Rain spits from floating haze streaked across the bleak charcoal sky. The street lamps, tiny bonfires sparked by the townsfolk, burn solemnly beyond the windowpane. They are awkward trees, reaching up from the brick paving, lined in perfect succession. Lightning zaps through the floating fluff, a white crack in the Heavens before the boom. The room is smoky and cold, aching my bones with apathy, and the cogs of the clock upon the wall have ceased to work.
The whiskey drains down my throat, again. There are no words. None. They are muted behind some great wall I cannot access. Many hours have passed and many glasses of sour liquor have gone astray yet no words have fruited from my delicate mind. Nothing. Random thoughts have passed through my mind though nothing which seem worthy to document. The trusty old Olivetti Lettera 32. She will never leave me.
But I hear the tapping of a typewriter. Yes. Over there – there he is – engrossed in some fruitful thought. He is yet to drink the hard liquor I poured for him a couple of hours ago. Instead, he has remained quiet and motionless apart from the consistent taping of fingers upon the busted typewriter. And the platen slams back and the paper rolls up and the ribbon spool rattles and the typebar continues to pick at the ribbon which tattoos the paper.
That clicking, the crisp tap, each tap, another stroke, irritating, edging, creeping into my ears. It grinds, burns, stiffens my fingers into an awkward paralysis; shoulders stiff, blank scoliosis, wedged spine, gnashing teeth and bleeding gums – corroded and raw – and the drumming fingers, tapping, ticking and the ink spitting like boiling tar across the ashen canvas. It whirls, buzzes with verbose stupor, loquacious movements, phalanges dancing, screaming, singing, crying with morbid tenderness and ache. And those hollows eyes, twin moons upon a crisp skull, streaked veins glazed and locked into a fixed state.
My fingers, ever so delicately, begin to stutter, shaking with immediacy and lacking warmth. They dance with rhythm through open space; greatly different from his lolling pose. Over there, hunched over his keys and driven by hidden monomania. And, yes, the fingers merge into a fleeting blur. The joints pulsate from his skin and veins bulge, weaving back and forth behind the layers of skin. If only those fingers could be gnawed to the bone. And the skin shorn and thrown to a diseased dog for its nightly chowder. Perhaps the tapping would cease and brilliance could froth from my mind.
Lightning is brisk across the skyline, refracting across the windowpane; shades of blue flicker and illuminate while the dank crevices of the transparent screen remain in woe. Water droplets fall from ashen clumps in the sky, clouding the golden orb. A grunge odour of dank mold – furry bristles, boastful grime, green and black and thick – seeps from somewhere. The walls are cracked; lines steer through the layers of paint and brittle blocks, reeking and dead. A single light droops and illuminates the room and it flickers cyclically, blinking evermore; basking us in the glory of darkness for a moment before drawing colour from nothingness. The window is a mirror reflecting the outside, the mud lacquered across the stone pathway and fractured gate, and the damp and hollow musing which emerges from black ink.
I ask him, what are you writing?, yet he does not answer; instead, his fingers continue to dance across the keys, and the typewriter chimes with even timing. He does not even look at me, no, no, not once. The dance has not yet finished, the strings his fingers skip across still linger and splash, dipping across the whiskey bottle and the old Olivetii. What is he writing over there? If only I could look inside his cortex and chew upon the meat, then, yes, then clarity would overwhelm me and I could bask in its enlightened glow. I could crack open his brain and see the syrup of words in perfect combination floating around like a perfect stew. He is a waxen necromancer, drawing life from nothing, digging deeper and deeper into his own dogged and fragile dungeon.
Some new wave of thought fruiting his synapses and ethereal pulses, lively and delicate and rational and unique buzzes zapping life to words and visions yet seen. What ideas are pouring from his mind, his delicate dome of a head? Nothing I can be certain, here, just metres from him across the circular table, our typewriters symmetrical, one silent and broken, the other roaring with excitement and verbose energy.
Oh, but I can write as well as he. Words pour from me with ease and on a number of occasions I have recited prose or poetry which has clawed at the necks of the townsfolk and restrained from letting go prematurely. I can, as it were, fracture those who read my delectable prose. Books and references are not necessary for all information is contained within my mind, gained from a hours of reading and stored for a later date when it can be retracted and used to inspire a sentence or a paragraph or perhaps an entire piece of prose or poetry. Whatever whimsical effort I may see fit as worth my effort and intellectual strain. I am beyond the abilities of others. They cannot understand what my mind can conjure. I breathe life to a wax foetus and I beat it into beautiful fruition. Yes, I can control language like no other. It is a gift. Though now my mind is tired – that is the only explanation. Tired and warped and delicate, yes, delicate and fragile. I have slept little over the last couple of days. My eyes remain open, fixed upon fleeting thoughts that seem to exhaust me.
However, I must push my mind. I must place it under immense pressure to draw thoughts which have not crossed through the mind of others before. Ever. It – my mind – must merge into a state of consciousness, into a realm far distant from this one for I have maximised the potential and use of this reality. To see me, here, now, from another vantage point, looking down upon my crumpled body, laughing without response from my dear friend – oh yes, it is pleasant madness. Drinking copious amounts of sweet, sweet liquor to intensify my brain, the snapping of synapses, on and off, back and forth from perceptions which linger momentarily and I – yes, I – must capture them before they become a distant figment of genius lost. Such ventures are most agreeable and though my mind sits in woeful melancholy, distant and warped, I retain a sense of heartfelt ardour for brilliance not out of my reach. My dear friend suffering from intense monomania knows of my eager stupor yet he remains silent and clicks, tapping at each letter for a cure to his ever-present madness.
Few words have flowed from me of late. Merely fragments. Nothing special. Blots but mostly forgettable. But no, how could I say the words scrawled across the page are forgettable meditations? They are foundations, yes, the concrete laid out for exploration; building up to something – something beautiful, a magnum opus; and my name scrawled across the velvet cover, worshipped, loved, endeavoured to mimic, yes, me, I am that soul, waiting to be released from a binding wrath. It will come. One day. My dear friend seems to work day and night and produce large quantities of work, such ease, such relaxed exploration of the human mind he makes. He works with feverish energy, manic, until he crashes and sleeps, refusing to leave his room until his health has risen from its mild beat. He works, seemingly without drink or food. It baffles me to understand how his mind does not grow weary from such strain. Often, he runs out of paper or ink and will hide away in the corner of his cramped room, smoking with trembling hands, silently whimpering incoherent musing until I have returned with supplies and eased his trepidation. He will crawl out on his hands and knees and climb back upon the chair and continue to tap away – without a word of gratitude. I’ll pour him a glass of whiskey though he will not drink it, instead leaving it to go rotten like a lifeless fruit, rank and shrunken. Often I will drink his wasted alcohol and become blurred by its potent control, and attempt to peer over his should at his current work though my attempt often falls short as he attempts to hide the works imprinted upon the page. Of course, I am not jealous of his brilliance. Brilliance, yes, I can call it nothing else. He is an inspiration to my being though I know – for it is obvious – that I match and exceed him in quaint luminosity.
The blank page is still there, propped up and awaiting my fingers to spit rhythm. It screams for me to tap away at the keys of Old Faithful, but the words, yes the words, they are not here. They are locked away. Some days they come to me with such ease; I pluck them like posies from a fruitions garden though today they are shrivelled. And the tapping, not my tapping, but his tapping, continues to drum away and each time I ask “What are you writing over there?” he does not say a word, nor does he acknowledge my presence. He just drums his fingers with quick precision and consistency.
Sweet liquor drains from the glass and soon refills. Sweat rinses across my forehead and the oil from my hair is a glazed coat across the skin. A blue haze flickers from outside, shattering through the pane. Water washes away the sins of the transparent screen. Disjointed droplets splatter with eager yearning and wash down, a vertical drop before more crystal liquid harmonises with the window.
The bulb goes out and we are sitting in darkness aside from the glow outside. The keys upon the typewriter – his typewriter – continue to tap and the platen chimes and the tapping of the keys continues. A black sheet shades the room, lacking remorse. Lightning again, the sapphire hue bright against the dark shadows and, just for a moment, a glimpse, passion in the eyes, and the cracks splintering the spongy vessels that float across the Earth. And the tapping is no longer the repetitive scratch but a drilling, and coils and sparks flare up and dance in the darkness, leaping from the mirrored typewriter, spitting electrics, golden strings jump, dancing in twirled accessions. His fingers, extending from the silhouette over there, are blazing. Small flames spark from the skin, now charred, and the sparks continue to spit and spit, boiling liquid splashing from supermassive black holes, a thick wasteland void of feeling and drowned in lust. And the chime again, yes, that chime every few seconds is a crashing cymbal, and the keys, retaining rhythm, clicking, clicking, and the drumming of fingers and raw flames and Heaven spitting electrics – cut wires raw and exposed, and drowned in water – and a hollow screech – burnt throat – from a static spitting microphone, devilish and eternal.
And I am standing over him and I raise the typewriter over my head, feeling the weight of the blunt object craned high and I bring it down upon his skull. My dear friend is on the ground, drowning in blood, mute still, his eyes turned towards me. He stares, looking deep into my eyes as if he sees some deeper truth. The typewriter again cracks beautifully upon his skull and the bone collapses inward. And I am laughing as he lies breathless, a strange devil, and his silence is a work of musical composition, a tightly framed orchestra, leaping and dancing and the typewriter – the trusty old Olivetti Lettera 32 – waves back and forth triumphantly. The keys hang loose and the paper wedged in the roller is torn. My voice cackles, burnt laughter dripping, and my body lifting off the ground, a whimsical skip, as the light flickers – a brilliant strobe. And the lightning pulses the sapphire, carving my silhouette into fragments of splendour. This is my magnum opus.