Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coober’s Rye Whiskey

Rolling out the barrel he felt a stitch in his neck, his collarbone chipped at the free-end, the end closest to his sternum. His breastplate crackled and wheezed with each step, pulling him off-centre and a smidgen to the right. His left ankle snapped sideways when he lifted his right leg, his left dragging behind like a laggard child. Walking was not an easy affair, his left foot wanting to skip, his right swing round in an oblong circle, toes pointed inwards.

Malachi Mutagen and Alpert Koževnikov met at Fife’s Penny Laundry in Saint Andrews, Mutagen having taken the train from London by way of Malacca (Newer Bersejarah, as it is referred to by its townsfolk) Koževnikov on foot. In his day-pack Malachi Mutagen toted a plastic dish of rank olives, three two-day-old rolls and a bottle of Looter’s Gin; Alpert Koževnikov, in a carryall slung over his shoulder, a packet of rye crisps, two three-day-old plums, bluish and covered in a hirsute mold, and a hipflask of Coober’s Rye Whiskey, both men carrying a penknife, Malachi’s, whalebone and corset wire, Koževnikov’s, a simple goat shearer’s half-blade.

On the way Alpert Koževnikov ran into a dwarf, his head barely visible, bobbing, from behind the shrubs that ran alongside the road. The dwarf’s chest spread out from beneath his arms like a barrel, his shirt stained through with sweat and spat pips. In his arms he carried a watermelon, his eyes double-crossed staring at a fly on his chest.

He had a choice between sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, sugar, artificial colour, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, soy lecithin, artificial flavours, rats’ asses, zithers, monorail grease, machinist’s oil, gummy white crap, salver, parturition sweat, an old sweater with tattered cuffs, pre-seminal fluid, a snippet of cocks’ wattle, a cockscomb brushed flat, protein, penicillin or uppers. Pulling the old sweater with tattered cuffs over his head he walked out in a huff, the others choosing soybean oil, parturition sweat and zithers. ‘…La Reina Loca, si los habitats…’ said the dwarf. Los Centre Paray de Aberystwyth and the Ceredigion Glue Co. are in cahoots with the Altrincham Underwriters and the Dadeh Sistan va Baluchestan Bros. of Cheshire. The notice read ‘Mr. Fine and Mr. Alekhine are scheduled to play at 9;27 pm this evening at the Dorsey Pharmacy and Co-op, seating is limited so please arrive early’.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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