Forget about me for a moment. Think about yourself. Do a check of where you’re at. Where are you? Read on while you acknowledge your location. It shouldn’t have taken more than a moment to say ‘in the loo’, ‘on the heath’, ‘under the bedsheets’ or something similar. Now let me ask you this: ‘what were you doing before you started reading this?’ I understand that you may need more time to answer this one because it requires accessing your memory and that can take time. However, if you’re thinking too much then you can fall back on something like ‘I clicked on the link in my email and arrived on your blog.’ You may even append the word ‘duh’ to your assertion if you think that I should have known already. Bear in mind, however, that as I write this, I have no idea who you are, where you’re at or where you came from. I’m a writer, not a psychic who can see into my future. That said, I’m going to ask you one more thing that will necessitate you doing precisely what I cannot. To whit, I need you to see into the future. Don’t worry, all will become clear. Here’s my next question: what are you going to do next?
I am a writer and I am in the throes of writing. You are a reader and you are, like it or not, in the throes of reading these words. I will stop writing and post these words. You will stop reading and do … something else. What? Tell me. What are you going to do? You’ve committed to reading thus far and so you might as well complete the task I have set. You have a Comment field below. Don’t be afraid to use it. I’m not going to say anything of note beyond this point and so you might as well stop reading now.
Under the table, a man was sitting and thinking of the war. Which war? The one in his mind. He thought about the armies that marched inside his head and the dreams he had, nightly, about things he could barely remember when he awoke, but which he knew were bad. Not bad in the sense of moral outrage, but more in the sense that they made him feel very uncomfortable about the fact that he had bookcases full of books that he barely touched whilst, in some poorer part of the world there were people who hadn’t the means to feed their love of literature. He was pretty sure these people existed but didn’t know their names, or their addresses. That didn’t stop him from feeling bad about it. Not did it stop the dreams.
The man was called David. An ordinary name. Not one that would excite interest at cocktail parties were he ever to be invited to one and consequently to be invited to share it. His parents were staid, solid members of a Christian-based religious community. But see: I’m bored with them already and so I won’t mention them again.
David is stirring. He has done thinking of the war for now and is emerging from underneath the table. The flap of the tablecloth raises and his face peers out. He wears black-framed spectacles that give his round face the appearance of an old owl. He blinks once in much the way you would expect and then his shoulders follow his head and, inevitably, his body follows. He’s thinking about his hair and how it might as well fall out now as wait thirty years for him to reach the grand age of forty-five. He likes his teeth, though. Teeth are useful. He intends to make good use of them before the day is done. It’s eight in the evening already and so he should hurry.
Ten minutes later he’s walking down by the river. The house backs onto the water and so this isn’t much of a feat. It’s dark, but he knows where he’s going. It’s secluded, but he knows he will not be alone. It’s clear to him that if he were to lie down on the ground now, someone would discover him before too long. He lies down.
Pretty soon someone trips over him and falls to the ground. The earth is soft. Muddy, in fact. There is a curse said that I’ll not relate here because David wouldn’t approve. When he hears it, he says something like ‘la-la-la’ in his mind until the echoes of the sound have died down and then he jack-knives his body until it is covering the mud-besmirched form of the man he has tripped. I’ll not tell you the name of the fallen man because that might lead you to feel some sympathy for him and for what’s going to happen to him next.
I’ve started watching a movie about JD Salinger who is, as you might remember, the author who wrote The Catcher in the Rye. Now, I’m not entirely sure what Rye is, not what a Catcher catches whilst in the Rye, even though I have read the book. But I do know what David does next. If you tell me what you’re going to do next, I’ll tell you by way of reply. David is real. The man whom David has tripped and pinned to the ground is real. The mud in which they lay has actual substance and the thoughts of war that David has in his head are real, as will be his dreams tonight.
Share with me.