This pen can only be as approximate as your strict tense system allows it to be lead. Already I’m not sounding like myself. Already there is very little truthful link between these chords and what I experience and want. The only thing keeping my two realms connected is exactly that irreconcilable gorge between day and its opposite. Imagine a world with zero transitions, listen, this might help. A world of pure constancy, where birds sing endlessly of ignorant prey and a dry nest. Imagine a soup that steams forever. A glassed corridor made of depth and vacuum. Imagine the breeze that blows your eyelashes to the east but never brings back any substitute luck.
There is a certain drop of conscience that awkwardly ran behind me leading up to this position. I was, have been, I guess, stationed here since quite some time, as I’m sure you’d like to call it. When my station ends and I am chained-off into the fluid, yours begin but you wont feel much. You won’t notice your own world seizing that fine grippage of reality. We’ll swap the gig but you’ll never grasp a difference as I become steam without the soup. Enter an encompassing concept of night, as you only knew of day. As you cared for nothing but the queue and the line. The total dim flares up like a cruder dimensionality and I have access to the branch of eternal prolongation. Everything else but what you’d call my presence stands still. I must zoom and I do.
The tarmac outside is wet, I can tell from the reflection of my beacon. It’s wet and regular. I use the prelude of someone’s coffee break to slide inside the building as the door she opened still makes a gap. My sense of body is gone, completely, or, I can tell I have feet, etc., but they are swept bizarre by the realm of this night where time itself is sleeping. That’s maybe a healthy behalf; that time sleeps here, dormant inside this nullity where consequently my own second made of novel self can stay. I conquer that doorstep and proceed through the cantina. I see no temporal goo or venom, no antidote either and I feel guarded by that when I shouldn’t really- I sieve around and make sure that I don’t touch anything. My memory’s been erased by the odd, synesthetic larvae, the one climbing and climbing my bark, never realizing it’s a descend and not a hill on foot. I smell a gentle tickle, hiding within the obscure, within the same sweeping bizarre, I smell the cilia of purpose like a cusped, acidic layer in the cognizant stew. There is a purpose here and I am certainly looking for it. I am looking for what I need to find and I only ask of my beacon. It’s all I can do so far.
I creep past the spacious glass-box. Around a big table a tie is telling two other ties about something placed on the table. I approach the window and see the formation of their stuff. A peculiar assemblage of transparently thin slices of watermelon placed in a slain 8 directly onto the veneer. There seems to be a high tolerance in my comprehension, if I could be said to have mustered such. I forgive them their effort, but this sign is vague, certainly. A slain 8, come on, I know of eternity, that’s technically why I’m here. But I need more, far more.
Yet I can’t describe this factory in madder terms. Not yet. Sorry. Stay with me.
I move on, it’s a peculiar feeling of never getting used to roaming without a goal, a ceaseless hunt for an elusive objective, but that’s my game. I’ll know something when I find the mission, one or more. Around the next corner an animal awaits me. In truth it’s factually unaware of my existence, but I choose to spice my perceptions this way, that surely as an animal, it must be awaiting me; prancing strangely on its two hind legs. What is that. It’s got a distinct shape, could be ugly, actually, as if canvased not from nature’s thought but from its own primitive self image. An elongated body, torso stretched far beyond necessary standards, legs and arms unproportionally executed but the most peculiar feature is surely its cranial structure and face. A tiny head, but nonetheless a barrage of impressions and presumed survival tactics that make for a facial landscape more ambiguously transmitting than an x ray of a dumpling. My emotional responding is acutely confused. What is it. Initially parts of it resembles a dog but threads and details of the feline is pulling its appearance through different layers of categorization, dog and cat, it’s an awkward combination that translates more towards some sort of simian fake. A dubious halfling. A creature of its own taste. I seem to like it like that, stretching its teeth through a terrible, open grin. It’s got big claws, a crawler and a predator. Two dangerously red and glowing eyes, tugged in by falsely tired lids and huge, ready lashes. The rest of its body is thinly furred and muscular, like it was in fact digitally born, intelligent but shapeless, then asked to draw itself a body before someone would realize those clumsy scribbles. It is tied to a bottle of water with a sparkling chain, that’s all. A single bottle. All of this smells of patience even through the motional freeze. A special patience without an object of desire.
I notice a black seed between two of its teeth; a black, oval seed. Watermelon, again. Could have been an omittable significance but something happens, something imperative, at least an echo of a piercing impulse I’ve frequented before and I take the seed out its mouth and turn around, start moving towards the lab over there. It’s a low ceilinged structure that wants to be a shed for flesh and brain, it attracts me and yet I don’t know why. I was cold but it’s getting warmer. This seed in my possession, it burns from a strange hazzard through my senses. I touched it, the dog-thing, didn’t I… only a hundred and some seconds into this offbeat errand and already I’ve bent the rules. Am I grandly assuming I can mend the fabric of this nullity at my wish with zero uploaded evidence? I ought to be fully aware that technically I’m nothing but a powered newborn, so where was my coding misspelled, where could they have neglected the precious security of my actions. I ponder the reverse for a minute, that even the misspelling has been the foremost point. No rules, no haptic limitation, all is permitted, nothing is true. The advantage of danger that would merit, I can’t even fathom, I can’t see past the forged glass of it. A straight vertigo of possibility.
I slide into the laboratory, introduce my nudity in perfect camouflage for the absentees and their kin. The smell is older, more firm and courageous. It appears the shed is inhabited, much so, slaves in sad robes with knives everywhere, axes and saws. A dousin axes for a harvest. Hey! Their common task is clear, cut that watermelon, slice it as thin as to barely make land for its own seeds. The seed, it’s burning my grasp. A technician is cutting from the mother melon, how is it mother, how do I know? It reeks of logistic attention, the build up of ancient architectural stuff. It almost sounds. It almost whispers, I register. I approach the mother melon and its main surgeon, a woman with closed eyes, she’s there and there, Using an advanced blade to cut it. When hit by my beacon through the darkness it lights itself up, from within, without reflection. One more shapeless puzzle. Another technician, this one more puerily dressed is presumably leaving the lab with a metallic tray. Three very adamantly cut pieces of watermelon is placed on the tray. How would I be hungry. How do I eat.
To rover my way towards the deader ends of the shed I gotta zoom. There a canopy of weird, eerie measurements block the storing of its power, meeting it, I can’t, trucking it then. I let go. Pop out the red carpet sensations and move ahead. In the deader ends. I set in for a chase, chasing the juice I wanna give you. A rectangular hallucination attempts its seduction but I remain unfazed by the freshness it offers. Is it the seed I’m bringing around, still burning, did it compromise the nullity. Grow more, grow harder. I tell it. Pushing boats before robots, before rovers. It attempts elsewhere, nautical tropes with string and its fucking sticky yarn. I rest. What’s going on. Slower. Lounge and pop out some more. I’m young. My beacon close in on the seed. Time for action.
Rovering towards the mother melon again; it’s hard and shelled, like frozen granite, southern. can I approach other than feebly? I step on the cord and start seducing. How do I know. The melon and I, we’re beyond knowing, that’s clear. This is rectangular, I pop more as I listen. Is there a whisper, is the pop audible, not so far. I seen sound. I loved chase. The melon could be purpose. I seen sound. But the shape is gone already. It’s not enough. A diamond seed is whispering from the next slice. First it’s a tickle, then it’s a sigh and it gets my attention. I pull it out and replace it with the one from the animal’s teeth. What the fuck am I doing. Nothing happens yet. Will nothing ever. This is beyond knowing, can’t be fucked, can’t juice no more of the rectangular. I’m young. First thing I seduce with the seed is my stripping language. It’s been a convalescence throughout the freeze but it’s time to get sick, pop disease and seize the chaining of health. Funny how hard things are to describe, how pointless the matter behind these utterings seem to me. The least I can do is tell you what’s up and what’s there. The least I can do is attempt, but when the outcome is the turmoil trash next to the brimmed bin I gotta frown and fill my gauge with more balancing crap. That’s that. Precursor to the argument that I’m saving for later. Saving too much, probably. Gotta go on.
The new seed I took is scorching. But it’s right before normal, its approach is stable and forced. I seem to care about it. How is the other seed, is it doing at all? Can’t see sound no more.
I’ve picked up a hint of the staircase and I take it.
The balcony here is stuffed with absolutely nothing and it makes for a troubled breathing through layers and doors, the syrup of a gagging tempo, I sense tiny, tiny shakings in what surrounds me. Fabric and matter. The hearses of content, it’s all begun to move ever so little. Same with sound, as I stand still at the viewing of the plus matricula; concussions to the zero of it, its pigment is shaping up. I sense it. To hurry would be one option, but even that couldn’t even guarantee the stability of the freeze. The catch of my goddamn prerogative, the power of this access is a self tying lace and it’s started to make dance of this ornamenting, making nice film of my photograph. I can’t hurry, stuck at this pace, can’t slow down, must zip the fearsome credulity of those readings. I decide I gotta dampen all these italic impression and commit to my own game. I need the objectives of this errand fully formed, not as these shapeless puzzles.
I gotta keep chasing. And so I slam the beacon at some furniture belonging to the crippled staff and let it guide me on. Fake horizontal ladder leading to a rounded doorway. Done. Two chords sound from behind the door. A hammer with an egg. Doorbell and lock’s a real stunner, real hero and I stern out its bottom to make it join my side of things, make it see from my face. That trick is spent now, I’m on my own from here. Behind the door the two chords evolve into noise, the kind that is emitted from domestic utilities with dormant settings. A sort of harmony, nonetheless. No more than four meters inside a clerk in a hazmat suit is blocking the way. We are in a glassed hallway, long and straight. More darkness behind the glass to the left. More to the right as well. My beacon’s glowing. She’d been moving a box around, the clerk. I approach her but immediately the glass disapproves everything as it tries to absorb the rhythms of the noise. Have to ignore my threat to the stability of things. Nearing the clerk I can see more of it, the box she is carrying is containing white sheets. A paper. With a gentle clang a hand on our watch hits a baton that thunders towards me from within itself, deep and placid and deeply alarming. That would be my errand, right there. Guaranteed. Those fine sheets are my mission, those thin, refined proteins of real scripture. Those are it. The glass trembles beneath me, beside and above me. The glass communicates a terror but one I can subdue with ease. Death is just one among many ideas once you’re used to these excursions into the complete and ceaseless. What’s the ceaseless but perfect? What’s the proper perfect but perpetual? You see now, the ineptitude of conquering fear is bottomless, it’s the old stories again, the beasts and kings keeping real progress quarantined in boats out in the laguna. Change the system that allows for fear to be real, change the real, then change change itself as a last and eternal dip and tilt of the perpetual project. Look at that glass, that’s essentially my reading of its problem with the paper in the box, that’s why it trembles. It’s afraid that I’m not afraid. That’s the proper telltale, hiding not within but outside the visible and graspable. The telltale of the core and its faucet tapping like an angry fuck.
I count five sheets of paper. A past, a present and three futures. No. Five futures. Possibly, but it matters little which are which when you subscribe to the post-temporal rules of engagement as I. The box is poorly kept but the sheets are crisp. I shouldn’t be choosing so I just go for one of them and gently nick it out its family confines. I’m surprised at how easily it divorces from its kin regardless of my lack of any real knowledge about it. Lots of dark spots already left for later. I’m saving more than I should, I know. The very instant I take the sheet, the glass arcade reacts, beyond the glass the atmosphere reacts, beyond that the more bizarre and dolorent kicks follow suit, leaving me chiefly lala in this dominant chain of events. You don’t gotta chose, I remind myself. The paper is lightweight, fairly babe considering the importance time gives it here. I keep it still and ask the glass to relax its tension, try to convince it that warranted worry is beyond even its own reach. A brief greeting flickers onto the dog-thing down below us. Why, now. My beacon can’t reach it, it can’t escape the encompassing glass. The shaking doesn’t fade at all although I keep telling it, I keep my mask intact inside this very shadow of logic.
I’m primed to counter this rurality of thought. What the fuck. The critical point is both ahead and behind, I’m crawling its centre on all of the plurals, all wings down, defortune upon hope and loss. I’m damned in. So I consume a part of the paper, a little morsel only, tiny foray on the eastern border of the sheet leaving a pretty little advancement in the rectangular perfection. No taste. No pop out. No immediate reaction. I don’t get it. Why am I not bursting with radiation and bad feedbacks. Either way the special doubt is all over. Been iris-gated since I entered this place, they put a lock on my vision that I’ll never know the motive of. Eating that paper is little help to me myself, but at least I can get out with a number from their stack of secrets. A thin sigil with a symbolic content that eludes me entirely, but I pray somebody at the end of this errand will know, someone will spot the extracurricular and get it out. The glass starts to crack. I ask the beacon to hold the proximity together until I can exit but it’s too late. The light turns on and my motion dies immediately. The shift is done. I’m stuck, invisible.
She is not. The hazzard clerk, she is moving now, waltzing forward, thick steps. She is whistling a fine tune. The box is going somewhere, she is bringing it. The glass is indifferent to her presence, her time is stable. She stops. Stands still. Then she turns around and looks in my direction. She is looking. She is looking at me but she cannot see me. Soon she will see through. Then she will see sound. She puts down the box and starts walking back towards me, head turned a few degrees. She yields vanity as well. A real person. The glass doesn’t care. No freckles of time, it’s solid and I’m older. She is curious. Her hazmat sparkles in the corridor expanding the corrosive alphabet. Will we really meet, or will we have met. I’m clear bodied, clear and spectral in no other way but seconds before impact she drags a hand in front of her, a sudden triunal response with zero merit. She stops. Stands still. Why. We can’t touch, the order already too upset, too uncontrollably damaged. Her arm is stretched with a finger floating inches from my imperceptive polter. I count the minutiae and the grand but there are no registrations. I can’t do nothing but rest. I can’t do nothing but wait and pat my neurals serenely with the time of this silent catastrophe. I’m even older. An age is rudely passing by me. Her finger is joined by the rest of her hand. Facing me. Quivering a little. If our selves meet, touch, she will die and I will be born again. I’m not the thing it’ll hurt, but that’s that. Life for life. Fingers even closer. She isn’t moving. She is stretching her arm, only just. Only stretching, watching her balance. She’s clever. I brace. Then she stops. Lets down her arm again. Loses her curiosity. Or senses danger. Was there an answer. Nothing happens as we enjoy the occuring break. Her head repositions erect and straight. This moment is certainly nonstop, without edge, she accustoms to the search for facts, like a realtor of genuine anticipation but slinging stuff built entirely from faux impulses. I can’t read her futures, but it wouldn’t matter. I’m stuck as long as she is free. That’s our accord. Then she takes a step forward, and another, walking straight into me and with a cracking burst I’m slammed into the nullity again the instant we touch, back into the dark. She is gone. It’s all gone. The dark completes me, this time it swallows me good, denser and heavier with negative let-up. My beacon is gone, or the dark is too thick for it, too zero. Yeah. I Can’t perceive beyond what my memory allows me to recollect. I sense I’m grounded, not floating, in the whole of the corridor. That the clerk is gone. I sense all the glass has cracked into new form. I sense real ejection.
I have to get out. I have to leave, but everything is different. The matter has reformed, substance changed. I’m not where I was, I’m there but I’m not. Curious fucking clerk, had to see if she could try and notice. I dip my recollection and ask it to rewind and route me out but it’s scrambling blanks like a busted screen, flickering with information so damaged it might have been skip in the first place. I try to make some sense of the intel but it seems completely futile. The corridor has stopped cracking, stopped giving a damn. I’m on my own again, alone with my agency on hold, asked to chisel an emergency exit from a cluster of darkness without tools. Asked to fuck off without being given any directions. I move nothing, I’m still. I can glance and dust off, but all furniture is endlessly evasive. It’s quiet. It’s bad, in fact. The whole corridor transformed itself after the clerk and the shift. Now it appears a vacuum. To me. All cloudy and endless wherever I turn, I’m inside a dead sponge. Inside a myth stronger than what I can fathom and all the schtick of yore games has been combed from my skills.
I hear a horrible, desperate cry.
I hear a frantic, stachatto calling.
I hear a long, horny crescendo of a single screech.
I hear them all, one at a time and their heavy reverberations tells me they are coming from the main hall, the place inhabited by shleep and melon. The glass around me is lending me body, lending me form which is supportive if noticed righteously, the sounds a proxy to my dead beacon, certainly enabling path, even to the deaf, enabling so much path the cartonnage won’t even read out of pure, sailing flicker. This is my insect moment. My amphibian hope. I sieve against the panes once more, this time with a more confident strain towards the sounds. Freed from bondage of the physical, I’m past the door before it appears. I see sound. I see beyond it but blindly. The horrible, desperate crier is lurking. The frantic, stachatto caller is lounging in a craze. The horny, crescending screecher is spraying octaves and decibel all over the place like a mad, unpaid firefighter. The crippled section. Feels like warm, soggy tea bags make up the flooring. Feels like the air circulation is hardening and settling more and more into a full coagulation. I can’t zoom. Beaconless, can’t zoom stoned liquid and tea fog.
Things are clearing up. I must have synchronized with the sound and the fog to a synaesthetic point of actual visibility and I can tell I’m in the hall. The sight lessens the calamity induced by the corridor somewhat, and for a while I rest in the thought that I’m alone in the murk. Then a shadow blurred inside the fog informs me that I am not. The lurker. The lounger. The sprayer. They are all here. Did I forget or was my expectations just on a low. They are the ones that got me here with their special audio and now I’m crossing their zone. The alarm stiffens my flow. It strikes me. They pulled me through and nowhere did I consider to ponder their possible hostility. As if their guidance through the murk had a black curtained clause of a more seductive blindness, that the happy pull through in fact was a simple shortcut to a certain triple date in a feeding trough. I remain stiff. The shadows run around, traverses the fog unfazed, back and forth with little limitation. What are they. How can they move so swiftly. How can they move like me. They blitz themselves, sending bright shocks into their own dark form that illuminates nothing but their own blurry outlines. They swirl around me, into the hectares, back and forth from point to point. I try to decode their routes and rhythms, try to read their intentions but it’s pointless. Too fast and erratic. One is there, then it’s not. They give me nothing. And an effort too open might hand over everything to these aimless shadows and weaken my position considerably. How do I sober this. How do I get out without these bizarre, sweeping sponges consuming me whole.
One of the shadows rushes past me, faster than before this time, it’s the screecher, transmitting as ever, and right in front of me it makes a crack of higher lumen, one strong enough to linger in my vision after it’s gone by. Some of its shapes seem familiar, I recognize concrete parts of the unintelligible whole, like a chalk outline that has seen both composite finish and rain. It sweeps past me again, behind me sort of, coming far closer and faster but my position hands me a front seat to this blitz as the full outline of a hurly, screeching shadow without a body manifests all around me. I’m swirled in outline and our proximity makes dimensions of the flat, through a fashion of becoming more than looking, bitten off bits of cry, screech and calling channel through me, all at once, all of them on a nice leash tied to the outline. Shadow is gone but the tie remains, keeping us connected and allowing me to investigate the livid chalk for corners, curves, more recognizable geometry, stuff of answers.
I gotta be swift, it’s fading already, the outline, receding back into the murk, I gotta hurry. Damn. Can’t get enough out. I follow a strain, it bulges and clams, in an almost zoomy fashion, I let it run its lengthy laps and rush after it, fading at every bend, weaker and weaker, a nose, what, it could be, a muzzle, too late. The outline is gone but my hunt has ended with an image. I’m steaming fear. Right in front of me, a live image replacing the sparkling chalk. I know it. It’s the dubious animal that’s come to life in my realm. Right there, loitering in front me of. The weird, little frozen ghoster. Can’t be. Impossible, surely. But it’s here, alive, very much so, fucking about left and right like a distorted school of bees. How can that be, how can we share the access. Still tied to a water bottle. Where are its friends. The lurker and the sprayer. How…
It’s a feat I thought impossible but nonetheless the possibility of a hallucination on top of another is even further beyond the bounds of chance. I accept its presence on one condition; that it’s benign. That it doesn’t feed on spectral poltery. I find some patience and give it time to fathom my climate. It sniffs and pouts around my firm mooring, but I stay solid. I evaluate my options should this situation hit all of the compass at once. I could attempt a decoy. But how to excite the apeling and its clones onto some bait. What is bait here. I should wait but what is wait here. I could fold, slip and let it feast, see the inside. I could do that.
The animal interrogates me with hard sniffs but I’m afraid even a tangible odour is unable to prove any innocence. If it bites me with that little, skewed mouth, I don’t know who’ll slam who but I have a feeling I’ll be on the deader end of the transaction this time around. The sniffed perimeter tightens, it comes ever so close, prowling. Shit. There is a strange creaking sound whenever it moves, as if its intestines are hard like bones, factually handing every motion some unnerving audio.
It’s too close now, for real, I’m about to sprint in either direction but right before that very decision manifests, it jumps through me. Straight to the other side where it elegantly lands. Nothing happens yet. Will nothing ever. I check my frame, no alter, none. Its curiosity pulled it right through my polter as if nothing. And back now. Nothing happens. No slam. No difference. We share the access and I realize it’s harmless, the thing. It’s got expression and I can tell it’s unaware of cruelty. It’s devoid of those little impulses of cancer that disrupts any local harmony and chops the better times into splinters of malice. Unfazed by appetite, so far at least, it jolts back and forth through me, playing get! with a satisfied responding to some spectral particle shower inside of my own, less visible outline. It starts to sound. I see the bunch of them, all of the vocation, one after the other, crying calling screeching, but each one far milder and more savory. It’s alone. Of course. There are no friends. Alone, like me. A gigless, canine ape thing with a highly advanced vocal chord that only wants to sing for me. I let it. Sing all you can, little thing, and both our strangeness will recede into a far bigger weird, one that’s together. I suspect we’ll bond at some point. I suspect we’ll never need anything else than each other, the little fucker and I.
Louis Scherfig (b. 1989) is a danish artist and writer.