Seeking to further alleviate his malaise, he decided to go for a walk. It had been almost a year since he last left his house. He unfastened his lounging leg from the stump and stumbled to his dressing room using his coveted, and quite rare… and quite illegal, rhino penis cane. Upon locating his Swiss Army Arm and his all-terrain gam- one in a complete line of legs for all occasions, he strapped and screwed these into place and threw a mackintosh on over his pyjamas. He slipped his legs, one natural, one not, into gold embroidered, jewel and mirror bedazzled cowboy boots and admired them. They were his favorite boots; they always got him lots of attention. That’s when he noticed the fossilized shit caked on one of the soles. It must have happened when he left the house last year. This made him extremely uncomfortable; but, once outside, he kicked the boot against the nearest tree as hard and as angrily as he could until the crust fell away.
He chose to stroll through a seldom used service tunnel which led from his home in Mount Hop’ung. The tunnel itself was a nightmare matrix of subterranean wildlife and reinforced concrete walls corrupted by thirsty root systems and thorny vines. Whenever growth blocked his progress, he cleared passage with his spring-loaded, machete-hand assembly.
After traveling in this way for a half an hour, he spotted an oddly shaped piece of wood as big around as both of his fists. He stopped cold and looked at it… and with dark, wide set eyes, it seemed to be looking back at him. There was a face, there, in the rough ridges and planes of muddy wood chunk. It looks just like a beautiful aboriginal youth, he said to himself… those full lips and that proud, open nose. He stuck the machete tip into its forehead, lifting it off the ground. He caressed the wood with his real hand as a tear collected in his eye.
Do you know what it means to be entirely consumed with another entity? Your thoughts given only brief respite away from the subject; you can try to cast it away, but invariably it boomerangs back to you, to rack you.
He built a career from his obsessive-compulsive nature. He forged his fortune out of his neuroses, and, for that, he was truly grateful. He tried to focus on his blessings, the small triumphs.
A drift of pollen and dust caught him causing his body to shudder with spastic coughing. Phlegm flew from his lips. His head hurt. Putting the wood in the kangaroo-style belly pocket of his pyjama tops, he scurried back to his den.
In his office, with the wood carving tools he ordered on line and adapted to fit in his Swiss Army Arm, he sat poised to create life. In his own flesh and blood palm, he held the chunk of wood found in the service tunnel, ready to give it shape, form and breath. As he chipped away the surface, the refinements of the crude face revealed themselves. Such a beauty. This was just what he needed.
I have thought about you ever since you went away- ever since I drove you away. Who I was then has warped into something completely different. You wouldn’t like it at all. The innocence, whatever innocence there ever was, has dried up. The compassion soured. Bitterness corrodes me. The chemicals decode and scramble me. I was… but am no longer. I’m the walking dead.
Tawdry melodrama. Was he really so pathetic?
As he carved, he whispered familiar words to the head in his hand… words that put everything into place and perspective. Words that made the eyes of the head in his hand flutter slightly, made the mouth curl upward.
He charged himself through contact with others, both physical and intellectual, in a vampyric fashion. But, that was hard to do when you only went out once a year and the rest of the time he couldn’t stand to be around people. When he placed himself in society and reached his civil limits- if he didn’t get away quickly- he was prone to odd and angry outbursts. The social contact he craved, needed, was moderated by an unmitigated abhorrence of people and their petty, consuming needs. This was the peculiar paradox within him that he acknowledged, debated, sorted through, and wrestled with in his Skyped therapy sessions. This was a paradox he never quite resolved. That’s where this newly formed wooden companion fit in. It’s my Pinocchio. My little friend, made of wood, doesn’t care if I’m plastic, if I’m amoral. He won’t care if I’m an assemblage of spare parts and dank attitudes. We’ll be like father and son… but more intimate. With a hammer, he broke apart a night-table that belonged to his mother. He smashed it to bits with more enthusiasm, one might objectively say, than is sane under the circumstances. Taking the ragged lengths of wood, he assembled a body for the head using screws, twine and hooks. The finished dummy would be his silent companion; a quiet soul that would always be there for him whenever he needed him. A good listener, unlike the attention whores that currently proliferated in society. The dummy was a fitting substitute… an artificial human companion… low maintenance.
If I could tell you about the voices that talk to me, what would I say they said?
In days to come, he struggles with this creation as much as his own creator had struggled with him. The man whittles and links the entire asymmetrical body together from those table shards, screw eyes and hooks. He spends extra time on the face: it deserves special care. Two big eyes are gouged into the dark wood- he plans to paint them golden yellow- he shapes the mouth using his file attachment… the meaty lips… perfecting them in their realism. When the lips are sanded smooth (and as sensuous as he could make them with his tremulous arms), he’s a flurry of activity, enlivened by his project, changing his arm settings to apply the first brush strokes of paint: a dark mixture, beautiful and unexpected, the color of burnt plums. He admires his handless handy-work as he paints this mouth. It seems to be smiling again. He can hardly wait until it’s dry to kiss it.