The OF Blog: Some more quotage

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Some more quotage

He ended his time on the shore in a makeshift asylum cell, shut away with the profligate stink of fish that clung to him all his days.  The Great White.  St. Jude of the Lost Cause.  Sea Orphan.  He seemed more or less content there, gnawing at the walls with a nail.  Mary Tryphena Devine brought him bread and dried capelin that he left to gather bluebottles and mold on the floor.
Now, six years after the fact, I realize things might have gone differently, but back then, on Sunday, March 8, 1998, when it all began, it was impossible to imagine any other way for events to unfold.  Also perhaps I made no effort to imagine something different, believed I had no choice, no choice at all, but was instead looking at the inevitable, which I could not have influenced even if I had wanted to.  It no longer matters, because what was happening, whether I chose it or not, became destiny, which nothing will ever be able to change.

Benji Nakamook thought we should waterboard each other, me and him and Vincie Portite.  We wouldn't count the seconds to see who was bravest or whose lungs were deepest - this wasn't for a contest.  We'd each be held under til the moment the possibility of death became real to us, and in that moment, according to Benji, we'd have to draw one of the following conclusions:  "My best friends are about to accidentally drown me!" or "My best friends are actually trying to drown me!"  The point was to learn what it was we feared more:  being misunderstood or being betrayed.

A woman in her early twenties, her hair a curly, cherubic mop, gave him a shampoo.  Dressed in jeans, a sleeveless silk vest hardly restraining her breasts, she chewed gum with the monotony of a tired mare chomping on its food, oblivious of the movement of her jaws and the sound of the chewing.  Fabian, his head bent backward over the sink, staring at the ceiling, felt her hands massaging his scalp, the pressure of her breast against his shoulder as she leaned forward.

Looking back on it later it could only have happened because Budai had gone through the wrong door in the confusion at the transit lounge and, having mistaken an exit sign, found himself on a plane bound elsewhere without the airport staff having noticed the change.  After that it was impossible to say how far or for how long he had flown, for as soon as the engine purred into life he reclined his seat and fell asleep.  He was quite exhausted, hardly having rested the last few days, working himself to a standstill, and apart from anything else there was the speech for the linguistic conference in Helsinki for which he had just now been preparing.  He was woken only once during the flight when they brought him his meal, then he promptly fell asleep again, it might have been for ten minutes or for ten hours.  He didn't even have his wristwatch with him since he intended buying one out there and didn't want to have to present two watches at customs back home, so he didn't have the least clue how far he was from home.  It was only later, once he was in town, that he discovered it wasn't Helsinki and was shocked that he didn't know where he actually was.

Drank 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc at JFK airport bar.  Take a sleeping pill on plane.  Think I took a painkiller earlier in the day and a couple Advils.  Plane delayed on runway.  In and out of consciousness - waiting, waiting, sleeping.

Wake up, we are in flight...think still ascending as the plane is slanted upwards.  Not feel well, sick; get up quickly to go to bathroom...must get to the bathroom...

I feel faint, suddenly thinking that I may never wake up.

Next thing I remember is I am on the floor and the passengers in the seats above me are peering down.  I tell them I fainted and they all make a buzzing noise that sounds like 'yeast.'  Flight attendant is in front of me and is saying something.  I can't hear as the floor is vibrating hard below me.  I know I should get up.  She reaches down to me and I pull myself up.  Everyone is looking at me.  I'm too out of it to be embarrassed.  In the bathroom, I don't want to come out because they will all be looking at me.  Sitting on the closed seat of the toilet and doubled over, closing my eyes and it's all red.  Flashes of red blood sparking with those amoeba-kidney-shaped images I get when my eyes are shut, only not blue or yellow-gold but red.  I feel like I'm going to faint again.  I'm going to throw up.  Time passes.  Blackouts of me.  Seeing everything red orange.  Close my eyes and red feeling of my naked body laying in globs of blood, coagulated and overripe blood.  I open the door and the flight attendant is waiting for me.  She hands me the burgundy sunglasses which must have fallen off my head when I fell.  She escorts back to my seat in the center of the middle section.

Beginning to watch a movie on my laptop:  Trouble Every Day reminds me of one of Frank Zappa's songs.  Thinking the movie will end soon, makes my libido ferment but I am not comfortable...

How strange a fish's life must be!...Glittery, walleyed...I've never been able to understand how such a life is possible.  The aguesistence of life in that form reduces me to tears quicker than anything else in the world.  An aquarium stirs up in me whole potfuls of red-hot pincers.  This afternoon, I went to see the one they're so proud of here in the Foreign Town's Zoological Garden.  I wandered in that upside-down world until officials finally turned me out.

These are all from the opening sections of stories that I have either recently finished reading or are in the process of reading.  To make it easier for some, here are the names (not in the order of quote appearance):

Raymond Queneau, Saint Glinglin

Michael Crummey, Galore

David Albahari, Leeches

Reza Negarestani, Cyclonopedia

Ferenc Karinthy, Metropole

Adam Levin, The Instructions

Jerzy Kosinski, Passion Play

Think you can match these titles with the appropriate quotes?

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