One Man Getting Sick, Once

5 Aug

To look at it from any angle made no sense. Even to him. He walked the deserted stretch of torrid beach wrapped in a tweed jacket, white dress shirt, and Bermuda shorts. It was broiling. The mid-day, sub-tropical sand burned blisters on his feet giving him chills, and he had to bury his heels into the cooler levels, with each step. He was careful to walk around the debris which had washed ashore. Pieces of rotting wood. Decomposed shoes. Ropes. Bottles. An old, rusty oil barrel with the orange letters “Esso” on its side. He looked back and the figure was still running toward him. He looked through the transparent heat rising off the sand. The figure was dancing on the horizon. A sinewy apparition moving through weird, hot space and time. He couldn’t tell if it was gaining ground. Seagulls were pecking at the eyes of mullets which had run aground and were still flopping, drowning with air. Nothing made sense. Waves retreated.
“Esso.”
Exxon.
Drops of sweat advancing down the forehead, into the eyes with a salty backbeat. On the one, and the three. A siren on a loop. He looked behind. The boy was there.
“What do you want?”
A barracuda baking in the sand. Flies eating its putrid flesh. Depositing larvae in the eye sockets.
He took the boy by the hand and they both walked into the salty water. The undertow pulled at their thighs. He laid the boy on the waves, supporting his back with his arms, in a cradle. And then he pushed him a little toward the broken line where the sky met the water.
He turned back once to look but the boy had disappeared under the iron weight of the sea. He dug a hole into the beach and vomited from dehydration. There was nothing on the sky; no clouds, no anything.

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6 Responses to “One Man Getting Sick, Once”

  1. Anonymous 05/08/2007 at 1:24 PM #

    Great metaphor.

  2. slyboots2 05/08/2007 at 6:14 PM #

    I really don’t know where to begin. But let’s just say that this is elegant. Spare. Amazingly linear, but not. And evocative.

    You consistently blow me away, dude!

  3. (A)L(e)x 05/08/2007 at 7:57 PM #

    Oh thank you so much, sly.

  4. scott 06/08/2007 at 3:15 PM #

    Vomiting from dehydration is an unfortunate irony. For the dry an emesis is a nemesis.

    Grim and stark bur gripping. I like it.

    Hello, Lx.

  5. scott 06/08/2007 at 3:17 PM #

    That’s supposed to say “…but gripping…” not “…bur gripping…” (and not “…butt gripping…)

    Hello again.

  6. Lx 06/08/2007 at 3:26 PM #

    hey scott…oh god, here we go.
    first brandon’s site, now mine.
    i do love cunning linguists, though.
    and hello.

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