Mr. Thelleramsk discovered too late that he had entered the wrong garden. It did not lead as he looked around to the path he thought would take him on his way to properly exit the center. He struggled to see where the parking in the back was in relation to his current position. His current position seemed so clear and yet so disorienting. Missteps had become a part of his arrivals and departures and when alternating them they actually facilitated a dissolving of the more structured itineraries that pushed him down many a slide that had dropped him into the pools that claimed to disinfect his organizational movements with a stinging that burned what he took to be the weeds in his thoughts, but left the singed stubble of their lost relevance.
Dubious trimming framed the tall bushes and ivy casting the labyrinthine margins of his options and nomenclatures supporting vines tangled with direction having a disquieting and hushed conversation with itself. One of his shoes shuffled roughly startling him into the harshness of another premature commitment primed by ambition piped through just about every channel of the sights and sounds collecting within the walls of his skull. They opened onto puddles of distracting attempts to undermine hardwiring as well as well as it well could be water damaged by the moisture of cold calls from the chambers of assertions. Chambers hung within and without the edifice that adhered to his peripheral vision to embark from the hedge rows.
Staring into a dead end where the dark landscaped borders met in austere dissociation wiped clean any considerations either way or any way for the moment and the next subsequent next. Moving with several corrections through the narrow conduits of a irrefutable topiary maze began to generate fragmentary shapes that were superficially the lanes of a bowling alley where slashing the perspectives of the vanishing hollow pumpkin servants mumbled comments amusing themselves while others laughed without hearing them without seeing them without necessarily stitching along sounds between leaves of boards and gutters where the weight of awkwardness reciprocated impacts of clouds that had wandered inside within and tucked into boxes and boxes of sliced adjustments elaborated for no one who'd pay attention to tobacco boats afloat and memorized only called to the back of the mind taking a back seat to fists too inflated to take the wheel out for a stroll down the lane as a poem was heard over the speakers throughout the hall:
Dented and sudsy
Locations blossom with planning
Planning another shoreline
Lapping the countryside's attitude
Attitudes and attitudes
Are these days not these days
Full of the bikini mixture
Striped breeze closing eyes
Burned by absence
Smoke rises incessantly from no one there
A party years in the soupy past stirs people, friends, enemies, irritants, and stimulants for another connection snapped a decade too soon. A living room dance floor turns upside down and shakes the snippets of faces until they eventually fall from the bottom of the Earth and out the bottom of the solar system. Requiem for unrequited adolescent acknowledgement poured into the dark blue bottles of bright blue eyes smiling across cloudless skies has its notes thus far and evermore under aging bootsteps. Almost out turning a corner to enter upon a possible exit from the back evoking a painting and its brief anecdote.
The old sandbox spoke with its still unevaporated water gathered from rains and what welled up from below if that could happen and couldn't did not, but counting it out of the picture with a brush stroke of contradicting pigments skeptic and fresh with standing over that redhaired girl of nearly 4, i.e., by not quite very far beyond more than 17.9 playtimes over 3. She goes around in circles and funny circles to sit herself down in the water. The tightened throat standing over seethes with the expressions of, "get up get out get in get changed get washed get dry get to bed get dark to get light to get sense from the whispering contempt in your head in your body wrapping you with its accomplice outside you outside your muddy filthy pigpen." The girl does not budge and holds her position while softly saying, "It's the way I like it after the rain. I won't get sick. I won't catch cold." What stood over and its constricted silhouette lifted the girl and her wet dress up into the midst of the cold front that would strike her mind and its tissue of contagion knotted into not snot not not yets and probably nots more than likely impossibilities and without hers to experience the catching of cold words, snatches of cold regret of her entrance into this cold world of rocks and sand that stick to her wet dress as she is pulled up into the arms that admonish a new trajectory within the cold of space and time as an object among the cold rocks on their cold sabotaged ellipses bent with cold thoughts and hands to abandon the optimum number of possible futures to places frozen by the cold of other bodies lifted from their playful solitudes into the cold arms of other communities adorned with the cold and shining to reflect the famous they admire in their glimmering and cold illusion of passion more brittle than the gates that surround their rehearsed cold gestures warmed by effects and hidden behind dark cold glasses.
Desperation opened the door that led to the corridor taking up residence in Mr. Thelleramsk's existence abiding and hedging his bets fencing in his chances within the room he had to work with windowless fluorescent light to feed the dying seeds of his education. He had a theory about that or was it something else he had set aside for a time that would crawl by beneath his acceptance and trances he shook with the growing indifference of his head bed head beheaded before dawn reattached with showers and signing his name. It helped him hold onto that much. That much of the corridor elongated and stretched as it declined into the chambers their chambers dark chambers.
First Voice: Are we missing anyone?
Second Voice: Nine of us and one more makes ten.
First Voice: Pin number?
Mr. Thelleramsk: 11508.
First Voice: Do you have a middle initial?
Mr. Thelleramsk: Yes. It's K.
First Voice: K. Let's make sure we have enough volume on the outside traffic.
Third Voice: How is that?
Fifth Voice: What was that?
Fourth Voice: Sounded like "throttle"?
Fifth Voice: That's what I thought.
Second Voice: Did someone in finance throttle someone in maintenance?
Sixth Voice: The other way around sounds more believable.
Fourth Voice: Unless maintenance finally went to that mediation training and let the employee from finance get an open shot in.
First Voice: No. That's not it at all. They said, "bottle." Maintenance found a water bottle that belonged to someone in finance.
Seventh Voice: Did maintenance come upon it or were they called in to repair it?
Fifth Voice: I didn't hear a work order for a water bottle over the traffic.
Third Voice: They wouldn't bother announcing something like.
Eighth Voice: Plus those water bottles are very durable. You can drop them on solid concrete.
Fourth Voice: If you drop it just right you can catch it on a bounce like dribbling a basketball.
Second Voice: Actually it was finance that found a water bottle that belonged to maintenance.
Sixth Voice: I accidentally put my water bottle in the microwave once. I took it out after 5 minutes when I finally realized what I had done. The blue color was gone and the contents were completely turned to steam, but it was still in one piece.
Third Voice: That's where all that steam came from when I almost slipped in the corridor when it was wet from the humidity that day.
Second Voice: That day has no place in my mind.
First Voice: Can we get on with the agenda, please? Who is taking the minutes?
Third Voice: I am.
First Voice: Good. Your notes are straightforward and you avoid intellectual terminology to keep things simple and understandable. The only suggestion would be to forego the doodling art work on the borders, it divides one's attention and divided attention perpetrates an inertia that some claim helps them to take inventory of vantage points, but in actuality it more often than not leads to confusion and more opportunities to be distracted by outside influences that hamper focus, clarity of direction, and forward movement.
Third Voice: I was just trying to keep my artistic creativity fresh while taking the notes. My mind can hold more things simultaneously and I find that keeps me alert and prepared.
First Voice: Creativity is all well and good. Creativity reminds us that we create designs and structures and plans to give those structures forms and bodies to move. If anything the operating philosophy is to move. Move forward. We are the creators. How else are we to distinguish ourselves from what is outside in the traffic we listen to while we convene. While we convene and move forward with focus, being clear of our direction with clarity and transparency. And with that we continue moving forward. There is no looking back. Now, where were we?
Second Voice: Mr. Thelleramsk.
First Voice: Mr. Thelleramsk.
Mr. Thelleramsk: Morning.
First Voice: It is evening.
Mr. Thelleramsk: Evening already. So soon late. Must be getting old.
First Voice: Mr. Thelleramsk, it is appropriate I and my cohorts have been having this preliminary discussion regarding the subject of distraction.
Mr. Thelleramsk: I was wondering when things would come around to me and my problematic distraction.
First Voice: Mr. Thelleramsk on behalf of my cohorts it needs to be mentioned that limiting one's terminology to the more familiar and less over-intellectualized is preferred. Words and their potential are also employed to provide channels for the expression of energy, the active, and movement. Otherwise, our expressions cloud transparency and only give the false impression that our intentions are to conceal and repackage the old as new along conveyor belts tied into a greater network of curves and turns forming adjustments that only carry us in circles. On the contrary, we continue moving forward. We are moving forward without looking back. Now, where were we?
Second Voice: Mr. Thelleramsk.
First Voice: Mr. Thelleramsk, before we rush into the subject of distraction, I did not want to exclude any from my cohort who might have any other subjects of concern they would like to contribute.
Eighth Voice: Humor.
First Voice: Thank you, yes. There was the subject of humor.
Mr. Thelleramsk: Humor?
First Voice: Yes, humor. Inappropriate humor.
Mr. Thelleramsk: You mean math puns?
First Voice: We deal in mathematical operations of the highest importance and answer to higher authorities who wish very much for us all to perform to our fullest in order to reach the highest numerical values possible and impossible for all things are possible when it comes to honing our skills to focus on the purpose at hand and maintaining a disciplined and humble compliance with the will of the higher authorities who have invested a great deal in us and their down payment that they have placed in earnest must be returned with all seriousness for the values representing the quantities of their initial investment and subsequent investment and there are subsequent ones that we don't always see even though many interpret it as indifference or non-existent. It has always been there from the beginning. Without your re-established sincerity, commitment, and freedom from distraction, these figures and values will sink as representative of their mathematical spirit being exasperated and grieved to sink further and descend into the fire that will consume the work of those of divided attention.
Mr. Thelleramsk: As in the importance of water bottles.
First Voice: Have you had any neurological testing conducted, Mr. Thelleramsk?
Mr. Thelleramsk: And what does that have to do with anything?
Seventh Voice: You did mistake evening for morning.
Fourth Voice: And make the comment, "Must be getting old."
Mr. Thelleramsk: I was actually not referring to myself, but to this.
First Voice: This?
Mr. Thelleramsk: This. This must be getting old. In fact, it is getting old. It has too soon become too late. And I have been wanting to leave.
First Voice: Distraction. Outside. A reality. A distracting reality, but a reality nonetheless. We must be aware of the outside traffic, but not of it. Unless it should draw many astray. Drawing many astray to the point that their loyalties and boundaries come under question.
Mr. Thelleramsk: This is true. One does get distracted when it appears that what lies ahead or looks up or within or inside the inner circle only facilitates a gravitational pull beyond your control and leaves you to orbit at great distances and to weather being eclipsed and in the shadows and in dark silences.
Ninth Voice: An echo is repeating a message from various bodies so that they each meet and combine on the table they gather around in a fellowship of verisimilitude. The structures have been thought out, designed, constructed, and permitted to convey its bodies between margins widened and narrowed and mostly narrowed to place unpredictability on the most restrictive diets of conversation salted with exaggeration and sandwiched with criticism to snap one another out of the frozen dinners of leaner underachievement and trances resulting from avenues of escape to take the edge off of self-inflicted burn out.
First Voice: Speaking of loose cogency, Mr. Thelleramsk, since you are not exactly being forthcoming regarding your mental status, a referral to the EAP has emerged as a recommendation.
Mr. Thelleramsk: It's no surprise, especially when being able to leave at indecent hours in indecent times from indecent places to lie in one's bed with indigestion from eating obscenely late meals insufficiently heated from their cold storage from an external wasteland with temperatures that rise and fall with redundance and indifference impervious to one's despairing resignations to hopelessness and exhaustion that withholds annihilating sleep and vainly ignore the voices in one's head that relentlessly follow the same words of the same voices here uttering their hollow black holes in these dark chambers engulfing as much information as can be managed and destroyed in your latest project that it is never too late as it never sleeps and never closes its eyes all its eyes watching all of us for whom it is always too late as you want more and I want less and prefer it that way as you expand in larger and larger circles as more of me disappears these meetings continue moving forward into tomorrow.
- Max Stoltenberg