Friday, June 11, 2010

Martin Goes Crazy

Martin finally snapped. Driven slowly but surely insane with boredom, he welcomed the breakdown with open arms. He overturned his desk, and tearing at his hair and clothing, sprinted for the elevator. A crooked grimace on his face, his eyes shone with joy. Long had he wondered when the slow descent into tedium induced madness would finally end. It seemed as though today was that day. He sang and danced as he rode the elevator car to the ground floor for the final time. The city exploded with colour and sound as he burst into the street and began running. He gesticulated wildly, shouting gibberish and biblical quotes of his own invention. Three blocks down the street he passed a hot dog vendor and without breaking stride, downed an entire bottle of spicy mustard. As he ran, he fashioned a special tricorne hat from bits of aluminum refuse he collected along the way. He masturbated into his special hat and placed it firmly on his head, at a rakish tilt. Deeply persuasive, imaginary, scent triggered memories flooded his mind. The car exhaust reminded him of his racing career in Milan, the smell of a passing woman's perfume brought back his torrid love affair with Jacqueline Kennedy. Onassis. He began to see clear, deliberate patterns in the ways people chose the colours of their socks. These patterns, he knew, were cleverly disguised non-verbal forms of communication between seemingly average pedestrians and their invisible alien masters.
Typically, these "conversations" were of the most mundane sort, but every so often complex sinister details were revealed to him. He defecated in a public telephone booth and collapsed in a small city park. Fascinated by the shifting, multi-hued auras emanating from the ducks and pigeons, he lost track of time. At nothing o'clock in the early evening or late afternoon, his new found super acute hearing detected the faint and beautiful singing of a group of what he believed at the time were women.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It started out with smell.
The smell of him,
and it happened so gradually
she didn't even realize how strange
it was.
The odour of him decreased slowly and steadily
until he didn't smell like anything at all.
His hair,
his sweat.
His dirty socks.
The last thing to go was his shit.
Even those big dumps on the weekends
left the bathroom smelling as neutral
as when he walked in.
As the weeks went by,
other smells began to become muted around him.
If he walked through the kitchen while she was cooking,
the smell of the food would fade in and out like
a radio signal in dense fog.
Within minutes of touching his skin,
his cologne basically vaporized.
One day she found a full bottle in the trash.
Busy with work and the kids and the house
and everything else,
there was little time to worry about something so absurd
as his first lacking any odour,
and then his seeming to negate any odour he came in contact with.
When she found him at his workbench in the garage,
burning swatches of his own hair at 3am,
all the other little pieces came together.
He was holding a clump of his own hair over
a propane torch with a pair of pliers
and deeply inhaling the fumes through his nose.
No coughing, no tearing up, nothing.
It looked like a bizarre magic trick.
"Honey? What are you doing? Is everything okay?"
"You tell me. Does it look like it's okay?
I can't smell a damn thing. At first I thought I had a cold.
But look at this!"
"Honey, it's not your nose. I think there might be
something wrong with you. You don't smell like anything at all."
"I'm telling you, it's not your nose. I can't smell anything
around you either!"
"What's wrong with me?"
"I don't know, Honey. Maybe it'll go away."
It didn't go away.
The day she woke up and couldn't hear the alarm
clock until she was five paces away from the bed,
she decided to take take the children and go stay
with her mother.
He waved to them from the foot of the driveway
and she thought she could see the sunshine
through his hand.
He stopped going to work.
After a few weeks, he vanished entirely.
The paint brightened on the house
and the lawn darkened to a natural shade of green.