Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Great Somnambulist Faces His Fears

When Millard Filmore banged on my door this morning, the clocks in the attic all read a different time.
3:13     4:00     7:30
6:51     2:01     9:45
8:88     0:00     x:92
12:12     hellomoto
12:00     3:13     5:14
1:19     6:52     4:28
I think it has something to do with the President's time traveling abilities, but my clocks always go haywire whenever he shows up.  "Logan," he says, his voice heavy and augmented, not like Darth Vader's, but smoother, more velvety, as if his larynx has been marinating in honey all night.  It's impossible not to hear and listen to his words.  The dog is with him, Wolfie, she is called.

"Sir," I reply, cringing at how coarse my voice sounds compared to his.  I had been asleep, dreaming of Martin Luther King and Mama Cass Elliot.  They were singing a rousing and puzzling mash-up of "Dream a Little Dream" and the famous speech of Dr. King's.  It was getting to the good part, too.

"The Great Somnambulist has slumbered for much too long.  It is time."  I wondered at his word choice and whether he was being ironic or coincidental.  And he stared at me with those haunting eyes, lifeless and pale.  I quivered down to my soul then.  How can I explain it?  It's like the feeling you get when you're reading a 160 year old book that's been translated from its original Russian and you come upon a piece of dialogue that spans three pages but only one paragraph.  You wonder how people spoke with such eloquence and at such length back then, and you feel sorry for those in their presence.  The diatribes against God and Man and Society had to get old.  If you understand my meaning, that's similar to the dread I felt.

He held out his hand and I took it, trying to find something else to look at besides his eyes and failing.  With a sucking-slurping sound and a burp, the wormhole opened and we shimmered.

"What will happen in the third season of Downton Abbey?" I asked him.  "And will the ridges on my tongue and my hard palate cool back down?  You see, in my haste yesterevening I bit into a slice o' pizza that was much too hot, and in doing so the sauce--cursed tomatoes!--scalded me most severely.  Because of this I have been out of commission, so to speak, though not out of mind, lest you think I already was out of mind, but I would implore you to think otherwise.  Consider this.  Would a man out of mind successfully argue himself sane by brevity or would he ramble on and on about it, summoning up a panel of peers and contemporaries to support his claims that he was, in fact, quite sane?  Hmm?  I ask you, President Filmore, do you see my reasoning?  I think you do, and I will leave it at that.  But what about the pontifex?  What about the Gilmore Girls?  Is this about the seismograph again?  That wretch Claudio Montezuma assured me that he saw Mr. Julius McPeasy accompany Count Flopsy back to the vaults with it.  No?  Is it Cornelius Antonin Scruzz then?  Has the lad been found?  I had given up hope on that."

We were in the gardens, strolling through the rows of squash and onions.  I was bumbling like Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov.  Time travel affects us all differently.  Do all computers insides look so clunky?  Are all motherboards created equal?  Can we replace our RAM if we're running low?  Do you sulk and slink in the shadows when you trespass?  Does snow exist any longer?  Will the Counting Crows new album be any good? (I hope yes.)  Will Skyrim ever end?

All of this and more I wondered.  Finally we reached the end of the squash and President Filmore stopped.  Before us I saw a pedestal composed of Irish Spring soap.  In the milky moonlight the soft green was incredibly beautiful.  Atop the pedestal was a housecat lying on its back, paws out before it.  Resting on the paws was a plate, elegant yet simple.  And on the plate was....

"You know what you must do," said the silky voiced President.  I stepped forward.  My hands were shaking.  "The Great Somnambulist must not be allowed to give up so easily," he said behind me.  His words put fire in my bones, and with resolve I took the pizza into my hands.  Pepperoni.  Black olives.  Mushrooms.  Peppers.  Few onions.  Cheese.  Bacon.  I rubbed my tongue against my hard palate and winced.  Are rhinos things of the past?  Will I ever be free of soda?  I bit, and as the pizza sauce exploded in my mouth, the pain I once felt vanished and in its place came euphoria.


leslie said...

so very loverly weird, Logan. initial confusion gave way to humor, though i am unsure a level of confusion ever left. the reading certainly takes away the ephemeral feel of dreamscape, whether one is walking while sleeping or no.

~L (omphaloskepsis)

how do you feel about it?

logankstewart said...

'Twas fun to write, as this slipstream of consciousness stuff usually is. As such, I'm not as pleased with this as some others, as this piece was nowhere near as abstract as others have been. Nevertheless, the mode allowed some opining as well as humor, which suits me fine.