[Reprinted from here, since why not.]
— It is like pretending to be cut in three. Nobody likes to do it. Call it the draft of a holler. A field holler.
g’s pension rattled in a money brace, individually wrapped, doing no good works silently. He remembered it was there, edged briefly towards some kind of reaction, and backed off. Other people — kind people — were paying the board. They still meant well towards g, but after a while it was just easier to pay. If g wanted a cat, he could have one; if he wanted to be able to feed the cat, that could happen too, but he had to think to ask. g had never asked for a cat, and gifts, except of the most abstract and transferable coin, came to seem like a mistake as soon as mooted. g had everything, or had had.
h’s words can’t actually be written down. After a couple of visits he realised that talking in a direct way to g in a language they both spoke only upset g, and that he felt dishonest shrugging the whole conversation aside into nods and mms. So h projected his language back onto now from a point when he didn’t know his actions partook of language at all, from a time when he could take aim through speech and have the shot mis-fire into a non-synchronised, intermittent flapping motion at the wrists, or the direction North. It was all one to g, and made h feel genuinely happy and free.
— A car is something. Just walking isn’t a thing, even if you are doing it and fall on ice.
h replied at the age of perhaps thirteen months, conflating a 1970s Kellogg’s Cornflakes logo with both protagonists of a picture book about the sly fox and the little red hen, informed by a much later, now mostly forgotten, knowledge of keratin. g seemed satisfied with this, so from now just tense your anal sphincter briefly every time a reply might be expected from h and look sideways. as you mean to go on.
A tingling in the leg was a sign that something heavy had been sitting on the leg and only announced its presence by going. It wasn’t so much a hole in h’s perceptual field as a seamlessly papered-over discontinuity in that field. He had tried looking askance at a man with outstretched arms make a non-synchronised, intermittent flapping motion at the wrists, and saw only a perfect, self-supporting Fingerbobs dove, a dull yellow from bilirubin. When they cut him open there was enough liver to make three dying children sick again. They put his corneas onto a blind drunk, who more or less shat his eyes in a disulfiram reaction. continuing.
He had never really bothered to work out why trilobites particularly. Something to do with wanting desperately to talk to strangers at the age of ten, wanting to impress them in some way and having them instead edge gently away into the area behind the paper, which somehow was also instant and total elective amnesia for both him and them. g is the only person capable of articulating what it is like to see the other side of the paper coming at you, but he likes h and doesn’t. The list of gifts at the park shop included a green leather bookmark too thick to be used, sold for am I allowed to say spastics to Americans, and a wax cast purple trilobite that has sold out. The urge to make a mark with it was only given in to once, leaving a flat edge on the pygidium, but the white plastic insert at the top of the Tic-Tac box wore one complete ridge on the top and two parts in the curved, wrong-guesswork base. And the evocative smell, a middle-aged woman giving it to h at a discount, knowing that wasn’t going to happen again until eBay.
— Austerlitz is hinged. A past of hang, somewhere else.
h wondered if it might help a very fat man to be centred on the paper, as they would both then know him for only his linked-up edges, a small and puckered toy. Blood and shit clearly can pass the margins freely in both directions, as h’s paper didn’t seem to work as a death ray, unless an unknowable stack of the narrow dead were in fact propped horizontally on wheeled, extensible glass poles from the missing part of h’s peripheral vision, or paper. Could the fat man in fact be so rewired by positioning as to develop a shit circulation, and require a blood stoma, and could this temporarily be to his good? h didn’t think so, g wasn’t fat, and h didn’t have a flexible enough neck to try it out first on his foreshortened self.
Mousers roused to hearing past the comb-filter of their tinnitus, blood curried to a point with coagulant, better than any hair. The heart senses the broken vein of continence and you fear it, rough wooer of the death you blanked a minute ago but now. Haarping grape ape semaphore in coloured overclothes, h has scratched your back and warmed the ionosphere to the point of dim visual aurorae, seen by CCD. Clear water obsolescence dandled a balloon in pee for Peter to earth or pop it’s me. You are a prawn tuned to d, John Cage’s father’s prototype submarine had an internal combustion engine. In the cat-like shag, rejected parts of this.