Friday, February 3, 2012

Each generation of the particular species of fly I have in mind lives only about thirty eight minutes, so those observing can determine the effects of any single mutation on an entire population within a day or two. They can then communicate this information to their peers via megaphone or fax machine. What ensues is a free-for-all very similar in appearance to those that take place when you toss a handful of cash down from a balcony onto a crowded floor of any sort. People come scurrying like crabs with their claws in the air and their mouths take on what appears to be a permanent grimace, at least from your vantage point standing above them, among the plastic ferns and the Modigliani prints. Certainly there are steps you can take to prevent the situation from getting out of hand, but these are so numerous and so needlessly complicated it might work just as well to create a list of your own and then ignore it completely. When Eulalie feels an itch that is in reality not so much an itch as a circumscribed ache with no one in particular at the other end of it, she gives me a call and I come running, but in the meantime she has usually decided to vacate the premises and the rest of the evening becomes a game of guessing which way to turn and what phrase to call out into the darkness in hopes of getting her to respond. My money is almost always on some form of flattery, a lengthy commentary on the inverted V’s of her cheek bones, the protuberances on other parts of her body as well and why they are so unique as to defy ordinary nomenclature. We will have to find new ways of referring to them by searching though a dictionary and selecting terms at random. The results will startle us into something like a coma, but only for a moment. Only for about 7 seconds, to be exact. After that we are as energetic again as if Eulalie herself had injected us with a syringe full of synthetic adrenaline. Whatever that’s called. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to wake up next to her some mornings, the sun filtering in through the cheap muslin curtains, the sounds of bus traffic and the endless rounds of tennis played nearby finding their way in through the cracks in the plaster, and under the front door where (in one scenario notable for its plausibility, for its evenhanded manner) someone is knocking so insistently I begin to wonder if maybe I am in danger. Whoever is out there doesn’t seem content to take silence for an answer, which means, I suppose, he has some knowledge as to what is likely to have taken place here during his absence. Assuming, of course, he has been absent, he hasn’t simply been lurking out there from the beginning hoping to gather evidence of both the audible and visual variety. And then do what with it? I wonder. Present it before a panel convened specifically to hear that evidence? Drop it in a drawer (or to be more precise – drop whatever medium has been used to contain that evidence, to store and preserve it for posterity) where the other evidence he has gathered over the years involving this case and any other he might be involved with has been gathering dust and even warping the wood of the drawer there through its accumulated bulk? Which, of course, makes the drawer very difficult to open. Pretty soon – because one is never satisfied one has gotten to the bottom of any mystery, and so one continues to hunt up clues and further bits of flotsam for what amounts sometimes to an entire  lifetime --- it will begin to seem as if the drawer has been permanently sealed shut.


  1. I like the short journeys we take together. Whatever you wish to call it.

  2. Thanks for taking them with me, Billie.