Feather in the Tar: Seethe

          {CHECK DOOR}

          A picture of the lab door pops into my head. I see it and turn my eyes, but they are closed. I think to myself, “turn your head,” I can see the doorknob up at the top of a grey wooden platform. I see it through two parallel tunnels, like binoculars focusing slow and steady; the aperture closes in on the knob. Two flashlight beams illuminate it. I don’t remember this place. “Odd, I don’t remember getting here. Where am I?”

          {GO TO DOOR}

          Text in LED green flashes across my right lens and I hear buzzing. I move my head down to examine the stairs, but my legs are still. I visualize stepping up one step then the next. I hear tap, tap, pause, tap, and a whir from cog teeth clacking in to place, and the rush of boiling water. Detached as if by magic, I can’t feel anything or the movement. I am at the door.

          {OPEN DOOR}

          A command repeats in orange neon. I want to open the door, so I picture the action before my arm will move. Whir and rushing steam, my right hand moves up and clamps onto the knob and turns it. The door is locked. I pull my hand back, turn it over slowly and look at the palm.

           “Normal?” I ask myself. It has a lifeline, and on the fingertips, I can see whorls and ridges with extreme detail, “but, how?” The skin color is off; it’s not olive rose but grey pink and glossy. “Has someone dipped my hands in wax or plastic? “ I turn my hand over. Aluminum rails, like miniature girders, increases in thickness as it travels up the back of my hand and arm under my coat. The rail thins to the backside of each forefinger, then a bolt covered in Teflon at the finger joint. A smaller rail follows my finger to the next joint, and so on to the tip. Grey hoses and wire trace the rail to my sleeve. I visualize distending my index finger. I hear a click and steam as it moves in and out. I must’ve been in a terrible accident and these are prosthetics, “but they look exactly like I remember?” The matted, melted scare where my ex-wife burned me with a hot skillet and the 15 stitches across my palm where I grabbed the chef’s knife out of her hand at our separation. I didn’t press charges; I just got the hell out.

          {If NO DOOR then GARAGE}

          The image of a rollup garage door materializes in my inner eye. “I don’t remember this door.” I visualize, “turn head to left,” but no door, “turn head to right” and another command appears.

          {OPEN APERTURE}

          The platform continues around the front of a temporary building, and over a loading dock, zoom aperture. I focus and bend my neck forward. I see a crack at the bottom; the rollup is cracked. I visualize steps to the door, bending down at the waist, extending my arm, grabbing bottom of door and lifting up.

          The door opens, and several commands flash across my lens.

          {ENTER DOOR}


          I see an airplane bubble float in my upper left vision. It moves as I tilt my head up and when centered, I stop moving. More commands in orange neon appear on my right lens.

          {FIND SUBROOM}
                      {TURN HEAD TO LEFT,
                     If SUBROOM then SAVE COORDINATE}
                     {TURN HEAD TO RIGHT,
                     If SUBROOM then SAVE COORDINATE}

           “Am I giving these commands?” I see another door; that must be it.

          {TURN RIGHT: 180}

          I see another gauge in my upper left vision and each medium tick is 5 degrees. “Whoosh, whir,” I life one leg and sit it down a few degrees to the right, and repeat as I monitor the gauge. This is my body, but I am only its co-pilot. I can’t feel any inertia, like I am flying on instruments in a flight simulator.

          {CLOSE GARAGE}

          I extend my right arm, clamp down on the door, and pull it shut. I let go half way and the momentum carries it down. The door bounces half a foot open.

          {TURN RIGHT: 180}

          {MOVE TO SUBROOM}

          I hear rapid tapping again, faster and faster, and I visualize each step and turn by worktables and avoid objects as I walk to the door.

          {OPEN DOOR,
           ENTER CLOSET,
           CLOSE DOOR,
           SIT ON CHAIR}

          I hear hissing, but after a visual exercise of the process, all steps proceed quickly. I am staring at the backside of the door at the opposite end of a long, narrow room.

          {GRAB CANVAS,
           PULL ON TO HEAD,
           COVER BODY}


          My head is pounding, not throbbing but like a balloon inflating and deflating. I am sitting in a chair with my hands on top my thighs, palms up. “Odd, where am I? How did I get here?” “Why am I sitting in the dark underneath a sheet?” The sound of boiling water subdues and the constant hiss diminishes rapidly. I am weary? Quiet settles over my consciousness in a deep meditation. It is quiet, quieter then I remember.

           “That bitch fucking poisoned me with peanut butter.” I hear water begin to boil and then slow; I should have never trusted her. “Did I die? Am I in hell? What the fuck am I doing here?” A last hiss dissipates and silence overcomes me. A photo in my mind fades to blackness from the edges. It is a wedding, and she’s kissing our attorney.

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