Archive for surrealism
Mr Wright edged his short, wide frame through the narrow door of the sleeping compartment. His eyes widened as he saw the six empty seats. A whole carriage to myself, he thought, as he sniffed the air for stale farts or, worse, lingering tobacco smells. Although he was a non-smoker, he always travelled smoking class. Since the decade long war against tobacco, smoking class was cheaper. He was pleased that all he could detect was a not unpleasant new-car smell. He briefly wondered if there was a range of products that simulated these smells. He pulled his notebook that he took everywhere with him, from his inside jacket pocket, and wrote in bold black letters FIND OUT ABOUT SMELLS-AROMA IN A CAN.
Putting his pen and notebook away he saw a discarded newspaper pushed down the side of a seat and he was pleased to see that it was todays, although his pleasure turned to disappointment when he saw that the feature page had a piece torn from it. He huffed – he could not stand those people who tore bits of newspaper, or folded book pages to mark the spot, or were careless with personal articles – then he settled down to read the headline (TRAIN KILLER CLAIMS THIRD VICTIM – SUSPECT) when the door to the compartment loudly opened.
At first, M Wright averted his eyes and hoped that the interloper would move on. Then, when it was obvious that she was not going to do that, he looked up from his paper and, half grinning, half scowling, too on her visage. She looked to be around her mid thirties. Her face had sharp features and her hair was tightly wound around her head and held in place by a large bone needle. Indeed, as she twirled into the carriage, Mr Wright was afraid that some part of his anatomy might become impaled on that piece of bone. She wore a purple shawl wrapped over a floral summer frock, as if she couldn’t decide whether she was hot or cold. Her legs looked swollen and were encased in thick green support hose. Mr Wright inwardly giggled because he had the image of a cob of corn, tassel end up, and the new arrival reminded him of two of them, side-by-side. She carried a large green canvas bag, which matched her hose, from which knitting, a bread stick, and an umbrella handle, protruded. She smiled at Mr Wright and he instantly felt guilty for the corn image, and, arranging her canvas bag on the seat next to her, she noisily sat down and started quietly humming to herself. Mr Wright concentrated on his paper and mentally added quite hummers to his list of things he disliked. He was again distracted by the door sliding open just as he scanned the first paragraph of the train killer story. Something about a piece of clothing with a distinctive heraldry sign on it being spotted at the scene of two of the crimes.
The new occupant glided haughtily into the compartment, the silk of her stockings squeaking as she moved from door to seat. She looked at the two other occupants of the compartment as if they were creatures in a zoo. She dusted off the seat two away from the green canvas bag lady, sat down, crossed her expensively clad legs, and, with a quick expansive movement dragged a cigarette and a gold cigarette lighter from her large leather purse. She then placed the purse down on the seat where it promptly fell against the green canvas bag as the train lurched into motion. The green canvas bag lady looked form Mr Wright to the new occupant, and back to Mr Wright again, smiled and noisily clicked her needles as she finished an arm of what looked like a child jersey. As she smiled, the new occupant raised her head and turned up her nose with an aristocratic sniff. Mr Wright settled back into his newspaper and saw to his delight that pork belly futures were up. He also noticed that the torn section of the front page had contained a police identikit sketch of the train killer. All Mr Wrights paper showed him was a vague outline of a shoulder.
A loud commotion outside the compartment door made all three occupants look up. A young bearded man, backpack perched high on his shoulders, was arguing loudly with the train guard who seemed to want him to get off the train. The young man pulled the door open and flung his pack in the space between the two women as the guard announced that the young man would have to get off at the next stop and return to where he had got on. With a whirlwind of activity and some dark language the young man sat down beside Mr Wright, leaned forward to his pack, and removed a walkman with headphones and a notebook. Mr Wright couldn’t help but notice that the young man’s notebook was impressive. It had a marbled cover and was gilt edged, altogether grander than Mr Wright’s blue vinyl model. The train entered a tunnel and the lights flickered painting a stroboscopic wash over the four occupants of the carriage.
As they entered daylight again Mr Wright looked at the jumble of bags and luggage on the seat opposite him. His eyes widened in horror as he saw the distinctive dragon and crossed swords monogram on a white shirt that lay in no mans land between the three others bags. He looked at his newspaper again, the shirt, the paragraph about the clothing, the shirt, the young man. The bag lady smiled sweetly and humming, pulled a piece of the bread stick and stuffed it into her mouth and started chewing, turning the hum into a grind. The haughty women snapped her compact loudly, sniffed, and looked away as the young bearded man mumbled to the sound coming from his Walkman. He scribbled something in his notebook. When he saw Mr Wright staring at him, he hastily drew the notebook to his chest so that no one could see what was written on the pages. He then placed the book back in his pack and withdrew what looked like a short walking stick from the frame of the pack just as the train entered another tunnel and intermittent darkness. Mr Wright felt his sphincter tighten as the flickered light from the compartment lit the soot-covered walls of the tunnel.
As the train entered the daylight again the door slid open yet another time and the same guard who had argued with the bearded youth repeated his message that the passenger was to alight at the next stop and make his own way back to where he had come from. The young man started protesting and waving the walking stick around but he calmed down when the cigarette-smoking woman said that she was getting off at the next stop, driving part way back along the route, and she would be willing to take him. There was something else in her tone that Mr Wright could not quite put his finger on but his contemplations were forgotten as the young man agreed to the ride. Mr Wright looked out the window at the countryside which was increasingly lashed by rain and wind. The young man glared at the guard, thanked the woman, and popped his headphones back on and continued to play with his stick. Mr Wright could see now that it was an altogether grander thing than he had first imagined and that it was either telescopic or pulled apart into something metallic, and, alarmingly, sharp. Mr Wright returned to his paper and started to think.
It suddenly came to him as an epiphany. The heraldry on the shirt, the telescopic stick, the anger. This was the train killer. Here in the carriage with Mr Wright and two defenceless women. The instant the thought formed he looked up and saw the eyes of a killer looking back at him. How could he warn this innocent young woman that she would soon be alone with an insane killer?
Psst! Psst! Mr Wright hissed between tightly pursed lips. Psst! She looked up, as did the elderly lady, her mouth stuffed with another morsel of food from her bag. Mr Wright held up the folded newspaper and pointed over the top of the page to the headlines. He then gesticulated toward the young man who sat low in his seat, eyes closed, immersed in his music. The old woman frowned, the young woman looked disapprovingly at the newspaper and Mr Wright then hunched her shoulders and turned away to look at the rain lashed fields that sped by outside their warm environ. Mr Wright was perplexed. The young man suddenly grunted, his eyes opened, and he shook his walkman. Mr Wright hurriedly pulled the newspaper back and glanced down at the headlines. Why couldn’t this stupid woman understand what he was so desperately trying to tell her? He looked and did a double take. To his horror, he saw that he had shown the wrong side of the folded newspaper. Instead of the train killer story he had been frantically trying to draw the young woman’s attention to XXX DO YOU WANT QUICK SEX ????? XXX, and a picture of a scantily clad young woman crouched before an eager looking older man. Mr Wright’s face turned puce and he quickly busied himself with re-arranging his paper. The train slowly drew into the station, came to a stop, and the young man and woman alighted in animated discussion. Curious, but also embarrassed at his blunder, Mr Wright watched the young man buy a newspaper as the woman backed a foreign sports car from the stations day-park. He looked at the front page, then scanned down to the bottom of the paper. His mouth suddenly formed a small O and his eyes narrowed. Mr Wright tried to look away, his failure to save this poor girls life swimming through his head. The young man started stumbling back to the now departing train. Mr Wright thought that he might just make it and perhaps kill him and the old woman before alighting to claim his sixth victim. A gust of wind suddenly lifted the newspaper from the young mans hands and it flew toward the departing train and the window that Mr Wright now looked tremulously out of. It stuck, front page first, to Mr Wrights window. He saw the vivid headline that had haunted him since he had entered the carriage. His eyes were drawn to the picture of the suspect that had been missing form his copy. He only had an instant to register the unmistakable face of the woman now sitting next to him, the kitting with the dragon and sword; then the train entered yet another tunnel. This time, the lights didn’t come on.
He reached into his shorts and pulled another bird out and placed it in the line of seven dead songbirds on the bedside dresser. This formed a parallel line against his wallet, the gold coins arranged in value and year, and the Laguiole pocketknife. A cigarette spread a lazy haze over the back part of the bedroom and added to the yellow staining on the curtains that kept the watery sunlight from the small room. He reached over, and, holding the cigarette European style, he took a deep drag, then placed the tube back in the ashtray. A small piece of ash dropped off the end and settled on his white singlet. He didn’t seem to notice as his entire attention was focused on the line of dead birds. Frederick Lewis, murderer, was content.
He felt, or did he hallucinate, a light touch on his shoulder and Mia joined him on the bed, sensuously stroking his thigh as she slid closer. He smelt the musky stink on her and buried his face into her hair and then side to immerse himself deeper in her odour. He touched her breast and felt his erection straining at his underpants. She handed him a package and urged him to open it. He struggled with the green ribbon that bound the parcel and tugged at the brown wrapping. A stench arose from the bundle as he pulled it open and a severed hand dropped to the floor. “You left this behind darling.” Dreamlike Mia rose from the bed and floated to the door then exited to the tiny bathroom that led through to the kitchen of the upstairs apartment Frederick and Mia had lived in for the last ten days.
Frederick looked up at the wall and smiled at the Polaroid photos that showed the grizzly details of their latest ‘hunting’. His attention was momentarily drawn to the sound of a siren as Mia came (back?) into the room. She was a tall woman and Frederick’s heart still quickened when she entered a room. Her hair, now dyed almost white (she said it was platinum blonde after her two favourite women) was cut short and curled around her head in such a way that it was like a halo. She had left her eyebrows her natural black (and the hair on that secret part of her body) and made them up to look even darker, kohl-like, she said. Her body was long and slender and she now slung her leg over Frederick as she snuggled closer. She whispered in his ear and Frederick felt himself hardening. She drove him crazy when she was in this mood.
The accused have formed a relationship based on a powerful sexual attraction, fuelled by blood lust. Frederick fantasises that he is a member of the master race and has either duped Mia into believing his fantasy or she has a rich fantasy life of her own. Of the two Mia is the more enigmatic. She has no history of abuse, neither sexual, physical or psychological, unlike Frederick who has such a history starting from a very early age. She is not an intelligent person, her IQ is barely 100, but has a street intelligence that enables her to cope more than adequately. She believes she is a reincarnation of Eva Braun and Marilyn Monroe. She is trapped in the same body and like those two women she is physically unable to have children. This partially explains her crimes in that she both wants to possess her victims and also to give birth to them. Her powerful belief in the fragility and temporary nature of life on Earth allows her to inwardly justify death. The children do not die but are reborn through her. I have been unable to fully penetrate her defence mechanisms and my conclusions are of a tentative nature. Frederick is a more straightforward case. I would describe him as a borderline personality disorder with psychotic features. He suffers from vivid and well-defined visual and auditory hallucinations. The visual hallucinations are often bounded by his present reality but the auditory hallucinations are voices he claims that order him to carry out actions. He has a manipulative and fully convincing personality which would make it viable that he is the dominant partner in this twosome, but I reserve my final comment on that until I have developed a better picture of Mia. They both have long histories of multiple drug abuse. (or did they?)
The day was black and white. Frederick felt the soft mist on his face. He turned his head to the sky and saw a flock of sparrows wheeling from a field and then banking sharply as they dipped over the surrounding hedge. Beside him Mia cocked her head and giggled.
“I hear the sounds of little laughs,” she bubbled as she linked her arm through Fredericks and urged him forward. To their right a small stream separated them from a playing filed and over on the extreme edge a group of small boys were playing a game of pickup soccer. They screamed in delight as one of their number kicked the ball between the upturned cycle helmets they were using as goal markers. Mia tightened her grip on Frederick’s arm. “The little one in the red jacket.” Frederick only saw black and white today but he did see the little one. Mia was playing her Big Girl Grown Up role today and Frederick felt like a dog on a leash. “We need to get back to the car.”
The red (black) Ford was parked under a group of evergreen (gray) trees. Mia was driving. Frederick methodically checked his mental list. Tape (check), hammer (check), sack/blindfold (check), and camera (check). His turn to grab. Mia to drive and take the pictures.
The diener pulled the small corpse from the aluminium cooler and rolled it onto the waist-high aluminium mortuary table being careful to avoid snagging anything on the various taps that protruded. He placed the body block under the patient’s back and checked the toe tag, carefully noting these details into a tape recorder affixed to the clipboard. He checked that the scalpel, the bread knife, scissors, and pick-ups were where they were supposed to be. He handed the clipboard to the prosector who noted the gross disfigurement of the face, and the massive bruising on the neck and chest region. He made notes on the bleeding from the rectal area and the destruction of the genitals. He examined the anus and made measurements of the distension and tears. He noted the hands, severed from the body at the wrists. The deiner made the first Y incision in the sternum of the 12-year-old boy. He peeled away skin, muscle, and soft tissue off the chest wall and pulled the chest flap upward over the boy’s face. He mumbled into the tape recorder again. The smell was like that of a freshly killed chicken. The prosector cut open the pericardial sac, then the pulmonary artery, and pulls the young heart from the bloody mass. A heart that was beating only hours before. Although he has been hardened by many autopsies he feels emptiness and anger for this vulnerable corpse. The picture faded and a dove ascended from the autopsy table in a clatter of wings and spilt feathers. It flew to the open skylight at the tip of the autopsy room and spread its wings as it flew into the sunlight sky, now in full colour.
The act itself was almost anti-climatic. The flash of the hammer. The knife, the hacking, the clicking and whirring of the camera. The droplets of blood across their faces and clothing. The sucking sounds from the boy’s head. The fountains of blood when the hands came off. The frenzied thrashing slowly then rapidly subsiding. Then the immersion in each other.
The little thrush, the baby thrush, pushed itself across the cracked pavement using its broken wing. Its little thrush, its baby thrush eyes already glazed with the certainty of death. The cruel cat, the ginger and black and white cat, the white a cruel parody of religion, a white slash at its throat, spread its ugly paw and swatted the baby thrush. The baby thrush spun out of the cruel cats reach once again and its feet scrambled on the hard surface desperately trying to push itself away. If only it could get that extra inch it may be able to fly to freedom, its broken wing magically healing itself. It spun again as the cruel claw struck it another blow.
Another day. Timeless and now in colour. The lovers had sated themselves on each other and their crime. The hands had always been part of their pact. Frederick had a thing about hands. He had told Mia one particularly black and white night
“I have to have the hands. That’s one thing that must always be a constant. And the pictures.”
Now they had hunted and fed they were free until the dreams and the voices urged them on again.
Mia liked to look. That made her appear to be uninvolved and somehow more likeable than the ominous Frederick. But Mia was far more complex than that. In many ways she was the stronger in the partnership. She had no horror filled childhood that she remembered to excuse her behaviour. For Mia life had been good. She couldn’t claim boredom. Mia was content with who and what she was. In Mia’s mind there were no birds, no severed hands, no corpses on autopsy boards. She slept peacefully, her dreams no different to yours or mine.
The cage hung at the southern end of the sunporch. Here, it attracted the most sunlight throughout the year. The two canaries had a magnificent view of the surrounding bush and the lake. All who came into this house would hear their joyous chanting. They would become excited when the native birds feed on the fruit trees outside the sunroom. Their lovesongs would continue for hours. Both canaries were males and would be destined never to mate. Their beautifully constructed songs, handed down from past generations, embellished with the music of the house, and songs of the local feathered population, would never carry out their original function. They would be songbirds. Entertainers for life, pointless in function, forgotten quickly in death.
The news was not good. Mia hardly heard the last part of Doctor D’Arth’s dictate. Words spun in her head. Uterus, if only in time, chemotherapy, cut, cancer, poison. She saw her own mother lying in that little bed, in that terribly public and humiliating room. Coughing, then choking. The sip of water that turned to drool. The last desperate days when the life dribbled, then poured, from her. Mia looked down to her lap and her fingers had torn the skin in her palms. Her, the murderess. She had a heart. She was like others. Oh Frederick – what will you think? What will you do without me?
Frederick lay back as the heroin flowed into his body. He dreamed, or seemed to dream. He was drifting from room to room (in a dream?) and he was being guided by someone who bore a remarkable resemblance to Humprhey Bogart. A Bogart who had never aged as he had in his real life films. Then they were in the bathroom and Bogie was pointing at the mirror and mumbling something. And then he was gone. Frederick looked into the mirror and he seemed to be able to look beyond the mirror to a new reality. His own ravaged face had a third dimension. And then that very same face changed into a slideshow of all the boys that first he, then he and Mia, had destroyed (liberated?). Click, click, click. He jerked awake and spun around. He saw his own self walking backwards, out of the room.