rogerdr (rogerdr) wrote,

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If you all aren't already disgusted with today's useemly display of poesy, I've got a couple of strange pieces I wrote for a parallel LJ devoted to a character from Dhalgren, whom I 'played' for a while in the MMPG milliways_bar. This one is called "Porcelain" because saying "white" in a story about a restroom break is redundant.

Kid makes it to the door without hurrying, though the pressure seems to build the closer he gets. In the square at eye level something is printed in what he would not have imagined as being writing; but if he were to speak it aloud, would come out "Men". It opens before his hand can touch it, and for a paper's width of time what is beyond seems to dance in a kalaedescope of formation and destruction; with colors, surfaces, textures, and scents searching for the right way to fit; then, melting backwards into solidity, becomes just another restaurant john, with identical brothers to be found in any given business district on planet earth. He crosses the tan, polished tile floor to the first stall before the door behind closes with a hush, and enters it, already undoing the fly of his slacks. He sits, thinking not of the effort to come, but of how this gesture makes all men equal from the moment they learn the meaning of shame. The cold porcelain of the lid now touches, now slides across the skin under the gnawed fingernails of his left hand (he'd left his notebook on the bar?). The pressure releases itself faster than he had thought possible, but his urine continues splashing the inside of the rim for a good minute and a half. When it quiets, he hears the first sob. Someone is crying in the stall next to his; softly, as if trying to hide. He rejects the urge to ask the eternal question because he understands well the need for solitude symbolized by this four-foot-by-four-foot room. And its many and varied uses. The odorous evidence of his contribution to whatever drainage system this place utilizes reaches his consciousness, telling him it's time to go; so he pulls a few lengths of plain paper from the roll and wipes with his right hand while holding himself out of the way with his left. He gets up in the manner prescribed, curiously not the exact reverse of the one which had left him perched on the centerless (manmade?) stone, and twists himself slightly to check that his product is, indeed, long and meaty; a right fine shit. The sobs coming through the ashen wall to his left subside as he brings metal teeth together with a transverse motion, turns the chromed knob on the bottomless door, and pushes it forward. In consideration for the dignity of that whoever, he strides straight to the third of a bank of washbasins and turns both faucets as far as they go, half-filling it in seconds with steaming froth. Taking the pearly curtesy soap in his hands, he douses it and them up to his wrists in blessed wet heat. He washes not only his hands, which are enough to turn the water gray, but also his arms, up to the lean muscles under his quarter-length sleeves. Then, not caring what shade this has given the water (but noticing the dark ring forming around it), he lathers his face and plunges it in too fast for the sting to catch up. With three holes closed and two still open, he relishes the burn on his cheeks and the blast of red and green behind his eyes. Just as swiftly, he rears up, letting his breath coat the mirror before him with droplets too small to distinguish and his just-past shoulder length, partly wet raven hair fan out like a peacock's tail before hitting the nape of his neck with a lively thwap! He stands there, hands splayed on the cream surface and arms and torso placing his head at the apex of a hollow pyramid, until the dew retreats to a few spots on the silvered surface which slowly reveals the one face in all worlds and times he most wishes he knew by name. Just above the right temple of that face, and slightly out of focus, he sees also the top of the door to the stall next to the one he'd occupied creep open, accompanied by the faintest of sighs. He straightens himself, dragging his hands along the countertop and mindlessly leaving wan ripples of now marble-cooled liquid, and turns, expecting to see a personification of loneliness slinking out of its den; but, instead, sees flayedentrailsrippedskingorefilledsocketsrottingteethflaminghairveinspouringacidburstmembercracklingballssplinteredribspretzeledfingersengorgedtonguedanglingheart nothing but an unremarkable New American Standard. His neck damp (with sweat not washwater), he stares at the space with supernatural clarity and listens as his heart beats once, twice, three times, four times, five. Then, with his fingers digging so deeply into his palms that his knuckles turn pale yellow, he casually walks out of the restroom and goes back to the bar.


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