Monday, January 9, 2006

hermit crabs

all these things

In due course, our time will lapse, and when death comes to collect, all the world will be left with are the faint memories of us and all these things. They'll see us in the faces of the living, but won't make a connexion deeper than that nagging feeling of familiarity. "I know him," they'll say with absolute certainty, but will be unable to pluck the name of the dead from their psychic lockbox, and line it up with a living, breathing face. From life we are born, and to life we will return, each carrying the souls of all those who came before us. A million molecules finding new homes. Like hermit crabs in the sea. A strange juxtaposition of living and dead, the whole of which the mind of one or the other can not possibly comprehend on its own - and I don't think I'm making myself very clear.


"I don't think I'm making myself very clear," he says, "so allow me to be a little more explicit: she does not photograph very well."

"That's absurd! Whatever do you mean? She's beautiful!"

"I'm not denying she's beautiful," he replies, "but I'm saying the camera has trouble capturing that beauty. What is so clear in life, and so easily seen by the eye, is not so easily seen by the eye of a machine. The camera is missing something. The camera is unable to grasp a vital part of her."

"Well, maybe it's something with the focus. Adjust the aperture. We'll try a different set-up with the lights-"

"There's no use," he says. "No amount of fussing with lights and focus is going to make this machine read her. We may as well send her home. This machine is simply unable to know her. Unable to know her in the way we do now, or in the way I think I may have in another place or time. I can't put my finger on it, but-"

"We could try adjust the levels of-"

"Just send her home."


A ride in the back seat of a car, pressed into soft leather, gliding beneath the glittering lights of a busy downtown.

"I'll get out here," she tells the driver.

Stepping out of the car, straightening her skirt, she makes her way through the door of one of her favourite watering holes, and sits down on her stool at the bar. She crosses her legs in a way that optimizes their perfection, and has the attention of the bartender in a matter of seconds.

"Tom Collins," she says. "Slice of orange."


He drifts off to sleep, and as he does so, memories of the day - of shoots, of lights, of film - give way to memories of another kind. Memories not quite belonging to himself, but not quite belonging to anyone other than himself, either.

Hand gripping the softness of a clean, white terrycloth towel. The polishing of a glass. Eye on the bottle. Nothing but the best for this lady. Fingers expertly grip, and fluidly flick open the cap. Crystal contents poured into a shaker with lemon, sugar, and ice. A slow trickle into the glass. Top with soda.

"Slice of orange," she says.

A smile is his reply.

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