patients of unconvinced fiction (stories of a lesser duration)

February 15, 2010

1. a figure stands unconvinced and under-dressed…STOP PRETENDING! delicate hands debated, in secret, man’s only two, and spreading attributes…CONCEPTION! the figure’s pockets depicted an inner missed understanding…CURRENCY! the clatter of a bucking nickle and quarter…THEY DON’T SEEM AT ALL WORTH THE TROUBLE.

“GOOD MORNING SIR…” a woman, still feminine; her natural softness held, shapely animal. “HOW CAN I HELP YOU?” the man nods, quiet validation. “MY NAME IS HERBERT FICTION…” his voice’s soft, nearly confident from a life of complete uncertainty. “I WAS GIVEN A TWO O’CLOCK APPOINTMENT.” YOUTH! an unhardened certitude; the young-woman stares, her eyes were open, clear…AND WARM! SHOULD I SMILE? “SIR…” she said, “IT’S ONLY A HALF PAST TEN.” her expression shows a genuine concern, she’s an interest to be helpful. ONLY! common infliction…ASPIRE EXHALE! ”THEN I MUST BE EARLY.” herbert replies, calmly. “I’M AFRAID SO…IT’S OK, IT…” relaxed, the woman makes an attempt to console, she hadn’t yet given in to…”HOW DO YOU SHOW-UP 4 HOURS EARLY?” BITTERNESS! a woman, at the others back; one more bullied and abused by the concept of occasion. her question’s not formally addressed, it’s purpose sought only to interrupt compassion.

herbert stand, oddly boyish , and welcomed aid. “WHEN DO YOU SUGGEST I RETURN?” he remains self-collective. “HOW ABOUT IN FOUR HOURS.” mumbling…ANGUISH! unmistaken, a life-time of congested sand. “HOW ABOUT A QUARTER-TILL TWO…” audible and soothing, advised the other, “ONE FORTY-FIVE.” “ONE FORTY-FIVE?” herbert repeated, his mind had become rather sensitive to numeral combinations. “IS THAT ALRIGHT?…YOU COULD RESCHEDULE.” “NO NO…I’LL RETURN AT A QUARTER-TILL TWO…ONE FORTY-FIVE.”

2. herbert leaves john and john publishing and walked; he’d thought little of direction, favoring the theories of circular ideas, step after step, the budding energy of circulation. a hidden grin awakens upon his face, having  come along to an unsettled bench. seated, herbert would watch the world with an undefined interpretation…STOP PRETENDING! he lived and breathed…IN!…OUT!…IN! yet limited any further self-explanation; he’d heard an array of titles: simple or complex, unique or dull, but had decided to let the world label him as they wished…SO PLEASED! content with the time he’d spent, herbert stands, arms outstretched, and yawned.

“MY NAME IS HERBERT FICTION, I’VE…” “YES MR. FICTION I REMEMBER, UNLIKE SOME, YOU HAD A 2 O’CLOCK APPOINTMENT, CORRECT.” the receptionists had switched, yet herbert’d remained the same…TRAGEDY! “YES, THAT’S CORRECT.” he replied, believing he had, but he senses a growing pressure about the room… SHOULD I SMILE? “IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?” “HOW SO?” “MR. FICTION IT’S ALREADY A HALF PAST FOUR.” ALREADY! ASPIRE EXHALE! “THEN I MUST BE LATE.” “ONLY 3 HOURS.” CONTAGIOUS! the acidity of one had already begun to spread within the other. “THANK-YOU MISS MESSENGER. WELL, MR FICTION?” judgments and insults, a clairvoyant parent, she eyes herbert as she would a disobedient infant…SHOULD I SMILE? “DO YOU SUGGEST I RESCHEDULE?” flinch, SHIT! SPIT! OR PISS! the woman held an expression like one struck with excrement. “WOULD IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE…” she said, “NO OF COURSE IT WOULDN’T…” she adds, “JUST HAVE A SEAT MR. FICTION.” “AL-RIGHT.” herbert does as he was told, pleased the situation had ended prior to another pending indecision.

“MR. TEXT I’M SORRY TO BOTHER YOU SO LATE…” the woman spoke by an apparatus upon her head, “THANK YOU SIR, BUT THERE’S A MR. FICTION…YES I KNOWN HE DID…RIGHT, I UNDERSTAND…THANK YOU SIR, AGAIN I’M SORRY…MR. TEXT WILL SEE YOU NOW…MR. FICTION!” “YES.” “MR. TEXT WILL SEE YOU.” “ALRIGHT.” “YOUR VERY FORTUNATE, MR. TEXT IS A VERY BUSY MAN.” SHOULD I SMILE?

3. “MR. FICTION…” announced mr. text, appropriately thick, “COME IN…PLEASE HAVE A SEAT. ” ENDANGERED! prayer and apology, herbert sat respectively. “YOUR VERY FORTUNATE, I’M A VERY BUSY MAN…” SHOULD I SMILE? “SO MR. FICTION, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO?” “DO?” “YES, FOR A LIVING?” BREATHE! “I WORK FOR A POSTAL SERVICE.” (LAUGHTER!) “REALLY!…MAIL, I WASN’T AWARE THEY STILL DELIVERED THAT STUFF.” “THERE ARE A FEW INDEPENDENT COMPANIES THAT STILL DO.” “REMARKABLE…SO WHAT SORT OF THINGS DO YOU DELIVER?” “PERSONAL, THINGS.” KINDRED! assumption, mr. text smiles though there was something mutually understood. “OF COURSE, OF COURSE…SO, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT FOR ME?” “GOT?” “YES, SOMETHING YOU’VE WRITTEN.” he brings, with a nod, attention to a small book held in herbert’s lap. “THESE ARE A COLLECTION OF STORIES, OF A LESSER DURATION, THAT I’VE…” “SHORT-STORIES.” corrects mr. text. “ALRIGHT, THAT I’VE TRANSLATED…” mr. text reclines back, enter-locking his hands atop his head. “TRANSLATED?” “FROM THOUGHTS IN MY HEAD.” SHOULD I SMILE? “OF COURSE, YOUR HEAD…WELL…” he said, leaning forward with an out-stretched hand. “WELL, WHAT?” “WELL LET’S HAVE A-LOOK.” retorts mr. text, with a snap of his fingers. “IF IT’S ALL THE SAME…” said herbert, “I’D RATHER GIVE YOU AN IDEA WHAT’S BEEN WRITTEN, AND AFTER THAT, IF YOU STILL HAVE AN INTEREST, I’D BE GLAD TO GIVE YOU A-LOOK.” defeated, mr. text lowers his splendid gesture, and once more leans back. “OF COURSE…PLEASE.” “ALRIGHT…” began herbert, “FOR EXAMPLE, THERE’S A STORY ABOUT SOME-ONE…” “MAN OR WOMAN?” intrudes mr. text; herbert sat quiet. “IS THIS SOME-ONE, A MAN OR A WOMAN?” he repeated. “I DON’T MAKE REFERENCES TO DISTINGUISH EITHER SEX.” said herbert. “NO SEX!” CRAZED! dependent, mr. text’s expression reveals some hidden fancy. “WHAT ABOUT A NAME?” “NO NAMES.” said herbert. “NO NAMES!…” FRET! genuine worry, this man had no other reality. “SO WHAT THE HELL DO YOU CALL THEM?” “WELL…” said herbert, “THEY’RE ADDRESSED AS EITHER A PATIENT, OR STAFF.” “SO IT TAKES PLACE IN A HOSPITAL, A HEALTH FACILITY OF SOME KIND?”  “IT’S AN INSTITUTION…” said herbert, “OF WHAT KIND, I’M NOT ENTIRELY SURE.” “YOU DID WRITE IT, RIGHT?” “TRANSLATED.” “TRANSLATED…YES, I’D FORGOTTEN…SO THIS PERSON, IS HE, NO, I’M SORRY, IS THIS ANONYMOUS PERSON A PATIENT OR PART OF THE STAFF?” “A PATIENT AT THE…” “OF COURSE…” interrupts mr. text, “OF COURSE I SHOULD OF GUESSED…PLEASE, CONTINUE.” “ALRIGHT…THE PATIENT INVENTS AN ANTI-TIME MACHINE…” “AH! SO THE PATIENT’S SOME KIND OF MAD-SCIENTIST.” ensures mr. text. “NO, AFRAID NOT.” “IT MUST HAVE SOME KIND OF EDUCATION, RIGHT?” “NOT AN OFFICIAL KIND.” “OK…” said mr. text with firmness, “LET ME TRY TO UNDERSTAND, THIS PATIENT ISN’T A SCIENTIST…AND HAS NO EDUCATION.” “OFFICIAL KIND.” “OFFICIAL KIND, RIGHT…BUT SOME-HOW IT INVENTS A TIME-MACHINE.” “AN ANTI-TIME MACHINE.” “AN ANTI-TIME MACHINE, OF COURSE…AND HOW DOES THIS ANTI-TIME WORK?” “IT DOESN’T.” mr. text remains speechless…SHOULD I SMILE? an unenthusiastic gesture motioned herbert to continue. “THE MACHINE IS SIMPLY THE PATIENT’S FAVORITE CHAIR.” “A CHAIR?” “THE PATIENT’S NO LONGER COMFORTABLE WALKING ALONG THE LINEAR IDEA OF TIME, SO THERE’S NO REASON TO GO BACK, OR FORWARD…INSTEAD, THE PATIENT RELAXES, RECLINED IN THE REALIZATION THAT LIFE EXISTS IN SALUTARY CURVES, IT’S ORBICULAR…” “ORBICULAR?” “AN UNOBTRUSIVE SPIN, WHICH ENABLES US AN ABIDING NUMBER OF VIEWS OF THE SAME EXPERIENCE…REGRETS BECOME MEANING-LESS, THE PATIENT SOON CONCLUDES THAT EVERY DECISION IS ONE OF A NUMEROUS ARRAY OF ANGLES, AND DESPITE IT’S OBSCURITY, THE PATIENT BEGINS TO TRUST IT’S MOST CURRENT POINT-OF-REFERENCE…EVENTUALLY, THE ENERGY OF THE PLACE WHERE THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS PUT US, CHANGES.”

silence…INDISPENSABLE! enveloped, joining, for only a moment, an imperative, energized connection. “AND THE STAFF…” commented mr. text, “WHERE’S THE STAFF IN THIS STORY?” “THE STAFF…” said herbert, “IS THE REST OF THE WORLD.” “AH…THE REST OF THE WORLD…” mr. text said, though to himself, slow and attentive. “I SHOULD OF GUESSED.” he paused, like a man short-of-breath. “I’M BE FRANK MR. FICTION, I LIKE YOUR STORY, IT’S DIFFERENT, BUT I BELIEVE IT MIGHT REQUIRE TOO MUCH FROM OUR AVERAGE READER…THERE LIVES ARE ALREADY VERY STRESS-FUL, AND THAT’S WHY HERE AT JOHN AND JOHN PUBLISHING WE LIKE TO OFFER SOMETHING LIGHT, EASY; SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T ASK A WHOLE LOT OF THERE ATTENTION…MOST PEOPLE WON’T SACRIFICE MUCH THOUGHT FOR JUST READING.” “I AGREE…” said herbert, “THE OBVIOUS CERTAINLY STROLLS HAND-IN-HAND WITH THE MATTERS THAT FEEL SUBSTANTIAL.”  COMMOTION! swirling, subtle combustion; mr. text disguised his confusion…SHOULD I SMILE? “GOOD, I’M GLAD YOU UNDERSTAND…” another pause…EMBARRASSMENT! adolescent matter. “BUT I WONDER IF YOU WOULD MIND SHARING ANOTHER STORY? MY CURIOSITY, I CONFESS, HAS GOTTEN THE BETTER OF ME.” “IT CAN HAPPEN…” said herbert, “IF YOU LET IT.”

having shared. “WONDER-FUL…” commented mr.text, “REALLY, VERY CLEVER.” “I’M GLAD YOU LIKED IT ENOUGH TO JUST LISTEN.” disclosed herbert. “I WANTED TO ASK QUESTIONS, BUT I DECIDED NOT TO.” “THE ONLY COMFORT…” replied herbert, “THAT COMES FROM ANSWERS, IS A VERY PARTICULAR TYPE OF ENERGY; ANY ANSWER I’D GIVEN MIGHT NOT OF BEEN WHAT YOUR MIND WAS AFTER…SIMILAR TO THE NUTRIENTS WE NEED FROM FOOD.” “RIGHT, ENERGY…” said mr.text, once more softly to him-self. “YOU MENTION THAT A LOT…IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’VE HAD AN INTEREST IN FOR VERY LONG?” “IT IS…” said herbert, “I’D ASSUME, LONG BEFORE I WAS BORN.”

4. AIR! “EVENING.” cool air had greeted herbert at the door; he acknowledged it by breathing deep…IN!…OUT!…IN! “HAD MY BRAIN A DIFFERENT REACTION TO OXYGEN?” IN…OUT…IN STOP PRETENDING! the elements in the air were crisp, like potent whims of chemical agents; each swallowed breath delivered the drive that quenched any unextinguished creation, steering herbert’s mind forward, close, though intimacy itself drove.

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