bloodboyal. I cuwd do a hamstend an bitemi lips an grind mi teeth an spitspittle allovar an abuv tha yellomud uv tha merning ski. I cowd pley with tha milke clowds an cast aspersians on tha thorne scab uv nite: blessd be thine name, for evar an evar. Aman. Onesolatare man with a shooshine grin an a penchant fer allthings chalkolate an creem. Malli gen an Marphy, two peas in a ped. Apalenna an Hombert, two faces in a crewd. Volataire, tha cunt. Descartes, tha fillthe bestard. Plato, tha unmenshunable old quween. Cunts tha lot uv ‘em. Brewsd plums. Palliate tha custerd sowl. Too yung ta suk on a milkplump teet. Muthar’s werning ta us all that we best be carefell wair we stik ower scabbe red cecks. Best be nothing ta ewe than ta screw tha cockhen with tha fireered ceckcomb. Goran poor bestard. Wife stiks gerds an pumkins an yello twoburs up between har scabberd legs an inta tha tightnest uv har woman’s plece. Too much moysture in tha thikuvit. A rite oldcunt with a twothless smile an a thankless heert. Its at tymes like this that a currantred blistar on akillee’s heel wood be a fer bit bettar than legs made uv timbar an feet sculled lik appalpeels. Man needsta welk ta keep tha sirculashun going. Humbert’s get thorns an whistles on tha bettum uv his feet; fer scrappen tha cowshite an sharpgress frum between his towes.

I’ve been having sum diffecultees with mi teeth lately. Thay hav begen to chenge color an hav been felling outta mi jawbone whair they hav been stuk fer tha lest fourte yeers without rhym or reeson. Mi predatore mastekaters wair tha ferst ta go: thay simple chenged thair posishun in mi moowth, bentdouble ovar inta tha penk skin uv mi gums, an subsequentle loosend an xtrected themselves frum mi jaw bones without mi knowing it. Thay fell out. Thay just retted an fell outa uv mi skull. Its tha ones left ovar that r now cawsing me tha mest truble. Thay seem ta bleed an milk an cutsharp inta tha soft tissu uv my mowth whair thay peel layars uv skin frum tha innerside uv mi cheeks lik old paynt. Its tha horrable thought that thay mite all fell out an leeve me with a mowthful a nuthing; a mowthful uv blud an puss—an than whatevr thair may be left uv tha hardchipt bone, thay’ll drell holes inta mi jawbones an screw in sum dentyours that’ll surely be mede frum tha seme stuff thay meke toylets outta. God hav marce on mi few remaning teeth. I thinc thay mite callit pieorea or sumthing lik that. Bleeding gums, that’s it: fucking bleeding gums, for the love uv God. Mi fucking gums r bleeding an tha smell cant be too wenderful itself; it must smell lik sumthing retting or an old peece uv meet that’s been layen arund too leng in tha beck uv tha refrigerator whair tha box uv bakensodas seppose ta be. I don’t even remembar if I had ane milkteeth. Keck in tha hede’ll do it jest fine. Knok whatevarsleft uv tha buggars otta mi mowth an be dune with it. Sille cunts get bettar teeth than I evar had. Beg white ones with even spaces an pink gums that seem ta jemp out at ya whenevar she smyles. Fucking sonuvabitch ken eat whatevar tha fuck she wents. An me; tha soare bestard that I am, not knowing what ta eat that’ll not endup blistaring mi fucking jawbone and gum skin an giving me a cankar or an absess. Fucking shitte situashun I’m in, not knowing whethar I’ll loose anuthar molar or a eyetooth whain I’m sleeping. Feck tha little ceckheded rewstar up between tha eyes with tha bigfat ceck uv yers. Mothar sayd, in deed she ded, that nuthing’ll evar go wreng with yer little peckar if ewe keep it in yer fucking pents. Forevar dencing aroound lik a crazeman thincing aboout given tha old heeveho ta a fucking rewstar or a checken fer Christ sake. This life jest doesn’t get ane bettar than that. Fucking cecksuking white teeth; jest her luck. An me with mi porcalin fucking dentyours that thay meke toylets otta stuk ta tha fucking roof uv mi mowth lik thertetwo angre men.

Culd hav Goran he wood hav left his wife an moved down inta tha vallee; tha ferthar awey frum har tha bettar. She wuz an angre cur with a fowlmowth and an attitude that shaimed Goran ta admet why wuz it that nevar had he evar marreed har in that furst place. An tha plentlife up har bum an tha twested fingars that wair constentle atplay at har breests and cunt witch wuz purpel an bloo like sumthing hung in a iceclosit. In tha greetar scope uv things it mighthav been a bettar thing that he hav har comitted an putawey in sum drefte clapboorded howse whair nersis an attendants took care uv har micturashuns an foodhabats an made cirtan that she breshed har teeth and comed har hair down tha shallow rivar uv har back. Now sumone he mite hav been a good match fer Apaleena with har cheere smyle an russettred cheeks whair she pleyd with tha cheldrin an swam in tha runningrivar bi tha clocksmith’s stabale an livare. A man is judgd bi tha manner in which he judges othars. A man is no judge if he hav not tha curage ta judge himself. Goran wuz one uv such men ta whom tha formar appleyes. He nevar once raized his voyce ta his wefe an wuz unaccustum ta lowd argumints that festard inta tha wee howars uv tha merning. He wuz a calm man; a man uv integrite an cumpashun.

A ligamint stewd in a curre sawce with musterd seed an unyon. A caf’s livar, freshle exsized, coated in semolina an braized on a hot grell untell tha jewse an blood coat tha buttom uv tha skillet like blakstrapmolassuss; a mixteur uv intestinell liqwid an allspice dressed with applesculls an parsalee. A puree uv it all not ta tha metter what tha fuck yer upta whain ewe wair a childrin with a smyle like tha devell an bluntcut hair that touchd tha nob uv bone on that tep ov yer showlder whair tha sun yewsd ta bern mahogane inta tha heet uv yer skin. I am a gourmond; a tastar uv poltre; a rarebit uv tooasted breed with bacunfat and selt. Fer God sakes man, cum beck ta yer senses! Nonevar evar agen. Fucking Goran’s wife with har drigrass hair an a look uv absolute contentmint on har pigsnout. That fucking dug with tha ungodful reek an creel uv spoyld fish and capars in tha foam uv it’s mowth. Mulli gain: fucked. Murphy: fucked. Apaleena: on tha wey ta beeing fucked. Humbert: toofucking shert ta be fucked. Goran; fucked if he knows. Fintan: yet ta be fucked. Hes cuming soon; trest me.

Fintan wuz a enigma: he wuz seventy-four yeers-old, an as tall as a tree. He could bend a steelspike in haf, an eat a mowthfell uv beas like a handfell uv yellocern. He had a scarifacashun on his forehed stretching down ovar th curve uv his eyebrow and aleng his cheek thain acress ta his lip whair it fermed sumthing closele resembling a cleftpalate. He had his name branded on his showlder, an a tatoo uv a Philipino whore on tha greetmass uv his forearm. He wuz a man ta be reckond with; net sumone ewe’d want ta pissoff or get on his bad side. He could be a naste sonuvabitch whain he wanted ta. Fintan wuz origenalle frum up nerth beyond tha treeline and inta tha rockescree uv tha glacier whair silvarchar an salmon swamfrozin in tha quik currant uv tha rivars that gentle brewsed tha landscape. He used ta tell peeple that thair wair no trees left up on tha mowntain becawse he had cut them alldown yeers ago, before ye wair evar reele bern. Fintan, thay all knew, wuz due beck down tha mowtain sumtime soon; perhaps befor tha next snow fell which usualle keept him bivowacked up in the shert brush neer tha mowth uv a cave whair at one time, so he wuz teld, lay an old Indian berrial site. He dug up what evar he could uv thair remains—frectured skulls an misshappin legbones and broken teeth that just seemd ta cutcrooked in that hardbone uv tha jaw. He dug evare lest one uv them up, an bureed them sumwhair else, fer religeous reesons he hadnt that payshens or whairwithall ta remembar or reele caremuch aboout.

An he had ubsessive thouts that plagued his evareday life. He wood cownt tha nembar uv twigs on a specific tree brench ovar an ovar agen untell he felt rite with himself, untell the dark thouts of death an humiliashun had temporarile abandond him; and he wood tri ta memorize mathethical preblems an ta remembar dates and touch invisable peeces uv dert an tha dert floor, uv all things, until tha scabs on his hands and fingars bled an he lest his fingarprents that wair wornthin due to xcessive, compulsuve touching and retouching ovar an ovar agen and he wood cri and wail inta tha blakcunt uv nite and prey ta tha God uv his understending ta take awey tha torment an payn.

That he an Humbert had onle met once, when Mulli gain and Murphy had tha big gettogethar on thair properte tha summar past when Humber ate tha whitecoils uv tha cews tail an then pessed out in tha cerncrib, wuz a mystare in itself; one wood hav thout that thay wood hav crossd peths at leest once befor in thair live’s, but sech wuz not tha case. Both men livd soletare lives; one abuve tha treeline, tha uthar in tha derk woods that sirownded tha halfwey up poynt uv tha mowtain whair tha snowsfell ten foot deep an tha brunches uv tha trees wair heeve with ice an strung tight as a bow, tha tenshun pelling tha roots rite outuv tha ground in some pleces, an in uthatrs, bending an striating tha forest floor with needles an cones.

Fintan wuz knowen ta eat greet roounds uv colleflowar an stawks uv sellre an pellgreen brusellsprouwts that wair steemdin pernod an unyon skins. He culd eat mure than tha avrage man an oftin wood wen he had tha noshun to on those okashuns wen tha ski wuz blowted with yelloclowds an tha merning sun wuz like a bell on fire an his stumak wuz grembling an tha soles uv his feet wair callusd an red frum nocternal remblings that sent him deeper inta tha closure uv nite. Watt closure uv nite? Watt awedacite. Watt an impertinent fool. God luv’em, cawse no one else curtainle will. An Fintan: a men uv seventee sum with roughbark hends an an appetite that wood frighten tha most xtrordinare culinare abilite. An at seventee sum he culd run his hend thro an iceceld streem an leeve it thair for all must an hower without one bit uv payn rigamortising his fingars an nukles. Tha man wuz a men amung men: an fine example uv brewtstrength an longjevite.

Har hends wair scallopt an raw frum pluking at tha hem uv har dress an rubbing tha tips uv har fingars agenst tha bark uv a tree that she had okashun ta sit undar on het deys. She war softsoled shoos with thin laces an rubbar balls aroound tha ankal. She hed a flowar tuked in tha cleft uv har ear an a longred scar that ran frum tha middal uv har forehede aleng har cheekbone an acress tha softtissu uv har lips an ended in a cerl at tha bottum uv har chin. She didn’t know Apaleena or Mulli gain or Murphy or Humbert or Goran or Fintan. Thay wair yet ta ferm images in har hede. She hed runawey frum a fostar home in tha cite and wuz werking harself acress cuntre ta wiar she hed heerd thair wuz steade werk at a flowarmill that hiard yunggerls lik harself. Watts in tha breed uv tha bone? Watt happans wen watts breed in tha bone becums breed in tha sistum? Poor littal gerl with no plece ta go and noone ta teke care uv har. Noone ta telk ta an noone ta breeth besede in a fethar bed with an ermjoynt fer a pillo. Culd it be tha sistum itself, or culd it be watt remens uv tha sistum? This filosofical sistum that nevar seems ta muve beyund tha present. It’s a pedagogue, or sew I’ve heerd. Thair is no end ta tha sistum; onle a begening an middal an a helfwey throotha middal, an sewferth. Per littal gerl with tha sinamun hair an those greeneyes uv hars tha seem ta see rite throoya an beyond inta tha fewture. She needs a neme. Watt shell we call har? Whom shell she be? Watt shell she be? Watt shell she represent? Whi is she here? Whi net sumwair else? But hare; at this momint? That lowse basterd: how dare he seppose ta represent tha sistum. Hes a cowherd; a fecking cowherd if Ive evarseenone. No merals. No unnerstending; he thinks tha sistum is outsede tha sistum. He dusent seem ta realize that tha sistum, in itself, is nevar pert uv tha sistum: it exests indepedant uv thair beeing a sistum at all. Thair is no filosofe; onle a sistum that pretends ta be a filosophe uv life. Adinfinitum. An tha God uv mi understending will wipe awey tha teers frum mi eys an kess me gentale on tha top uv tha hede. God luv us: evare lest one uv us. Remembar: thair r no answers, onle qwestyuns. Feck it!

Har neme is Sera. She livd with har adoptive parants fer fourteen yeers before she left home far good an went on har wey inta tha bigwide werld. She is a virjan: she wuz raped at twelve bi a femli friend who culdnt finish off watt he hed sterted because he was wreng in tha hede an an impodent fool. Har fathar cut tha man’s throoat with a scyth an watchd as he bled ta deeth in a pool uv his own exremant an blood. Tell gress grew in tha feeld ahind tha cottage whair she ust ta pley with a mange old dug with fleabitten fer an crisscrossed blak eyes that alweys seemd ta be watere with yello pus. She wood chase tha dog aroound tha feelds an pull at its tell an grab it bi its tern an flappe ears an smyle an seng an do things that yung gerls do on werm summar deys.

Sera has nobede; she had cum ta tha cottagere uv tha Village uv Duntsmure with nuthang mure than a leathar sachal fell uv cloths and a cloth beg whair she keept all har pikteurs an books. Sera wuz a virashuss readar; shed read Plato an Dickens, an Schopenhauer an Beckett; she hed streggled har wey throo Joyce an Woolf, an fownd cumfert in tha werds uv Pope an Eliot. She had read tha Koran an tha Bible, an tha Tibetan Book uv tha dede in which she descovared har muse an tha meening uv tha lifeaftar. Sera had a notebook whair she jotted down har thots an har feelings abowt life in general; whair she coded har memores an scribbald little poems ta harself. Sera wuz fer tha most part selfedukated: she hed leernd how ta read frum har fostarmuthar an how ta write frum har fostarfathar; she hed qwickle pikedup tha basiks uv geomatre an had read a histere uv Irelend one coldnite in tha meddle uv Februare wen shed cum down with a cold an culdnt go outside fer feer uv catching pnemonia. Sera beleeved that tha werld fer tha mustpart wuz good, an that thair wair no mesteries or ungivans an that a good deed nevar deserved a pat in tha bak an that if ewe lookd herdenuff, youd fell in luv an hav a famile an raise cheldran an liv a heppe uncomplikated life. Humbert wood chenge all that; he wood reedukate Sera, an teetch har how ta teke holduv tha werld an sqweeze outuv it watt evar ewe sodesired. He wood shew har how ta cheet men outuv thair lifesavings an how ta humiliate anuthar weman with a semple wink uv har eye. Sera wood becum fer Humbert tha cumpanyun that hed alweys desired. She wood warship him an tend ta his evare need; she wood wersh his cleths an prepare his meels; she wood lowar herself ta his leval evare nite an suck his leethare ceck until he ejackulated inta tha soft werm pulp uv har mowth as teers ran down tha ruff topografe uv har face an she fell asleep with tha offal taste uv him at tha beck uv har throat.

Murphy fownd a horsis hede in the bruwn rivar that ran across tha beck of thair properte whair a juneiparberre hedge clung ta lif amidst tha rock an dirt an a stend uv poplars cutcrucked an ran paralell ta tha rivar. Tha frunthede wuz crushd in at tha temoral lobe an a tangle uv seeweed crept out frum between a fizzure in tha gray skullbone that met up with tha eyesockets. Thair wair a nest uv eels crevassed in tha nostrilholes an a green gelatinus lump in tha vallt uv tha mowth. Whair tha teeth met with tha jaw a whileenamel bonespur connectd with tha hinge undar tha ear pessages whair anuthar eel had fownd a purchase. Murphy had heerd that fisharmen oftin used horsis hedes to cetch eels in tha wetar sirounding tha opinfeelds. He had alsew seen a man with a longthin nife cut throo tha muscle an tenduns uv a horsis leg an hobbled it on tha spot. Tha horse wuz than broken ta tha grownd an lay thair in a puddal uv its own blood. He had heerd that tha horse wuz too old ta do ane farmwerk an wuz put down as a conseqwence uv that; an that wen a horse wuz put down, tha fermar alweys cut its hede off an sold it ta a fisharman that livd in a cettage neer tha brownrivar.

In as muchas I kno, I kno vary littal. I kno what dey it is, what hower it is, rite this minate; I kno that wen mi fingars step tutching tha keyboord tha werds will intern step: thay will becum as of nothing evar wuz thair befor or aftar. Them. Nothing wattsoevar: now I know watt is tha sistum an wattis net tha sistum: nothing is reel, evarthing is conjecteur; evarything is makebeleeve; that wich we thout wuz in realite, is, in actual thout, thout ta be a reprasentashun uv sumthing else, sumthing outsede tha cercal; it is this than that: it is tha begeening an tha ending, uv it all; uv whatevar it is, it is certainle not this. Atall.

Murphy an Mulli gain; Humbert an Apaleena; Goran an his fecking sellfish wife; Fintan an Sera: All in all abowt ta becum, in thair ownweys, sumthing greetar than thair perts: thay will, we mey suppose, transubstant entill thay all uv them all mographi inta sumthing othar than thay r: sumthing far deepar an fer widescoped than we culd evar imagine. It is tha sumuv tha perts uv tha whole, that reele becums tha thinginitself; tha thinginitself, initself, is tha onething that exists independantle uv thair beeing a sistum uv things atall inthemselves. Adinfinitum. God welling. Amen. Amatrampoline: nuthan bettar than a littal bituv tha amatrampoline; now an agen. Wattsoevar mey that be, in advance uv itall, ewe mite nevar fendout. It well evade ewe; keep ewe on tha qt; nuthang agen aftar poor Werther’s sewicide will seem tha seme; evre thing will be chenged, fer tha bettar, we hope. Goethe nevar reele knew watt he wuz getting himself inta when he created poor Werther: gunup agenst tha sideuv tha hede; one, two, three: its ovar, fer tha bettar, fer tha bettar uv poorpoor Werther. Nota one ta luv; nota theng ta feel luv abowt; all a lone withyer thouts, a lendscape gowged frum tha eerth with tha expectashun that whateverso mey happen, itall happen ta sumone else, God welling. Not asmuch ta remembar wen yer hedes been shorn off. No one uv a lot uv thengs ewe ken do wen tha bottum fells out an ewe’re browt beck ta tha semplisite uv tha theng: tha uttar genious uv itall. In tha end, thair alweys must be a beggineng: sumthang frumwich ta gage whair ewe’re going an whair ewe’ve been; a signpost, uv serts, that shews ewe tha wey out an tha wey inta tha wholemess uv it all, not withstending poor Werther: hedeless an chilld frum tha cold. Goethe wuz a bestard wen he wented ta be; gave poor Schopenhauer a herd tyme uv it; mede ‘em fell lik thair wuz a miscuncepshun uv his talents an that he wuz, in actuwel fect, a fone. A fecking thum intha eye fer tha bestard, a fecking thumta tha eye, fer tha luv uv God. Not sowell versed in tha pequlearities uv tha whole theng; not much in tyme with tha beet uv tha greetar heert, tha one theng that keeps us all going an sold ta tha momint, uv itall. Absense mekes tha heert gro fondar. Inbetween itall, thairs a plan; a plen ta meke itall mureuv it all than we at ferst thout pessible. Nonsince: hyparboil; pedagogue; wattsoevar wattmay cum uv itall. In tha end, agen: in tha end, agen. In tha end uv itall thair will surle be a new begenning uv itall. Sotospeakuvitall. I’m terd uv meking xqueses fer ewe: its tyme ewe stoodup an took it lik a reel parson, not sum outuvtha centure frawd with a penchant fer dollops an tripe. Not nonevar agen. We cant go aneferthar with this noshun, this idea: we’ve got ta get on boord, we’ve got ta fend ower wey outa this fuckeng mess.

Wen ewe thinc aboout it, using a horsis hede, a decapitated hede, shorn frum its pulpit an strung up in a toolshed whair it ripens and ages immaterialle, ewe’d thinc thair wuz sumthing unfitting aboout it all: all this trawma; all this behedeing an decapitashun. An tha fisharmen with his streng and tyine; harnassing up tha horsis hede inordar to throw in inta tha brown streem an sniggle fer eels. It all sownds prette horrable an grewsum. An watt aboout Sera an har delugashuns: tha milke spurm and whey an har tine littal lips crackt and bleeding. Watt aboout har? Humbert’s bucklegged drawl an tha pikture uv his muthar in tha pokit uv his flaxin trowsars an the wey she treeted him fer things dune rong an him alweys getting tha strep, tha leethar strep, smaked herd agenst his beck. Who reele cares aboout Humbert? No one: nevaraoneortha othar. Murphy and Mulli gain kno a defferent Humber, one shrowded in misstere an intreege; a parson with majical hends an clubbowed feet. An his briarstik an reume eyes, an tha wey he looks ewe striat in tha face wen hes addressing ewe; that wey aboout ham that steys with ewe like an aftarimage or a cartwheel.

Goran’s get ta getawey frum that ugle cur uv hes: shas nuthing but a liabillite; a fine xample uv a woman with outane redeeming qwualitees atall. Nonwattsoevar. Goran deserves a bettar line uv woman, one that dusent stik flora uphar cunt; one that has a parsonalite an knos hew ta treet a man propar. Apaleena. Sha wood be a good match fer Goran tha onle prublem beeing sha stiks plums in har vagina an has a fondness fer frewts an berries. Maybe not such a good match; cum ta thincuvit. Not a geed match atall. Tha fishmongar’s wife put nettals in har hair. Tha feshmongar’s wefe pet nettalls in har hair an wrept dulce aroound har nek an sang lowd an skreetchengle inta tha still merning ski while har husbend, tha fishmongar, mongard fesh an smoked brown cigars that he lit frum a sprigoffa lental bush that thrived in that particular climate. Goran knew that fishmongar becawse he oftin came inta his bookshop an purchased volumes on marinelife an plents. He wuz evan known ta leef throo pikture books an caladars frum yeers past an wipe tha bell uv his nowse with a chekard hendkarcheef that he kept hidden awey in a poket in has trowserpants fer just such purposes. Goran likd tha oldfishmongar an wood help hem chowse books uv intrest that Goran thout tha fishmongar wood enjoy an lent him magazeens an postcards that had been sent ta Goran frum places neer an far. Tha feshmongar fanceed himself sunwatt uv a geografer, an wood pour ovar oldmaps an nawtical charts that Goran kept xspecialle fer such geografers an those with inclinashuns ta be one sum dey. Goran’s wife nevar met tha fishmongar or his wife becawse she wuz buse shuveng things inta har woma’splece an eeting chowkolate an strewbarries that made har scarlat an pale. An wen she fownd har husbend trying ta teke a littal nap or enjoy an a momint ta himself, she wood accuse him uv beeing a nogood lazebastard an stemp har feet in contempt. Goran had learnd with tyme that he culdnt xpect ta cheng his wife’s demeanor an culd onle hope fer momints uv peece an solatude inbetween tha beckering an cumplaning that his wife wuz prone to adjure. Apaleena wood cirtanle have been a good match fer Goran if onle sha culd put a stop ta tha plums an maybe sumtymes warsh har hair an fix har face. In a werld such as owars, we cannot hope fer much more.

Humbert cleerd his throoat an opined, “If we can all get together on this and stand tall and strong as a army should in times such as these, we can defend what’s rightfully ours and live a long and pleasant life.” Apaleena lookd askew at Humbert an smyled. “But we’re not an army,” she sayd. “How can we be an army” askd Murphy, “if we don’t have any guns?” Humbert closed his eyes an tuk in a deep pull uv air. “We don’t necessarily need guns, we can use our noggins and beat them at their own game.” “Whats a noggin?” askd Apaleena. “That’s what’s in your head,” sayd Murphy. “Its what makes you think and understand things.” “Isn’t that the brain?” sayd Mulli gain. “Well the brain is part of the noggin I suppose,” answerd Murphy. “That and the hypothalamus,” sayd Apaleena. Humbert lookd directle at Apaleena an let his jaw fell ta his chest. “How in the hell do you know what a hypothalamus is?” Apaleena knit har hends tagethar inta a persian rug an sayd,”I guess I learned about it in school.” Mulli gian, buse rearrenging tha feld in his trowsers, lit up a cigarend an spet on tha floor infrunt uv him next ta tha dug who acted lik nuthing outuv tha ordinare had occurd. “I know what it is we should do,” sayd Murphy. “We should kill all their cattle and burn down all their barns.” “What cattle?” askd Mulli gain. “They don’t have any cattle, for God’s sake, their carnival people, not cattle ranchers.” “Supposing they do have barns, where they keep the hay that they feed to that cattle, we can burn them down to the ground and be done with it.” sayd Murphy, peshing out hes chest in defiance uv Mulli gain. “You are absolutely screwed up,” sayd Apaleena. “They don’t keep cattle at carnivals, they keep horses and tigers and those tiny ponies with the long yello manes, and…” Humbert cut har off an tried ta teke cuntrowl uv tha coversashun. “Enough,” he bellowd. “That’s enough of this crazy talk.” “Yea, fuck the cattle anyhow,” sayd Mulli gain. “We can go and burn something else down instead.”

Ive thout uv kelling har on newmerus okashuns, eech one mure strenge and horriffec than tha one praceeding it. If its luv that ewe went, thas aint tha plece ta fend it: thair isnt anethang here mure than a fowlmowth an a sere aresbuttum; nuthang thatll meke ewe strengar or gave ewe a sense uv purpuss. Notatall uv aneuvit. Notaone. Uvitall. Ewe unnarstend? Bullocks: ewell nevar unnarstend. It mekes toodamnmuch sense ta be that eese; too much feckingsenseof it all. God luv us: God Luv us. Scrabbing fer tha momint: lest in tha cunt uvitall. Nonota one knos watts heppaning; nevarnotaoneatall. Sha sayd ta me that sha thout eye wuz deffarent than tha uthars, that eye hed sumthing speshall innasede uv me. Sha sayd that eye’d kno wen eyed fend it, becawse it wood meke mi heertsing an mi braens hert likehell. Sha did, at that. That’s watt sha sayd, that tyme, ta me. An I thout uv Sera an that bestard Hambert stecking his fecking ceck inna har mowth an tha fecking nonsense an inhewmanite uv itall. I jest figurd that sha’d kell harself with an ovardose or a derteneedall; that sha’d suckum ta tha deeth uv itall, an fine harself lest in a werld uv hate an angar. I thout abowt kellin har with mi hends an leeve har in a sak sumwairs in a creckhowse or a sheetinggallare. I thout how eye cud dispose uv tha botte an gettawey with itall: jest make a cleen gettawey an be dune with it. True: I luvd har, but this wuz defferant; I culdnt stend wetching har slowle kell harself, it wuz too paynfell ta wetch. I felt that if eye culd jest speedup tha prosess, sha culd die with sum dignate; atleest, so I thout. Thas moretall coyull: untell deeth do we pert. Sallashuss: fecking sallashuss sinovabetch. That fecking Humbert an hes fillthe mine; like a fecking derte preechar telling unto tha flock that this an that shall be dune, adinfinitum, untell deeth do we pert. Sonuvabetch. An whores fer them all, evare lest oneuv ‘em. Up innatween tha legs an mind ewe dunt puncture tha fecking orgin; grinding out tha musik that Wagner wood heve likd; I supposs. Felltha bestard; cecksukar, ewe r: a fecking cunt with tha best uv ‘em. Dunt look at me that wey, Ill kell ewe, ewe bastard, Ill pet an end ta yer fecking life. An a moocow cam dune tha rooad; a moo moo cew cum dune tha rune. Littall bebe tuktuk, seckling on hes muthar’s teat: milk sweetar than treecal an whitar than snew. Mulli gain an Murphy; an tha lottathem: too stepid tha get tha joke, too nervus an feckedup ta unnarstend tha mootpoynt uvutall. Catcha speedo an junk has needull. Too much of itall: tha happanstence an tha wey tha corawtik nerve an tha fecking nek stend agenst tha junctuer uv whatitscalld. Tha fecking horrir uvitall.

I thinc I mite be otistick; I inhabit two divergant realitees that cennot cum inta contect with oneanuthar. If thay did, tha results wood be catastrofic; ta say tha leest. I once thout thet mi Lolita mite hav been envolvd with a lothario that I sepposd I mite hav known sumyeers ago. Sha wuz in a jam with tha brownstuff that usdta cumbiwey uv tha harbore next ta tha tellbilldeng wair I drank cawfee an smowk hendtaylord cigareets with I guy namd Deacon who alweys wore a yello jecket an a blue scarf. Crakcocane wuznt aroound yet an watt thair wuz uv steff wuz herd an defficult ta digest wen tha smowk sterts ta bernyor eyes an scald yer chin an meke yor rms go pallseed an lemp. Wuznt wen I reele wuz in a goodframe uv mend miself beck wen allthat shit happind an sha fell threw tha cracks in tha sisstum.

Is that whut I meent? I dunno fer sure; that’s it; not fer sirtin. Tha fecking sisstum eats ewe aliv, than spets ewe out lik somuch: xpecktorates ewe: rids itsalf uv tha inconveniece uv itall, uv haven ewe in its Jonasbelle. Cacksecker. Reedeng Goethe an listeneng ta Joey Ramone; cant get anebettar. Sera entars tha sisstum, an gets swallowd bi that feckHambert; littal known fect that hill get his cumuptance, soonar or latar. God werks in misstearius weys. An anuthar cuntblaknite in tha melkewey.

Humbert slidawey frum that well an sat on tha wikar chare next ta tha shavenmirror wair Mulli gain hed left a usd razor on tha ledge bi tha fawsit. Tha sink wuz milke with wetar an shavencreem an lettal skins uv hair flowteng on tha sirfass lik drownengmen. Apaleena wuz buse rearrengeng tha seem uv har dress an makeng a suckeng sownds with har tongue agenst tha roof uv har mowth. Murphy set qwietle in hes chair an fiddald arownd with a teer in tha leg uv his trowsars that hed started ta unreval an lookd mure like an Arib rug than a pare uv pents alltogethar. An unyun peel ley curldup on tha makintoshfloorbooards sumwair in tha vacinite uv Mulli gain’s gratebooted foot that he wuz tappeng nervusle agenst tha woodseemd an joynd floor that wuz in need uv a goodscrubeng anmure. Humbert spoke: “Never mind what you think I said, try and concentrate on what I actually said and perhaps then we can get on with what it is we are suppose to be doing here.” Humbert cleerd his throwt an pushd his thum agenst the bredge uv his nowse an sneezd with such greetvelocite that his eyes snappd shut frum tha pressyour builtup in his sinusesholes.

Im net xactle sure wethar Kaspar wuz bern in a howse or a librare. Tha plane mattar uv tha fect is that he musthave been bern sumwair, the reesun beeing becawse aneone hast ta cum frem sumwair, that’s a fect; I seppose. Humbert hadnt tha slitest noshun wair he wuz frum, an net nowing mayde it defficult fer him ta cumminicate with persuns uv a defferent geografe. Hadnt tha noshun; he dident. Kaspar wood hav nown wair he wuz bern frum if he hadnt lust hes berthsirtifficate. He, Kaspar, hed ta leern how ta welk all ovar agen aftar hed spent fifteen yeers neeleng down bent ovar in a mudfloor besment sumwair in tha outlayen areas here anabowt. Hes beck wuz bowd an tha tenduns in hes nek wair notted an bunchdup inta a goyterus mass that sat on tha bones uv hes showldars lik a xtra hede. Tha dae them fownd him, aftar hes parints hed movd awey sumwair defferent, his eyes wair glasse an thair wuz woodburls an shavens in tha tangld nest uv hair. So it goes, that ferst theng he sayd, apon beeing descovard wuz, “Tha horror, the horror. Kaspar livd in a chantecottege down arownd tha heethar an dale behend Mulli gain an Murphy’s properte wair a bullcow wuz once ridden bi a man with blak wiskars an a strawhat met hes deeth frum beeing tooclose ta tha wreng end uv tha bell an that bullcew, not noweng ane bettar, rend off inta tha pesture wair it it wuz killd bi two fellars with shutguns an butchard on tha spot that has ferevar sence been calld tha bullcewsbloodeedmess. Mure abowt Kaspar lateare

Humbert, haveng cleerd hes throwt an rubbd tha swet frum his brew with a redselk handkercheef, spoke in a lowmonatone voyce that seemd ta cum outta tha middal uv hes chest sumwair. “Not ever again—I say! This is the one good opportunity we have to leave a mark on this world. And by God, I mean to do it, come hell or high water.” Murphy flenchd an sayd, “Theres no high water in hell, I suppose.” “That’s a fucking metaphor,” retortd Humberts. “A what?” askd Apaleena. “A metaphor: something that isn’t the same as something but like it by virtue that it gives another definition of it with another word.” Apaleena flickd an ant off tha ball uv har nee and smyled teethsumle. “Is a kite a metaphor for a bird?” she sayd, har eyes glettereng with pryde. “Maybe.” Sayd Murphy. “Could very well be, I suppose.” At that Humbert clappt hes hendstagethar a poynted a clawd fengar at Murphy. “You don’t know a God damn thing about anything,” He sayd. “I suppose,” sayd Murphy. “You suppose?” sayd Humbert. “You suppose what?” Murphy sheffled hes feet acrisscross tha floorboards an smyld. “I suppose that in hell, real hell, where the devil lives, that there can’t possibly be any water, or, for that fact, high water—what ever that may be—because I read somewhere that hell is actually frozen over and cold as hell.” Mulli gain lookd owt tha wendo an sayd, “Goran must have got lost—you’d think he’d be here by now.” Apaleena drew a hend acress har forehed, lik a femfatale, an breethd owt deeple. “Maybe,” sha sayd. “I suppose,” sayd Murphy, sneekeng a look ovar at Humbert who was buse shakeng an ant off tha toe uv hes boot.

I same enabled ta meke mech sence uv it all, as it is, presantle. Tha wey thengs r, at tha momint, thair seems ta be sumkinduv obstrucshun that keeps me frum moveng in one derecshun fer mure than a minate at a teme. Beyond that, I dunt reele kno: at all, at leest that’s hew thengs appeer ta be in tha habet uv ocureng now in tha greetar scowpe uv thengs. Atleest, ta tha best uv mi nallage. Ewe ken xpect, hewevar, that tha wey thengs r goeng ritenow, thengs wunt gat mech bettar befour thay get werse. Atleest that’s tha wey I see it happeng; fer tha tyme beeing; atleest. All that uthar shet ewe’ve been subjactad ta reed, so fer, is reele nuthang mure than an palltree xcuse fer haveng nuthang impertant ta say: at all. I kant seem ta muve in aneuthar derecshun than tha one Im presintle moven in: that’s tha wey thengs stend, rite new. Mi feckeng hede is tite and werm, almust lik a fyre is berneng in thair—or, fer that mettar, a fackeng Dantean enfurno, atleest that’s hew it feels. Presintle; uvall thengs. God rest mi weere sowl.

Allamentarecannel: whatevarelse mabe! Step, ewe bestard;step. Awey frum thas mess we mest fli—lik a duve in tha merneng brite. Adenfanightum blessd God. Bebe tuktuk; bebe tuktuk: milke werm an pleessureng. Rejoyce: Stephen’s Deadatlast. Suffar foowls lightle: seffer, bestard:seffar. Atlest fer a momint new—jest leng enuffta let tha graymettar spell outa yer hede. Is all I went—fer new. Thetsall. Fer tha tymebeeing.

Bebetuktuk: a leng anwendeng rowd; throo tha hithar an thon: Fer tha luv uv God, get onwithit. Goran eets tha prickles between hes wives tows. He sups on tha barnacles that hav fermd on tha cerns uv har feet. Lik a lettal cheld, he suks tha honee frum tha marroo uv tha bone. Inmomint, allwell be dune: on eerth: as it es in heevan: allmen. Goran’s waif mestikates on tha spoyld unyonfat tha sirrownds har splettenglips. Sha kesses Goran’s mowth an swallews tha spet frum has tonge; then drenks uv tha nektar that mends tha evelsmell uv: bacunrind an boyld cabbege with errowroot biscuts an mermallade compote that slendars tha fet rite outa uv ya. Allatonce.

Humbert lookd derectle at Apaleena an frewnd, tha cornars uv hes mowth slack an bittar, raized brouwn wiar tha turtalfat an tabaco jewce staind tha flash arund has chin; teethyello an strukunevan in tha dorm uv hes mowth. Ewe culd see tha postyour in has beck; tha wey it bowd evarso carefelle fetting ta tha mowld uv tha chare he set in. Murphy: God luv Murphy. Murphy was busee tryeng ta cunvence tha dug ta cum out frum behend tha stove wair it hed been hideng: notheng uv littal emport wuz suggestd as the dog wuz tempramental an prown ta fets uv indigestshun. Humbert’s nowse cut the plane uv hes face lik a whayle surfaceng in celd watar.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz