A SERIES OF IMPLAUSIBLE COINCIDENCES
I draw, with blind fingers, the eyes and teeth of a dog. He’s snarling at the sky. An emotional reaction to the brutality the world inflicts upon him. Drips of saliva spray from his mouth in little love heart shapes. Miss you like a maelstrom.
I put a record on, real vinyl. Remembering that old gramophone playing out Spanish blues to the ruins of a German city. Dresden, your heart is mine. Or maybe just a little spit – nothing concrete, no lifelong commitment.
The song I play in the present is October by Jackson C. Frank.
“Prepare for the depths of your heart to sing to you,” I say.
I paint their faces Max Beckmann-style in the gloom. Watching me with black holes for eyes, cheeks painted rouge to cover the grey white pallor. I dream of cabaret… or of the circus.
I try to tell things in the order that they happen, but time is slippery as a fish in the human conscience. Fingers on the strings. They listen in a silence already over.
“You like this miserablist music, Wolfgang?”
I nod and grin manically, like a deceased man strung up on puppet strings.
“I can’t deal with music that isn’t a little bit miserablist,” Roxy says.
I realise today that she is indeed a little witch. She’s looking at the cover of the book I write in, jagged black and white pattern, a little tweedy if you know what I mean. She lifts those pale blue eyes to me, with that little ghostly face.
“Dog tooth,” she says. “It’s my favourite pattern.”
‘Dog-tooth,’ I mouth the words silently with new meaning. Little Roxy snaps her fingers and the worn brown seats of the carriage are all of a sudden the same pattern – black and white and grey teeth gnashing one another, grinding away in their sleep.
“Now I shall keep losing my book, little Roxy,” I say.
She nods with quiet conviction. How shall I commit thee to paper? How shall I remember to speak of Dresden, of ruins, ruffians, brutalities and all my favourite themes? Of dog teeth chewing on the pages of photographs and drawings of the dogs themselves, of postcards written and never sent?
“Toby Roe is dead,” I say. I see the grey bearded dog lying down, smiling; his eyes slowly close with the knowledge that he is finally alone, as every living creature.
“You can’t kill what was never real,” Roxy says.
Little Roxy snapped her fingers in front of my face, but this time was not for magic. She was trying to wake me from a waking dream, my eyes were doing R.E.M, even though they were open. Folks have mistaken this for a fit before. I try to think of it as a party trick I have no control over.
“Are you dreaming, Wolfie?”
I paused meaningfully, looked hazily around the carriage.
“I’m a dreaming man.”
“You said Toby Roe was dead.” Roxy’s bottom lip was stuck out.
My eyes focused on her and drew the real world around me, filled in all the gaps and put her into context, of the time as well as the space and all that had already happened.
“The dog, not the man, the original Toby Roe. Don’t worry.” I pawed her shoulder. “We’ll find them, we seem to be lost in a series of implausible coincidences.”
“Them?” Claudia said suspiciously.
“Toby and the other one…?” I looked over to Simian who was lying on the seat looking glum and useless, he quickly found his little notebook and searched for the names he’d copied in.
“Yes that one.” I looked at Claudia. “You mentioned before that you knew him, the Blonde Adonis?”
“It’s Haydn Antoine.” Her face was contorted subtly with the strange anger of someone who felt they were losing grip on reality. “How d’ya know what’ee looks lyke?” Her voice was cold.
“I saw him in my mind’s eye. He’s very handsome.” I said.
Roxy put her arm around Claudia in an attempt to reassure.
“Are you psychic?” Claudia leaned away from Roxanne doubtfully.
“All blind men are,” I said.
“Yar not blind.”
I reached up with a dirty yellow finger to poke myself in the eye, as if to find out. “Oh.” I paused, a little confused. “Don’t you feel like we’ve a collective subconscious by now anyway?”
I should just keep my mouth shut. But in all the confusion I tend to forget what I’m supposed to know. Besides, there was a flicker of admission in their faces at the final statement. We all meet in each others’ dreams.
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