Logo of the Museum of Vestigial Desire
The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Now write your story

tags: whisper published on:

By Satya Gummuluri

I went there. There was grey granite and marble in large cuts solid and square, red clinker dark brown stoneware tile façade red terra-cotta sienna stucco classical balconies; composition. Tall windows grey blue painted iron grills on glass, proportion. Lines are vertical, streets are canyons, shadows are deep, voices and eyes seduce. Bread. Hidden courtyards, enclaves of light. It was light pink and dark pink nerium on balconies that nobody uses. Do they only ever use these balconies when no one is watching? Where do they take morning coffee?

The words never materialise. They are there, they are quiet they are shy little children clamouring to speak, to be heard. But she will never know that i can speak her language in this place of another tongue. Why does it matter to me that she must know that i can speak her language? What do i want to prove? No, it is not that at all. I want her to be happy. I want her to have a good vacation this summer. She thinks i'm here on vacation. I want her to have a break from her drudgery. I think of her slow enunciation in the effort she makes for me to feel at home, for us to negotiate the handing off of keys, the placement of separated garbage, the size of the bathroom. I wished i were drunk because then the words pour like they did that one night a barmaid talked to me about her life and her far away land and how even though the words roll off her tongue here just as comfortably as back home—they spoke the same language here—there was no comfort in her heart she was more comfortable with a stranger whose tongue offered distasteful clots of mixed up nouns and mangled verb tenses. Keys must be left in postbox number 27 at check out. What are the odds that the wifi password is that very word repeated three times that i too had repeated three times in my rare, obligatorily cheerful Facebook post only a week ago?

There will be a tomato. It will be slightly rotting, there must be a green black fissure on its skin. It will sit on a tabletop with no table cloth. No wait, have a table cloth handy you never know. Make it a rose and poppy table cloth. The tabletop is to be wood. Unpolished cypress. There will be a dead hornet. Find one outside if you have to, i don't care, but there will be a dead hornet.

Angle the tomato against the light. Show off it's rotten side. Place the hornet an inch away from the orange, not upside down. It must not face any portion that is not yet rotten. It will regard the orange. I mean tomato.

Now write your story.

The seated tomato will be tasted from afar. You need to taste it to know it.
The tabletop will be wiped of crumbs. Cleaning will calm your anxiety.
The dead hornet will be placed with dignity. It is dead, show it some respect.

These bells are two minutes late. They will always be a minute here or there as i discover through the day. The bells repeat three notes at indefinite intervals. Three pullers of ropes in lively conversation that distracts them from their job, ropes coming in the way of gesturing animatedly. There is a kind of coherence through the sounds because of how few the notes are and how pleasant their timbre. It is mid-day, so we will be treated to a ragged trio piece in three voices. I wait for the finale. They must come together, my ear begs for it and they need to tell the time. They seem to be coming together in unison now to tell us the time. But they actually inexplicably fade away as though the church steeple is a passing ambulance. I never get to hear the end of piece—a garbage lorry obscures it—whether they stay together to tell us the time, whether they tell us the time. The bell rope-pullers have tired and they have decided today that this time will be ten o'clock. They couldn't be bothered to finish their piece or no i am wrong, they have much to talk about, the piece is entitled "unfinished". How stuck up am i that i need an exact number of chimes in perfect unison? Loosen up, live a little. I will have a tense twenty four hours in anticipation of the next concert.

A single thin bell chimes twelve times at exactly half past noon. The thermostat says that it is half past eleven.

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