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the history of s/he

  • dan 

a random firing of neurons

A suburban late afternoon. The receptionist’s pony-tailed hairdo, her fingers on the keyboard, a few waiting-room design chairs, architecture magazines, Guten Tag – Guten Tag, the muffled sound of a dental drill. I know nothing of wood-sanding. My flatmate catches me using an olive oil bottle to crush some garlic in the kitchen. The pain strikes me like there is nothing like it, and I can see through the back of my own eyes. It is as if I’m watching one of those Japanese films where the distance between subject and object seems to have been abolished by the complete absence of action. The viewer feels powerless. The rain at the gate in Rashomon. The despair of an empty and derelict place, where the woodcutter tells his story, his eyes avoiding mine, as if to say, don’t believe all you hear and see.

I walk endlessly through a never-changing urban fabric, a streetscape of monotony, not a soul to be seen. The day is merging into night, there, up to the edge of a city that turns into suburban country, the soft rain weaving a fog blanket that envelops waterways and bridges. I hear the rattling of an approaching S-Bahn train. A graffiti artist has drawn some kind of goblin being caught underwater by a cross-eyed octopus. Kottbusser Tor is busy as ever. I go into a pub. The loudspeakers are vomiting Cops for fertilizer by the Leftöver Crack. So let’s kill the fucking pigs, if they get in our way, it’ll set a good example for the children today. My gaze lands on the skimpy t-shirt worn by a squatter. It has sick of it all printed all over it. She tells me that she’s moving into a monastery, where she’ll meditate, read, and write. She then sets herself on fire.

The implant resides in a space in my mind that is constantly being filled up with warped memories. I live up in a corner of that space. While I think I can feel the world around me, I cannot see. Trees are but the embodiment of deceit. As I probe that space, my hands stretch out, and I wish the fog would lift, if not for the time needed to grasp the futility of gravity. And here it goes. A policeman. I pull up at the side of the road. Blue lights in a cacophony of New Year’s Eve’s revellers, a shot rings out in the mist. His horse keeps on running, the horseman’s body on the tarmac. I wake up with a start. It has been several hours now since I collided with the pavement. I’m face-to-face with a car wheel. As I take stock of my surroundings, I see a flight of granite steps, a worn-out banister, and your dark, enlarged pupils dissecting my jungle.

In your living room, you expound, and your words carry the weight of unattainable intimacy. A bridge is being devoured by flames. Your bedroom stinks of dildos and whips, and I spill wine all over your satin dress. Piano music tramples on the seaweed that grows on a strip of sand barely covered in seawater, a solitary Arctic piratical bird surveying the island’s coastline. Litter is discernible among the flowers, and your stride shortens hesitantly. We intently admire expressionist brushstrokes along an embankment, while you light a candle and serve tea. You dye my hair, a black drape casually thrown upon your shoulders. We’re sitting on a bench that has been stripped of its planks. In the theatre of my memory, you have now shifted a little in your chair. Or perhaps moved to another chair altogether, the one by the window.

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