From "A Thimble of Annual Rain"


Note: This is the first chapter of three. I plan to release this plain text version as well as an extremely hyperlinked version for Hypercard. This text is yet not checked for grammatical errors. It is to be considered as a beta version linguistically.


Through the years, the rings on the table grow in number

All these words, hymenoptera of all colors, encumbering the organism with classified information, verdicts on craned necks: nothing at all. And this within the same second. Served on a tray, which reached the conscious right in the middle of this citical mass of glass and concrete - anything from a complete suite of furniture to negotiations between two lawyers.

On the other hand, it was impossible for him to imagine an adjacent channel, with inhabitants so temporary that the conductress had to punch all their features at once. With his face turned away from the window he adjusted to this incredible pain, opened his mouth and with great strain he stretched his hands upwards, until the spots began to assume a warmer, almost sad tone, as in the Antarctic or the Sahara desert, areas which took on their shape like mercury. Why must everything be experienced, he thought and perceived the ground outside as nothing but a diffuse, red roving spirit. In spite of the fact that anything at all could happen, he felt that the passengers nodded with joy at being part of some sort of applause, which saluted every single moment, whose prey they became.

He realized he had reached his destination, exactly as when you discern small slits in skin. The chocolate biscuit dissolved and melted between his teeth, like a replica of his first experience of a really agitated crowd of people, like an unction of regressive rapture, like the murmur from a high pressure, like the dry echo from hair. Diffuse, deep-blue figures, a color-sample of the sky, like an intendance yet unemployed; similar to an impersonator rendering the storming of the Winter Palace.

His thinking had very early been occupied by insects and a vague sensation of metalplates and junk. The essence of the game was the conviction that his brain sent out bombers. Cordial colleagues at the open-plan office claimed that they participated in something dangerous in the cold light. From within the mechanism with its driving-gears, belts and stabilizers, they evoked themselves and delighted as from licking a soft species of mineral. The photograph of himself as a three year old child lodged a challenge to the past, its taste of steel, its character of escape, all framed within thin wooden laths. This second was crowded with people, standing in line, eager to get deep down.

As a member of a species he was repelled, even if the mere sight of a fellow countryman abroad was a gun shot of defying rebirth, a homeless foretaste of his return. With disgust he let himself get sucked into a distant mirage, he leaned back and looked straight ahead. Molner could see himself from behind, as when he was little, when he used to rest in the cramped cradle, where time was portioned out. To make it seem discreet, he was hesitantly, almost reluctantly, received by the next moment.

The partly drawn curtain stuck to the sneaking hand much better than life itself. It was the first occurrence in that room. Friends were drinking here: this was to make oneself at home. Beneath the camouflage one was able to detect the war of colloquy, even though it proceeded at a very high speed, and Molner was afflicted with the same kind of discomfort as during a circus performance with its calm aggression. People without affections were packed together in this inconceivably vast area. The dark blue night sky was both innocent and unknowing, but deep within one would find a young boy, spying upon a couple, making love, surrounded by odours which estranged the partakers from each other. The male was the first man ever to accept being tamed by the moon, like a woman.

Majestically silent she had sometimes drawn the curtain over her face, and in the most magnificent cases even a red painted barn or a long silk scarf. The woman carried on with her monologue, dreamily. "Can you see any light?" By the multiple reflexions everything was flipped around several times, and precisely when you expected that you could sleep your way out of the haze, then a lot of merchandise was shown, a polished coin appeared to be soaring very calmly. He believed that he escaped responsibility, but he knew that everything he had said, she would now repeat around her axis. An illusion of not being genuine. Was it the fear of war or fear of an armistice close at hand? The key word was one minute, or maybe sixty years, who would know such a thing?

The first time he saw her was on an airplane, seatbelt fastened, she had that flickering elegance, which certainly charachterized open fire, but also the streamlines surrounding a woman who is used to cling on to the waist of a motorcyclist at roaring speed. She was a church, a cathedral, where a confined dog was barking. She had drawn a blue comb through her black hair and down towards the princely pillared hallway, and then a gesture as if she wanted to call forth a stroll. In her hand, her life line, unattainable for a shipwrecked.

Several year later, she had risen like a perfectly synchronized swarm of mosquitoes, she had upset the glass of juice and left only a wedding ring behind. Through his desperate carelessness, he had experienced a totally unforeseen invigoration. But it had been the paralysis of a small boy within this heavily built man; he had not been a building of equal stature, but a worn-out doormat.

He cast a glance at this cult site of many a thousand years, and its mess of quilts and pillows. He had reconquered the whole bed area. The wrinkled sheets formed a powerful gyration from a disaster long expected, a reality instantly manifested, like a scoreboard lighting up with the ring from a bell. This was the stairway to a theater, were the horoscope from a magazine was being dramatized, staged with the silhouette of a woman in a bathing-suite, all of it performed in a steep slope of ardent cigarette smoking. It was a closed world, restricted by daring strides, graceful figures from white girl-skates, characterized by the dreamlike temporal soaring you experience in an alphabetically sorted estate inventory.

The female doctor, of slavic extraction, was pale as an exotic fruit, not yet ripe, and she lit a cigarette. Absent as an emergency exit she explained that this was, in fact, as close as most people ever got to having a religious experience. Immediately, the room filled up with a sort of latent disgrace and her glowing cigarrette hanged down like the edge of her mouth. The chair was fixed to the floor, not one single weld without importance. She stepped on a rubber pedal. It was the kind of mechansim that is known to people who have survived airplane crashes; maybe you would be granted grace for some time, yet such an act of intimacy was still a sort of black cotton to fall down in, only partly activated by some endocrine gland. A sort of eroticism, deepfreezed in the midst of the deed, but it wasn't until now it had been mentally filed under the correct natural force. It seemed more bluish, the acoustics more muffled, like Greek food. The woman's mouth was incessantly smiling, but her ears discerned thunder from the overcast northern Germany. She grabbed her patient with both hands, her mouth turning into a straight line, a caricature of worship.

From within the heavy, stereophonic transparence of his headphones, he managed to shut out the litany from the shivering woman in the bathing costume. Three men in sailor suits ran along the quay, resolutely, like panic growing in a man's heart. All human interactions could be inspected from a thousand indicator needles and pilot lamps, that instantaneously revealed every possible outcome. Something insisted upon reevaluation, since time had been cut in such an unsavoury fashion. Still, he could also remember, with tears in his eyes, how she slowly had been turned around, and when he recalled this picture into memory, it almost scratched against his cortex, and once again he saw them: the spots. He understood that it is impossible to distinguish an unintended affinity in a moment of distress. The sounds and the silence became one, the words and the spaces between them merged, while he greedily inhaled the smell of gasoline. He closed his eyes tighly as he forced the car to reach top speed. Meeting lights shone through his eyelids, and when he pressed his back against the support he could feel something hard and unwieldy.

The ache inside her head moved slowly and unveiling, gradually shifting like a jellyfish. He braced himself up against the air behind, and fastened his eyes firmly into her mat irises. But her black mane lustred like on the silver screen, a very complicated delay meachanism, and the last sign of life he saw was her tongue, jerking behind her teeth. The hard ground that received her governed nothing but embedded all fears - he almost found the movement graceful, when she rolled over. She resembled all kinds of famous people, as he pictured them with blood at their mouths.

Her hands, that just now had been clasping the ladder, reclenched in the moment of death. He loosened the grip, as if he wanted to check whether this inexorable retreat already had been drawn in the lines of her hand. Now, he had gotten a foretaste of those final seconds, from which the scent of promotion came. Cold all over he remembered the outline of her body, he hiccupped a couple of times, at first hard and gleaming, the second time like weathering rock.

Exactly as a cartoon about dogs can't go on for ever, Molner was now, again, reminded of time. The row of doors they had to pass before they could be declared fit; TV, radio and confectioneries a refinery, occurrencies straight out in midair, leaving traces that resembled streaks from a vacuumcleaner in the shag of a rug. This condition consisted in two different movements, one of them solidly retarding, the other rheumatically progressing, both disastrous.

Uniformed, unreachable women with ribbons around their chins. The surrounding world had been turned and started to wander upwards, until the anaesthesia of the lactic acid was apparent, the same unbearably tense expectation a child experiences, when hoping for a certain letter combination to show up among the neon signs in the street. He looked happy when he with restrained excitement escaped from a bubble, based upon functions like networks and capillaries.

This first night, he was able to exhale some smoke from his cigarrette, heroically, without conferring, but also without directly looking at anyone. Today was discharge day at the ward, and spilled out drinks soared in the vast space where prospects were expressed. A beautiful woman at the doorjamb, luxurious seconds. What did this actually mean?

Having a vague feeling of a great mass of sheet-metal waddling on a boxcar, he considered what his uncle always had said: extasy is for pearl oysters only. He was a little surprised to find himself reset and in love, but secure at last. The monologue was an inescapable part of his unconscious, the throngs of people the key to that whole mechanism of spongy products he dug his teeth into. Chewing was an act of aggression, the stomach the lover of them both. With her coat over her right arm, the woman called out: "WHISKY SOUR!" Her voice full of wonder. The crisis was over.

The floor was all covered by the murderlike moments of November, a prose totally in somebody's power. The afternoon was pointless, the headache didn't have to be genuine any more. Timidly and shyly they turned newspaper pages together, their movements as trivial as if painted on glass. A hole in a sweater was considered unexpectedly good tidings. The woman dreamily resumed her pauses every time, muted howls that were put down on the saucer at the round table. She opened her eyes and created a smile.

He really wanted to put his hand on his own shoulder and put a stop to twenty years of misunderstandings. Everything that reached his consciousness came out verbally, but older and more fragile. You certainly went through some kind of remedy here. Maybe it was an affliction, predestined for a certain purpose by its very denomination.

Five past eight. He turned the dial on the TV-set with the expertise of a well travelled person. The unprecedented united with the observed. As to the rest, there was an expectant stillness.


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Karl-Erik Tallmo, 1989,1994
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