Drift Olive

The paralysis had set in around mid May. A sensation of numbing began in my fingertips at first, it felt like I was typing in thimbles. As it crept up my hands I was holding pencils with mittens, (Kevlar mittens). Soon my arms in plaster, legs in concrete, torso in a fat-suit and my head in dough. Little got through this get-up and there was nothing whatsoever coming out.

As summer went on the heat started to bake my balaclava; the vents in the pastry widened a little, letting in some light and air. I blinked off crumbs from around my eyes which alighted on the book.

I could look at words I thought.

I looked at them for some time, mostly they were small and dark, and there were lots of them, about four hundred on every page. There were stacks of pages too, more than half a thousand in all.

I resolved to look at one word at a time; there were spaces between each one, which made it easier. They were presented in some kind of order I imagined, so I decided to follow it. One word after another.

And so it went on.

Turning a page was tricky at first, the gloves were a problem, but as I looked at more words the shortcrust began to soften around my mouth and I was able to blow the pages over.

The words formed patterns, I could see that now; a complex rhythm, back and forth dance, advancing each time with new treasure.

Before long I was blowing through pages at considerable velocity, cutting through waves of words. The pastry was a soggy collar now and the arm casts supple sleeves. The mittens were blown overboard and the fat-suit floated right off me and bobbed about the flooded deck; I was so thoroughly absorbed that I didn’t think to grab it in time to float me over an almighty wave that swelled up through page two hundred and forty three; I sank like a stone.

I was furious at the words for drowning me, I had surrendered to them and they had grabbed me whilst seduced. They had liberated my fat head but I was still weighted like a plumb line, dumb flunk sunk with my sodden baggage.  I would have to lie there on the bottom until my concrete boots dissolved or I found the strength to shake them off.

The words had no form down there, no voice; senseless babble filled my lugs. I ached for my fat suit, my sweet fat dumpling buoy. My feet sank deeper into the silt, I weighted.

June… July…AuGUST…

then a gust enough to dredge up the deepest set anchors.

It was a glimpse, that’s all, a hint of an otherness that arrested every nerve,  bellowing orders to move, summoned muscles to respond; I scrabbled and kicked, shot through with life lust, swimming hard to get close enough to touch that thing beyond words.