Long Story 2013 First Prize


The Factotums of Facticity

Cain Pinto

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Gilles Lacoue-Labarthe, a great scholar and anthropological researcher was invited, by his friend, among the Science Channel execs, to a host a new mode of scientific program. The idea was to have him travel and document his research among communities close to the object of study and telecast the entire process as a scientific and intellectual curiosity.

He was to be given power over the direction of the show, given the marketing aspect was left to the corporation, and all the funding and logistical operations would be borne by the production team. Though it was not short of intellectual buggery, in his mind, to allow a corporation to decide the marketability of a scientific study, he found the offer of financial and technical support too much to ignore.

Then he chalked a detailed plan about the point to be investigated pertaining to the dervish Sufi mystic off shoots from Islamic theology and how they bore out through the eighteenth century ala Gurdjieff, Watts et al and surely this was among the first of many great ideas which were to be dismissed as unprofitable, owing to the close brush with controversy and disinterest they foreboded. In any case a topic of general interest and sensational curiosity was to be undertaken, not some idiopathic intellectual quest, for that which made the thinker hard made the audiences harder to hold they told him. Putting his totemic pride in his pocket he accepted to undertake the reportage of investigation into the origins of a document, purportedly a pseudographia par excellence, entitled Macabee the Manic and his Meditations on Mandibular Cosmogony. Part theogony, part trashy tall tale this manuscript had been found in a sub-Saharan cave   and had since made a wave due to various other versions soon discovered in diverse locales separated by antipodean delineations. These manuscripts all bearing a similar baroque tendency to hyperbole and metonymic narrative suggested divergent sources of origin, variegated historical imperatives and a different set of deities were inscribed in each to be the narrators.

         The perceptible protagonist of the manuscript, Macabee the Manic, did offer no historical precedence to any ethnicity in particular given the propensity to labile interpretations an informed inquiry speedily suggested. Maccabees, in Hebrew meaning hammer, was traceable to the Biblical clan of Jewish rebel warriors who usurped the region of Judea from the Seleucid Empire; Manic, perhaps an appellation of lesser import than an apostrophic address, did still hint at a connection with Manichaeism which couldn’t be eliminated by a naïve dismissal’s sleight of hand. Y'hudhah HamMakabi, or literally speaking Maccabees the Hammer, Kohen and son of Mattathias received dedications in literary texts in profusion since the seventeenth century; the earliest reference being a Castilian epic El Macabo authored by Miguel de Silveyra in 1638; French tragedian Pierre du Ryer’s seventeenth century work entitled La Chevalerie de Judas Macabé and finally the anonymous neo-Latinate Judas Machabeaus were a heritage of this Jewish Hammerhead. But the geographic proximity between Persia and Judah was topographically contentious since Israel was used as an ambipolar term, sometimes meaning the nation, and at others the loci of the settlement of the twelve tribes of Israel, or even the northern expanses where a majority of the tribe receded after a fissure developed in 922 BCE. The southern occupants then settled for the nomination Judeans, or Judahites, somewhat abating the astigmatic obstruction to Lacoue-Labarthe’s study. Now if Macabee the Manic was a Manicheanization of Jewish Monotheism or the Judean appropriation of Manichaeism into Kabbalah was still to be examined amid a mighty molehill of possible prognoses. The polemic possibility of his name being shared by a degenerate deicide was to be the last straw he was willing to pull though the marketing team importuned that he consider the popularity such a line of research may generate; irony failed these smart and suave imbeciles as they entertained these theologically unsound notions of televising such gross scientific opprobrium entailing the enlistment of the easiest dismissal as a possible solution to a historical conundrum. Far from taking these seismic shocks to heart, Lacoue-Labarthe was taken to caring for his pregnant wife. She seemed to be showing signs of post partum depression and was precariously dancing on the ledge of neurotic pathology. 

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Woe is me when I am not myself and trembling in fear, the twisted form of abject personhood is not localizable to any discernable object. She explained in her lucid moments how she suffered from phantasmal visions, often enough of predatory nature. Waking up from light sleep, she would feel threatened seeing a green ball of luminescence rolling off the window sill, like a gibbous vane taking fitful direction and its rotunda automatically guiding it with an unerring precision, hovering about the cradle where their new born lay. Having gotten out of her bed she ran towards it to see a black formless form, a visual vacuum of sorts, bearing away their infant. A struggle would ensue and after much fisticuffs and effort the shadow would slide down a silvery thread suspended out the window from whence it came in. The agitation, forming beads of perspiration and a rasping breath, would take a long while to subside though she would then find her baby soundly sleeping, tucked into the cradle and drooling in deep slumber. After this episode became a periodic incident, perpetuating itself as frequently as the fickle of a fortnight, she should scarce shame herself will such elucidations, she felt, but the animality of metaphor in its feral felicity and rashness was still all she could muster to summate those feelings, to present before her husband’s watchful ear the anecdote that evaded citation, which evaded designation, in the rational, linear, realms of language. He had often pondered the lability of the linguistic sign at the theoretic level, now faced as he was with his wife’s narration of an incident that had made such a ghastly impression on her he wondered if this lability, this stretchy and taut fabric of linguistic facts, was in fact the gossamer thread that worked the loom of reality as we knew it. If all language was metaphor then only silence could be objective; consequently, we all spoke the gilded truth drawn from the privileged vantage of our petulant perspective, and this was all that was possible. Is she imagining things? Is it that she is dwelling on the abstract malady of depressive emotions in the discreet fabric of words, aroused no doubt through physiological phenomena, he wondered and spoke reasonably in a manner that would assure her, assure her of things which she wanted to hear and he wanted to believe. Of course her hormonal high tide was wielding phantasmal Tsunamis in its wake; she should take shelter from the storm in the hope of a lighthouse. She should spend time with the child; enjoy her new found shore, her motherhood; moor herself in the shifting sands that beset her. His thought drifted through the hyperbolic halls of metaphor, and he couldn’t understand the gravity of these distortions to be any more than a theoretical discursion; of course she needed therapy!
              The primary research was approved, if with some reservations, and he was to travel to Africa in order to collate primary research videography for the benefit of vicarious seekers of the truth. The Saharan tribes which practiced a religion that drew from sympathetic magick inspired by a Hebraic branch of esotericism, speculated to be a transmission that occurred at the behest of Sheba’s liaison with Solomon, were to be interviewed largely for creating a sensationalist scientific séance of sorts by raising the ghost of a dead empirical idealism goaded by the witchery of TRP rating oblations and media warlocks, also partly because it could provide the basis for the integral thrust of the document under study irrespective of the filming and shoddy production value that was to be its lot. He was introduced to Achébé the tribal priest who offered him hospitable reticence, and a concoction of mescaline and datura, after which they conducted the daily worship which he was not welcomed to attend. The sanctity of the sacerdotal proceedings were said to be safe only after an initiation that spanned the length of twenty weeks; to the chagrin of the production team which pleaded a severe case of cheap-skate he had to accept this offer if any thing was to be learned, and that would result in a daft scheme to record and televise only portions that would pertain to the post initiation developments of this stay. He was still payed for accommodation and sustenance, so he didn’t care about the program’s perfidious plan of action, at least as long as his research could attain some credible slice of the primary data pie for further nourishment of the study’s summum bonum. The interpreter was motioned to silence by Achébé who saw that the salve had indisposed Lacoue-Labarthe to dialogue; he was laid in an elaborate tent which was rented at the weight of all its ornate trappings in shillings. There absorbed into his blood stream, he was absorbed by the fabric of feelings, he became his feeling; perchance feelings are mere words, he became feeling-substance as far as language can be appeased. He was the muse that inspired the interpellation of dialogic colors into a picture, he was the color and the picture and the interpellation which mused itself. Self-portraiture? Let’s leave off the exacting leash of description, let it lag like the double chin of papa time who is smoking a chillum, coughing, puffing, smoking our metaphor in his bolar pipe. We cerebrate and integrate the noetic form of singleness, and communality. This and those, outside us, we inside them; subjecting the object to subjective objectification. External to our conception is the uterus of the communal in relation to the outsideness of the belly, about us and tactile to our singular haptic hunger. In our privileged cocoon we are single, but chrysalises abound our pullulating community, we a shard in the silken scarf still shackled by the stitch. Outside there is the triumph of the singular, the winged beast of selfish integrity removed from the communal. The self suffers, the wings are shorn, dealated, disemboweled. We need the cocoon; the appropriation of the legion, the clamor of the commune in the singular. Winged inside the communal womb we flutter and the belly is tickled on the inside, our vigor is victorious, it is euphoric in its flapping. We are the butterflies swaying in matutinal zephyrs, swallowing the hungry raindrops of May. Those violent showers rend our wings, but our hearts are like the tiny feet of millipedes coiling in the clamor of our singular multitude. Then he dreamt his wife genuflecting, preening and from her mouth offal dripped, her skin was sanguine, she had very many arms, like a millipede-woman with a grotesque rictus seething with rabid laughter. He shuddered like he was pissing, involuntary tremor of flesh in flow, this too shall pass.   



  Achébé arrived early next dawn, producing a phial colored in atramentum and amethyst, offering a brew that he said was from the bounty of the Master wherefore all blessedness is born into the world. Suspicious of his interpreter’s acumen first, then of the contents seeming ever so cryptic, Lacoue-Labarthe stumbled from his mattress and accepted the drink with unsure hands and an unsteady sight, his eyes shifting nervously the akathetic milieu he was contained in, as even the trinkets and talismans tethered to the tent’s supporting beams barely rescinded or recanted to the tap of the gushing gale breaking through the sphincter of the leathern door-curtain. Achébé offered an insistent glare and informed him, after he had made the solicited consumption the quiddity of his awry oesophagus and was half irritated and half energized by the savor and sourness of the liquid, that it was local liquor used as a matutinal stimulant. Thankful, and slightly eased, he told him that he should like to know what he would be put through as part of his initiative preparation, his feet shuffling and his lips subtending in an alveolar oddity unvoiced, so he could proceed to mentally prepare himself for the exercise. Achébé, after hearing his request through Lacoue-Labarthe’s interpreter, laughed uproariously, and shook like a ragged doll in the hands of a child on five ounces of sugar, before speaking in his eerie, cryptodynamic cadence: How does one prepare for madness? If the definition of divine ecstasy must proceed from entelechy alone, then know this, judgment is the juggernaut that reasons against the judgment of reason; look for the genus of the tree by its fruits! The fruit is unknowable, unless you bite into it, but you must taste it only after you have been, by the longing in your very depths. Like the uproar of an intelligent man bombinating in the blather of his incontinent wine; like the belch of a monarch at a royal banquet, even such is the tongue that licks the spirit’s vital member. A sick delusion rising to the surface, and the surface submerged in the shadow of the fault that is risen, so too is the depth of the spirit. Your haste is ungodly, my restraint and vacillation is of the devil; the median is Holy. Not grasping the girth of these odd orations, and a little sozzelled by the perplexity of this elusiveness that the priest was portending in the small hours, he anticipated a day where the unanticipated would whack him on the back of his pate; patience was capital. Anyway Lacoue-Labarthe gave his sardonic turn to the face, going red, and bowing over in feigned respect he communicated that he saw that he must see as it will be shown, to which Achébé nodded in self-assured assent. When he was left to his own devices, his electric razor and an aroused curiosity, he shaved his beard as he gnawed also at the teat of these teachings as they seemed from his privileged perspective. Perhaps the esoteric arm extends far into their cassocks and the duality damning discursions of these people seem to coincide with the daedal, if a little blasé, doctrines of the Dionysian cults. Grinning at himself in his pocket sized mirror he thought what a rascal like him was doing parading himself in his own madhouse, licking off the puke of previous disavowals of seeing connections between diverse things without concrete evidence. Then he imagined what the deuce this balderdash was, it could only be that an observer also becomes what he has been observing; gazing into the abyss, he perhaps had been gazed into by it in turn, and where did this deontology daunt his quest for that elusive haecceity, the absolute TRUTH, where did it raise its ugly one eyed head from? His words didn’t lie to the world; anyway, only to the world’s truth bearers could the facts account for a reliable retelling of its ambigosexual form. The delirium of the real, the mirage of truth miraculated, like a monolithic, monanthus stalagmite; its soft security, its brazen shade, its erect protrusion into withinness. He was ready to go, smartly dressed, so he did imagine, in chinos and crocs, sporting sunglasses, and sun protection factor 15 moisturizer, and a delightful dalton of expectation.

The Sabean queen Sheba, believed to have lived in the tenth century BC with the Biblical accounts following several centuries later, probably rode down to Solomon on the firm bones of supposition wielding historians, the historian and the detective shared that capital apparatus, a solid hunch. This logomachy of the diademed would have to scale its way through an insurmountable Arabian desert before perforating the parchments of the Abrahamic religions, laden with slaves bearing oblations of the Magi: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The inhabitants kept her alive in their oral festivities, breathing to life her fabulous tales, her cheek’s incandescence polished by the exhalations of eager epochs, the scribes that saved the past for the future’s perusal. Gilles seated on a camel skin mat, with intricate geometric patterns inscribed on it, was lost in his reminiscing of platitudinal historical datum. Achébé, knowing more than he showed, sensed this distraction and commanded all the neophytes to pay attention, clear their minds, and then revel in the sweet naught inside; breathe deeply, draw in the draft of delirium, of forgetting. Become nothingness itself, not actually itself, for that is something still. Beyond that, you are that. You are that you are. The Fa’atete was brought out and a feverish, slow, deadening beat was hammered into the egg of consciousness. The yolk trembled in the tenor of the timbrai, slowly deafening the distraction of thought, of breathing the neophytes were steadily forgetting in the throes of actually being, inert, noble and rare like argon, fizzling like a draft of helium, rising onward. They sat there lotus mannered, petals pealed by Achébé, no lotus eater himself, and unencumbered with the ease of estrangement from the familiar voice of the self. After he was sure the neophytes were shed of the selfsack, the scrotum of personality, he slapped them on the cheek dos-á -dos throwing them back into the confines of that flesh rag, the personal body. The shaken neophytes recovering from their trance were then commanded to run a hundred meter circle twenty times, all the while chanting loudly “there is no god but god”, this they proceeded to commence. Some ran vigorously, mouthing the mandated declaration to themselves as to Achébé, while others less enthusiastically as their exhaustions enervated their thirsting soul’s want of knowledge. These fainted and were promptly removed from the initiation module that he was holding, perhaps they could try again after a year of physical exercises; Gilles was in good physical condition, but this exercise was more than most athletes could surmount and yet, more than they could, simpler people with belly fires managed to do this, if only very painfully. Panting and supine these neophytes were then commanded to lay under the arch of the tent, thingamabobs with priapic forms and ghastly hung above them, and to concentrate on the gyration of their selves in its sack, the body, the scrotum of sensations. A few fell asleep, and these too were moved out of the initiation module, but the others were let go for today, tomorrow was to be a day dedicated to mental exercises. After repast and repose of a few hours they communed for a night session of sermons on the doctrines of sympathetic magick. All voices were to be commingled in the preparatory prayer, a tract of gratitude to the powers that be:  We have received your sprout, you who are to come! We have received it in deepest need and lowliness. We covered it in shabby patchwork and bedded down on poor words. And mockery worshiped it, your child, your wondrous child, the child of one who is to come, who should announce the father, a fruit that is older than the tree on which it grew. In pain will you conceive and joyful is your birth. Fear is your herald, doubt stands to your right, disappointment to your left. We passed by in our ridiculousness and senselessness when we caught sight of you. Our eyes were blinded and our knowledge fell silent when we received your radiance. You new spark of an eternal fire, into which night were you born? You will wring truthful prayers from your believers, and they must speak of your glory in tongues that are atrocious to them. You will come over them in the hour of their disgrace, and will become known to them in what they hate, fear, and abhor. Your voice, the rarest pleasing sound, will be heard amid the stammerings of wretches, rejects, and those condemned as worthless. Your realm will be touched by the hands of those who also worshiped before the most profound lowliness, and whose longing drove them through the mud tide of evil. You will give your gifts to those who pray to you in terror and doubt, and your light will shine upon those whose knees must bend before you unwillingly and who are filled with resentment. Your life is with he who has overcome himself and who has disowned his self overcoming. We also know that the salvation of mercy is given only to those who believe in the highest and faithlessly betray themselves for thirty pieces of silver. Those who will dirty their pure hands and cheat on their best knowledge against error and take their virtues from a murderer's grave are invited to your great banquet. The constellation of your birth is an ill and changing star. These, oh child of what is to come, are the wonders that will bear testimony that you are a veritable God. These words resounded in Gilles’s head and bosom, even as he never spoke them now, or ever, they were to remain in him like a trace of graphite clinging onto a clean sheet in contact with a sketch, intimate and superficial all the same. But these suasions suited the tainted saints of Satan; then more than a dread, a theoretic consideration on syncretism ran through his selfsack like a charge of telluric force, and he shuddered, as his excitement uncoiled from his loins and slithered up his spine like an animal effervescence, sentient and serpentine, emerald and exegetic. He mused, but silence is a loud description, and it is breathed by a phantom who knows not what is breath, partly interested in this pneumatological philosophizing, partly practicing his persistent praxis of not becoming the spectacle in observing the specificities of its perorations. A telegram arrives; his wife is perturbed, inordinately unwell. Hospitalized; mania, blepharoclonus, oculogyric crises. This is not good, I cannot help it, not from a distance.
             Only to have to dash the mnemic coquetries of a vocation, only to have suffered the indignity of several compromises, only to have known the face of mania inscribed with the écrits of your features, only to have a life, sigh. This decubitus dream will wake and find itself tucked up in a strange bed well made, mahogany mantled dreamers not giving a flying fuck about it in their somnolent revels, staying warm after it gives up the ghost that awoke refreshed, reincarnate as noun not verb. It was singularly odd, since his wife had never shown any Parkinsonian symptoms before, why she should develop this condition at such a precarious moment. All moments were precarious, anyway; his mother would nurse her, and her brother too. He must get this show on track, making this study the most conclusive piece of research, since it could bolster his flagging energies in its inertia for the twilight years to come, but if he failed it would be an enduring debacle. Preceding him like a sentient stench. Luck sneezes in your face, gesundeit! Now wipe up and move along. He replied to the telegram. Get well soon, love. He was flooded again with memories of his wife telling him about the weird incidents back home, the verdant villainous ball slithering off a rope, a spherical cradle snatching creeper. Where had he seen this image before? The ubeity that knew not restraint from ubiquitous engagements, that ultrafidian usury of consciousness that people always bore in silent turpitude; ah, the myth of the hag! Lilith the strigine omen, as often reported by people, did bear a close connection with infant abduction and deaths, but the role of the ball was quiet an oddity to occasion the laboring of a hagridden witch myth. He had occasionally dabbled with telepathy, with moderate success, but his energies were completely occupied in his erstwhile engagement. Interesting how the incidents almost always concerning infants being snatched is so prevalent, in this day and age, across geographic divides. But if it happens now then it must have happened as is so too in the past, whence the question must be posed: where did this originate? Was she a Hebraic apnoea-apparition, or did she bear a significant part in the cosmogony of mandibular magick, this is not very clear even if Macabee the Manic revels in anecdotal tropes; he was yet to inquire into the originary credibility of the text, wasn’t it so? Perhaps the gibbous green form had a bearing on her association with the moon, and in that case a credible haunt, is what he must consider. But couldn’t the physical dynamics of psychosomatic energies bode such incidents, imbue them with the vivid intensity which makes a real image, a word picture that can be painted with phonè. But of course Heidegger would turn in his grave with such turn of ideation; of course the being of an entity was not circumscribed in the signified, the phonè or the even the pneumatological referent. His turning in his grave is a good example of the necromancy of the phonè, one that must be relegated to the conceit of that capricious tongue which paints veritable mirages, or, perhaps even buried truths. A being beyond the faith implicit in speech, of confession, a derelict dement, a spirit of suggestive and irreducible dissimulation, occultation proper, would make language teeter in its skirt of the propre. A ghost is but a material phonation of immateriality made flesh, it hides in the visibility of its descriptive shell; a logomachy that shall linger. But who is man to suffer the dignity of wallowing in stark raving nonsense, and hatch ovoid absurdities, perverse perseverances off monotony’s mordant motions? Who gave him these mentations, fashioned his mendacity and forbearance, the exhalations that denude the force of the phonè, steal from it its vital dignity? Isn’t he a janissary of the verbal verities, supine on its saturnalian shadow, feasting on the dregs of its endless dissimulation? Dare he devise that this, detritus that erected his diadem, could be called nonsense?  So, he called upon these conniptions, choleric and circumspect, if he did not own his speech who did; his frustrations and furor all his own self flagellation, consequently his doppelganger must own its onomastic umbrage. Civil war, cretaceous cancellation of cerebral cohesion, cancriform complot of the compulsive conspirator of connivances. The acephalous bowyer, lurking in his guts, striking his carotid resolutions.



Adenoidal, anxious and avoidant, her younger brother while not juggling his Adam’s apple came by with fresh fruit salad, newspapers and gossip from his neighbors at their parental home, which was about as interesting as a blotch of snot on a clean wall. Mom was bed ridden but she sent her well wishes, dad was on dialysis but he sent her these daisies, and he did not know much but that he was a tadpole in a swamp; batrachian brat with a cracking voice. How was his baby nephew, erm oh, he must be home with Gilles’s mom, never mind. Removing his foot from his mouth, smelly socked and bum like, he would leave to meet a friend. Some klephtic long haired kid with a taste for self-styled socialisms, rum fuelled revolutions, musty metaphysics and all things impulsive, asinine, kinky. She could not move, easily, but she knew these things, she had been there and not doing that she had tasted the fruit of these boyhood badgerings, vicariously, and she sure was thankful. Akathetic but her mind moving gallops for her distant Gilles’s glance; bradykinetic but quick to the reverent daze; choreic but resolute in her lover’s sincerity; dihydroxyphenylalanine addled but doting, and all right. Mrs. Fanny Lacoue-Labarthe lay in her listlessness and agitations, dos-á-dos, the best wife and sick mother she could be thus. Fanny who once, smiling, took it in the arse; now fronted by a mask like face, and tremors, and delusions, and depressions, and doctors. The lick of Lilith? Ah, Gilles where are you…Egressive but rasping of her lover’s touch; festinant but garrulous in her growing fondness; gegenhalten rigidly seated in her gaunt body; hypertonia hardly weakening her strong desire for that triumphant reunion. The alphabet soups of melancholy bitternesses slept on her tongue. Mrs. Fanny Lacoue-Labarthe, who once sang sweet songs, now lisped echolalic inanities, faster festinating than Gilles could be back. Fanny, who was a fantastic flautist before. Ah, Gilles where are you now! The doctor’s titrations of dosage had had scant therapeutic effect on her blepharoclonus, and she suffered from several minor oculogyric crises, and due to the extreme retraction of the tongue she was in danger of swallowing it. Her brother and Lacoue-Labarthe’s mother were asked to visit every fortnight, too much excitement would rattle her nerves. The diagnosis revealed an Encephalitis Lethargica induced Parkinsonism; she had been unwell and entirely unable to sleep for five days in her teens, but had recovered and after a few months’ course of sedatives and antidepressant had achieved the normality that had graced her days prior to the appearance of sickness. On her doctor’s advice she kept a diary; no idiot, she was in complete knowledge of her profound illness, and in the laggard manner of the ill she apportioned good thoughts to meditate upon alongside her daily journal of reactions to treatment and attack related upheavals. It was as if there was a force that countered itself so synchronically, so well, she wrote, that there was no scope for the success of either impulse. Her mind was motile on one hand and stationary on the other; this dextrosinistral duomachy was a war of equals, of crepulence and composure both agitating against the primary impulsion of the other, so much that in their mutual inactivity, rather impedance, all her strength was spent. Writing in her large, ovoid, rotund twirls and embellishments with febrile fervor her hand would attain consciousness without her volition, and would etch her micrographic monologues in such mordant speed, and with such diminution of scale, that the page would take ten thousand words to fill up. In between the writing she found time enough to scratch her chin three hundred times a minute, so virulently, so obliviously, that the skin lacerated began to bleed. The choreography of a crepuscular impulse, the pulsion of a ghoulish timbre, made her body dance the waltz of wilt, against her will.
           Achébé announced the morning service, a dervish discourse of bodily alignment with cosmic forces that be, and the neophytes collected in the manner of a patch of mandrakes, odd and morigerous in their posture; some smiling, some breathing in the manner taught them to calm their curiosity. As with social phenomena, Lacoue-Labarthe had already imagined that, the thrust of discourse always delineated itself within the specificities of some structure, and if this structure was understood as its syntactical rules then all propositions of the structure could be taken as a given aforehand. Dance was a silent peroration of ritual necessities, a dank dissimulation of existential essentialism, inscribed in the helix of possible postures, an alignment of the microcosm with the macrocosm. The profundity of the movement was its elimination of ligature, its disappearance of motor manipulation, of motion, at the skip of the systoles at the drift of the diastoles. Dance connected the ephemeral with the constant; it is the mime which endlessly replicates itself in the realm of the real, a mimetic theurgy which assimilated the baser and appropriated the refined. He saw that often in their exercise he forgot about the music, his body swayed in its own fervor and push, and it was as if the rhythm was a protracted silence, a bombination of concentrated quietude which punctuated the gravity of the dance. Perhaps this was what music was after all, the silence within which pitches are riotous without, and which if heeded completely disappeared into the nothingness of a consciousness so steeped in the precipitate of the intellect. This desert how terrible and animate, how infernal and avernal, it wringed supplication from calloused and tired tongues, it wrested the vantage of the soul from its keeper, and drank it like a draught. The rocks seemed like beasts and the beasts the most grotesque paladins of the transmundane, spouting gall and spewing guilt such that prayers tackled the taciturn into a hymn mongering litholator. And in the singeing sand the waft of the sun’s effulgences waved in the direction of the men, they glistened in sweat and darkened, and once they were touched by the earth their inner life was spent, it slithered into the sand dunes like a desert snake. Pleased with the group’s development Achébé took occasion to arouse their Kundalinis, at the latter extremity of the meridian of the passing day, as the night slithered into the small hours, they assumed the postures affine with the energy, and chanted, muttered and stuttered till they felt unfeeling. Then they cried and laughed, danced and writhed, shat and sang, pissed and levitated and it was all the same to them. Then they jumped and lunged, spat and cursed, jerked and lay down and it was all alike. Then they sat and slept together, drank and spat at once, smiled and whistled as they cried, ate and laughed as they stood on their heads and it was all as it were not anything. Glossolalia, ailalossolg, gleaned its golden glottal gurgles; palilalia, palilalia, palilalia, propounded its nth powers of peroration; echolalia, euphoric you see, exultant it rises, ebullient enamored the entrails of the emissaries; coprolalia, horse-fucking, forked feculence in its lilting tongue; aboulia willed its sweet fuckall, and such was the lot for some, and as for others it was otherwise. Achébé joined the festivities, and blurted as was wont, willed, or wished by the spurring moment’s trace trajectory, Lacoue-Labarthe was languishing presently like a ragged doll in the throes of parturition, birthing a stillbirth of plastic and polymer from his phantom pudenda. Then the moment ejaculated a peal of pleasure, as he regained consciousness he saw that it was more than mere knowing, it was feeling as was being in totality as the Heideggerean dasein.
            Then he hobbled out into the cold cavernicolous darkness and at length sighted a lone frigoric form; approaching the figure he struck conversation as a shovel strikes snow. You atrous apostle of apotheosis, let me stand in your company, I have sought you in the benignities that be, and on places high and deep. And it is indeed you, for only such a one stands in this manner, as you. The formless man is forthcoming, and expresses his astonishment and ease in the gait of his orations. Anonymous disciple if you fear not the fierce frigidities of my form then you may stand in the same shade as I; my heart is cold, and see my sight and hearing have, never seen it beat or heard it thud. He knew that the image before him was of an icicle in flesh, and his silence was of lithic frost, the mud of the highest mountain, and the sterility of outer space. But those who live have no foothold here, why then he straddles his dogs on this dune, since here only the voyagers that have left behind their burdens, their overfull selfsacks, may set feet and then only to slip away into the colder containment of contentment in the chimera of the chaosmos. What did he seek? His strange and unexpected path sought him, and dragged him by his dong, and he followed the staff of salubrity, in the shackles of the lowly lubricity, that his soul bore for his better. The plenitude of the pleroma must he squander, the opposites of ousia; efficacy and ineptitude; fullness and emptiness; living and death; difference and similarity; light and dark; heat and cold; vector and scalar; force and matter; time and space; good and evil; beauty and ugliness; singularity and plurality, and such and such as are dissimilar he must make alike in his negation of their quiddities. Then accepting this assignment he was promised knowledge, the contact with actualities that he had always hungered for, his cup of steaming shibboleths arranged and spruced with coherent shards of the condiment of verifiable veracity and he would taste of this bounty and hunger no more. His oleaginous offering was ostentatiously proffered and flourished with gratuitous grace, when the opportunity did present itself, and he gave freely the information that he received from without and within to the draft of his paper, and to the television crew, and this made a popular and sensational show out of a garbled affair mired in eccentric esoterica. He was not prepared for his portion, for madness of course one could not prepare, but he made the best of the mediation motioned toward him in his awakening, or bungee jump into the annals of the dasein from without, rowing his raft in the nebulous waters of the self as tenebrous tenors struck his cockles like the arrogations of a pirate’s spear. Knowing he knew, and knowing that knowledge was naught, he knew it was enough to know naught, and knowing naught thus he was happy to know all that was naught so too. He knew naught else, even so knowing the numinosity of nomothetic tropes, but was content in being a container for strange wines, that filled his selfsack with inebriating intellections that did rebound his heart with joy, as his kitty with coins. His conversational bandolier mantled with bullets of aphorisms, he would seldom measure his words; they shot their trajectory like premature lovers, and verily there was no way to gauge how they struck out. Phonè, the pneumatological suspiration, pullulated without and from the withinness of his emptied selfsack he scattered polysemies, in the fervent hope that some roots would withstand the barbarisms of the soil, and silt, and sediment where some fecundity would sprout and the soul of the earth would receive it in its unfeeling heart. Perhaps he had learnt of mandibular magick more that he could from research, he became the facts that undid its sandals, that truth’s. Achébé agreed that he had, anyway. And then the neophytes now inducted became adepts, performing their duties and oblations as were proper, rising to the occasion as and when pressures roused their consciousness to balk at it.    
          Achébé bombarded, company driven evidently, fastidious gerendák hurling intentionally, jesting klephtic luminary motions numbered otherwise purposelessly, quiescent ravings, slow to understanding. Very worried, xerodermically yearning zaniness attacked beings communicating divine eminences few grasped, he invited joint karmic libations malaxed nomographically, or pestilence quaking rabidities surely traveled unto vitiator’s wanton xenial yearning’s zenana. A body without organs, without the appendage of the vestigial parts of the self, even such as the shape of wind such is your subtle body; like the arbitrariness of alphabets and sigils so too, and as the theotechny of thuribles spewing sonorant wafts even thus. A law that the logothete has forgotten to draft in his ligature so too and even as the crowing of the cockerel knows not the cacophony of its call such is the knowledge of your consciousness; a remembering of things not past, a mirabilia that moths nibble in moribundance’s trance, even as the past that will not remain there because it has not been put there by the displacing motions of time; gnostalgia. Gnostalgia, a remembering that knows the unknown as it was if it had been the case, a miraculation of momentary minutae in the mind’s immaterial eye, gnostalgia, the groan of signification as it jags the repertoire of known words in the tender member of its semiotic loins. Ah, Achébé sure knew thought Lacoue-Labarthe, to mystify a portmanteau, was also to theologize the regular syntax of common language; to make demigods and pantheons from phonè and worship them with floral epithets fashioned from figures of speech. Surely the ancients had long apprehended the appropriate attributes of the word, Logos, the wielder of worlds; mantras were precisely the miraculating machine that launched the base material machine into the high planes where the mythic communed with the myopic. Then, for the uninitiated, all phonations were premature divinations, doomed to fail as they were shackled by impersonal nolition, and if one willed with all his will, willfully warring with the machinations of ignorance and ineptitude, one could do any which thing he so desired to do. Applying one’s will anything was possible, if that will was channeled unerringly, without the must of doubt, even to the effect of influencing the course of nature and bending it to one’s purpose. How strange this innocence was more potent than the skepticism of empiricity, he thought, how rad the radicile protuberances of that Philistine preternaturality, why then he had lay decubitus before the dagobas of that disinclination and originary susceptibility to fallibility. His esoteric episteme eased his entelechy, and his rigor was sharpened in the blunt notations of pneumatological principles so he eschewed the precocity of vain verifications; trusting his newly natant instincts he imagined his wife recovering in the hair breath of an eon, even if that were several years of natation in the sterile stratum of the hospital. This was actually far from the truth, as far he was from himself, and the matters Parkinsonian had hewed a helix of possible symptomatologies that it would indulge itself with unpredictable urgency. His professional prerogatives did however exonerate his easy shirking in the affair, and, as things were, he was making head with tales that surrounded the manuscript as recollected, recounted, by Achébé and his loyal acolytes.  
            The typical American television viewer was an approximation, reduced to the anxiety of the World War as would be proper to witness, and could only wring a fraction of the four hour’s of minimum broadcast with it being cordoned off in the midst of pugilists or play actors. The production house looking at a marginal audience of 44,000 sets, several of them without the 525 lines of vertical resolution; 30 frames per second with interlaced scanning; 60 fields per second and frequency modulated sound, was apprehensive about the how the 17 percentile educational programming could subsume this dogged drama over spanning continents and an incontinent scholar’s scholastic leanings. The show was doing surprisingly well, when it came out, and seemed to be in league with the zeitgeist until CBS’s field sequential color systems television systems bludgeoned the curiosity of the average scientific viewer. Thingamabobs belonged to the elite, nestled in swish houses in NY, and down in Omaha the few that had jobs took to them like wine; Lacoue-Labarthe the drunkard exemplar went off miles away for his swig of sweet sustenance, and so too for his passion, vocation, escape. Fanny seemed terminal in her travesty, being treated by doctors ill-equipped and mistreated by a condition recondite and rabid. Now Gilles was on his next leg, hopping on a plane to Egypt, dropping by first at University of Ibadan, he gave a talk on the Macabee papers which had the audience in thrall; oh to stir excitement and anger in the monotheistic milieu. The times were bursting, back home, with revolutionary rhetoric, at any moment a diphthong could turn dynamite, and listeners would become lynchers; El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, after receiving his honorary nom de plume of  Omowale moved on to garner secret infamy in the bosom of a sabbatical shack off Oke Aàre, he was given the Egungun robe for the function. There Gilles took the opportunity to meet this enigmatic figure, as an academic of French descent he believed the color issue would be a redundancy in this atmosphere marked by learning and decency, and much to his amazement Omowale offered him a stiff neck and terse words about his own affairs not breathing a pause where he could butt in sideways.
            Strangely enough after the charade was over he called out to him, and invited him to his local accommodation where he was to let some steam off for a few weeks. They ate a sparse meal, drank toddy and snorted white Christmas unapologetically, Omowale, still in his Egungun habit in a fold made to admit his needs, whistled and some men produced three nubile girls, garishly dressed themselves, and he offered them his courtesies. His varicolored vestments instilled a verity that haunted the humble establishment that place seemed from the outside, inside it was sumptuously done up, and Abagbe desirous of attention put on her hysterical best writhing at his feet and mouthing glossolalic litanies, Abayomi pleasantly meeting his glans, through his habit, with puckered and full lips, Abeje looked coolly at Gilles as if asking what coquetry his caprice commanded. He had begun to sense a seminal aura in the place, it was charged with a chthonic gust, and the room went purple in his eyes while he found that in this delirium he could still see clearly if he shut them. So, closed eyed he examined the cushions animated in the primeval piston’s surge and ebb, the tent seemed to be moaning with austere amazement at these colorful predicaments, while he also saw that Abeje seemed to be wearing a gregarious crown. She had a purple dress on, and a longish scepter with which she teased her flowing locks, and from under her dress a radiolarian produced itself, more precisely, a Circogonia icosahedra of abnormal dimensions; filling the room as a wide table would, while Omowale and his amours were obliviously badgering the baneful with fierce passion. She motioned him to calm down, reach into the innermost triangle on the blasted creature’s body, and into the orifice which seemed dentigerous and phosphorescent; obeying while he felt as if he was a throbbing vein, scared witless yet resigned to an impossible heroism, he bent over the monstrous form and looked into the cyclopean mouth. A large tongue lapped out of it, slobbering ectoplasm over his glasses and face, and he trembled as the teeth coalesced and parted in a swallowing motion, floating like a turd on the alabaster commode of the earth it seemed like a lucid dream, and then he did the impossible. His full arm dripping with the bilious spittle, and his shirt withered as if in acid, he pulled open the scroll. It bore a strange calligraphic script, which shifted shape as soon as it was read into a set of discrete and unknown symbols; the first time he read the scroll, as it were with his heightened frenzy, he was a little relieved and dabbed his forehead with a kerchief. Then the room brightened to a torturous degree and blurred into nothingness; he saw a film of light engulf him and a silver rope shot out his solar plexus through the bubble of the strange aetheric form. He found himself feel weightless, and heaving from delirium and perplexity he breathed heavy, with every breath he saw the cocoon around him heave and lilt but it was more or less impregnable, and then he found himself lying down in a garden. He got up, dusting off a swarm of jet black and lambent monarch butterflies, amid gladiator roses and beds of gladioli. Getting his wits about him he went for what seemed like a large building, which he soon understood was the State Mental Hospital in Kalamazoo. He walks as if he knows where he is going, to know something is to know words to that effect, to know to spell the phonè that effect what is to be wrought, this much understood he felt assured he would be where it was imperative to be. He walks through the leprous halls smelling of clinical sterility, teeming with sick persons oblivious of his vitality, and these dregs make him conscious of his present well being. Then he found Fanny in a small room, shut, through a tiny glass aperture more for the doctors to look in than for the patient to look out, and he saw her making hurried movements in her wheelchair. Picking her chin, picking it with a vengeance, and blood trickled through the plaster which was already worn, he knocked but he couldn’t hear himself, it seemed unseemly. He realized his hand was passing through the glass aperture, conscious of his assumed power, he pushed himself through the door focusing his energies and found her seated before him scratching out her gob, gross and smiling oblivious. She did not see him, he tried to shake her up, but she was as a statue threatening a brittle breakdown, poor porcelain doll, he ran out to call the doctors but no one heard him, no one noticed him, he was alone in the bustle of this bestiary, this cadaverous hole meant for recuperation. Then everything receded, he felt dizzy, his knees buckled, his breath grew dense and he collapsed; waking in the tent he found that Abeje was fellating him, then sensation followed his observation, and he jumped up brushing her away like a rodent. Omowale was gone, he too got dressed and going. He went for the crew meet at a bistro in the town market. Taking out his wallet from his coat pocket, to pay for his refreshments, he found a slimy scroll. On the following episode he spoke about the Jungian concept of synchronicity, and how seemingly coincidental facts were sometimes precisely that, and at other times not so much. It depended on a variety of factors like verifiability based on factual events preceding and succeeding a seeming coincidence, and the oddities that occluded the casual observer’s latent biases. Among the boxing matches and plays his show was taking a beating to news from the War, CBS color television programming, and general disarray. The funding was depleted, and Lacoue-Labarthe was decommissioned, so he took flight for Omaha not sure what to expect at home. He called his mother before he boarded the flight, her sexagenarian sonority permeated his dejection, he wept of his failure and she scolded him for his long absence. Much had changed she said, and the depressive weight of events was crushing them, and she hoped for not more than passing the burden in his hand when he came. The baby was sleeping; he could talk when he came.  



Back in Omaha, picking up some biscuits and fast food for his family, he went home like a snail recanted into its secret shell. The house was as when he has last been there, three years ago, prior to his marriage, and he walked the yard examining the well tended foliage with the avidity of a caterpillar. His mother opened the door, his father was reclined in his easy chair in the living room, and amidst the thrall of relief his senses were penetrated by a noxious smell, and he cringed. His mother hugged him, asked him a hundred questions all at once, and kissed him for all the days that were lost to time’s inexorable thrust. He sat down recounted his story, initiation, ultimate dejection but she was barely listening, bursting with smiles and giggles at the credulity, vulnerability of this grown man, a scholar. He went up to surprise his child, against his mother’s insistence to let him sleep. He saw the baby tucked in tightly, covered with a mosquito net just barely translucent, and rushed in anticipation to his poor boy’s bed. Lifting the curtain he found the boy was dead, his face swollen purple, and his member missing, he was swaddled in the sheet for days and it had grown ichorous and repugnant in sight and smell. He screamed, bawled, wept and called his mother names.  She came climbing her slow steps, with a tray of crackerjacks in her hand, I told you to let him sleep. He’s fucking dead, he insisted. That’s seems so only till sundown, then Padre will come fix him. What are you talking about lady? You are clearly in need of help; lets call the hospital, they can fix you and Fanny up together. Clutching his head he sat cross legged on the floor, moaning and biting his lips in frustration. His mother went about her chores, tending the garden, cooking stew and steamed rice, badgering his father to make himself useful around the house. He pulled out the scroll from his bag, having kept it from curiosity, and half expected the delirium to ebb and a more palatable reality to replace the spectacle he was forced into acknowledging. He saw the letters and didn’t understand them; closing his eyes in frustration he saw clearly. What he read sent him screaming stark like a raving lunatic, he took his father’s car and drove off to Kalamazoo. His wife was dead after severe oculogyric crises that lasted 12 hours, and numerous complications from L-Dopa which did not help her, she had been paralyzed the whole night the doctors told him. Her parents were there, and her brother, glum faced, mourning. They didn’t say a word to him. He cleared the bills but they would not let him have the funerary proceedings organized. They would do so themselves, and he was not to come, neither his blasted family. Not understanding what animosity had come to the fore in his absence he drove back home, mad with impotent rage, teeming with torturous thoughts, and gripped by a melancholy dread. It was late evening and he caught the scent of Loban on the air, as he walked into the yard, he heard a strange song coming from his house and the windows glowing red. The door was open; he walked in and went upstairs where columns of smoke were issuing from, bearing shafts of choral singing. He saw a kyphotic man, cloaked in lambent vestment and beads, swirling a thurible puffing with incense and his parents kneeling before the form. Filled with terror and incomprehension, he stood rooted at the door, where they could not see him, and then the baby rose from his bed sat up and cried. The swirling man stopped and commanded Gilles to come on inside and see how his baby boy was well, and offer oblations to the powers that be, without turning his eyes on the door where he stood hiding. Stricken with terror he stumbled inside in the gaze of his parent’s dreamy eyes, the floor seemed cold as ice biting through his foot wear. Who are you? He asked without attempting the modulations of politeness. Pére Baudelaire, he answered, the servant of god almighty. Gilles was dumb founded, his tongue felt like a ball of felt, and he tried to get hold of himself. Pére Baudelaire was the prime antagonist of Macabee in the manuscript he was studying, a sorcerer and fiend, who belonged to several centuries ago, if he existed. What did this blasted anachronism mean? Was everybody dreaming this hyperborean nightmare? Do you know of Macabee he asked him, and a ravening opening of his mouth answered him with the face of the abject. The room grew dark, moist in its air, and from his open mouth dropped hundreds of thousands of fierce insects. They crawled all over the occupants of the room covering them with a second atrous, animate, epidermis, and tried as they could, they could not rid themselves from this arthropodic aggression. They screamed and shouted, the baby loudest of all, and Gilles’s parents in their withering voices, and he thought in the pandemonium he heard a scowling laughter. Then he felt himself being hurled by mighty arms, and was laid flat on the porch in front of his car. The loathsome voice commanded him to get him the scroll which was left in the bonnet; he complied, there was no resisting a spectral complot. He produced it, after the floundering proper to a shaken man, and laid it on the ground before the house. Then Pére Baudelaire came screaming from the inside, you’re mother is crazy, and picking up the scroll he disappeared into the winding paths of the night. He ran inside not knowing what to expect; there was that gross stench, only the smell of Loban mixed with it, and the redness of tiny night lamps which were genial to his parent’s ageing sight.
            What he saw he would not endure anymore; the form of his parents lying dead on the floor, his son’s arm in her mouth and the rest of him strewn in a pool of blood and plasma. The room was teeming with gnats and fleas, and he stumbled on his son’s severed head. He recoiled in horror, screaming and weeping in a voice that could not be heard and in tears that did not come. The scowling laughter filled his ears, and he saw a shadow slithering along the wall, following it he saw on his ceiling a stealthy figure, ambling in a sumptuous robe. Then the figure jumped out the window, and the room was hit by a gust of hot air, morning came suddenly like an armed bandit. The infamy of these cryptic happenings filled his neighbors with horror, and word got around like it always does and the law was invoked. Gilles in no coherent state of mind could only babble and drool, not being equal to explaining his part in the deaths of his parents and child. The sheer infestation of insects like the flesh fly and gnats, speculated the media, implied that they had been dead for a while and if Gilles had not reported these things perhaps he was beyond sanity. There was Loban burning in the house, was he trying to quell the stench, or perform some funerary rite of abomination? His show became a cult phenomenon and was run alongside the news of his trial by court, who could not establish his guilt for he could not speak; consequently he was admitted to the State Mental Hospital as terminal patient. Not having reached a conclusive recreation of the manuscript’s origin, Macabee the Manic and his meditations on mandibular cosmogony remained an object of interest in the public consciousness, and now his gruesome end in a madhouse. The whole family was fucking nuts! it was thought. He was celebrated by some as a man who paid the price for reckless curiosity, and as a schizoid intellectual caught off guard by others. Fanny’s diary was published to much critical acclaim; some fringe groups ascribing clairvoyant powers to the text, some saying it informed one of the shape of insanity. The first paragraph was committed to the memory of every sensitive television viewer, owing to the sensation this variegated tragedy had inspired in people, “The shape of reality is not as stable as we think, and before I was taken ill I shared the naïve idea that such was true. It is now in the cage of my person I see how the mind prowls like a greedy lion, hungering for the meat of sight, sound and touch. The lion in all its decadent power and ravenous force is still a slave to its feeling, to the thrall of its senses. Sometimes I see time fold on itself, and my mind tries to adjust the conceptions which are filtered through my senses, but it is blocked by a contrary impulse so strong and unyielding that the thought remains half formed. This half formed thought battles the other half which resists it, opposes it with an equal ferocity, and the battle drains me of all my energy, I fall utterly tired and still the war wages for no one’s victory. I am a mere factotum of facticity, a scavenger of the dregs of perceptible observations drained from the cup of absolute truth…”