Afternoon (2 Rooms)

by stephen hastings-king

I spent part of yesterday's lovely fall afternoon in a wealthy-town enormous room where “architectural salvage” had been taken to mean: a taxidermy wild boar; a complete skeleton of a horse supplemented by other fragments of horse; a huge and elaborate wooden sculpture of a clock so a 20-foot-tall reference to a clock but also a clock; Gropius chars that probably were not Gropius chairs even though they were priced like Gropius chairs; an enormous marble bust of a head, Chad of Athens, I could tell by the vacant expression; matching but ugly leather chairs deliberately made uncomfortable via re-upholstery; a dining-room table with an elaborate network of steel pipes welded onto it (WHY), and everywhere music—fusion--the kind of fusion no-one listens to on purpose, the kind that one might imagine being discussed after a Berklee weekday mid-morning recording session:

Yeah, wow. that didn't sound like anybody.

Um...You mean that in a good way, yes?

No. No, I do not.

In the middle of one of the spaces within the space a couple sat on uncomfortable furniture arranged around an unpleasant but huge mantle-piece. They were wearing jackets like they had just come from outside. They were discussing something, I don't know what, but they broke off whenever I came near. Hello, they would say, nearly in unison, and then they would smile, like they had been waiting for me, and they seemed so nice that my head filled with John Malkovich's voice saying:


It was by then clearly time to go.

There may be some connection between this stage on life's way and the next, in which a store kept moving around a complex of near-identical buildings like it was trying to avoid me until it made a mistake and I entered the smallest cheese shop I have ever seen and found already there loudly-speaking persons who had never seen cheese before---but now, they were in a situation that confronted them with many cheese-choices, in the context of non-cheese near-term lives full of intricate events with mutually exclusive requirements held together in tenuous balances some or all of which might be put at risk by




Whence the need to discuss it, all of it, the intricate events and mutually exclusive requirements and possible impacts the various cheeses they had been sampling courtesy of the only person working the counter, who turned out to be too polite to not be their prisoner,

which meant that I, too, was their prisoner.

But they were not aware. They just couldn't decide.

All the while in the world, the moral catastrophe continued.