Monday, March 17, 2008

A time-travel romance: Paradox by the dashboard light!

It's always now, but not everything happens all at once. The following events do all take place at the same time.(1)

In River City, year 2XXX, Chris Collision wafts thru a Goodwill thrift store. He's drunk in the afternoon, shopping before work. His headphones blare hideous racket. He lives in a warehouse, and generally declines to interact with those others who live there. He's reaching out to grasp a used jigsaw puzzle. Later--already happening, but not exactly happening now--he'll stiffly sit crosslegged on a concrete floor, 2 walls, 2 sheets hung as curtain-walls, in low light, and he'll assemble the bulk of the puzzle.

As he reaches for the shelf, it's the 30s, and 1 of the Roses of the Thorn Triad struggles with her locket. Half-lavish, partly opulent, this room of her own. Her roll-top desk is TITS. Somewhat pretentiously, she will write only with a fountain pen carved from the feather of a Space Eagle she has hersef caught. (Tiny pin-feathers speckle her mouth area like a scraggly beard of poultry offal.) Ink is blood and ash. She spits in it now and again, to put the means of production in their place.

Her goal for the night is to write that noted blogger. Her sisters fume elsewhere in the palatial manor. Outside of Paris, Collision reads to his friend Trelawney a postcard sent him by Gertrude Einstein:

digging a way
the moments that make up a dull day
fritter and waste the hours
in an offhanded way
dicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown
waiting for someone
(or something)
to show you the way

Trelawney wonders why all the second person? B/c she loves those imperatives, Jew, she surely do.

2 Roses fume, still. Constancy not exactly their strong suit, nevertheless do they feel not a little blown off & fucked over by their compatriot's obsession. They polish slivers of bone, and glue them cunningly. They, the slivers, form savage tips for crossbow bolts filling quivers on the quarterdeck of their ornithopter. Keys to the doors of the afterlife, motherfucker.

Collision is talking to a stripper named Beruit. He uncasually drops the phrase "sad satisfaction". She rolls her eyes and grabs her vast heels, looking for all the world like a giant, closed W. Before he does his puzzle, he'll fuck his fist for a quiet half-hour, picturing not Beruit sexually, but domestically. They get coffee and read the paper, he defends her at the bar, they watch afternoon tv stoned on the couch. Then he comes on her face.

The writing Rows-3, incidentally, looks much like Beruit, only with facial tattoos and more of a Stevie Nicks fashion sense. Trelawney stacks dominoes idly, mulling in his mulish way how to deliver his Fetich Flechettes. Modified blowgun, he thinks. Powered by defensively-maintained misconceptions.

Because there's no tradition of artistic perspective on the moon, the noted blogger can bust forth frothy from Rows-3's locket fully fullsized. Without visual contradiction. As in many endeavours romantikal, upon the attainment, the blogger and Rows-3 are flushed with a complex, multifaceted loathing. Both are phlegmatic sorts, though, real dance-with-who-brung-ya types, and their long history has surely bound them together more thoroughly than mere affection-might might could. Collision doesn't figure in this, any of this. He's sorta color. Filigree, distraction. Plus you write what you can while you try to learn how to write what you must.

Trelawney learnt to harness the nigh-limitless power of pigheaded futility early on. He's married to a woman he patently doesn't deserve. As often happens, she's addicted primarily to his shortcomings. She literally needs him to be simultaneously distant and needy. All 3 Roses are voiced by Tress MacNeille, behind the curtain. This is only a fraction of the reason this writer adores them.

Collision finds strange fulfillment in the process of assembling a likely-faulty puzzle. I'M TALKING ABOUT MAKING ART PIECES! PLEASE GET IT! UNDERSTAND, LOVE ME!

Collision bends to his task: replying to Gertrude Einstein. Unaware that he's simultaneously boring a coked-out, damaged stripper. He's ripping off Pynchon, stranded in a farm outside Paris, waiting for Trelawney to stop mooning over new techniques in confusion. And fixing the fucking airship already. (He's HAD IT with this pomo literary horseshit and craves a return to fev'rish lurid escapade! Plus his plus-fours really make him feel like a tool.) He thumbs the cheek of his chrome-plated guardian angel and wishes he could pull off wistful, or anyways winsome. Win some, loose the dogs of war.

Collision retires as Rows-3 and the noted blogger go to brace the other Roses. Meanwhile, Collision continues to plagiarize. Trelawney puts the dominoes back; their dots map exactly the structure of this story. The other Roses, unfairly marginalized this time around, quietly admit they kinda like the way the blogger twirls his mustache.

Collision pops in another plug of chew. This is a puppet show, but he got neither from Foster Wallace, nor Pynchon, nor the writer of Riddley Walker.

Collision's reply to Gertrude Einstein:

game, set, 'match'
A knotty, clotted nap. Weird scenes inside the goldmine. Tip the beret, twirl the mustache, adjust the champ paunch. Another mascot for minor failure. Caught on the cot (not homophones) amidst more mediocre dreams.

Mainly. Unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Walter Benjamin’s Mustache, a letter

The letter, most often cataloged under “Walter Benjamin’s Mustache,” is secretly archived in the Autobiography of Rows Selavy.


Postcard: doronicum handlebar
[Paris, late June/early July, 1933]

My beautiful thorny triad,

Here’s one of the mustaches. I have wrapped it in milk, and put it on the mouth of every child in Paris. I’ll send the other when I have news of you and Collision and the Inscrutable. Your last letter, in which you describe Trelawney's difficult labor, brought me private pleasure. We last heard of the ‘thopter’s miraculous manifestation seven Saturdays ago. Can you please send more recent news? My memories of TT, the animal parts, the kinky grooming, come back to me as a Jack-in-a-box, the fastest bar of our song, after endless winding. We all develop smudges. Even the mustache grows a mustache in your absence. Please send me three doses of the cure as soon you receive WBM. The children haven’t washed their mouths since March. I remain,

yes yrs frvr
R. Mutt*

The mustache appeared in Brussels eight months later, worn, along with a new style of animal delight, by the ubiquity in the upper classes.

*The noted blogger concedes it germane that Our Mutt, who here signs himself as R. Mutt, did not obtain the legal right to change his name until after the Beloved War, eleven years after TT returned from the South Seas.