AN: Prose for my poem. Probably the result of reading too much of Café Irreal and getting too little sleep.
He stands at the doorway of the shop.
A quick, definitive sentence for a quick, definitive action. A lie.
He trembles at the doorway of the shop. He quakes. He shivers. He screams. He melts.
“I never read his books, you know,” Anne the shop-attendant says, with a lazy smile. “They’re just postmodern garbage, you know. Pastiche and fragmentation. Yeah right. Just laziness, if you ask me.”
His fingers are clenched around the thin banner so tightly that his fingernails punch through the plastic. In all the world, that he is sure of. The Newton’s Laws physics-student sureness of action and reaction, tips of fingers pressing down and white material resisting. The edges of the words raised slightly; he can make out the phrase without looking down.
grand opening! with a gaping hole like a mouth right through the o.
“Will you autograph this for me, sir? I love your work. I’m a gynaecologist. Rita. Had three babies named after me, you know. Oh, wow, but I sure do love your book. It means so much to me.”
“I’m sorry,” he says, scribbling I am a cheat and then signing his name. “I’m sorry, Rita. I’m sorry about my cheap con that tricks you into breaking life up into chapters, but I’m not the only one who’s fooled you. When bad things happen in real life there’s no warning music and it’s so much fucking harder to know when you’re in love when the cheesy classical doesn’t get cued. Though I’ve fooled you worse than that. You think the problem with life is there’s no background music, do you? The problem with life is there’s no punctuation, just an endless chaotic tumble of words without the pause, the coma of a comma.”
She backs away, almost dropping her book.
“He’s obviously gone insane,” Anne says, brushing dust from the cover of Heart of Darkness with a yellow felt cloth.
Her colleague nods. “Quite obviously,” he agrees.
“I’m sorry,” he says, grabbing hold of a man. Mid-thirties, an athletic build gone to rot with fading red hair. “Oh God, I’m so sorry. I really like your red shirt, you know. Do you think that makes you dangerous, provocative? Do you represent my pent-up anger, all my frustrations? What does it symbolise, do you think? Oh come on, don’t be shy--,”
“Don’t be stupid, mister.”
He lets go with a grin. “Exactly,” he says.