Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Harlequin Helix

Today is more like yesterday than yesterday and even longer.

Ben is sick, poor guy, so Pete subbed in the studio. Good job too.
I’d poured a casting mix into harlequin molds and gone back to peer at them twice already. Was it really that cold in here? Or was something wrong with the mix?
“Hmmm. Nothing’s happening,” I held my fingers over one, “—wait, there’s heat.”Pete said, “Then…something’s happening.” “Yup. Where there’s heat, there’s… happening,” I said. Immediately a sort of mental wormhole opened, back to the morgue and Dr. Bill, every winter night shift, saying, “Is it cold?”
We roll our eyes and recite, “oh yeah, it’s cold.”
To which Dr. Bill answers, as he’d answered every midnight for two months, “Then it’s dead! Becawze…( in the Baptist Revival voice he thought so funny) where they is ah-heat, they is ah-happenin’.” I could almost smell the bleach, and mint, and death.

As Neil Gaiman wrote Harlequin Valentine, he would phone and say, “Tell me more about the morgue.” Some of the stuff I told him made its way into the story. But there was more that didn't, and plenty I didn’t tell. Memories mostly blend or slide over one another, but my time in the morgue is clear and self contained. It’s its own world, with a spectrum that won't admit to yellow. Once in a while I take an odd step and slip headlong back into it. Today I did for a moment. But mostly it was yesterday, again.
It’s like what? Very good! You are correct. It’s like time travel.

We have officially closed submissions forTINY STORIES, the project . My sincere thanks to everyone who sent stories. You all deserve grand kudos. This was not an assignment for the faint-hearted. In mid January we’ll contact everyone who submitted and then list the names of those chosen. By then, Bob and I will have already begun to put the thing together. We’ll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Miss Bliss said...

Wow...so funny the way memory works eh? You've written about the morgue days before but for some reason it wasn't until right now that I remembered that my Dad spent some time working in a morgue, I think when he was in the military. I remember him telling a story about the sounds late at night as air and gasses would sometimes escape the bodies making it sound like they were moaning. Freaky! I'll have to aks him about that.