He decided on depredation. The bristles, unfortunate in their placement – perineal, tickly – plucked vigorously, would float to the ground – foliate, vulturine. Tupperware, used for their confinement, he sniffed regularly – plastic, leonine. He liked the pop of the seal, the exhalation of air, the deployment – hairs spiralling down on mini thermals, landing interchangeably posed or borne saltirewise. The twist in the pluck caused momentary hyperthyroidism, mouth agog, neck taut, sinews stretched. My double has seen it all, face in the wind, nose to the south, corncobs as big as your head, the same size the same colour the same birthday. Books kept in cages. Bibles shrieking like macheted chimps, Korans melting in the setting of the sun, the Book of Kells bubbling, ebolarized. If you look at his fingers you’ll notice the ink stains, the pink stains, the stink stains. We all have them. All three. Of us. One human. The other not. Another unsure. Their spines are made of hole-in-the-grounds. Out on the street are the unbelievers. One sings a song. The other invests in concupiscence. Another jots it down. All three are the keepers. Nothing gets by them. They sing songs of the time when humankind sang songs to remind them to sing songs to remind them. Before this was water and vegetation. Before this was nothing. And before that white chicks in patched denim shorts and crocheted white halternecks unwrapped phallic chocolate bars beside the pool, their painted toes splashed and created light in the bright blue water.
It was dusk when the dogs came to the library to drink. Hamadryas baboons, cloaked in vellum, watched them from a safe distance. The library had taken on a pinkish tinge as if the plumage of the flamingos that fed there had bled off into it. There were six dogs in all: Spark, Gallant, Moore, Carver, Barthelme, and Saunders. The first three – females – stood back while the males drank the tepid water. Spark stood with her back to the shelves watching the long ranks of books sway back and forth. She curled her lip and growled at nothing in particular, her lopped tail wagging. Gallant loped towards the males, her tail between her legs. Carver took long laps of water, looking up occasionally at the books gathered before him. Barthelme nipped his tail. Carver carried on drinking. Saunders walked into the books, put his head into the volumes, and came up with a dictionary; he carried it to his companions. The dogs gathered around and watched as he tore into it, his head a bloody mask of vowels and consonants. He ate for a while and then let the other dogs have their fill. The book became a stain. The dogs rolled onto their sides, lolling in the heat of the fluorescent lights. They yawned and cleaned themselves. Small birds darted in and scavenged the letters that fell from the dogs’ scabby hides. Above all of this, a lappet-faced vulture, caught in the updrafts created by the mountains, circled… circled.
He felt her hand and felt his cock stiffen. The couple in front were far too interested in the wildlife to notice her stroking him through the cotton of his safari shorts. It was six weeks now since he’d quit his job at the library, they had decided on this safari in an attempt to rekindle the desire in their marriage; but he could only think of the city and the way that cars in the city don’t shoal like fish, skein like geese, or herd like wildebeest but, like cells, divide, subdivide, and divide again until they are one long lissom baby – demanding, savage, and incontinent. He knew he didn’t love her. He didn’t know why. He just didn’t. He didn’t hate her. He didn’t dislike her. Dislike was fine. Dislike was healthy. Dislike was your apis's genua. He disliked water, chimps, and chameleons. He just didn’t love her. Was it her dry lips? Her shaven pubis? Her truffled ears? No. None of the above. Not really. Was it her addiction to dried pineapple? Nuh-uh. Not so you'd notice. But love was always there. In the air. Love. A turd in a mink muffler. A man on the moon. A hair in your free glass of champagne. They drove through the savannah. It was hot. It was always hot. Music was playing. Music was always playing. Somewhere. Some thing. Mr Blue Sky, hi. Something rattled in the back. Something rattled. The landscape was lion-coloured. He loved her twin sister.
The heads appear to be those of a white male of
thirty-plus years and two Asiatic women in their twenties who may be identical
twins. The three heads were frozen when found. Rigor is not present. Lividity
is not present. The scalp hair of the man is fine and sparse. The women’s
heads have been shaved. The skin of all three heads is the colour of tobacco
or kippers. Jaundice is not evident. The women’s skin colour is uniform
– no lilacing – apart from a slight discolouring (Yankee blue) to the women’s
foreheads, possibly caused by a tattoo, but indistinct. No skin lesions
are evident in the women. The man has a scar on his left cheek, which may
be surgical. There are no evident deformities in the skulls, although,
in their present state, and before further examination, the original architecture
of the skulls cannot be ascertained with any degree of certainty. Subcutaneous
fat and muscular development will have to be analysed and maybe rebuilt
as a model. There are no haematomas or haemorrhages, either traumatic or
post-mortem. Body tissues do not appear to be decomposing. Dog hairs found
in the vicinity, believed to be from the genus Lycaon pictus (African wild
dog), have been sent to the laboratory for analysis. A blue Tupperware
box containing pubic hair – the pubic hair is human (male) – was found
alongside the heads as were pages torn from a signed first edition, first
volume, of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque by Edgar A. Poe.
The above be exactly 1000 words, as per our
little photofiction experiment wherein a writer writes 1000 words about
a picture as per the old saying about a picture and a 1000 words.
B R A V E S O U L S R E C E I V E
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