A HUNCHBACK STORY FOR A TINY MOUSE
I am required to tell him that there is no avoiding this. I consistently refuse, foolish considering the longevity. It’s only two turns to grey, isn’t that what he said? Might we say that he believes I understand what’s in that room that sits behind…sorry. Might we say that he believes I can see what’s in the room that is behind him? I would elaborately describe this as a hunchback story for a tiny mouse. Here, each of us knows our place. I’d like to rest beneath his chair and thank him for altering a sequence much abhorred, but, his cries seem to expend the word ‘’heave’’. And then, a doubled-quick sharp-cutting inhale which required total breathing to bring him to his former position, his frown brings him closer to the ground than he may appear, his former position to…start again. It’s just two turns to grey, isn’t that what he warned us of?
He hooks his lower lip as to forward his curiosity. What is clear is the strobes of light escalating towards the next re- appropriation of far-fetched familiar states, now, altered states …ever so slightly, but to tilt, to ponder. He reminds me it wasn’t enough. No matter how much you try occurs to me as he, overwhelmed, pants and crawls slowly from his station. But it wasn’t enough to expel his curiosity. You are a strong one, again (I think), again. He hooks his lower lip as to forward to me his curiosity. I want to lean over and tell him all this could have been avoided, but I need only face the mirror and smile… ‘’tea’’, I ask. It’s ‘’strong’’, its after a time, ‘’satisfactory’’.
What’s that? He asks. I can only look, after a slight glimpse, beyond him, then to the mirror, then to myself. Might he imagine that I have suspicions of that ‘other’ place? The truth is I was matching the gaze of our watcher. Not original, but I’m told that’s the best way these days. Both body and brain are united. I can tell by the way he nods with his words – this time without confusion. I watch myself move behind him and, suddenly, bark that ‘’things don’t last forever’’. But I smile. He asks me if I have had my mouth widened. Naturally, of course, that was the first requirement, and yet he manages, assuredly stood, settled with hands on his hips, open glare as he asks me, he smiles for me.
He stretches the logic of what is familiar to me, I effort to make no heed of parametric change in this much-lived chamber. Chamber…the last refuge for sanity? For a sound mind? Space is distracted by moments of tapping imagined as a polyphonic sound. As time gets smaller and faster these tapping sounds, they gradually increase their frequency. A polyphonic sound which can only be administrated to one door, diagonal from me, to the right of me, and even further away from him. I clasp, grasp and fall to the floor with un-hinged hysteria at the suggestion that in future ‘’things might be quite different’’, then we are both back, forgetting that we were momentarily elsewhere, the strain on my aching jaw a reminder of the sudden (and rare) out-cry at the notion of an altered time.
I want to move forward and tell myself, to say, that all this could have been avoided. Instead, I move into myself. Respite from the effort to be original, incorrectly it seems. I am a watcher as he moves across the space, and as he gestures for the people to part, that he might find a way, I realize that I want a leader, and I smile.
- In My Room at Fringe Arts Bath, June, 2018.
- Returning to That Night-time Phenomenon at Seven Arts, Leeds, December 2017.
- Christmas Cabaret at Seven Arts: That Night-time Phenomenon, December 2016.
- Features of Fool: Manchester Victoria Baths, April 2016.
- Observe This Gait: Leeds Art Gallery, March 2015.