Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dali's Egg ~ 3. Dr. Morose


The sand was golden, and squeaked beneath his feet. Tiny bells tinkled on a strap around his left ankle as he trudged along the beach, his mind blank and empty save for his immediate experience.
The danger-chanting gull had followed him for a while, not bothering to flap its wings, but kiting the wind with nonchalant dexterity before squawking once and turning with the wind to glide back toward the peninsula.
The red mesa passed slowly on his left, giving way to dense tropical forest. The sun beat down on his shoulder and his mouth was dry and gritty, his tongue swollen. Colours flashed behind his eyes, overlaying his view of the curving coastline with kaleidoscopic floaters.
He walked for an immeasurable time, time that seemed to loop and stall erratically like thoughts before sleep, losing its relevance, and marked only by the pounding of the surf and the trudging of his feet.
Ahead, standing alone in the sand, halfway between the green of the forest and blue-green sea, stood a single palm tree, its trunk curved in a backward J.
A slight movement at the tree-line just beyond the lone tree caught John’s eye. He angled up the beach toward what gradually revealed itself to be the figure of a teenage boy who danced from one foot to the other on the hot sand.
The boy blinked occasionally as John approached, his expression was serious and he wore a red tee shirt and grubby khaki shorts which failed to cover the grazes on his knees.
“You just got here.” it was a statement of fact, not a question, “Did it hurt?”
Startled by the question, John managed “…I don’t know…”
“That’s what everybody says.” Said the boy, disappointed in some way,“Don’t tell them you saw me,” He turned and ran off into the undergrowth.
John started off after him, but thought better than to enter the dense unknown of the forest. Initiative lost, he turned from the sound of the boy’s passage, a slight breeze chilling the sweat that coated his back and buttocks = he realised that he was naked.

Borne on the air that welded together the sea and the jungle and criss-crossed John’s numb progress down the coast, came the smell of wood smoke, which in turn carried the smell of cooking meat.
Ahead, where the tree line broke, the mouth of a river spewed a fan into the breakers, and John could now see a curlicue of smoke above the forest.
A hundred metres from the river mouth, to his right; he noticed the beginnings of a path between the dunes and headed toward it.
The path was clear enough to suggest a regular passage by a small group of people, it started as a gap in the trough between two grassy dunes and wound its way inland around the bushes and sea-dried trees leaving no clear view of its destination. After a short meander the path entered the forest proper.
Coming to a fork in the path he chose left.
Some time later he realised that the path had made its way to the riverbank and was now undulating inland parallel to the river; he could hear the river’s liquid song behind the line of bushes as it took aural dominance over the sea’s faded roar.
He came to a clearing that opened around a large scarred tree and giving a view of a shallow lagoon and the smell of rot; the path ended here.
Retracing his steps to the fork, he continued, this path again eventually reaching the riverside and continuing upriver, the forest growing deeper and greener, the smell of roasting meat growing strong now and John found himself salivating, Pavlovian, realising how hungry he was.
The path broadened suddenly onto a clearing where the sun cut through the trees in broad arcs of yellow on red sand and a village built of wood and iron.
The village was organised into vague cultural areas of eating, sleeping and meeting and was dominated by the large tree and behind that a corrugated iron water tank that stood on four solid wooden legs.
A line of rudimentary shelters down one side of the clearing revealed what was obviously the kitchen, since it was from here that the smell of meat and the smoke were flavouring the air.
Nothing moved as John, feeling like some naked shipwrecked sailor, stepped into the clearing feeling the conflict within him – this is all happening too fast.
“You might want to put these on”
Startled, John turned to find an unsurprised middle-aged man standing side-on down another narrow path that hedged deeper into the jungle, away from the village and the river.
The man extended a neatly folded pair of khaki trousers and a white tee shirt toward John.
“Thanks” His nakedness suddenly uncomfortably obvious beside the dressed man, John quickly donned the clothes; the fabric was coarse against the layer of salt that had settled on his skin, tight and uncomfortable.
“Clothes maketh man,” said the man “or was that manners maketh man?” he looked genuinely puzzled for a while, then, as if remembering the train of the conversation, he extended his hand in John’s direction. “Dr Morose”
“How’re you doing?” Bemused, but unable to break from convention, John took his hand and shook “John Gabriel” He looked around at the clearing, “Where am I?”
“Ah, straight to the hard questions," He grinned to soften the rebuke, "Let’s start with an easy one: Are you hungry John Gabriel?”








12 comments:

Justin Russell said...

Dali's Egg is shaping up nicely, I am quite invested in the narrative now. It is a good egg so far indeed.

subtorp77 said...

And the question of "where", goes unanswered....ach! But I'm also thinking, "when"...fantastic!

James Higham said...

Forgive this OT promotion, Pisces but please support Man in a Shed’s “Silly Week” next week. Logos are available at his site.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Justin: is the egg still in its shell?

Subby: questions questions - always with the questions :)

subtorp77 said...

What can I say? I'm like that..too bloody curious!

James Higham said...

Interesting that he should dress as a result of the state of dress of the other.

Cinnamon said...

I am enjoying this narrative Pisces. I like its cadence/rythm. Looking foward to no.4!

Cinnamon said...

excuse typo- rhythm

Justin Russell said...

Pisces quote:

Justin: is the egg still in its shell?

The question for me may be far more along the lines of "What came first? The Dali or the Egg?"

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: nothing wrong with curious ;}

James: it is interesting - the ultimate need to conform

Cinnamon: No.4 will be out next wednesday :)

Justin: the egg came first, and from the egg emerged the Dali

human being said...

i saw it as a poetic rendition of man's history of evolution and what inspired him to move on this path...

the ending and those questions were really great...

so haunting!
enjoyed reading it...

JeffScape said...

Sweet. I'm hooked.

I don't suppose you could email me this in a .doc or a .pdf file, could you? I'm having trouble staring at the white on black.