Thursday, May 5, 2011


Red had writer's block.  He had been staring at his laptop screen for the past however long he had been staring at it. 

Red: I will sit here for however long it takes to get an idea I can use. 

His wife Kat stands in the hallway examining the thermostat.

Kat: It says it's 86 degrees in here.  I don't think this thing is working.
Red: Maybe you're right.  Maybe I should just nix this thing. 
Kat: Now it's 87.  We should turn this off and call someone to get it fixed.
Red: Nonsense.  I think it is hopeless.
Kat: Well, that's my point, isn't it?  That when it's hopeless that is when you should take action and seek help.  You know, get on the phone.  Start punching in numbers.  Look up names in the white pages or the yellow pages.  I've seen blue ones as well and I also recall patches or edges of grey.  Something like that.  Right?  Or open up email and type in an address.  That would exercise those atrophying fingers of yours.  Get the writing blood flowing again.  Demand some assistance with your writing.  Help with this stuck situation that isn't going anywhere but burning up creative fuel.  Demand it with every last drop of rage in those fingerprints that says, "I'm here and my call is going unanswered.  My text is being ignored and misappropriated by networks above me.  In my ceilings.  In my walls.  These wretched walls melting with your greed in these burning houses.  Flaming suburbs.  Painted in soot."

Kat pauses for quite a while.  She is breathing heavy and listening for Red to respond.  She is about to walk over to the other part of the house where he sits at his laptop.  She takes a step and hesitates.  She walks back to the hallway and examines the thermostat again.  Kat squints at it for quite sometime.

Kat: Thermostat display shows that the temperature has broken 90.  Can you imagine?  Do we have any health problems that could be exacerbated by this heat?  Do I have any issues that you might possibly know of, Red?  Red?  Are you listening to me?  Have you been listening to me at all during all this time that I have been talking for however long?  Red?  Will you answer me?

Kat walks to the living room and discovers that Red is not there.

Kat:  You're not in the living room.  No wonder you haven't heard a word I said.  Normally we can hear each other from in here unless I'm in the bathroom because it is all the way in the back corner of our bedroom back there.  Or if one of us happens to be in the garage checking for snakes.  I wonder if this summer will break our record of last year.  We had 7.  17, I believe.  Believe me when I say that nothing gives me more pleasure than destroying a serpent.  It's like some vain attempt to unwrite false history that can't help coiling up in dehydrated minds.  Some vain attempt.  All right.  I give up.  Where are you, Red? 

Kat walks down another hallway.  A dark hallway that has a Dali painting with a watch dripping over a tree branch.

Kat: Much prefer that to an O'Keefe.  Pussy willows melt while you are sought so that you can be sought and know just how much someone is thinking of you.  When every last drop of desire is vaporized on this crust of violence, there will be ice to capture my breath in the glass mausoleum on display for the next age.  For however long that lasts.  You cry.  Cryogenic sorrow.  Where value meets quality.  Never mind. 

Kat opens the 4th door on the left and she is in the kitchen.  Red is sitting on the floor wearing headphones plugged into his laptop listening to music with the refrigerator and freezer doors open.  He is sitting motionless and staring into the refrigerator.  Kat moves right in front.  He does not blink.

Kat: Technology not only deafens you.  It blinds you.  The more you learn the less you hear, the less you see.  Where am I?  I reside somewhere behind the afterthought of whatever theory you entertain this week until it is replaced by something more airtight.  Devoid of oxygen.  Without atmosphere.  You belong up in there in orbit.  That's the distance you view me and all of this from.  Fuck you and your fucking fucking.

Red notices Kat and takes off his headphones.

Red: Sibelius.  7th Symphony.  I thought some Scandinavian classical music might help.  Some icy strings over deep arctic waters.  Let the freezer cold out.  It helps a little.  Cool me off, I mean.  Not the ideas.  Not a one.

Kat: Time long subsequent.
Red: What?
Kat: Time long subsequent.  I read it somewhere.  I don't know where.  Somewhere.
Red: Time long subsequent.  I don't think the cold is doing anything now.  Maybe it's hot flashes from frustration.
Kat: Maybe it's just me.  Glass mausoleum.
Red: Glass what now?
Kat: See through.  The more transparent you become the less I see of you.  The more mysterious you are.
Red: Apparently.
Kat: Maybe you could write about a man who finds himself orbiting the Earth.  He is quite disoriented and at a loss of how he got there.  Is it a dream?  Transporter beam?  Satellite TV or whatever.  And so he floats and then realizes that he could get use to something like that.  The view.  The distance.
Red: I think the heat must be getting to you.  I've got to stay in this for however long it takes me.  I've got to remain immersed in this crap even though I feel like I've reached the rusted bottom and all I hear in my skull is one dead echo.

- Max Stoltenberg

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