from The Pilates of "Psst!"
by Arne Seligson
Nothing makes me happier than to arrange small toy cars in rows of ten on tables owned by wealthy men. I stand back and admire my work. The sun is just coming up, and I've nearly finished. Up all night! Where does it go? Not the sun, which I'm fully aware doesn't go anywhere—time is what I'm referring to. That's an old and boring question that a lot of people have asked themselves since time began, or at least since people began to be aware of time, and it's a question I ask myself every day. Well, sometimes I skip a day. In any event, there were my cars, all lined up as if parked in a parking lot, almost eleven hundred of them. I was collecting more all the time. They weren't my cars; I was collecting them on behalf of Mr. Luiki, the genteel banker who was kind enough to offer me a home following the destruction by cyclone of my former residence. The best part about living with Mr. Luiki was that he never set limits on where I could go, what I could do, or what I could imagine. Such a sweety.
After breakfast I decided to go for a walk. I told Mr. Luiki that I was going for a walk, and then I went for a walk. After returning from my walk, I opened Mr. Luiki's mail and tossed out all the bad news, per his instruction. There was something about his aunt Horla being stung by a Portuguese man, I think it was, and there was a bill from his taxidermist, but other than that all the news was good today. Happy that he would be happy, I piled the good news onto the tray I always kept handy for this purpose and brought it up to Mr. Luiki's room. Not wanting to disturb him (never wanting to disturb him), I set the tray down gently in front of his door.
In the afternoon I called my ex-wife and tried to explain how to program the alarm clock I'd bought her for her birthday. I was frustrated that she didn't understand how to program the clock but I was happy to hear her voice. It smelled like lemons or grapes, if grapes had a smell. Of course, nowadays I could only imagine the smell of her voice. But I could do that because, as I said, Mr. Luiki did not place limits on my imagination. (Once, just days after moving in, I imagined a glorious kingdom somewhere in Asia Minor. There were bears and chickens and wallabies and five or six gnats. There were seventeen basketball teams, a swimming pool, a mosque, a synagogue, a Walgreen's, a cathedral, and a double-decker Dunkin' Donuts. Oh, and everywhere you go, sex sex sex! Miles of sex! Metric tons of sex! Gallons and quarts and pints and drams of sex! Yards and meters! Lbs. and Kgs.! Centigrade and Fahrenheit! Et cetera und so weiter! Ich bin ein Berliner! Hahahahaha! No, you've got it all wrong, it's Ich bin Berliner! Ich möchte einen großes Bier für meine Geburtstag! Awful, awful German! My German is fucking awful! I don't know how to speak it, how to write it, or even how to read it! I can pronounce the words, but I can't translate them! It doesn't matter! To me, the pronunciation is the destination. I have no care for meaning. I only care for leaning, leaning against objects, people, and other objects (and people). —All this I imagined, and more, and Mr. Luiki did not object.) Today I imagined that her voice smelled like cantaloupe, just for the hell of it.