Instructions for Preservation of the Text

They have a gruesome punishment for disobedience in certain districts of the Ukraine. But no one can remember what it is for more than a day or two, their memories (like ours) being something formed of granules, and each granule capable of carrying but one piece of information at a time. The color of an object, say. Or the way it smells like papayas when they have been in the bin too long. The point is the aggregate can not sustain the illusion of unity. It can not be expected to perform the job it was created to perform. Which leaves us where, exactly? Whispering the most vicious insinuations we can muster and still falling well-short of the goal. It will no longer be a matter of the momentous then, but it will continue to be treated as such by those who find themselves without a vocation. Who thought their hobbies would keep them safe from the influence of such darkness as gives the movies an air of impenetrability just when the plot is becoming easy to predict. When the wind chases the party into the garage, and the people there are apt to notice the odd distraction of the patriarch as he holds forth from his corner on Kodiak bears and why they much prefer the taste of corn to the flesh of human beings. Even the most succulent of children. Those who do not exercise and so give the region a bad name. It’s an insight not without its vocal and powerful supporters in the Vatican, in the hallways of the cruise liners that depart from Miami at quarter after eleven and never return. Perhaps they gut themselves on reefs that haven’t found their way onto any maps. Because no cartographer is going to trouble himself with that end of the world where only eels are comfortable. Where the sand is gray as your sweater and the language of the locals has no known antecedent. It seems to spring fully formed from the lava and dances on the end of the tongue. Even so, traffic in such tales must of necessity weaken our resolve. They border on the ridiculous the way Portugal borders on Spain.

Charles Freeland | Mudlark No. 35
Contents | In Lieu of Lemon Jelly