2003 A Beautiful Woman Excerpt – Spinning
Job was floating in the early dawn of the last day of his life. He had been wakened by a snag of drifting dead root which had pinned him to the bank. It had taken fifteen minutes and some of his last strength to set himself free. Now he gently guided himself with a broken off piece of that self same root, pushing himself away from the sides when he got too close and keeping himself floating freely around the last few curves of the little river, which very soon like the brook had joined it would empty itself into yet a larger liquid demon. He had passed under a few bridges, they seemed to become more frequent, and he had listened to the cars thrumming overhead. The cars were constant. There were now rows of houses lining the bank not twenty feet from the water. Parked cars, windows, walking, chattering, worried people who saw him not had replaced the woods and leafless trees that once had surrounded him. He had entered the outer layers of the skin of the city. God dear, thought Job, j’arrive.
Once one learns the true and fine art of spinning, one spins effortlessly. A stick can be very helpful, as a means of propulsion. Floating being the preferred state of your physical mass, needs must be perfected with the tools of denser ratio fluid to a craft upon which you spin. Yes, thought Job, I spin effortlessly, while he spun.
The stars completed their zodiac mime revolutions in half a second, a twirling hyperactive celestial heaven in miniature and buzzing in circles directly concentric with Job’s one pupil. Zoom, thought Job. His breathing now came in mucus-laced rumbles, and most of his body had gone numb and motionless. No longer being able to move his head from where it lay cocked up crooked on the tube and a bunched up blanket, Job saw the city once every revolution he spun. He had been spinning and bouncing aimlessly down the river, but this had inhibited Job from getting a proper view of his surroundings, and most importantly, a good psychotic aim on what seemed to be his final port of arrival, the city. So he had taken the stick with the last strength in his arm and began paddling it slowly around off the side eventually generating a slow gyrating movement in the tube. It was a slow boat on the curves, but it turned. Job could no longer feel his arm or wrist moving, but he knew it was by the repetitive plunk he heard in the water to his side. The movement had become like his breath, involuntary, unfeeling, abysmally regular in its death march. Plunk, plunk, plunk.
He had not felt like waking the last time he had, he had to force himself and accepting the reality that came almost pushed his consciousness back into the soft dirt of sleep. He had fought it, and now finally feared that the next dip into dimness might be his last. He wanted it to be. He felt almost guilty in a great finality of sadness in emotion that threatened to pull both him and the float down to the bottom, in zealous spite of the filling air’s light life and buoyancy. His one eye was cocked wide open in a deranged and catatonic cyclopean stare. Sometimes the spin of the stars was a swallowing vortex gently and constantly tugging at his breath, warmly wanting to pull him out with an exhale for good. The plunk and splash of the water were his only connection with life aside from the small and quick selection of images that passed before that one wide eye, everything circled Job around that one eye, and it Job became, an instrument totally of sight in the totality of his being. He tried to yawn, and ended up just coughing up some fluid that he hadn’t coughed up with quite enough energy to bring totally out of his mouth. It slid disheartened back down his throat, oozing, a poor excuse for a yawn.
The eye dreams awake awash in red vein-lines, cracks in more than vision, cracks in more than thought, cracks in the freedom derangement of known finality of life. Time is tired, wants to sit still, and stop its passing – the only true symptom of living – time yawns, and ends up coughing, sputters of timelessness awake in and out, a poor excuse for the passage of time. It could have been hours, it could have been minutes, as the memory of years can be recalled and known in less than a minute a life can be viewed as a static painting or image in a surrealistic totality which is at once both truly the most sad and fickle thing possible and everyone’s masterpiece of individuality. Individuality always the same. Individuality always sacred and unknowable. Individuality the illusion. Individuality the murder spirit. Individuality the time-eaten, the surrender-decayed, the experienced-unfelt, the memory and the current sensory input and the constant fluttering of cerebral wings, flip, flap, flip. And that’s it at last, as Job’s wrist caves in to thermodynamic destiny and the plunk ceases, the spinning slows, and all the body is numb except for eye and ear. Tactile sensation, olfactory and taste-tongue the twins, have all gathered their hands into a bunch and carried each other down the path sunny and green, bidding adieu, adieu, unneeded, nothing to taste, nothing to smell, nothing to hear, except the sensation of fading, the smell of fading, and the taste of fading, this taste which fades the quickest the flavor of the fade itself, poetic disappearance, adieu.
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