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CARL

Kofi Boamah



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© Copyright of Artist Kofi N. Boamah

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CARL

a short story

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“some men never die and some men never live”

— Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone At Times

That It Just Makes Sense

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are

sweeter

Carl had no idea anything special was

occurring; admittedly, he saw life as what it mostly

comprised of: things, mostly imperceptible things,

up to the Friday. These things were very much all

orchestrated by work, especially since the new job

and had been so for so long. Jamela knew this, but

in hindsight he wondered, he really did. She was,

most nights, consumed one way or another—the

second burglary since they married did not help

or manifest anything but unsettled deliberations

of world affairs and their effect on the world at

large, — “I can only imagine the terrorists waiting

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to take more of our stuff Carl,” she said in a

worry, “These brown people are a troubled

bunch.” “You can’t say that mum,” Beth would say,

in some way or another and he would try and

appease the situation—though Architecture can

be a very alternative lifestyle, from his

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too. It is only this year that he would have been

able to finish all the coordinates of the round

glass house project— The material passion always

seizes his spirit, rendering him, somewhat,

governed.

Though it was not long ago that he could

remember, when he first started the round glass

house project, that Jamela was excited, even

calling the round glass house project, a possible

new wonder, after he explained how he would

have the shape moulded from some aspects of

Gaudi, and philosophies of Freud’s Dream

psychology. The completion of this project meant

the world to him, and Lydia, from inception.

Though he knew his wife felt that the relationship

between them in this, possible, collaboration

continued as problematic, but he reassured his

wife that it was a professional relationship, and

that the round glass house project was what

impassioned them both. Is a dispassionate man

not guilty, of the very fabric or texture a woman

desires? He held in query and wondered whether

she was quietly proud, along with Beth. In that

two purviews existed, coexisted and textured the

fabric he would deem his life. Firstly, was the

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influence of his life on those that cared for him:

mainly his parents, German born Mother and

Japanese and British Father, brother Renard,

neighbours, in particular the Cantlles at 102,

and those deemed friends: these included the

Swedish Lars Iver, Artist Candy Price, Butch

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Remsan and, of course, Bendar. On his way from

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the house back to work the day before the

insignificant Friday, that became significant, he

drove and spoke to Lydia and was wholly taken

by the life he led, commenting on how her

divorce was in contrast to the ten years he had

spent with Jamela and the life, seemingly,

cultivated: a large house, with an out house, a

job and importantly an opportunity to indulge

in their project. “Of course the mathematical

equations for the round glass house project

really matter this year,” said Lydia in agreement

with him, and nonetheless slightly manoeuvring

the conversation away from how things seemed.

Secondly, the life he led was, very much a

contention of happiness, as all happiness may

be, in that; can there be such a thing as resolute

full proof happiness? And this was very much

something he and his wife would think about,

but perhaps in different ways—the life influence

of a husband who had a grandfather that died

from “a shame” said his father, as Carl told her,

is perhaps of a life where order forms the basis

of the only existence to have—her life differed,

especially of influence of the time she spent in

her teens, twenties and less so in her thirties,

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modelling. There were therefore things he

knew, things he did not know, but mostly

things, and as time went on, imperceptible

things. Though on the drive to work with Lydia

these things were reduced to the words of

Bendar as quite ordinary, regular.

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The Understated Drama of Seeing

Though he had no idea Beth was so

rambunctious—the thrusting, sweating, panting.

He was not averse to her quirks, and never had

been: ever since she was young he would need to

nurse her knee, thigh et cetera, from some type of

scrape or scuffle. They grow so quickly, he told

Lars, who agreed. They both felt like lucky parents

when Beth and Maude decided to get together all

those years ago. Maude is such a disciplined young

man, he said, and I really did wonder what life

Beth would have otherwise, as she started to grow

—the throes of puppy fat slowly replaced with a

voluptuousness, unspoken, and rather difficult to

take: your own daughter someone else’s, your

daughter at the mercy of another. A man that fails

to work amounts to nothing, a dictum of his, and

by and by this stood pedestrian to Jamela’s

increasingly silent laments, which were less

significant than the works of his hands—he told

her. This was met by what he thought was the

normal inflictions of a ten year marriage. Has the

world affected me or I been affected by it? am I

not good enough? He asked himself and then Lars

too.

Lars would always, silently, nod along, but

be wholly in a sort of Swedish housed abyss—the

disdained alcoholism since Brittany died

influenced a glazed facial expression he would

most often take as didactic of what can occur in

life under fatal duress; Jamela coerced him, at

times, to check on Lars. “Why don’t you take

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another wife?” he said to Lars, who usually

would change the subject to the pub they sat in

or sometimes they would venture into

conversations about the round glass house

project—I can spend hours talking about the

glass house project, he said. He thought that this

passion could be instilled in Lars, and in turn

perhaps increase his chances of meeting another

woman, it seemed. “I don’t want to meet another

woman.” “Why not, you have no more impetus,”

he replied to Lars, “It would give you some

impetus.” “I don’t want impetus, I want drink.”

“That will get you no where,” he said on a

Thursday evening when he was merely avoiding

the incessant complaints of the digression. The

Arch and Point pub always seemed to add to the

void: empty, quiet, slow, rhythmic—the landlord

Edgar always enforced the playing of the same

songs, and consistent “Arch and Point

atmosphere” he said. O Edgar I can only gesture

towards a different architectural way of thinking,

he said, and even suggested, as he did, more

philosophies of the glass house project: every

object to sit at ninety degree angles, and

positioned in alignment with a mathematical

equation and design Lydia had constructed. It

was strange how her theories juxtaposed her

looks, although rather tall, bovine like, she came

across strangely well put together: her extremely

large chest obviously caused the court case that

went on for more than eighteen months, but she

always appeared more, especially to Carl.

Though at work nobody mentions the

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case anymore, apart from when Frank made

that joke the night before last, at the office

Party held for the two new interns that the

company had taken on, he told Edgar. “Big

bitch,” slurred Frank, “A juicy big bitch aren’t

you Lydia?” Total silence fell into the room like

a casket, before she laughed it off—the boss

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harassment and had been ever since John was

fired in the case. That night is of course

eventful, but for more reasons than he could

have imagined. He drank too much, you see

and it all culminates in the reason he ended up

drinking in this bar, though the glass house

project was very much his plan, regardless. He

would not know that he would wake up and

arrive to work the next day, apparently looking

dishevelled and clearly sick, his Boss said. And

he muttered to himself and asked what else was

he to do with himself? A man must work.

Especially in lieu of the fact that I have never

had a day off work in ten years. Frank sent him

home, to rest up. So he made his way back to

the house, with a few ideas for the round glass

house project too. He failed to truly discern

what would occur, but originally worked from

what he thought should occur: Jamela should

be at a Yoga class on Friday mornings, Beth

should be at nursing school and Barney should

be with the dog keeper Margaret. I had no idea

why Lars’ car was parked in the driveway of the

house, he said to himself, but quietly assumed

it was Maude’s doing. He continued walking

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inside of the house. Of course nobody

expected his presence but this is not

something that should be wholly forgotten,

being that he owns the house, the things,

though it seems he arrived imperceptible. The

racket was disturbing, a thumping sound:

music, noises, but all enclosed in the empty

room they had never assigned any use for—

the thrusting, sweating, panting. What is a

father to do? If his ears had not burnt off, his

eyes nearly were gauged by the scene caught

ajar: of a crouching figure balanced in

between two heaving figures and then a third

conspiring to position a firm rod in one of the

two, seemingly available places, and pacing;

up and down. With the door left ajar he failed

to want to see anymore, over the noise he

walked backwards towards the out house

Mandy would use when the spring season

meant that the house needed a more than

weekly clean. It was just out side of here that

he met Lars, “You are here.” “I am fixing the

sink in your out house.” “The sink?” “The one

in your own out house.” They stood for what

seemed like, at least, four or five minutes in

silence: looking at Lars’ five o’clock shadow,

elongated nose and freckled cheeks and him

at the distressed look of a sick looking man,

apparently. He failed to make any more

comment, but felt woozy by the whole

situation, the house—the thrusting, sweating,

panting. And the schedule; he would usually

be retrieving his morning bagel and taking

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the time to talk with Lydia about the round

glass house project, whilst making sure he kept

focused on the day ahead, he thought.

He did not expect to see Lars, and

decided, quickly that he would have to accept

what he had been confronted by, as something

off schedule. Though he truly did not expect to

see Lars, and he had failed to even enter the

out house in such long time, it seemed alien, a

faraway place, that in reality existed only just a

few feet away from his usually taken footsteps.

In a state: shocked, he started thinking about

how else he could have reacted but started to

think, instead, of the round glass house

project. “A man must have something to do?”

he said to Lars at the thought. “Jamela wanted

it fixed.” “She’s at Yoga, you see.” “Pilates today,

I think.” The drunk glaze seemed to be

subsided and Lars even looked as if he had

showered, so there was a part of his soul that

just enjoyed the sight of seeing the man in

better condition. They ended up taking a drive

to Cathleen’s Café and Restaurant. They spent

the whole morning there, and he explained

different elements of the round glass house

project, with the thought that Jamela would

know what to do about what he had seen,

surely, he maintained. He arrived back to the

house in the afternoon, driven by Lars, and

heard his wife’s voice startled by the entrance,

“Who is that? Is that you?” Who else would it

be, he wondered, and just smiled and

explained what had occurred at work before

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quickly pulling her to one side, “Where’s

Beth?” “She’s not in.” “Well, I need to tell you

something…” he starts. “About Beth? Or why

you’re home?” “I am home because the Boss

thought I looked sick,” he explained again, “I

told you already.” “Nobody expected you, I

assumed the big bitch would keep you so

healthy.” “That is besides the point,” he moved

towards the model of the round glass house

project that he had installed besides the stairs

and pulled her along, “I think your daughter is

having absurd sex…” “O…” and she went

totally quiet, stiffly playing with the button on

her blouse before moving onto her hair,

scratching the front strands of her hair, “…

Well…I did not know how to tell you about it

the whole…” looking up, as if trying to choose

the correct word, the silence deafening! “What

the hell is going on?” he yells. “Stop yelling,”

she sighed, “Look I did not want to tell you

about it, you know it’s very sexually liberated.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, whilst

the thrusting, sweating, panting kept

infiltrating a psyche now troubled and only

surviving by way of the thoughts of the

completion of the round glass house project.

“It’s sexually liberated that she’s decided to

become a…” But before she concluded all

these happenings into the words she then said,

he picked up the model of the round glass

house project and walked towards the door

with the muffled sound of the last words

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blearing in his ears. How could this be? When

she was six I taught her how to use her legs

properly after she broke her ankle and now she

is using them for this? — He thought, coldly —

At ten, she was the energetic girl I watched in a

school play of Cinderella, now she is

sandwiched like a piece salami. When she was

eight years old I had her cousin Rodney beat

an eleven year boy because she had pushed her

on her back and now she is on her back for

this?

At sixteen I gave her money to watch a

movie with her boyfriend Maude and now she

is not even local in her ways, but playing a sun

or Star, he heard Jamela say again. Before he

left the house, he simply said, “She is kicked

out of the house! I’ll get Mandy to pack her

bags!” And she then brought up, what he felt

were vicious rumours, “What about all those

women you paid for, some as young as what?

How much.” Disgusting, for my own wife to

defend absurdity in such a ridiculous manner,

he thought: “It is not the same thing?”

“Everyone is some one’s child!” she yelled.

Proverbs! Words of wisdom! He could not

believe his ears and walked straight to the out

house to sort his thoughts in silence. Lars was

there, which was a surprise, again, because he

thought that he had gone after he drove him

back. He said he had not finished and he told

him he would have to fix it later and that he

would need time to think, but even after a few

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minutes alone, all the thoughts, memories,

words kept affecting a mind truly at odds. He

drove to Bender’s empty apartment, that was

vacated in order to spend a month in

Reykjavik to write, and sat on the couch. The

clutter in the living room made him think of

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the round glass house project. He slept and

only awoke a day later, so he must have been

sick, he even thought, I have slept for more

than seventeen hours. Before making his way

to the bar… Saturday is usually a day of rest,

but he sat awake in every which way; an

antipode full to the brim. He knew that he had

to confront Beth. He walked into the out

house, after staggering from the cab he took,

and decided that he would actually not avoid a

situation brewing with conflict. It took him a

while to find his key and when he did, even

longer to put it correctly into the keyhole;

jangling around for a time. Once inside he

entered, the light was on upstairs, down stairs

quite dark. “Jamela!” he called, but heard

nothing apart from the sound of the shower as

he walked up the stairs. On the landing the

door ajar sends shudders down his spine—the

thrusting, sweating, panting. Shaking this

thought he moved closer towards the light.

The water was falling, cascading onto naked

skin, caressing young crevices: lips, and thighs,

he stood at the door angry, still, soap glides

over the very thing he was in conflict with, but

drunk he finds it difficult to stand and think

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straight—pushing forward in through the door

into the light, “Hey!” “O…” he mutters, tone deaf

faced whilst she walked out of the shower and

turns off the water. “I thought I was you-r moth,

anywayBeth…let me say something…” “Are you

drunk?” “Beth! Beth…” “You’re drunk,” she

called half smiling, quizzical and looking up at

her father, “I know you heard…” she started, all

lips exposed, unsure by the scene that is

occurring randomly and at odds to her usual

impression of her father. As if unable to

articulate the words—he grabbed hold of her

but misses her right arm and touches her lips,

and not the those on her face, unfortunately for

him, as he becomes embarrassed now, aided by

the sound of Jamela, “What the hell is going?

Where have you been Carl?” He slovenly moved

his hand away, whilst Beth held the same initial

expression, just as the bathroom door opened

wider and his wife entered, “What’s going on?

Beth put some clothes on.” “I just someone

fraj…,” he stuttered and slurred. “You’re drunk,

clearly,” she responds, “Just sleep in the empty

room. Go on!” Eventually shooed into the room

he laid down, sprawled onto the bed and quickly

fell asleep wearing his clothes, even his shoes

after blabbering words neither his wife nor

daughter could work out.

The Poetics of Chaos?

When he awoke, he looked around the

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room, and felt his eyes singe in cold hard

remembrance: the sun felt too bright. He quickly

composed himself, slightly, and walked out the

room, “Beth! Where’s Beth!” “Quieten down Carl,”

said his wife from the bottom of the stairs, “She

has gone out until Tuesday.” “To where!” “Stop

shouting! If you had simply let her explain her

new voc-at-tion it would not seem so bad.”

“Vocation? I thought she was studying nursing?”

“That’s how this all happened. It’s a modern time

Carl.” “Is it really?” “And anyway, what were you

doing running in there drunk while she’s

showering,” as soon as she said this he became

physically estranged from the exchange, quietly

remembering what he always remembered in

small vignettes—slightly, although vividly,

becoming pensive at the thought of nakedness,

“I’m going to Sunday pilates!” Alone in the house

he started to disdain the simple effect of missing

work the day before last and rued to “Get his

schedule back in shape,” he explains to Lars in the

outhouse.

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The Outhouse

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Carl had failed to acquire the necessary

calm to do much and so walking into the bathroom

he decided to take two promethazine tablets,

drinking water from the tap. Looking at the

reflection in the mirror caused slight stress that led

him quickly out of the bathroom. Feeling faint

discord, he turned to look into the spare room and

saw momentarily three men all dressed in suits, he

thought, whilst heavily blinking, but before he

could confront the situation and tell Lars he heard

a loud bang, and the sound of Lars’ voice. “It

dropped on me… …” “What’s happened?” he

asked in front of the outhouse looking at Lars.

Allure Of Loss of Control

The Ambulance arrived exactly 15 minutes

after the incident occurred and Carl sat beside the

bed as Lars squibbed and pained. “This will be the

end of me.” “Just calm down Mr Iver we will look

after you,” said a petite female nurse with breasts

that looked too large for her body, according to

Carl’s mind, though dressed in the ambulance

uniform he had started to quickly visualise her

naked rubbing herself with oil to the point that he

had begun to leer at her now. “Sir are you okay

there?” Deep in the recesses of visualisation, Carl

failed to notice the male nurses questioning and

even a shake to the body did nothing to dismount

him from this pedestal of confusion. At once Carl

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threw the male nurse onto the floor and grabbed

the petite nurses’ right breast and shouted. “Lovely

is so simple!” The ambulance stopped and he was

eventually accosted onto the floor by the male

nurse, he would be a patient too.

Frantic, Frantic Flowers

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“They were too large for her body.”

“Is this why you threw, let me read this properly,

you threw the nurse to the ground jumped on top

of your injured friend and molested a female staff

member.”

“I am in a mess,” said Carl just as the door opened

ajar in this tiny cubicle that housed just a chair

and a desk—through the door ajar the same three

suited men he saw earlier were now stood, “There

they are!”

“There who is?”

“There look!”

“Okay sir.”

Room 12

Carl demanded to know where he was being

taken. Being that he was now in the hands of five

black men. Though as much as he screamed and

shouted unintelligibly, Carl was carefully handled

and being led ardently to a specific destination not

of his knowledge. Through a corridor, around a

corner through another corridor and then up a

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staircase Carl arrived to a door. “Oh you’re

bringing me to another ward so that I have a

little more space perhaps it has been a

sickening weekend.” He said whilst walking

through the doorway. “That the new one,” said a

cockney accented bald man, “Put him in room

twelve.”

BED

It only occurred to him slowly where he

was—now sat in the kitchen with parchment

resting on the floor in between him and a living

room that housed, amongst furnishings as

purple couches, a television and a large air

conditioner—people. These people included his

roommates Cecil and Gordon, both scuttling

around the living room rather aimlessly and

without much intent. Along with Nadine the

female nurse, Larry, Ahmed and Clive. The

parchment lay flat on the floor, bristling from its

close proximity to the fan but soon were soiled

with the spit of Ahmed. The same nurse that

administered Carl’s positioning into room 12

arrived in front of him to speak a few words.

Only then did he realise where he was, along

with a poetic thought: Gently do we whisper

these thoughts of audacity, smelling of wine,

illegal and prescription drugs emanating from

the nurses, patients and Doctors. As if a circle

of truth, incapacity breeds community and

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contempt here. He tried to run, just as the door

was being opened by another nurse, but was

again waylaid and confronted by two male nurses

both pulling him back, to the point at which they

“…savagely”, pulled down his trousers from all

the squirming, he later commented. To be left

standing wearing just a shirt and a pair of white

underwear plus a confused furrow on his face

just as the door locked closed. “Why the hell am I

here? I demand to know.” Before he knew it a

needle was plunged into his buttocks and Carl

was placed into his vacant bed.

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Sugar Plum Lips (Slyvia’s Poem)

As if lifted from a daze Carl awoke. There

was no natural light in the room as the room

housed no windows, just a door, and amongst

other means this meant he was unable to

recollect the time; as if in a different time space

continuum, he heard a deep staccato voice shout:

“Have some toast.” It’s the morning, he thought,

the morning dew here to bespoke certain

delights on a day that would best be used. The

deep staccato voice became closer and arrived to

his door, “You having some toast? And put these

on.” Pointing towards a gown. In disgust he

grabbed the gown and went to throw it on the

floor before Cecil held his hand out— “That’s not

to be thrown, that’s the Lord’s and the Lord

doesn’t like that.” The way in which Cecil held

his hand led to a threatening feeling that he only

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ingested with the thought that he was perhaps in

an hallucination—a word that had submerged

into his unconscious perhaps from the day at

large. Stood behind him, Carl pushed away into

the corridor and tussled with Cecil momentarily

before he looked at Cecil and considered the

largeness of the man—“O, here have it, it appears

that I’ve lost leave of my senses.” “It’s the

Lord’s!” Jamela was sat in the kitchen just

watching Carl as he tussled and complained and

was now shaking her head alongside Beth as he

turned his head to see her, and then see himself,

but still not fully in comprehension of the fact

that he was tussling with a six foot five black

man, with unkempt hair, wearing just a ripped

shirt and white underwear. “Where’s your

trousers?” “I refuse to wear them.” “Well the ones

he wore are ripped, but he refuses to put a gown

on.” “Yes, I refuse Jamela because it’s a mutiny!”

“Daddy are you okay?”

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Flamingos of The New

A coy ambience came over him at once

but this produced a recoil of pride and before

he knew what he was doing he was shouting

and screaming again, but this time, from a

certain perspective—perhaps just his? —he was

most valid in what he was saying, of: Beth’s new

vocation, his chance encounter with these

happenings and the three suited men that were

surely out to get him. As he moved out of the

corridor into the kitchen only then did he notice

that it was dark outside.

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Sweet Deathly Comfort

After calming down, mostly due to his

wife and daughter being shuttled out, he sat in

the dark in a wicker chair without his shirt on

smoking a cigarette that Cecil had told him the

Lord wanted him to have. Even though it had

been at least two years since his last cigarette,

the stress seemed a cacophony of yesterdays as

the particles wrapped into his lungs and he

cared not even waft the smoke away from the

doorway. Though this time the nurses were too

preoccupied to notice. Another rather poetic

thought came to him: The fruit full philosophies

of pragmatic reasons behind nature squandered.

Only later did he write these down. Carl took it

upon himself to realise that time could be spent

perfecting certain aspects of the round glass

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house project, and by this he was occasioned a

certain element of distraction. Though sat in the

kitchen using the parchment paper and a pen

found in the bedroom he was hectically, and not

calmly (as he thought) penning. The roles

remained entrenched in the fear that his position

where he sat was very much orchestrated by a

just thought: Is Carl of sane mind?

MEN of Vagueness

Carl observed elements of the much

designed round glass house project and

alternatively decided that instead of one round

object the design would incorporate what he

decided was a new shape, but mostly what could

be considered oval shaped. This “invention”

came to him at a time when he had failed to eat

in nearly two days. Made worse by the nurses

failed attempt to provide food for him he

scribbled and scribbled into the dawn until a

male nurse on the night time shift decided that

he would put a stop to what he decided was

madness. “What are you doing?” said the thick

African accent. Carl failed to pay attention but

was confounded by the sight of his other

roommate talking to the three men quite

casually, though he could not hear what was

being said from the sound of the male nurse:

“You have been scribbling all night, you need to

go to bed before we inject your butt again, do

you want that?” Innervation caused Carl to

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subside from erupting in anger, which was

unusual for him particularly in relation to the

previous few days, and the taste of not distilling

his anger caused a sensation he scribbled

about: This (anger is connoted here by way of a

sketch of an angry face) is causing melancholic

sweet feelings that seem to be pursuing me

slowly as if wounds covered with soft breasts.

Ambulance titties. Taboos. “Look at all this

parchment paper you are using, how can I eat

my jollof on this table?” The coordinates of all

the parchment paper reduced Carl to reminisce

over time spent in Moscow studying

Architecture where he would give heady

speeches about a myriad of subjects that were

listened to mostly for his otherwise, quite silent

disposition, unbeknown to him: though can a

person know any other thoughts that abound to

another without informing their own bias? His

life was only now a mere reflection of a small

degree of the thoughts in his head and the still

occurring happenings of Gordon talking to the

three men at the bottom of the corridor. Piling

his papers, he then walked away with them in

hand, as if precious Holy manuscripts. “Get

some sleep!”

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Kafka Calmly Visited One Night

It occurred to Carl that the three men

who were now more tangible when Gordon

said: “O yeah the three guys, those guys.” And

due to a feverish agenda within him he failed in

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his ability to calm down: dropping his Holy

manuscripts and grabbing Gordon now, “What

did they say to you?” “Well they said they want

those,” replied Gordon as his short stout build

pulled himself off Carl, which aroused a sense

of contraction within Carl and announced the

thought that he had never gotten into a fight

before whilst Gordon pointed at the dropped

manuscript. “Yeah they want that.” He then

quickly picked up the papers and felt a tinge of

tangibility and frustration.

The Escape to Where?

Absent minded, Carl was often accused

of such proclivities, especially by Jamela. And

this was made worse by the attention he

deemed appropriate to not spend thinking

about where he was and why. Rather his

attention was firmly grasped on the round glass

house project and the three suited men and

their relation to his predicament. Though

amidst this seclusion of thought came an early

morning trip to the smoking section connected

to the ward—with Clive, Gordon, Leo (an even

newer patient than him) and Nadine, the nurse.

They were let free, he commented, as if dogs on

a leash and allowed to commence their own

private imprisonments within the freer space of

the green area. It only occurred half way

through that he would try and escape, running

as fast as he could out of the green area, out of

the hospital and onto the high-street. He ran for

27


so long and fast that people on the street had

started to comment on the man in the street

wearing a shirt and pants.

Carl was able to arrange more of his senses into

linear thoughts and this enabled the thought that

he would need to stop somewhere just in case he

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

was being followed and by this he saw a pub

opened and walked into the pub to see a woman

packing boxes of crisps from the front of the pub

into the back of the pub.

“Can I help you?” she said behind the bar, as

luckily she had failed to notice his lack of trousers.

“Well…”

“If you’re looking for a bit of how’s your father

that’s upstairs.” Just like that Carl had acquired

the use of another body, which meant he stood in

a bedroom in front of laying woman. Only at

mention of the woman’s uses did his arousal

become announced. She said her name was Lola

and that the Pub landlord let her use the room as

her place of business as long as her clients bought

some alcohol and that in the mornings no one was

around, so he was granted an unacknowledged

favour by the fact that he was stood wearing white

pants and just a ripped shirt. Maybe she was

amorous but Lola only made room for Carl on her

bed, before he sat down and she started gripping

his penis. Only then did she realise. “Where are

your pants?” “Wait,” said Carl just as the thought

appreciated in matter and weight—he had never

been with another woman in more than thirteen

years and especially one that he had paid for.

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“Where is your money?” said Lola, pushing

back panther black hair and pulling him up on

the bed to just look at him, “This is a sketchy

part of town but so what, freebies?” “Sorry…”

and in this instance more than any of the last

few days Carl broke down in tears and started

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

to cry blubbering words, “I just nee-d s-o-me

AAAA

troo-user-s, just I d-on’t- kn-o-w what’s happening.”

Lola, usually an administer of a stern

attitude, especially towards men, scratched her

forehead whilst looking at him. “Well look,” she

uttered with a pronounced finesse that had not

depreciated in completion of the short

sentence—words reverberating into the small

room that housed a large bed, two dresser

draws and eerry 1950’s ambiance attained from

the gold and white wallpaper with gold leaves.

The décor, whether intentional or not, applied

a fastidious approach to its ambiance and

cleanliness. Made even more so by the gloves

and lubricant on the right dresser. His sheer

ineptitude and look of displacement

announced him in ways only Carl could

manage in the state he was in. He then

explained his whole ordeal in the articulate

manner learnt through the speeches he was

said to have given in Moscow, when he was

studying Architecture, but unlike the time

when he was studying Architecture there was

an audience devotedly listening. Once Carl had

finished speaking and Lola had given him a

pair of sweat pants, which he commented was a

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strange choice of clothing for him to wear, she

advised him to be a man. By this Carl became

offended and this led to him calling Lola a useless

bitch and storming out of the room, down the dark

stairs, and out of the Victoria Pub.

Stroll

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Stood at the Pub’s entrance, the smell of

Lola’s breath centralised a thought in Carl: perhaps

a drink could be useful. Though he assumed the

need to prioritise, the most important option was

becoming the most prescient or forthcoming. Sort

of like a throb in a sense, when Carl felt a tinge of

something he now aimed to act on it, such as things

that angered him. At this particular moment Carl

acknowledged a need for a drink and only failed in

realisation of this due to the fact that he did not

have the means to gain purchase of one and that the

only option would be to confront the other

priorities.

Stroll II

Carl decided to take the backstreets for

Bendar’s apartment. He arrived with even less

thought than those had when he entered the Pub

earlier that day: still wearing: no shoes, orange

sweatpants and a ripped shirt. Only at the door did

the idea of needing a key begin to obliterate Carl’s

temporary sense of calm; throughout the journey

towards Bendar’s Carl had achieved a mantra, if this

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can be seen as an achievement. The mantra was as

follows: onion is a labyrinth. It was only outside

his head that a different picture may have been

painted.

Carl panicked: shouted his mantra loudly

and kicked the door. At this the door was soon

opened. It was Bendar. When he saw the old man

Carl was in two minds as to whether meeting him

as the thought pronounced itself that once Bendar

started to speak he would not stop, and by the

time Carl sat down this was the case...

Schadenfreude (Fastus)

Listening to Bendar helped Carl acquire a

semblance of calm only broken by the idea that

Bendar deserved to be dead. The idea kept arising

and falling in equal measure throughout the

whole monologue of Fastus’ story and this

harboured a grave feeling within Carl.

Glimpsing Yellow

—a light throbbing feeling overcame him, along

with the light precipitation of exhaustion: sweaty

palms, unbalanced thoughts, racing thoughts, tired

limbs. All offset by a pacing: up and down just as

Bendar spoke much of his monologue. The time to

tread closer towards the problems in his life

announced themselves also, by way of the story of

Fastus’ story: Am I merely a pawn in this life of chess,

have I been checkmated?

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Purchase &...

Carl caught a glimpse of his face in the

glass, and the sight of his creased forehead and

beady tired brown eyes sent a tremulous tingle

down his spine. The glass was emptied. The

milk refreshing him somewhat, but was it

enough to purchase a new sense of direction?

No exit, he thought just as he moved away from

the glass and back into Bendar’s living room to

stare at the old man. At the wrinkles on his chin

and neck. At the furrows on his forehead. At the

grey hair on his head.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Distractions

A series of ideas were then embraced,

but before any of them taken, Carl did

something that could be seen as most sensible.

He decided to get some sleep. By this a full day

had passed before he woke up to take care of

his ablutions. In the space of this time many

aspects of things had altered and changed.

Upon entering the living room Bendar began to

speak...

The Optics of Knowing...

At Bendar’s monologue Carl

remembered what he felt should have

happened the previous Friday: I would have

arrived to work and continued with the January

project’s model, gauging out the seats that were

not right for the client before making a cup of

32


coffee and speaking to Lydia about the

foundations for the round glass project and the

positioning of the windows especially... I would

have constituted certain aspects of the

presentation for Composition 719 and then I

would have had lunch, arrived back to the office

and effectively worked until six or seven to then

arrive back home to a cooked dinner, which

Jamela would often make in the afternoon’s so

reheating would make it luke warm at serving.

Sleep would have come a few hours later

perhaps after a beer or after badgering his wife

into having sex. And as Carl thought all this he

started to cry, the tears fell consistently for at

least three minutes in total and were produced

through an abject expression on his less gaunt

looking face...

The day before they had searched

everywhere for Carl, even his workplace,

unbeknown to our sleeping man. The tears now

turned to anger as he clenched his fist...

Bendar had gotten up and walked towards

the door for a loud knock...

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