Monday, October 31, 2011
Magpie Tales: ClickclickclickclickclickclickclickTing
The page stares back into his heavy lidded eyes, bloodshot and burning, he forces a blink knowing the contest is unnecessary. Flexing his fingers, he feels tension release from within each joint, then brings them to his face, dragging them down from hairline to hollow cheeks. His tongue dampen his lips, as if he has something to say, but doesn't. A fly lands atop the typewriter, rubbing its front legs.
Taking a cotton cloth from the table top, he works his hands, removing ink and oil, paying close attention to the nails. Longer than he usually kept them, he wishes for a moment he had clippers nearby, contemplates retrieving them from the bathroom. This would mean crossing the room and he can barely feel his legs as it is, just little pin pricks of life along their length.
Stretching his legs under the desk, a small fire erupts in the muscles. It hurts, but feels so good. He smiles and retrieves a crumpled pack of cigarettes from one of the drawers that run along the right side of the desk. Shaking one loose he places it between his lips, where it dances. He inhales, even though it is not lit, savoring the smell of the tobacco as he centers on the fly on the typewriter.
The fly walks a small circle, now facing the page that still rests, pinched in the roller. He wonders if the fly is reading and if it likes what it sees. Kill it, a stray though dances through his thoughts, but he dismisses it. The desire to touch it, to feel its wings, is almost overwhelming. The tobacco tastes sweet on his tongue.
Careful not to disturb the fly, he puts one hand on the roller knob and takes the top of the just completed page in the other and rolls it until released. The fly cares little, remaining where it is, as the man lays the freed page on an inch deep stack of its brethren.
The wall behind the typewriter is grimy with years of fingerprints and sweat of its occupants. Notes are etched in its surface, notes he has left himself among those of others, he left while typing, too busy to pause and find paper. Some he can read and understand, others are nearly intelligible, scrawled hastily in manic swirls.
كلمات غير מילים לא נעמרות Unausgesprochene worte
Gouged deep in block letters he recognizes as his own, UNSPOKEN. Puckered edges bite his fingers as he traces each letter, he is sure, not for the first time. His eyes spasm wide, accompanied by a sharp intake of breath. The fly launches itself from the typewriter, turning a sharp corner over the man's shoulder disappearing from view.
Grabbing the stack of completed pages, he flips through, a river of white cascades to the floor where pages splash in various directions. Blank, how can they all be blank. A moan begins deep within him, the distant call of a train rising into a howl. Abruptly, he wrenches open the top drawer, removes a fresh sheet of paper and feverishly feeds it into the machine.
The fly lands on the crest of the man's ear, crawling to the point where it joins the rest of his head and begins rubbing its legs, which if the man could hear so minuscule a noise, would sound like chaotic laughter.
This is a Magpie Tale.