Tuesday, July 21, 2009

55 Shards of chandeliers on champagne hourglasses

Letting the last one drop to the parking lot many stories below, Claude, a migrant worker and transcendentalist, listened for the telltale pop of shattering vacuum sealed glass. Twenty times he had done this. Twenty times he had heard the sound. This last time, there was nothing, neither a peep nor a pop.

He sighed, it was what passed for speech in his apartment block. Sighs could mean anything in context: frustration, satisfaction, anything in between. Claude was an old pro; to hear him sigh was to hear the soundtrack to the ultimate theatre. Some claimed even the overhead lighting, never unsympathetic to those under its gaze, dimmed still further when Claude sighed.

This last time, there had been no sound. Claude was reminded of a joke:

A man woke up in the hospital after an accident and noticed immediately that something was wrong. "Doctor!" he cried, "I can't feel my legs!"

"That's because we amputated your arms," replied the doctor.

Claude felt a great companionship with this joke. He felt it pointed to a transcendent truth.

His intuition was great that if he threw another light bulb off the roof it too would not make a sound, as he had run out of light bulbs. This decided his next course of action: he would investigate.

Many years later he reached the ground floor and excited at being at ground level, the horrible sight which awaited him was especially devastating.

His final light bulb had caught in the maw of a man in the midst of a yawn. He must have stretched his arms and leaned his neck all the way back for the light bulb to have passed his teeth completely. The velocity was so great (his yawn must have been terribly expressive) that it quite plainly had shattered deep in his throat, muffling any sound.

Claude was in anguish, suddenly, his idle pastime had ended with horrible consequences. The unfortunate man was gurgling in agony, blood bubbling and flecks of glass shining in the light of the foyer.

Claude knew what he should do.

But then something equally horrible happened inside him. He just didn't feel like it.

"Oh my god!" A woman was rushing up to the man on the ground, dialling a number on her phone as she reached him in short fast steps on account of her totally impractical skirt and flat shoes, an odd combination, thought Claude.

When she put down the phone and placed the man in a recovery position, Claude realized she had things well under control and started to walk away, he felt a pang of hunger and thought he might get a snack since he'd come down.

He thought she'd say something but if she did, Claude was too far away to hear.

While chewing on his frozen submarine, Claude promised he'd help out next time.

He had to admit, it had been quite a shot.

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