Thursday, August 21, 2014

James exits the Box for an evening out: others gathered

The first chuckle came near the bottom of page one. A short, almost timid, burst. It shouldn't even be labeled a chuckle - little more than a polite ahem. But then others from the audience followed suit, and with increased volume. The chuckles once started continued while he read the balance of the eight pages of text. So, as is often the case, for simplicity sake, the label from the last gets applied to the first, and whatever lays in between. Thus, they all chuckled.

The astute reader might say - What, chuckles? It sounds to me like laughter. Why not say, they laughed, and be done with it? Because they fucking chuckled, how's that, astute reader. Because there's implied in laughter an honesty, a spontaneity, that this audience lacked. One chuckle at a time, they blurted lies. Call it one long nervous echo.

He finished reading and it was quiet. No one said anything while the reader arranged his typed sheets in front of him. Like he was setting a place at the table for dinner. A formal dinner. No hurry, this one. Once satisfied with the arranging of sheets, he uncapped a pen and surveyed the room. James counted eighteen mouths. Plus his own.

The reader sat forward, pen moving across pages, while they plied him with words like they had chuckles. Which was more galling is impossible to declare. James thought they played some odd game. Each trying to top the other? Where are the hidden rules? Funny, this one said. Yes, yes, they nodded. Good stuff, that one said. Yes, yes, they nodded. I believe you've got it there. Yes yes, fuck, you know the rest. You might have found a niche. I do think so. Maybe a touch up, here and there. Smooth it out, you know. Tighten up a few things, not much. Get it out there then. Yes yes yes, they almost all nodded.

When Pound tried recruit Frost, he said they squeezed the water out. That's what they did. Huh, say again? Squeeze the water out, you see. That's all we do. The best remains. Only squeeze the water out. Expertly, you'll see. Frost said what the damn hell and returned home. Then he wrote Good Fences.

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