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It Was Said (short fiction by Tamas)


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#1 Tamas

Tamas

    It's the neeeewwwww

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 05:04 PM

They came from far away to see her fist plunge through the elastic band, stuffing the sock inside itself. When her fingers emerged, one expected to find them bloody, her rapid and refined method resembling a butcher's efficacy, though he handled cold meat and she cloth. The finished products were all alike and perfect, neat like individually packaged supermarket baked goods; the process one might say almost ideally Taylorist but for the careless way she tossed the finished bundles to the right, already absent from her mind as she'd turned left reaching for the next pair. Cross-legged, meditative upon a pillow, her back arched with every reach longer and longer, picking up only with her right hand, a life in each grasp: reach, arrange, fold, engorge, let go, slide out, (spreading the fingers to neaten the inverted sock, feeling the entrails), and toss away. Repeat, repeat, the only change the length of her back as it gracefully formed a swan's neck through her shoulder, forearm, and fingers pointed, poised to pinch one sock between thumb and index finger, the other between the latter's nail and the rest of them.
They came with bags of dirty socks slung over their shoulder, sometimes more than one, multiple families' worth of laundry, charged with miles: the sweat of climbs, jogs, strain and wandering, or else of stagnation, of sitting in a four-wheeled chair floating around relaxing with legs outstretched, nonetheless sweating. The folding room could be entered once one had washed one's socks. Virginally white (they had to enter barefoot, having washed beforehand), it smelled of lavender and chilled water; a sanctum of purification, of order, of a design which tended towards synthesis, the pair continuously reconciled into one. No speech here, for one felt alone, together with her, where property bled over and was shared by all. And when she exited her trance to break, a batch finished, she would look around, assured that there was no more work to be done, and lower her head briefly, then lift her eyes upon the silent crowd and quietly thank them. In one movement she would stand, and from her crossed legs straightening a diagonal force would carry her upright and facing behind her, and she would walk away calmly, raising, when feeling inspired, her right arm during the twist, and bear it aloft even as her left hand reached out to open the door, itself just a white panel as pristine as the wall, and only the black, rectangular void separating the two once she had swung it slowly behind her, closed.
Then, applause; sometimes during her retreat, sometimes only to her lingering presence. As much clapping to themselves as to her, they cheered in various tongues, all exclaiming as one word of joy her power, even weeping at having seen, having participated in her spectacle, and gleaned the remaining piles of cotton globes back into their sacks, each leaving with the same amount of socks they came with, but a different makeup, and these divinely folded. Who knows what length of time they felt this ineffable sentiment on their journey home, whether driving and chatting with the passenger, or sitting alone in the cubicle of a train with the bag(s) leaning against the shin, or the side, with an arm resting lovingly around? Perhaps their life swerved for the better, walking now upon blessed soles. There are those who vowed never to wash a sock touched by her hand, to wear it until it is holed, and until the hole is the object itself; those who burn them after one wear; those who cut them along one seam to open like a ribcage and hang, unworn, emanating whatever power was newly found within.
They had held on to hope, each a vertebra of the serpentine line twisting outside the building for hours, perhaps days, waiting, slowly advancing with their load, then waiting. Once inside, the choice was theirs to offer a donation in exchange for the use of a washer/dryer, one of many continually droning throughout the day and contributing to the singular, physically imposing nature of the space, to its thundering sacred noise creating a muffled silence, or else to wash their socks themselves in the flowing water coursing through one side of the massive room, as if on the riverbank of an illustrated ancient city, but crowding with a subdued madness, this not just daily labor but elevated and meaningful and thus colored with competition, with the compulsion to enter the chamber, to see her perform her task. One could not enter the line with wet socks, this being disrespectful, impatient, and so one would wait, perhaps prepare (whatever that may entail) for the experience in hand, when, finally, forming the internal spine of the building, a line of people would slowly shuffle in and fill the folding room to capacity, as many as could placing their pairs of socks on the right, and sit to watch the black rectangle in anticipation of her arrival, always unannounced (by whom?) and not tied to anything measurable, no one having seen the interior of her own room, much less whatever actions she might perform within. It was assumed she ate and slept, although one did not see her bring in any foodstuffs, nor dispose of any waste, no trucks arrived with deliveries, indeed she had no other form of human contact whatsoever by the looks of it; only during her ritual did she come into the world of men, even then seeming more to contemplate humanity than actually entering in. She dealt with our troubles, not with us, for she knew that our troubles were nothing in essence, and so arranged all, negating whatever weight worn in those socks by inversion, the inside turned out, and thus the whole of the world inside the sock, the whole world tossed carelessly to the right with each repetition, the form of her ceremony being accidental and contingent, its true essence this joyous apathy. She was she through others, through being others, sharing herself just as the crowd on the riverbank in the previous room shared itself with her freely, thus why the donation in exchange for the use of a washer/dryer wasn't a payment as much as a conversion of work not done into an offering as penance; a plea. (And she had to earn her bread somehow, provided she did, despite the lack of evidence, eat bread). One wonders, who paid the electricity required to run the numerous washer/driers at all hours, and the water coursing through each machine and the basin on one side of the room, for the masses to be able to wash their load and clean themselves before entering her room?
The origin of the building itself was unknown, as she was never known to have spoken a word other than her gratitude at the end of a session before entering her private room. Her origins, evidently, were shrouded in even more opaque layers of mysteries, for building plans, should someone have the determination to inquire through the right channels, are theoretically acquirable, provided the whims of those sitting at desks with a telephone, innumerable sheets of paper and even more emails surrounding them align in such a way (practically unthinkable) as to grant access to this information, while there were no channels pointing directly to her, only gossip circumnavigating, an endless stream of discourse (for everyone had a theory as to her real identity) crawling on the curved surface of her aura, looking for any crack, dent, or inconsistency with which a corroboration could be made, a higher truth reached, ever more unprovable, all foundation being already mere chatter, sand blowing, forming valleys and dunes. She was ageless as the desert, her skin showing no signs of wear, of use, of change since he had visited her last, decades ago, She had appeared old then, in his youth, but they switched places since— he was the grown one looking at the child, though he had nothing to teach her, even after all these years.
He had simply come home, for this is where it began; perhaps there had been less people, or more, and they had been dressed differently, but the line snaked the same way, and he advanced step by step before arriving at the door and entering and first hearing the roar of the washer/driers and squishes of fabric washed by hand smacking against stone, and he took his shoes off, and took his socks off, for he had no bag and nothing with him, and submerged the socks in the clear flowing water and scrubbed them until he felt content, then sat to await them drying, so that he could enter the line and get closer to this sibyl he had heard arcane stories spoken of. And true enough, when he entered with his feet freshly scrubbed, he was seen, carrying only one pair of socks, as pariah or monk, a subject of heretical asceticism, yet awaited her entrance, the slow swing of white wall which he would remember all his life as linked to the folding of his socks, a fleeting moment indistinguishable for others, but imbued for him by the pair's uniqueness, not one among a canvas bag full of socks, but a totality in itself, set to contain everything once transformed into a heart, the inverted shape hiding within itself; a shape which to undo is to do violence unto, and of which the subsequent wearing and wearing out elongates the same violence, for it was that same pair, years later, that he brought back to her, enduring the line, but once inside he headed straight to the small pool to wash the accumulated grime off his shoeless, crusted feet. He only took the socks off afterwards, for they started above his ankles, serving no discernible function other than perhaps decoration, but looked even stranger as he held them ahead of himself and opened the door, the line merely staring as this holy fool went, reeking, ahead, permitted because carrying so little, next to nothing in fact, the consequence of this offering shrouded in doubt, for no one had seen anything like this, and he heard their murmurs erupt behind him as he closed the door to the sanctuary, and grow to violent argumentation, before (he was making my way through the crowd by then) howls like animals could be heard faintly over the ambient noise of the washer/dryer aggregation, itself interrupted by what sounded like bodies and heads being smashed into their clanging metal sides.
When the path to her finally cleared, and he caught a glimpse of her face, she was already looking up into his eyes, having stopped her work, and the crowd, struck by this rupture, looked back in a moment of fear and awe, (for they are the same), and threatened to do harm, waiting only for her command, knowing it will never come, thus unthinkably tense, trapped, naked, ashamed but not knowing why, made way as he approached with two rings of filthy cotton stacked one on top of the other, two rectangles which he placed directly in front of her after kneeling down and sitting on his heels, and she looked away from his eyes, reaching towards the donation, picked it up slowly, slowly, and turned it in her hands like a mathematician rotating a pyramid in space, abstractly, and with a swift, self-assured gesture reversed one over the other, creating one ring from two, then, as if to amuse herself, folded it once more in half, into a bracelet of sorts, though she did not put it on, but held it aloft as her torque raised her up and she walked, her back to the pitiable cries suddenly breaking out, to her door, and he just saw her left palm push open the door before she was hidden by bodies in a desperate rush forward, and he trampled and mauled in judgement, in rage and betrayal that she had closed the door and kept the not-socks for herself, never to emerge again..
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#2 stray dreams

stray dreams

    the genie head has power in the tower of dreams

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 09:57 AM

that was a good read man, good job!
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