Sunday, 18 September 2011

My Literary Canon

During a radical spring cleaning of my computer's documents wherein files of little worth found themselves jettisoned into the digital cul de sac that is the recycle bin, I came across a frenzied, year-old attempt at crafting a novel. The plagiarism of Palahniuk minimalism aside, it's not an altogether terrible read, though where exactly it was headed I have no idea. The last few paragraphs were just ideas for later sections of a story which, like Kafka's The Castle and Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon, will never be completed.

Anyway... here it is for you to enjoy or despise, whatever comes naturally.

Sometimes, lacking hope is the greatest aphrodisiac we have. Losing hope keeps us hopeful. The eternally recurring building, bombed and salvaged from its own wreckage. The childlike joy of losing ourselves, only to be found again, stronger, more resilient.

                _______ was an undiscovered nihilist. Her sojourns into the world of abandon were offset by an unfounded trust in human kindness. That instinctual faith in morality. So naive.
                _______ believed love was the answer. Why not? Her parents divorced, just like her brother and his wife. Her ex beat her and fed her drug addiction. Love is a many splendored thing. Like hospitalising your teenage girlfriend with the aid of gravity and a flight of stairs. Or clogging her nasal lining with Colombia’s finest whilst her heart ricochets inside her rib cage like a particle accelerator.
                She’d wake up the next day, tubes protruding from her frail body, machines converting her breaths into beeps. In her mind’s eye she’d see him, coming at her with a clenched fist, a rolled up newspaper. A broken bottle. It wasn’t his fault though. He couldn’t help it. He had a bad childhood. He didn’t finish school. He said you should mind your own fucking business the next time you ask about that blonde bitch who keeps calling at 3am.
                Being a regular, she began to notice the looks on the nurses faces. That head shake of unbelievability. The sorrowful eyes, pleading with her to please, let me help. But they didn’t understand. One doesn’t give up on true love just because their jaw occasionally connects with their partners fist, dislocating the inferior maxillary bone with permanent damage to the inferior alveolar nerve. As we speak, the shattered remnants of her premolars slide down her alimentary canal. She tells herself that’s love, massaging the swollen lump above the zygomatic bone.
                So each time he arrived with that pathetic look on his face, begging her to take him back, she’d say yes. There wasn’t a single bruise a box of chocolates couldn’t fix. A four letter word works faster than medicine. Flowers conceal dried bloodstains.

Years later, she’d find herself on the receiving end of a Nazi apologist hell-bent on resurrecting the third Reich. ‘Hitler gassed Jews because he loved his country,’ says this National Socialist, carving a swastika into the top of the bar. ‘He shot his wife to keep her from harm.’
‘Yeah well,’ she’ll say. ‘Cupid has a lot to answer for.’

                Lying in that bed, she wondered if this was as good as it gets. Right here on this ward, beside victims of domestic violence and attempted suicides, ______ felt right at home. Burning through nasal cartilage was a small price to pay. Surrounded by death and suffering, the sterility of her life now had meaning. Perhaps getting low was the new high.

                All the religious studies in the world don’t mean shit once you realise God is about as real as the tooth fairy. The Easter Bunny gives eggs. God delivers plagues.

                Her parents had it all planned. She’d grow up, get married, spit out a couple of little ones, maybe five or six? That’s the woman’s job they said. Only ______ had a different spin on things. For her, marriage was a tumour. The death knell before children arrived. Why define yourself through others, she’d say. Between offspring and a cemetery, she saw very little difference.

One night she found herself face down in a pool of vomit. Unquestionably hers, seeping into the turquoise green carpet she’d always hated and he always promised he’d replace with something less moody. A soft cream colour would complement the violence. Perhaps a bluish tint to lessen the impact of a ruptured artery. Domestic disputes can be solved with pleasant furnishing.

Happiness is overrated. Getting what you want is boring. Popularity becomes a past-time. A lover just fills your days. Some people go golfing. Her hobby was maintaining a pulse. Sure, being your partner’s punching bag was hardly ideal, but at least it showed he cared. A collapsed lung means more than a pair of shoes.

Good spirits were like a trap. Whenever she let her guard down, they’d return. But optimism was a lie. Like a Rottweiler with a ribbon. A peodophile with a smile. Genocide in 3D. Behind the veneer, life is always a struggle. Her perfect little life tried to cover that fact. Whenever her serotonin levels went for a top-up, she’d counteract them with a depressing movie. Self-harm just for kicks. A brief visit to the maternity ward browsing for miscarriages usually did the trick.

                I used to be an undiscovered nihilist. My brief sojourns into the world of abandon were offset by an unfounded trust in human kindness. That instinctual faith in morality. So naive.