Osmose Woodfume stepped from the tawny ages onto the cedar porch, clutching a timepiece between aching fingers. His question was not of immediate concern to the majority. I have twenty-five dollars, which I hand Mr. Woodfume under the pretense that he will spend it on buying me a drink inside, come back out here, and have a discussion that will shake the wood.
He's not thirsty, he says, but he'll take the money. I don't know what to say, so I remain silent, quietly channeling my thoughts into an unstable energy force by which the world around me operates. Yesterday I went to the optometrist who said that my eyes were fine, it was my vision that was tuning out.
We are all boats on a sandy desert, progress fettered by the slow unwinding of tomorrow in desolation. Osmose Woodfume has gathered us all here, but we don't know it. Sure, after the fact, anything can be known about the past, but those knowledges may transfer incomplete, undecipherable by even the most modern of technology.
Smoking from a teak pipe with the candy-like smell of vanilla and moist tobacco, Osmose is cycling in consciousness. He breathes in the smoke, which he coerces with air, which has touched the trees, which have passed through me, which have smelled deathsmells coming from the ground, but flowers too. He breathes this all in, absorbs it with a tweak of his cheek and lets it all flow out again.
I inhale deeply; Osmose knows his homeostasis better than I do. The controls are dead; I can't even read the signals... I can't fixate to determine basic human functions. Like pain or hunger, the thought may come and go but how can I lift a proverbial hand to determine its true origin or context? I've no right in this deconstructionist age to analyze my own internal body-authorship.
"Sheeeeit, man," Osmose Woodfume spoke, "what you got is the disorder. I mean," and he lowers his eyes at me, "we all have the disorder. Like, cuckoo man, cuckoo coco. But you see," and he shook his face a few times, smoke flaring from his large nostrils, in its twisting blue tendrils I saw vaguely his face, as if superimposed spontaneously, perhaps by astigmatism. "My body is no damn fiction.
“This is all there is and you’s all you’s gots. Right? So you’ve got to learn how to fucking tell the difference between a heart attack and indigestion. You’ve got to be able to know the difference between a side pain and appendicitis. If you don’t, you’re fucked and I’ll meet you on the other side. You do remember the other side, don’t you?”
I want Osmose Woodfume to go into the room now, and get my drink. I want the world to stop smelling of natural things, and just burn in cylinders, like prison bars I could grab if only my hands weren’t made of liquid.