by Chris Kelso
I take time over the stress of every word. Do you like to write? You like to read though…right?
To be an artist is to suffer.
The deliria can be rather disorientating, so I decide to connect the rooms in my house with lines of taut thread and then I’m is able to feel my way along each strand to the desired part of the house. I believe the reward of suffering is experience and that pain is the great teacher of mankind.
I pass through the door that connects the hallway to the kitchen and immediately hallucinate. A tessellation of colours set in viridian zig-zag towards me like lightening through fog. I forget why I went into the room in the first place. My mind is now brimming with brilliant ideas that I hope can be retained until I gets back to his study, but first I have to eat.
I go to the white rectangle that freezes my food and bring out a red, raw, rounded object, perhaps an onion or an apple. I laugh so hard at the pulsing fruit/veg heartbeat in the palm of my hand that I have to stop myself, as if suddenly surprised by, and aware of, my own mirth. I eat the fruit/veg.
I exit the blue lightening kitchen and re-enter the hallway that connects each room. I go back into the study fast as degenerate matter, full of renewed fervour and manage to type up some of my backlogged ideas. I believe there is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.
If you walk in on this stooped and mealy coloured man writing at his desk, you’ll notice a few things – firstly, when I masturbate I moves my penis in circular gyrations between the tight O of my thumb and index finger in a way that would suggest I have my technique down to a very fine art – hallucinations are at their most vivid when I’m at a climax, or so I would claim. I enter the vortex of my own hand and am frequently mesmerised by the subsequent pearlescent geyser. Masturbation is the only respite from my perpetual creativity which has devoured me like syphilis, and I masturbate a lot.
Secondly, I am a man who, unlike the rest of the Slave State émigré, am in possession of more than a little street-cool. My fix-up bildungsroman novels have gained a cult following amongst underground literary enthusiasts. A man of the picaresque, of the nouveau roman… One suspects that no one realises I am imprisoned in my own mind, in my own home, in fact! Where behind each door is a new ugly and visceral delusion waiting to set upon me…
I enter the hallway again and continue along to the door leading to the bathroom. A hallucination hits me the moment I drops his trousers. Although I feel intact and present, I am certain that the cortical stimulation I’m experiencing since eating the circular fruit/veg has left me foaming in the heart of an epileptic seizure. I remember that I believes we cannot learn without pain and that Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.
I drop to my knees, void my bowels and feel the rest of my brilliant ideas leave my body in a jet of multi-coloured excrement. On my knees, I nurse my empty head and my empty stomach. I pull myself to my feet and feel around for the rope that leads to the sanctuary of my study, but my wriggling fingers investigation only fresh air…
‘Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.’ I mumble to myself and the redundancy of it all sears through me like a thimbleful of neutron star.
Henry Malkmus pops into my head. He has a concentration camp tattoo on his arm.
– Why did you make me the way I am? – He asks.
– Who would you rather have been? Ignius Ellis? Larry? Dan Smear? Denny Carr maybe? How about Kip Novikov or Big Sur? Isabella? The Black Dog virus perhaps? You already are all those people. My characters are so poorly fleshed out. You idiot, don’t you realise it doesn’t matter?
– It does to me. Why did I have to get stuck behind a drywall and get raped by shadow demons?
– The bisexual incubus thingy?
– I was actually running low on ideas…
– Well ain’t that just fuggin great?!?
– Listen, Henry…can I call you Henry? I’m not a bad guy, just a bad writer.
– I keep seeing silverfish…
– That’s my fault I suppose.
– No fuggin shit?
– I had a character in a book called ‘Transmatic’ called Ignius Ellis who discovered that the Slave State was run by extra-terrestrials who were closely sprung from Silverfish. Quite funny really…
– So I’m not even really….me?
– Fraid not, you’re kind of a cross between Ignius Ellis and a bunch of other McGuffins 🙂
– You can write in emoticon?
– So can you, look…
– I don’t know if I can…
_ 🙂 🙂 🙂
– Hey, I’m sorry…Henry was it?
– What am I supposed to do with myself now?
– What’s cliché for you won’t go by you. It’s better to have clichéd and lost than never to have clichéd at all, right? Am I right? Plenty more cliché in the sea!
– God dammit! How does it end? Just tell me that much? Come on! Come on tell me! TELL ME! HOW DOES IT END? HOW DOES THIS FUCKING END YOU CUNT, YOU UTTER CUNT????
Malkmus starts to fade out as easily as he had appeared before me.
There is the sound of a younger man inside the hollowed concave of my skull – weeping. I am almost fresh out of ideas, almost free from the slavery of imagination. I cannot wait to be free.
I feel the loose, exposed circuitry as the brain tries it’s best to self-apply electrical tape, to twist naked connectors and achieve new voltages with frayed wiring. I know I will be fine eventually – until I walk into a different room of the house that is…
Malkmus stared at the concentric crater, observed its bowl shaped, low-rimmed hollows then stood aside so the nosegay of plant-alien scientist could get a better look. They had Slave State badges on their lab coats and t-shirts underneath that read YOYODYNE COMPANY.
Chris Kelso is a writer, illustrator and editor. His books include – The Dissolving Zinc Theatre (Vilipede Publications), The Black Dog Eats the City (Omnium Gatherum), Schadenfreude (Dog Horn Publishing), Last Exit to Interzone (Black Dharma Press), A Message from the Slave State (Western Legends Books), Terence, Mephisto & Viscera Eyes (Bizarro Pulp Press), Moosejaw Frontier (Bizarro Pulp Press), Transmatic (MorbidbookS) . He recently edited Caledonia Dreamin’ – Strange Fiction of Scottish Descent with Hal Duncan and is the co-creator of the anti-New Yorker, Imperial Youth Review.