April 07, 2008

Magpies Are Better Than That, All Wright?

By Sigge S. Amdal © 2008

I lost a good friend recently, and you know how it is, you mourn for a period of time and then you pick up your life and continue without. Do your best to cope and so on. I found him again in a record shop two stores below looking for the latest Radiohead album. He told me he wanted In Rainbows so I suggested the hippie store by the central station where they've got all the Shangri-la stuff you'll ever need. He was annoyed and left.

After I finished my window shopping without deciding on what to buy I felt as if a weight had been put on my shoulder. It turned out to be the hand belonging and connected by arm and shoulder to another friend of mine. He was also angry with me.

"Do you have any idea what day it was yesterday!?"

I could easily imagine that today was a Friday or a Saturday. No hello? Not today of course, the day that this happened, but I couldn't name two prior days because it would be a silly reply to a specific question. I landed on Thursday. In most cases Saturdays are just Fridays prolonged.

He called my bluff and put his hands on his hips. I couldn't understand why he was mad, so I quickly added that it might just as well have been a Friday all things considered.

"Do you have any clue as to today's date at all?"

At this point we were getting a lot of visual attention from security which was a bad thing, given that I forgot to close the bird cages in the pet store after window-testing. I took him down to the first story which happens to be next to the wine store in case you go there. It sells and ships wine, fine wines and cheaper ones, regardless of my story.

"So?" he demanded.

I came clean and told him how my calendar had never really worked.

"It doesn't work?! What the hell are you saying?"

"It came with all the dates and everything, but apart from that it's nothing! There's no way of telling what date it is, and since one's just as good as the other, I usually just pick one that I like."

He rolled his eyes conveying that I'd probably missed out on something in the instructions.

"Yesterday was my birthday!" I knew the instructions were faulty.

"What?! And now you tell me!?" I crossed my arms angrily, which felt really awkward being that the both of us were now equally pissed off and I was wearing a stiff and bulky leather jacket one size too big for me.

"So why are you angry at me?" I asked.

"You never showed up! I even began to worry. And here I find you in a shopping mall?"

"You could have sent an invitation," I remarked poignantly.

"I did! Don't you ever check your mail?"

"Not since two months ago. Damn bird snatched the key. Why?"

"And your cell phone?"

"Cut off, since I never paid the bills in the mailbox. It's a positive thing, really, if you take away the candle light expenses. And finding enough driftwood this time of year? Forget about it..."

He said something about disappointments and how they disappoint upon coming to be, while he reluctantly agreed that I'd actually made his next birthday a whole lot better given that we'd both survive to see the day, and granted I'd be present to congratulate him.

Birthdays never set well with me. Today so many days ago I was shoved head first through the vagina of a woman I didn't even know at the time, radically interfering with her and her husband's sex lives, economical situation, causing nothing but general dismay for half a year before they finally got used to me and gave me a name. A natal event best forgotten.

Like my grandfather always used to say: "If you can't remember something it might as well be worth forgetting." He had Alzheimer's before he caught a fatal case of death.
And then there are those who start talking gibberish the moment you hand them a balloon. But I like having the option of turning down the invitation.

When I was half-way home it began to rain heavily and the temperature dropped a milestone. My teeth started clattering, and it struck me how much worse it would have been if I'd been a hamster or a squirrel. Not checking my mailbox in the entrance hallway I ran into a neighbor, a girl who lives next door.

"Sorry," I said, and helped her up. She joined me up the stairs.

"Have you ever had this pain that shoots from the spine and causes your eyeballs to hurt like they've been plucked out, rolled in sandpaper and put back in again but the other way around?"

"No, never!" she exclaimed.

"Lucky girl," I mumbled.

"Why? Are you all Wright?"

"I guess I am."

"Are you in pain?"

"No, I'm not aware of any. Why do you ask?"

She didn't reply, but I could tell her games a hundred miles away. I knew she was studying to become a librarian – which can take a whole lifetime depending on the number of books and the size of the building – and everybody knows that most librarians are moderate nymphomaniacs. It's all about sex to them, indiscreetly indirectly, which is why they do the book thing. Reading. It helps.

The librarian at the elementary school I went to was always fondling her necklace when it was the boys' turn to sit down and not read. When I was nine I got my brother to ask her for the Kama Sutra and she had a nervous breakdown right there in front of us. My brother was six. Still hasn't learned how to read.

She closed the door keeping an eye on me, and I gave her a nod and a grin. Grins are well-meant when they come from the heart, which constitutes a good grin by definition. Bad grins come from the liver, or the bottom of the lungs where you collect all the dust, and nothing is felt when you flash one, except for maybe a little spite. Or a chunk of food stuck between the teeth. I thought about it for a while until I got tired of all the people passing by glaring at me. Neighbors are weird. Normal people always live like two blocks down.

I turned on the light and it was off. Sometimes, after a thunderstorm, some say that you can find wandering pockets of free energy climbing on top of the electrical grid, like a power python making love to a fire hose. The benefit from such an occurrence would outweigh the energy spent flipping the switch manifold.

Anyway. The cat was present.

The cat was not a cat, it was girl, a deceased woman from a caustic love affair. I never knew what became of her after I left, but I knew that this cat was she, so she must have died somehow. I had asked the cat about it on previous rendezvous, but it never replied. It had clearly come to kill me.

I had an uncle who always wore stereophonic headphones and used to breathe more smoke than actual air. He never connected them to anything though; the jack just ended in a curl in his pocket, because he wanted to find out what other people were saying about him when they thought he wasn't listening. And if you spoke to him directly he would pretend he couldn't hear you.

He was an electrical engineer. He put electricity to dead animals to re-animate them. They would jolt around the table, eyelids would shut and open, and sometimes he'd even get the heart beating again. His dream was the electrical embalmed brain, kept alive by nourishing fluids. He called it the Think Slave and he owned several patents for it. The idea was that you could lay off the burden of solving complex problems by feeding them to a brain that had nothing better to do. I asked him how he could know that the brain wouldn't just dream all the time, after which he refused to see me again.

She reminded me of him when I met her. She was obsessed by an idea, and she would avoid or destroy anything and anyone she perceived to be in her way. Given her general paranoia that list included quite a few.

She didn't want an electrical brain though; all she wanted was the perfect family. The Perfect Family. This may sound innocent enough until you begin to appreciate the razor sharp edges of the dome of perfection with which she was supposed to lethally separate between places, pieces and people based purely on prima facie whims or mere spurs of the moment.

She fell in love with me after I had convinced her that her body was more bacteria than human cells.

I once met a baby who had a grown-up's head judging by the proportions. Many babies have this problem, which ultimately leads to an early death.

"You have a very big head," I said, and the baby called me dada.

"Who's your daddy?"


"Who's your daddy?!"


And its mother blushed.

The cat stared at me. There was no distracting it. I knew it would kill me once I fell asleep, so instead I just kept myself awake. It was dark anyway, so closing the eyelids was kind of redundant.

It didn't move for four hours and I was the first one to give in to the urge.
Nanyanette was her name, if I recall correctly. Lucille was someone else and maybe from a dream. There are more muscles in the trunk of an elephant than there are in the entire human body, and I was glad I wasn't an elephant, ‘cause it would have hurt more than it did.

"Come, kitty kitty, come kitty."

Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.

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