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X marks the rhythm of the night

fig. dot) mini
"Altogether there has to be at least four of them at the edge of the world of ideas," Edmund would say this and then pour himself another drink. You know he was an excellent haberdasher but Edmund's money, nearly all of it was borrowed. Mostly it came from people who were short, young, or gullible. In all fairness he would ask nicely and smile, using his best comma and a curly thing too."
"You're mad Esther."
"No, Edmund was very wealthy, even for a Superhero-Man that didn't work. Then he died but before that he was really tall and very thin. He also had a high forehead and three piercing blue eyes. I've read that he liked his houses like he liked his women, Queen Anne. This old house on top of this hill was built about 118 years before he died, still Queen Anne."
Sloan appears in the open door, "Did you get cigarettes yesterday?"
"Exchange," she said, "at least as you're picturing it, sounds pretty simple."
"Approximation Madam, steam for us is still a luxury," Sloan walks over and lights the stove with a long stick of a match. He fills a kettle and puts it back down on the hot new burner. "Labour is not the only metric necessary to produce a marketable product, right? Shouldn't there be an equation with the real price of everything that's been attached to it. One that includes any of the values that were gathered by saving labour from being consumed. Love's labor lost, should be primed to say that labour itself is not fixed but intangible, without scale and fast as hell. Labour like love requires a little extra work and we need matches now."
"Like the very light itself," Esther comes into the kitchen. "Don't touch," she says, indicating her mask. "I've just stickied it." She feels around for a chair at the table.
"Right then, if you hand it to me I have to hand something back, that's the law."
The last child of the last children of Edmund is, Esther. She's a thin woman. Her hobbies include hiking and large decorative puzzles. Lately Esther has taken to wearing a deep violet eyepatch.
He would say, "How's that for peachy now?" Then when Edmund Superhero-Man finally died all of the veneers, the portico and the bright balustrade around the tall periwinkle blue house with its stern gables and easy eye math were bequeathed to the children of every last child of his until just now.
"There's deep soul in that estuary. It's finally been shaken from its machine. Now that it has it'll settle in the soft mud under wide warm waters out near the old Monaco station. When we gather it back up we'll need the help of this calculator. We'll need a flat table and something like a fork too."
"I think you're going to need to finish getting ready. It's already late and the musicians are at the servant's door."
"Bother, it's cold. No one is coming tonight, they never do."
"So you say Esther. Now get your slip on and slip into your dress."
"Ribbon and two broken glasses are right behind the hanging files in the back of the drawer marked, X. You'll see it soon enough, it's like comedy gold back there. It's like going to the bath in a stained robe and asking for a sandwich, something like tuna with raisins on a kaiser roll. The last letters from the old school-boys are locked in that drawer. There's going to be dust in there and an old phonebook at the back. When you get them, remember that it wasn't supposed to be like this and no laughing."
Satisfied that the mask will stay, Esther checks it in the mirror, "I'd laugh too, so don't scream at me if it just happens."
"I don't think so. You're gonna sit there and poke at your eye-patch. Sit on your ass and hug your knees until we get through tonight."
"So what were you painting today," Esther asks.
Sloan looks over at the 38 boxes that are still left open on his calendar. He looks and then reads the whole poem out loud again, "Here we go, here we go, here we go. Standing, staring at our own two feet in the hot summer sand. We're wondering what to do before it rains? Goodness shapes the swells of day as soft forms their release. I'll find you yet, spray on your face and naive from such spently uttered dumb. Going back to the basket now, our towel is in the white hot sand. You wait awhile at the water's edge. You poke at it's distance with your eye's while I watch. You sit on your ass and hug your knees in the foam. You laugh."
"Then I laugh," Esther asks him?
"Don't you fucking scream at me. Don't you even scream." So Sloan says. He doesn't scream at all, not at a greasy pig nor at the patchy wall.
Then Esther stops and listens to her machine. "I'd roll over so you can deposit your fucking message but I'm not home," then the message says beep and the cat jumps down to find it's groove.
Sloan yells, "Hey, that's Garbage-Hands and Garbage-Hands the cat likes to play."
"Don't we need to see people crying still," Esther turns around?
"The table, this table's covered in shit again," Sloan rolls his shoulders. He looks around for a brown paper bag. "Dirty and impossible as it seems, we have to keep things clean in here and you need to finish dressing Esther."
"Garbage-Hands the cat likes to play. Isn't that what you just said?"
"Not on the table, I didn't."
"Hijinx, I call hijinx and it's Garbage-Hands for the point."
"Slip then slip," Sloan points back up the stairs.


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