Her face is bright white later on and he collapses on the floor. He collapses on the floor but maybe 15 minutes prior to this he whispers, the mad man to the priest:
“I’m just recording how abstract everything seems, you walking across the room, you talking to me. Her dancing. Her dancing with her.”
I do not see him fall off the chair but I am assured it happens. I am dressed as a bat. I am dressed as a bat. She is dressed as something from popular culture that I do not recognise. She has had an allergic reaction. She has had an allergic reaction to the body paint she is wearing. She has also had an allergic reaction to alcohol. In approximately 5 minutes she will say this:
“The thing is you’re the only person I can sleep with.”
No one will know what she means. No one will know what anyone means, really. We talk like kids’ swap stuffed toys.
I look into your room to see if you are dead.
You aren’t dead.
We don’t talk.
You sink into the sofa.
One day it swallows you. I never know this. There is a slight disparity, the threads have all shifted slightly. Having never experienced someone disappearing into a sofa, I don’t know what to do. I have delicious oven baked pizza. I sit on the sofa.
We walk into a church hall. It has been clad in foam tiles and plasterboard. Someone is playing the piano and a little later on 3 girls sing. The moon is switched on and off on a whim. It is quite possible this is the future, and sofas swallow people. We indulge in a 3-course meal. The first course is some sort of root vegetable that has been abused. At the end of the first course people come and pick up the bowls. They move each bowl along one place in a clockwise rotation by walking it around the room in an anti-clockwise rotation. The vibrations caused by this journey heal any wounds caused. The room is poorly lit so most of us are beautiful, in a soft focus sort of way.
He feeds him red wine by the spoonful. He feeds him red wine from a mug by the teaspoonful. He spills red wine upon his leg. He spills wine on his upper thigh and he goes to fetch salt. He fetches the salt in a small disposable cup. He scrubs his upper thigh.
“This is the most physical contact I’ve had for a while.”
“I’m very sorry about this.”
About two weeks ago he, without red wine upon his leg, is told in beautiful broken English:
“You are too pretty to be straight. I do not believe you. Prove it to me.”
She is small, slight, a porcelain doll. He leans in and kisses her. The angle is awkward. He is sitting on a chair, her on the floor. To kiss he places both hands on the floor and leans right down. He sits up again and indicates that she should sit on the chair. They kiss again. Their tongues meet. She is a porcelain doll. His mouth is engaged. Another mouth shouts:
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? She’s a porcelain fucking doll.”
They have been kissing whilst sitting on the same chair. The angle is still awkward, and necessitates that both their legs and torsos are at 90º angles to both their own legs and torsos and the legs and torsos of the other person. She wiggles slightly in his lap, he sinks slightly into the chair. They kiss again, fiercely. She wiggles again and he sinks a little more. He has four legs now, joined horizontally by two cross pieces, which are in turn joined by another cross piece at 90º to the first two. She gets up and walks out of the room. He sinks down into the carpet.
Says the mad man to the priest:
“I am recording everything, everything. It is all so abstract. You talking to me is abstract. Her and her dancing is abstract.”
Says the priest to the man:
“Am I more abstract than you than you are to me?”
Says the man to the man:
“Have you heard of The Path of Truth?”
“We were a cult, no, em, not a cult. We got called a cult though, by the media. We just didn’t lie though. That was what we did.”
“Oh, that sounds interesting.”
“It wasn’t about belief, it was just about not lying. Does that make sense? It didn’t matter what you believed in, it was just about not lying. It made you think. It made you realise how dishonest you were.”
“Can I find out more?”
“No, after the media exposed us we removed ourselves from the internet. We communicate only by post. I shouldn’t be telling you this. I am lying, or you will believe that I am.”
“Even as a lie though, it still sounds interesting.”
The man falls off the chair. The other man leaves the room. The first man feels embarrassed. The two girls dancing don’t seem to realise he is on the floor. He sits up and starts writing about how abstract everything feels again.
Two boys are talking to two girls. One of the girls knows one of the boys and is talking to his friend (that she doesn’t know). The girls are desperate housewives. The boys are Clifford and Barney. Clifford and Barney are trying to get the Desperate Housewives to sleep with them. The situation is fairly abstract but the chairs seem solid and safe. ~20 hours after this meeting Clifford will stand alone in his kitchen. He will scoop sweetened cinnamon milk froth into his mouth with his right index finger, holding the still warm metal jug in his left hand. He will think about his Desperate Housewife. He will add her on a social networking site and feel content that they are in some sense “Friends”. He will make no attempt to talk to her. She will make no attempt to talk to him. They will inhabit the same geographical area for 1000 days or so, they will orbit each other in irregular arcs and loops. If they see each other in the street they will not see each other as such, they will not recognise each other, as such. Clifford will write about how abstract everything seems and realise that the answer is not very and that everything is just as simple as it is complex, that simplicity is just as real as complexity. Clifford will chase his tail for a little while longer then give up.
Clifford struggles with reality. Clifford does not have favourites. Clifford was never in “The Path Of Truth”, although he claims to have been at parties sometimes. Clifford is a costume.
After he sinks into the carpet, after he shatters the Porcelain Doll, he reassembles himself. He is in a dark room. He is having a good time. He walks around the room, between people. Every time he walks past a person he makes some acknowledgement of their presence. He touches them, gently, briefly, roughly at the point at which the humerus is thinnest. Greetings are exchanged. As the night progresses physical contact increases, the greetings become less complex. The movement increases within the room too. People are “dancing”. People are not dancing. People are moving in an agitated way that roughly relates to the way the particles in the room are vibrating. Air is tightening, then relaxing, and people are responding to this. People are working themselves into a state of frenzy. He is dancing near the window and his legs and arms are moving away from his body. His legs and arms move forward. The abstractness of this scene is something that the former member of The Path Of Truth struggles to describe. He breaks the window with his arse. The room gets colder and the air relaxes as suddenly as the people do. There is a moment of calm. The dancing resumes.
The Porcelain Doll is too fragile to dance. The Porcelain Doll is slackening out. The Porcelain Doll holds an apple in her mouth. A slice of apple—although, when quizzed, she will (in beautiful broken English) report it as an apple. He watches her as he takes a bite from the slice and he knows that he is also exchanging saliva with her and therefore him, although he has not done so directly. She chews the apple and swallows it, china gullet struggling to flex against the small bolus. She is rescued by her. Porcelain Doll, leaning against the doorframe, talks to her former lover, who transformed into a chair not so long ago. He seems to have recovered, although his walking is still not quite right and he is forced to sway ungracefully. Former Chair to Porcelain Doll:
“Hi, I have to go now.”
“Can I have your number?”
“Haha. Sorry. Haha. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I won’t forget you. I’m without my phone. I am sorry.”
Maybe they kiss, maybe they don’t. Nothing comes of it in any case. They were a chair and a doll and it never would have worked out. I smoke a single cigarette and the butt arcs out of the window. Natalie Portman is making eyes at me. She’s a doll. I laugh at my own private joke, then resume trying to sink into the kitchen worktop. It is a composite of some sort, but not of the sort that welcomes me with open arms.
I walk back in moderate rain. I walk back alone and the world is paper-thin and I slice it open with a single razor blade. I think a particularly depressing thought. The street lamp above me switches off. In the pool of darkness I hear it shift slightly. Metal bars appear on either side, clearly of the same type they use on telegraph poles. I ascend. There is a small, old man who sits on top of the lamp. He is blue and maybe 3 feet high.
“Hi, I’m a god.”
“I’m a god. Just for you. I’m not a god as such. I’m more of a hallucination.”
“Did you like the street lamp switching off? It was very cinematic. The arc of that cigarette butt was me too. Natalie’s eyes were all your own work though.”
I am so shocked I flinch and fall back. Gravity is on the blink again though, so I drift, head first, gentle as a feather, although the fall is straight as a die. I hurt the lower right side of my back. I hear the metal steps retract. There is the sound of some switches being played around with. I feel gravity stick me back to the floor, which I realise now is slightly damp. The moderate rain restarts again, having been falling at the same pace as me. The light switches on and I get up.