A little something

Posted in Original, Writing by netscheri on June 12, 2008

The product of a little free-writing exercise.

Watching his subordinate, he thinks that the other hates wine, hates beer, hates alcohol. So he raises his cup, remembers to pour, and with hooded snake eyes, commands ‘drink’.

Hates how it seems to seep through his body, like a kind of not-flower blooming through his red body, extending tendrils of a rot-vine into his veins, curling into his bones. Hates it, wants to take a sword and crush it all, crush every liquid drop.

The moon sets behind strewn streaks of cloud, frail like the wisps from a pipe left to provide its own breath. It is unseen, the windows and portholes are all closed. Instead, the room fills with its own clouds of pipe smoke. It is an affirmation of life, the smoke, of the body’s ability to take poison within itself. It is suffocating, dense, langorous. The wine often tastes of it – a bitter, sour, herbal, sweet taste.

But recently there are times when N., the subordinate, supposed comrade in arms, loves wine, loves beer, loves alcohol. What he does when he loves it, every liquid drop, is to pour it into his mouth like a swordeater with a fluid sword. He revels in how seems as if thorns are rough scraping the skin on the inside of his throat . He would have described it as a itching-tearing-bloody-caress (he had heard the word used somewhere, had liked the slithering, untender sound of the word). When he drinks, it is a battle. When he loses it is oblivion but when he wins he is ready to choke out from his swordeater’s mouth dense patches of brambles, all red and tumbling before him.

Commands, ‘drink again’, pours, fills their cups.

He is filled with what for him can be named joy when he triumphs and endures the wine because this is what he imagines the loss of sight must have been like: the sudden blooming of red, dark like the sound of a deep drum, and a thorn-like burning. He feels his victory as an affirmation of death and loss, and there is joy again.

‘Hey…you…’ The words are slurred, and N. hears the sound of wine being flung from a cup before he feels it soak into the cloth at his shoulder, followed by a trail of profanities. He tastes from the air how the smoke is laden with alcohol and notices that the other man is drunk, realizes that it had been meant for his eyes rather than his shoulder. The smoke mingles with the alcohol, the wine with his clothes; the affirmation of life with the affirmation of death. And N. smiles, because he thinks that he will win this battle. He remembers when he had tasted a similar mixture of bitter, sour, herbal, sweet: two days ago, passing a funeral pyre. It is the unburdened dying and lost who survive, not the living.


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